Xenogc modchip info

I am writing a guide for xeno gc modchipping a gamecube, because there is some info out there that I wasn't able to find while searching, and I had to learn through hours of time wasted.

First of all: I buy my modchips off of eBay for $3-8 each. They are varying clones of the actual xeno chip, but I can verify that they do work. This is much cheaper than pretty much anywhere else you can get them.

HOWEVER, please note that the manufacturer uses two red LEDs instead of one red and one orange/green. This means that if you get a red light on your modchip it isn't necessarily broken or installed wrong. On official xenos, the light is supposed to turn orange when it is correctly working, and if it stays red then it means there is a problem. This is NOT the case of these modchips. I went through two of them before realizing that the light is always red, because I couldn't find anywhere this was mentioned.

Second of all: every gamecube is different and has a particular "taste" for mini dvds. Ritek Ridata is the best brand to buy, with about 9/10 of the ones I burn working just fine. I have also used Sony brand (maybe 3/4 of those read), and TDK (where only 1 out of the 10 or so I burned worked).

I have also had a gamecube that when chipped would read burned games, but not my official copies. I thought it was the modchip, but I tested it and the modchip is functioning perfectly in a different 'cube, while a new chip had the exact same issue in that one. There were no bridged points as far as I could tell, and it works normally when not chipped, so I think it's just a freak occurrence. Maybe other people have had the same issue though.

Third of all: I highly highly recommend doing a wired install instead of setting the xeno straight on the board. It makes troubleshooting much easier, and it is nearly impossible to get the chip back off the board without tearing up the testing pads underneath. Even with a tiny soldering tip, it's very easy to bridge connections that way, and very difficult to fix.

Okay! To the actual instructions!

What you'll need:
4.5mm security screwdriver (to open the gc)
Phillips screwdriver
Xenogc modchip
Soldering iron
Small solder
Small flexible wires
Epoxy for plastic (recommended)
Electrical tape

Step one: Opening the Gamecube.
You need a special screwdriver to get Nintendo's weird bolts out of the bottom of the gamecube. It's possible to melt a pen and essentially mold the plastic to the bolt to get it out, but there's a chance you won't be able to get your gc open if you get melted plastic down there. Plus you need to screw the bolts back down in there afterwards. Attempt at your own risk.

Once you remove the four screws holding the main shell on, you can remove the whole top of the gamecube. Unclip the back panel with the av/ power portholes and the front faceplate with the controller ports from their respective posts. Do not unplug the ribbon cable that runs from the faceplate to the gamecube. Now you can unscrew the four long skinny screws holding down the metal tabs right behind the faceplate. The tabs come off. Next, unscrew the two screws holding the fan down. You don't need to unplug the fan, just let it dangle off the side. Now, unscrew the three remaining screws on the left, the five screws on the right, and the four screws in the back. With all of these out, pull up on the laser assembly. The whole thing should come out with a large metal plate attached to the bottom. Flip the laser over so you are looking at the bottom of the metal plate. There are six screws you need to remove here. Once that is done, the plate comes off and you can see the gamecube's daughterboard which we will be soldering to.

Step 2: Connecting the xeno gc
You need to wire six wires total to the modchip. I made mine about an inch and a half long so that the modchip sits comfortably in the corner by the plug. You can make them longer or shorter according to where you want the chip to be placed. Then you want to melt some solder to the points you will be soldering to on the circuit board. After this, you just connect the wires one by one. Be very careful not to bridge any points, as this will cause the modchip to not function properly. If you mess up a testing point, there are alternate ones you can solder to. Lastly, place some electrical tape between the modchip and the board so that nothing accidentally touches anything it isn't supposed to. I also put electric tape on top of the xeno after I was sure it was working properly.

Step 3: Testing the Install
Once your chip seems to be installed correctly, place the large metal plate back into the gamecube. Then set the laser assembly down on top of it, plugging it in. Plug in your power supply and turn the gamecube on. If the xenogc is working correctly, it will light up red, blink once, do a long blink, and then turn red again. (Or orange or green if you have an official xeno). The important part is the pattern, not the color. If it blinks continually or doesn't light up or blink at all, check to make sure none of your pins are touching any other pins on either the chip or the circuit board. If it does the blink/long blink pattern, you can go ahead and test it with a burned game. Make sure that when you put the game in and turn it on, you either have the top shell back on (so it knows the lid is closed) or you are holding down the two wiggly switches in the back right corner of the gc. If the gc will not play your burned game, try it with a different copy of a different game (not every disc you burn works. Sometimes it takes a couple tries). If it is trying to read the game but can't seem to do it (either an error message or it stays at the gc logo for a while before deciding there is no game), you will need to perform a pot tweak. This is a very simple procedure and you will more than likely have to do it, so don't be surprised if the gc doesn't read your discs right away.

Step 4: Potentiometer Tweak
This step is only for if your modchip is working right but won't read burned games, or only reads a small portion of them, or otherwise acts as though the disc is scratched or dirty. On the laser circuit board, there is what looks like a silver screw with a black box around it. This is the pot, an adjustable resistor that changes the strength of the laser. Every gamecube has a different ohm reading on this, and it is important that you measure it with your multimeter BEFORE turning it. You want it to be just low enough that it reads your games fine, but not so low that your laser is stronger than it needs to be. Touch the leads of your multimeter to the two silver pads in the adjacent corners of the pot, and write down the ohms your meter reads. You will now need to slowly lower the reading by turning it a MINISCULE amount counterclockwise with a screwdriver. This thing is very very sensitive. Don't treat it like a screw, as a quarter turn could be enough to lower it all the way to zero on some cubes. Lower it by increments of around 15 ohms if you can, and test your gc in between each adjustment. When it's able to play the games you put into it, it's time to move on to the next step.

Step 5: Securing the modchip
This step is recommended but not necessary. If your gamecube is now able to play both burned games and official copies, you can epoxy over the wires on the board and the chip so that they won't come loose if you rattle your gc around a little too much. I used plastic epoxy I got from ace hardware, and used a toothpick to spread it over the soldered points and the beginning of the wires coming from them so that they won't move around. Don't use too much, a small layer is better than a big mound. Once the epoxy is completely dry, I recommend putting electrical tape over and below the xenogc so that it doesn't accidentally touch anything it shouldn't. Don't put tape over the two little leds though if you want to be able to check functionality without disassembling the whole thing.

Now test the gamecube one more time to make sure everything is in order, and then reassemble it :)

Hopefully this cleared some things up for anyone else who ran into the red light problem, or the weird no-official-copies-will-play problem.