Wireless Xbox360 controller on a PC, without the commercial dongle

Please note that I barely pay attention to this site anymore and is only here for archive purposes. Any comments are likely to go ignored.

Update: I updated the post to mention using two 1N4001 or equivalent diodes instead of just one. Two diodes in series take the voltage down to almost exactly 3.3V, which is the required voltage for the RF board. I also added actual photos of the wiring now, as I’ve redone it (hence the messy wires from re-soldering Etc.)

Update 2: It seems that syncing is impossible directly from the RF module and PC, but if the wireless controller you use was already synced with the RF module, and hasn’t been re-synced with another Xbox since, it will work. However, I am working with another modification I found which adds LED and sync enable functions by means of a serial connection with a PIC16F628A μC. You can find the related forum post here: Link (and see how my thrown together version of it looks [here] and [here]. Messy, I know :P).

Update 4: Alternative means of syncing mentioned in the comments by George.

Update 5: Further testing on alternative syncing method shows how non-play & charge kit compatible peripherals can be synced -without- a microcontroller. Thanks, Pat.

Yesterday I had a thought – I don’t like having a wire to the Xbox360 controller I use for games on my PC. As I’m tight on cash right now I figured I’d have a quick look around to see if there was a way to use a wireless controller on the PC without going out and buying the official wireless transceiver. I was thinking that there may be some other RF transceiver that could be modified or adapted to work with it. As it happens, there -kind of- is.

Now if you’re like me, and have a spare wireless controller sitting around, it’s likely you have a dead red ringed Xbox 360 sitting in a cupboard. This is the key to getting the controller working with a PC. The wireless transceiver in the Xbox can be made to work with a little modification. Well, I say modification but I really mean little more than soldering a few wires and altering a .inf file. Let’s get on to it:

What you’ll need:

  • Dead/Red Ringed Xbox 360 you don’t mind cannibalising.
  • Any old USB cable you don’t mind cutting.
  • Two diodes – a couple of 1N4001 or equivalents will do. Basically it’s just there for a forward voltage drop WHICH IS VITAL (unless you don’t mind burning the board out and killing your USB controller).
  • A soldering iron.
  • Solder.
  • A brain.

Taking the Xbox 360 apart:

I’m not going to reinvent the wheel here. Anandtech.com has a perfectly good explanation of how to do this. Take a look here: http://www.anandtech.com/show/1864/inside-microsoft-s-xbox-360/3

Pro tip: Instead of a small plastic knife that they say to use to ping open the case, you can either buy a tool for it, make one out of an old CD/DVD spindle cover, or just rip the damn thing open with a screwdriver (after all, it’s dead right?).

The part you’re looking for:

It’s the board on the front of the machine where the ring and power button are. It’s held on by 3 screws, so be sure to pop the little plastic part off to find the third screw. Don’t go trying to pry it off like I almost did. Once the screws are out it just unplugs. And that’s your part.

The soldering part:

As you’re reading this and have an interest in it I’ll assume you know how to cut, strip, and tin your wires, so I’ll not bother with that part. Instead I’ll assume you’re sitting there with an RF board, a USB cable ready for soldering, a diode, and a hot soldering iron. Basically, follow the picture (click for bigger image):

xbox360_rf_module_wiringAnd make it look like this:


Beginner’s mistake/brain fart moment warning: Make sure the diode is the right way around.

I chose to cut the diode legs down a fair bit and soldered it off to the left of pin 1, along the bottom edge of the RF module. You might like that idea, you might not. It’s up to you how you solder it. I could have been neater, but I honestly didn’t see much point. I’m not going to make a project box for it or anything, and it’ll be hidden away somewhere so practicality > looks.

I will mention again that the diodes are ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. The whole board runs on 3.3V while USB standard is 5V. The diodes that you put in series on the power line will lower the voltage to tolerable levels for the board – almost exactly 3.3V, to be honest (my multimeter is showing 3.34V). From what I’ve read in comments in various places the RF board likes to burn out quite spectacularly without a diode in place, taking the USB controller it’s connected to with it. I was paranoid enough about it to actually test the unit on my old Macbook (that I neither care about nor use) before trusting it on my main machines.

Once you have that all soldered up, you have yourself a wireless dongle for your Xbox 360 wireless controller, something like this:


Congratulations. Now for the software.

The software part:

This bit isn’t all that scary. You just need to modify the .inf file that comes with the official Microsoft drivers to allow for the different PID of the RF controller of the Xbox 360. First, if you don’t have it already, download the Xbox 360 Accessories Software for your operating system from the Microsoft gaming software download site, and install it. Now, before plugging the RF module in, you need to do that modifying I mentioned. Head over to c:Program FilesMicrosoft Xbox 360 Accessories (or wherever you installed it to) and make a backup of Xusb21.inf before opening it in your favourite text editor (Notepad++ is nice for it’s ini support with collapsing headers etc).

The parts you’re going to modify are under the headers [MSFT.NTx86.6.0], [MSFT.NTamd64.6.0], [MSFT.NTx86], and [MSFT.NTamd64].

What they’ll look like/similar to:

%XUSB21.DeviceName.Wired%=CC_Install, USBVid_045E&Pid_028E
%XUSB21.DeviceName%=CC_Install, USBVid_045E&Pid_0719
%XUSB21.DeviceName.Wired%=CC_Install, USBMS_COMP_XUSB10
%XUSB21.DeviceName%=CC_Install, USBMS_COMP_XUSB20
%XUSB21.DeviceName.Jump%=CC_Install, USBVid_045E&Pid_028F

What you need to change them to:

%XUSB21.DeviceName.Wired%=CC_Install, USBVid_045E&Pid_0291
%XUSB21.DeviceName%=CC_Install, USBVid_045E&Pid_0291
%XUSB21.DeviceName.Wired%=CC_Install, USBUNKNOWN
%XUSB21.DeviceName%=CC_Install, USBUNKNOWN

After you’ve saved the changes, go ahead and plug in the RF module. Chances are it will complain that drivers can’t be found. Cancel out of the hardware wizard and head over to the device manager and find the Unknown USB Device, or whatever it is your flavour of Windows has decided to call it. You’ll know which one it is by the yellow !triangle! (and if you don’t have a clue what I’m on about, what are you doing trying to hack an Xbox component on to a PC in the first place?). Give the device a right click and update it’s drivers, but tell it you have a disk and navigate to the Xusb21.inf you modified. It might complain about unsigned drivers, it might not, but if it does just tell it to continue. At the end of it all you’ll have an Xbox 360 Controller for Windows device with a Hardware Id of USBVID_045E&PID_0291 in your Device Manager. If not, reboot.

After all that, try syncing your Wireless controller with the unit. With any luck you should have a controller showing in your gaming devices. Give it a quick test with the diagnostics, maybe calibrate it etc.

And you’re done. On to wireless gaming. (o/

Any questions feel free to ask in the comments below and I’ll see what I can do to help.

334 thoughts on “Wireless Xbox360 controller on a PC, without the commercial dongle

  1. Dan

    Glad to see all the positive results and the confirmation on the play and charge kit, just need to obtain the diodes and I will be doing this for sure. however I think i am going to leave the board from the 360 stock and hack together an old usb hub or something to plug it into.

  2. Tom

    Hiya. I’m also getting a code 10 in the Device Manager after installing the software. I’m curious though, I copied and pasted what you had exactly into the inf file and when I check the hardware ID it says it’s USB/UNKNOWN. Is that to be expected in this situation instead of the one you said? Is there any other way I can troubleshoot this? Should the dongle come on of its own accord after being plugged in / anything? (I don’t even have an xbox, the dead one was my brother’s) I’ve uninstalled the device and deleted the .infs and pnfs from my windows/inf directory and tried it several times, and confirmed that when a new .inf comes in it’s a copy of the modified inf file. Any tips here on how I can diagnose the problem better? I haven’t uninstalled it in safe mode, but that’s about the only recommendation I’ve read I haven’t tried. Thanks in advance.

    1. dilandou Post author

      Unfortunately if it’s showing as USB/UNKNOWN then it’s not being recognised properly. All I can suggest is check your soldering. Sadly, I don’t know much beyond that.

  3. Dave

    Dear god do I hop you still pay attention to this.

    My laptop has a parallel port. Can I hook up the rf module to a db25 connector and shoot the “start sync process” command through it? If so, how? I can get a DB25 connector for pennies, and I’m sure I can find an rf module someone doesn’t need fairly easily too.

    1. dilandou Post author

      Interesting idea. All I can suggest is looking into bit banging with a parallel port. It’s not my area of expertise, nor something I’ve really looked into, but I’ve heard of someone using a parallel port and python to do bit banging before (which is essentially what the Arduino does in my version).

  4. Dave

    I can look into bitbanging, but I need to know what command needs to be sent to the rf module to make it look for a controller. Most information I find on bitbanging is just blaring information at me. There are people I can talk to to help me out, but they’re going to want to know exactly what information needs to be sent to the rf module, and how it’s expecting that information.

    1. dilandou Post author

      Give the module the signal to listen by pulling the data pin low then send bits on the low clocks, pulling the data pin high after the command to let it know you’re done (after which I put the microcontroller pin into high impedance). The module accepts instructions 10 bits long (I’ve not experimented with longer or shorter commands). The sync command is 0x04/b0000000100.

      1. Dave

        Thanks alot, dilandou. I’ll report back to you when/if I get my hands on a rf module. I just moved and didn’t have space to pack my xbox360 parts. Some guys around here are trying to charge me upwards of $20 for the rf module. Yea, I know.

        I also just found a python library that can interface with the parallel port in the way I need, apparently. Let’s see if I can’t figure this out 😉

      2. Dave

        Actually, I do have one more question. In your schematics, you’ve got a power wire hooked up to your microcontrollers. Am I going to need that as well? I’m of the understanding that the leftmost spot of the USB points is where the RF module will get the power to perform it’s functions for, and the leftmost spot on the bottom is to…turn it on? I’m not all that sure! I get what the other two spots are for, I just don’t know if I’ll need the “power” one if I’m connecting these points directly to a parallel port.

      3. dilandou Post author

        Whatever else you do with the RF module, the four USB wires need to be connected. While the parallel port -could- supply 3.3V to the module using one of the data pins on constant high, it can’t source anywhere near enough current necessary. Best stick to the USB cable option.

      4. Dave

        that’s not the power cable I meant, sorry!

        The 5 pinouts besides the USB ones. One is the data pin, one is for the clock, and one is labelled “power” on your schematic. That’s the one I’m confused about.

      5. dilandou Post author

        Are you sure you’re looking at one of my diagrams? I don’t remember labelling a pin as “power”. The only thing I can think of is someone else making a diagram and labelling the centre button, which on the Xbox is essentially the power button (which is the button I re-purpose as a sync button).

      6. Dave

        You know what? I was looking at the wrong schematic!

        Alright then. I need to wire pins 5, 6, and 7 to three data pins on the parallel port. I’ll read the input off of pin 7 to determine when the clock is low so that I can send the commands at the right time on pin 6, pulling the data pin low or high, depending.

        Before I transmit the data, I’ll pull pin 5 high to…*blank*. I didn’t see you transmit any data on this pin in your arduino code, so I’m not entirely sure of it’s function. Could you explain that to me?

        And is the code related to sleeping, waking up, and the various delays specifically for your arduino?

      7. dilandou Post author

        Pin 5 on the module is for the power button in the middle of the lights. I use it as a sync button. It’s a basic to-ground push button, that’s all.

      8. dilandou Post author

        Oh and the sleeping and waking on interrupt functions are Arduino specific. It’s a cheap way to initialise the LEDs then stop the program before it gets to the sync instruction, then resuming when the microcontroller is woken up from an interrupt (and, if it was running on batteries, a good way to reserve power).

  5. Dave

    Actually, on a completely unrelated note.

    Is there a way to just spoof the HID info of the play & charge kit to the driver for the rf board? Just…make it THINK there’s a play and charge kit connected? Someone I just spoke to brought up the possibility that that’s what’s happening. The wireless receiver driver just sees the play and charge kit and sends the command to the rf board itself, telling it it’s okay to start looking for a controller?

    1. dilandou Post author

      Sounds like something worth trying. You’d need to make a USB device for it though. Something like an AVR or PIC running a software USB library and having it give it’s hardware ID as the Play & Charge kit’s. I might have to look into it myself. I have a few ATTiny45s sitting around. Anyone reading this able to post the hardware values of the Play & Charge kit so that others can give it a go?

      1. Dave

        I’m asking around, but I may be picking one up myself. I don’t know enough x86 ASM to interface with the parallel port the way I need to. I can almost guarantee that someone with the programming know how could definitely get it done.

        I sure wish I could find some place that sold the launchpad without having to wait for it in the mail!

        I’ll be picking up a play and charge kit once I get my hands on an rf board, so I’ll give you the hardware values once you fill me in on how to get them!

  6. Pingback: Xbox 360 Wireless Controller – Glossy Black | Xbox 360 Console + Kinect

  7. beyond666

    SOLVED “device cannot start code 10”
    I had this problem.

    – When USB is NOT connected on RF board, i have 3.4 V on wires (between black and red)
    – Whes USB is connected on RF board, i have 2.2 V on wires (between black and red)
    How to solve it? Instead of the three I put two diodes (i don’t know what type diode i have).

  8. jerad123

    well i did the thing with the drivers but do i need the arduno to use it and to turn it on or can i just wire it, plug it into the usb port and turn it on using the regular power button ??

    1. dilandou Post author

      The RF unit doesn’t actually have a power button. So long as it’s plugged in, it’s working. The lights won’t do anything without additional circuitry though. There is no external sign of it being powered or working. The arduino is only necessary for making a manual sync button, and controlling the LEDs. Alternatively, you can use a play & charge kit to sync controllers to the PC without the arduino.

      1. jerad123

        but can you tell me where i could get a cheap arduino to do this and where do i solder the connectors fron the RF module to the arduino can you post a link ???

      2. jerad123

        but can i use a arduino pro mini with this ?????? beacuse i got one so minstead of getting another one will this work

      3. jerad123

        how will i have to write to code or can you give me a link to get the code because this is my first arduino

  9. Reg

    Hi all, nice mod, thanks for sharing. I had some difficulties, with vista64bit I’ve got a play and charge kit that was previously installed, I replaced the lines in the inf above, installed the rf unit, plugged in the play and charge kit and it refuses to install a driver for it (I know it doesn’t need a driver as such), so the syncing via the play and charge kit fails.

    In your inf edit you put 5 lines of existing code to be replaced by 4 lines of edited code, is this what you meant? As the missing jump device is the play and charge kit? I initially replaced the 5lines with 4, but putting the jump device code back into the inf fails to make it work. I guess I’m going to have to trawl through the registry and inf files to completely uninstall the 360 drivers.

    I have however overcome the issue via another PC running vista 32bit, I didn’t remove the %XUSB21.DeviceName.Jump%=CC_Install, USBVid_045E&Pid_028F line from the inf file, just replaced the 4 lines in each section above it, installed the RF unit and then the play and charge kit, both controllers sync’d. Plug the RF unit back into my vista 64bit machine, both controllers now sync.

    BTW. I’m wondering whether an arduino is overkill for getting manual sync? I wonder if something cheap like an ftdi chip with some bit-bang code might be worth looking at instead?

    1. dilandou Post author

      This is confusing, as I removed the 5th line myself, and recently purchased a play and charge kit in the aims of poking at it’s secrets to see if it’s easily “simulated”. Works just fine for me on Windows 7 64bit. Odd.

      And I entirely agree that an Arduino is overkill. It’s just that I had two of them sitting around at the time, as do many hobbyists/geeks. I now have an ATTiny45 soldered to the back of the RF module instead.

  10. Reg

    I had to reinstall the driver for the RF unit after adding the .jump line back into the inf file, then the play and charge cable installs. I’m not knocking the fact that an arduino has been used, they’re great for messing around with, just thinking of cheaper solutions, although, an attiny45 is very cheap, I think I’ve got one knocking around somewhere, I might just have to solder one in for the fun of it 😀

    I’m fairly certain that the play and charge cable doesn’t just charge, not sure what it does but it can’t be that simple, the driver only appears in device manager after it’s plugged into a controller.

    It’s impossible to press the sync button with the charge cable plugged into the controller, so I think that the charge cable tells the RF unit that it’s got a controller connected and that it should initiate the syncing, one way to test that theory would be for someone to plug in the play and charge cable into a non-sync’d controller but not plug the other end into a PC, plug it into a ‘usb charger’ device instead, an ac plug with a usb socket in it. If a non-syncing controller doesn’t sync with just power and no data lines then you know that there is some interaction between the cable, the controller and the RF unit.

    1. dilandou Post author

      Dave, about 3 or 4 people up in the comments, was thinking about controlling the RF unit with a parallel port. Now -that’s- cheap. And possible. 🙂

      And I know that the play and charge kit does something extra. I’m going to delve into the realm of usb sniffing, eventually, and see who is saying what to who, and if I can fool them into thinking I’m one of them.

  11. Reg

    If I had a logic analyser I’d have a go with that but I don’t so I’m stuck with theory atm 😀 I’ve seen images of the inside of the controller end of the play and charge cable, there is an IC in there but whether it’s just a charging IC or perhaps an eeprom (it’s got to ID itself somehow) or a.n.other IC is another question 🙂

    As for Daves idea via parallel, it’s a good idea if you own parallel stuff, if not then you’ve got to get hold of a machine with a P port on it, I think at that point an arduino starts to become the more attractive option.

  12. sammy

    Hey man. great hack! I had a great time building testing and troubleshooting it. Thanks for documenting it and for being so responsive to the comments. I am using an Arduino Uno and for some reason the sync is not working for me yet but I plan on trying it again with pull up resistors. For the time being I used the plug and charge to get it up and running but I think it would be cool to have the Arduino telling the RF module to run the light show and stuff.

    1. dilandou Post author

      Thanks 😀

      Odd that sync isn’t working for you, though. External pullup resistors shouldn’t be needed, as the internal pullups are used already in the code (http://arduino.cc/en/Tutorial/DigitalPins explains it, in case you haven’t seen it before). Not sure what’s going on there. Guess external ones are worth a try, in case the ones in your chip are acting up. Maybe try moving the sync button to another pin and see if it works?

  13. Kordova

    Hey got a question about the diodes… I got a few “1N4007’s” but not reading the proper voltage drop, as mentioned once before. Voltage was taken directly after diodes (with out rf module connected) and it is reading about 4.5 volts should these 1N4007’s work similar as the 1N4001’s?. I’m just trying to prevent a fried board.
    Could you possibly use the 3.3v straight from the psu? and just omit the 5volt “usb” lines and use only the data lines in the usb?

    1. dilandou Post author

      Odd that you’re not getting the voltage drop. Any 1N4000 series diode should have a ~1.1V forward voltage drop. Either way, if you’re mounting the RF module inside the computer then by all means use the 3.3V line from the PSU.

      1. Kordova

        My thoughts exactly.?! None the less I move forward with this little project. Thanks for code and the quick reply.

  14. jagdeep

    hello i have problem when i go to install driver he is saying me DEVICE CANNOT BE STAR CODE ERROR 10 😦

    1. dilandou Post author

      From the comments on this post it would see that error 10 is caused by the RF module not having enough power. Check the voltage getting to the board with a multimeter. It should be around 3.3V. If it’s lower than that, try using less or different diodes. Or feel free to use any other voltage lowering circuit (essentially a voltage divider would work).

    1. dilandou Post author

      Unfortunately, error 10 is the generic “There’s a problem, no idea what it is though” error code. The only things you can really do are check soldering. Make sure your polarities are correct. Double check your inf file modification. Reinstall the driver. Etc.

  15. pokitz

    Hi dilandou, just gotta say awesome mod.

    so ihave a problem with installing the drivers for the rf unit, i am running
    service pack 3,
    i have done and double checked the soldering.
    But heres my problem- when i try and install the drivers and direct it to the Xusb21.inf file i keep getting the message “the specifified location does not contain information about your hardware” i am at a loss and wondering if you have any ideas to work around this. any help would be awesome. big respect.

    1. dilandou Post author

      Just to be sure, you have made the modifications to the inf file, right? If you have, and it’s still not working, have a look in device manager and check the hardware IDs of the RF module (which will most likely be listed as an unknown device). It’ll be interesting if they’re different.

      1. pokitz

        Hi, sorry for not replying sooner.
        They do have different IDs,
        the fr module is-
        the controller is

        thanks for your time 🙂

      2. pokitz

        Not to worry because i randomly got it work. i dont know how?, still i now have a xbox controller for my p.c..
        respect and many thanks an awesome mod***

  16. soheil.N

    I followed the steps with pic16f628a but it didn’t work! driver is installed and works just fine but there is no light or sync! I have these ICs : attiny13/pic12f675/pic16f628a . so is there a .hex file or code for these ICs ?!

      1. soheil.N

        thanks but it seems to be fake. I tried and didn’t work! is there anything else?( I just need the code in .c or others but not .hex so I could change the ports and use it on my IC )

  17. spikeysyco81

    this is an awesome project for even a noob, that would be my category, i can solder but i have no code experience or equipment, (cept a quick bash on yabasic on playstation2 years ago), my experience with this mod so far are…..

    two boards, one works 100% with three diodes, the other gave me code 10 fault from the start, the only thing i can note to you more experienced guys is that when digging into its properties on the details tab its stated that the devices power state was d3, witch i found is a sleep state, maybe thats what these few ”code 10” errors are, i think it may be in a forced sleep state due to some form of power or chip failure on the rf board.

    now here’s where i would like some help with my working board, i’d like to maybe have someone send me a preprogrammed chip to solder to the back of my rf board, i’d gladly pay for the chip in advance, as long as you dont work for annonymous lol, all i want is the power button to be sync and for the lights to do there thing, please and thankyou

  18. spikeysyco81

    just want to say to you ”error code 10” sufferer’s that you should try using shielded usb cable and soldering the shielding to the rf board connectors shield connections, as i said i had one that was code 10 with any amount of 1n4001 resistor’s, i tried from 4 resistor’s down to one and had no luck, just swapped to shielded usb cable and its working 100%.

    another observation i’ve made is that the square above the connection’s, commonly referred to as the ”aerial” is in fact an interference shield, it has no wired connection to the rf board other than the white melted-flat plugs (3), the receivers aerial is on the flip side of the rf board,

    i removed mine from the code 10 board when i thought it was dead, since i’ve solved the problem and got the board working its shown no drop in range over my 100% board,

  19. soheil.N

    I have a question. based on /Update 5/, If I want to enable sync on RF without ICs, all I have to do is just to connect controller to play & charge kit and it’ll sync ?! So no extra ICs are needed ?!

    1. dilandou Post author

      Mostly because I didn’t really have a reply for them.

      Interesting results with shielded cable. There would have to be a couple of other examples of it working before being ruled out as coincidence though, I think. As for the pre-programmed chip, I’m yet to clean up my code for the ATTINY45, and as it works as it is I’m not massively inclined to do so. If anyone else wants to do this for you they’re welcome to comment themselves. 😛

      1. spikeysyco81

        thanks, again i wasn’t trying to be rude, i’ve been researching this for weeks and this seems to be the most useful page, i’m planning on programming a chip myself, thats what i’m researching now, could i possibly pick your brain on three things before i dive in?

        firstly i know i’ll need a programmer, will this do for a pic16f628a?


        secondly what programming software would you suggest for a newbie? i can figure the rest out myself i think, i just don’t want to plunge in with the wrong hardware, thanks again,

      2. spikeysyco81

        lol, i know i said 3 things and asked only two……. the third was going to be ”should i go ahead and use the pic16f628a……

  20. dilandou Post author

    Unfortunately I’m not so hot on PIC programmers. When I was playing around with them I was just using a development board I picked up from Maplin years ago. http://www.maplin.co.uk/k8048-pic-microcontroller-programmer-kit-37192

    There are cheaper alternatives, such as the TI Lauchpad for a whopping $4.30 http://processors.wiki.ti.com/index.php/MSP430_LaunchPad_(MSP-EXP430G2) (which someone else has managed to use somewhere in the comments), or the USBtinyISP for AVR http://www.adafruit.com/products/46

    As for software, go with whatever chip you’re using recommends. Once you get into it, then look around for something that suits you better.

  21. spikeysyco81

    thankyou very much, this is the first time i’ve looked into ic programming so your advice is invaluable to me at this stage, wich brings me to ask if i really should be using pic or ATtiny,

    1. dilandou Post author

      That comes entirely from preference. Look up comparisons and you’ll find it’s all opinion. Sure there are pros and cons between them, but it’s best for you to decide on them. I personally prefer AVR, but mostly because that’s what I’ve gotten used to.

      1. spikeysyco81

        i did go with the pic16f628a but i didnt go for direct control, i think the software side would be a bit complicated/dodgy, i got full sync control with the pic 16 but i am currently using a pic12, however i do find that i get some sync issues every now and then, i think its a driver not kicking in from time to time,

  22. soheil.N

    I’ve successfully installed driver for RF module and windows recognizes my receiver when I connect it. Do I have to modify Xusb21.inf file ?!

    1. dilandou Post author

      It recognises the RF module without modification to the inf file? Or it recognises that there’s an unknown device? If it’s an unknown device, yes you must modify the inf.

    1. dilandou Post author

      Odd, and interesting. Only thing to do is give syncing a try. If it works, then away you go. If not, try modifying the inf file. A quick request, however: Could you tell me the hardware ID of the module? Go to it’s details tab in properties and look at the hardware ID in the dropdown box.

      1. soheil.N

        sorry, I don’t have the Module anymore and I decided to go with The original wireless receiver because I was frustrated, But here are pictures of my project. Hope it helps


      2. dilandou Post author

        Shame you didn’t keep hold of it. I always find I’ll go back and tinker with things I didn’t finish later on with a clear head. Nice effort though. 😀

  23. viktor

    hi im having a problem with the rf module i have split my usb connected alligator wires to each lead black went to ground white went to D – green to D + and red to a led and another wire to +5vDc but it wont turn on i have also done the file editing but when i press the button on the rf module it wont turn on or flash the lights

    and sorry for my poor English

    1. dilandou Post author

      Without a microcontroller to tell the module to flash the LEDs, there is no visual sign that it’s powered on or working. The power button is just a connection to ground; it’s useless unless you connect it to something.

      So long as the unit is plugged in it’s “on”.

  24. Chris S

    There is another driver out which lets you customize the controller even more, it’s called x360wc for windows 7 (google it). I made a few modifications to the driver inf and I was able to use it. I just had to replace a few entries.

    Replace this:

    ClassGuid = {745a17a0-74d3-11d0-b6fe-00a0c90f57da}

    With this:

    ClassGuid = {D61CA365-5AF4-4486-998B-9DB4734C6CA3}

    And this:

    %ProductMSFT_0719% = X360WC_045E_0719,USBVID_045E&PID_0719
    %ProductMSFT_028F% = X360PCK_045E_028F,USBVID_045E&PID_028F

    With this:

    %ProductMSFT_0719% = X360WC_045E_0719,USBVid_045E&Pid_0291
    %ProductMSFT_028F% = X360WC_045E_0719,USBUNKNOWN

    And finally this:


    With this:


    Here is the driver I modified for download if people don’t feel like doing it manually.


    1. Chris S

      The driver will also give you control over what the triggers should be mapped out to either z-axis or buttons. This is great for gaming because most games don’t support the third axis. The center button is now accessible and can be mapped out. But that means you don’t get the battery meter that comes wight the official drivers. Also I would like to mention that the rumble isn’t mapped out correctly in the inf file so it doesn’t work. I would to fix that if anyone has any idea to do so.

  25. spikeysyco81

    thanks for your help/advice dilandou, i’ve got mine syncing with the power button through a pic12f629, its a bit glitchy thought, when i press sync on the pad it starts its led’s off and then i press sync on the unit and it starts very briefly and stops, flashes, and goes off for around 15-20 seconds before all led’s light again, and it doesnt seem to sync the pad…..
    however when i restart my comp and remove batteries from the pad, reinsert them, once the usb powers up (powering the rf unit) the pad will just connect the second i turn it on, so its working, kinda, thanks again……..

  26. XS

    Maybe it’s a little bit too late, but engine24 do you still search the hex for a attiny13? Or you already managed to get it started? If you need help (with the attiny) i probably can help you.

  27. anonymous

    all I have right now is 1n4148 diodes will these work or should I get the exact ones specified?

      1. Anonymous

        they worked perfectly I have used my new RF module about a month for gaming and even audio it’s pretty damn useful I was too lazy to cut them down to size after testing them but I did go ahead and put on some electical tape and hot blue to make everything a bit more permanent and a few things I couldn’t get to really solder to the board well so the hot glue also helped the connections a bit

  28. karsten


    i’ve bulid the same (usb cable to the funny rf board)
    win 7 64bit driver modified – done.
    windows device manager show’s me the xbox 360 controller for windows.


    now the problem:
    NO led lights up on the rf board – so i cant sync my controller 😉
    i’ve bulid a second with an audrino mini, no led’s light up on the f*** rf board…

    what is wrong ??

  29. karsten

    i have news, one diode was defekt 😉
    now when i push reset on audrino, i can hear @ windows the usb disconnect sound.
    But when i hold the reset button down for a few seconds, the diodes will be so hot and disolder itself !

    and the rf board dosn’t light up 😦
    my 2nd rf board does the same = nothing…

    1. dilandou Post author

      The diodes shouldn’t be getting that hot at all. If you’re using 1n400x series of diodes, for example, they should be able to handle at least 35 volts, and a peak of 1 amp. In contrast, USB only supplies 5V and 500mA. The fact that neither board works at all kind of suggests that the boards have blown, especially as the diodes are doing something seriously wrong.
      Only thing I can suggest is start from scratch, with different diodes, double check all wiring, and physically check for any defective components on the boards with a multimeter.

    2. Anonymous

      without an arduino they will not light up but it still works fine as long as you either use an Xbox to sync or a play and charge kit

  30. Karsten

    Okay thank you for this information.

    And it is okay that i use the audrino Mini. Pro?
    i will be use other diodes and take a New board.

      1. karsten

        what is wrong ? 😦

        fact one: all 4 rf board’s working on my 4 xboxes before and after soldering usb and diodes (and audrino).

        fact two: no board does anything @ pc/notebook. with or without audrino.

        fact three: diodes are 1n4001, 2 pices… (multimeter show’s 3,33v)

        fact four: windows 7 64bit, XP 32bit shows the item at the device manager.

        fact five: yes ! of course yes ! all wires checked ! 4 usb and 3 for audrino (2 – 1, 3-2, 4-3 audrino – rf board) vcc and gnd.
        usb is easy, when there is a failure the device manager would not show the xbox device 😉

        very simple, but i’m frustratet because it dosn’t work,no led light, nothing.
        okay, the device manager show’s it 😉

        what is wrong ?

        p.s.: my english is not the best okay, I can curse but… u know what i mean.

      2. dilandou Post author

        Alright. To start with, when you say “doesn’t work” even when it is showing in device manager do you mean that the controllers won’t connect to it? If a controller was synced to an Xbox, and the RF board from that Xbox was connected to a PC, the controller synced to it should still connect to it. If the controller is synced to another Xbox, it’ll no longer sync to the RF board.

        If you have a play and charge kit, if the RF board is connected and showing in device manager, connecting the controller to the PC via the play and charge kit will sync it, and any other controller/device trying to sync at the time.

        Without the Arduino attached, the RF board will not show any signs of working.

        As a test for the Arduino being powered on and doing something while connected to the RF board, try uploading the blink program to it. At least then you’d know that it was powered and working. I’m also assuming that you’re connecting vcc for the Arduino before the diodes so that it’s getting 5V, not 3.33V.

  31. karsten

    audrino is connected direkt on the rf board on 3,3v.
    audrino works, led is blinking.

    so, no led’s on the rf board will blink ? i have seen the youtube video and think, my rf must this do to.
    hmm, okay.
    rf board on xbox and sync the controller oder charge and play kit.
    only this 2 ways to sync ? for what is the audrino ?
    sorry that i dont understand *g*

    when it’s synced, it will light up any led of the rf board?

    i will test it, by the other people it runs so it must run by me to.

    thanks for your patience 🙂

    1. dilandou Post author

      The LEDs will blink if the Arduino is working correctly. The Arduino is also used as an alternative means of getting a controller to sync to the board (by means of repurposing the power button on the RF board).

      The Play and Charge kit also works on the PC as a means of syncing, not just the Xbox.

      The code I have supplied for the Arduino will light an LED on the RF board, but it’s purely cosmetic. It doesn’t show how many controllers are connected at all. It will show the startup sequence when connected, show the circling LEDs when syncing, and then light the top left LED green.

      So to answer simply: The Arduino is for a means of syncing, and to control the LEDs.

  32. case378

    hey there its been awhile since iv posted but just wanted to let you know i offically got it going, my problem was 1. never did restart lol not to smart and my second problem was i had to many dioeds well thank you much for this awsome master peace

  33. Joel

    Hey, Could you give me some help on making a sync circuit with an MSP 430 or something? I dont have an arduino, and It would be awesome if i could use anything to simulate the command codes. And I dont have a serial port available to use either.

    1. Joel

      Wait, what if i made a 10-bit parallel to serial converter with some 4021 Chips? I could make a simple clock input with a 555 timer circuit that activates with a button press. Lemme know what you think?

      1. dilandou Post author

        As in using a parallel port to set the necessary bits? You wouldn’t have to worry about the clock, as the RF module sets that. It’s a possible solution, if you have 4021 ICs to hand, and feel like making it that way. I’m guessing you could use python or something to poke at the parallel port.

    2. dilandou Post author

      While I do have an MSP430 sitting around, I’ve not actually gotten around to playing with it yet. Consequently, I have no idea how to program them properly yet. That said, if you’re familiar with them, you should be able to port the code over fairly easily. Truth be told, the code is simple anyway. Wait for clock change, send bit, wait for clock change, send next bit, etc.

  34. Omega

    Great mod and tut.

    I’ve got a question and some possible tips, if my thoughts are lining up right…

    For a fine soldering tip, I ground down a bolt that threaded into my butane solder iron(came as part of a tool kit, it’s nice because it gets hot enough to melt that hard solder MS uses, and does so quickly, and is highly mobile).

    I used one of my 3 old 360’s for 5 volts(only one was actually mine), and ran a few LED’s obtained from checkout-line type novelty flashlights(I’m a sucker for stuff that lights up like that) on just a donor USB cable and a multimeter.

    I found one that dropped the 5v down to 3.5 and another that dropped to 3.0(roughly… using an ancient analog meter).

    I have it wired up with the one that drops voltage to 3. Would that be safe to plug in? Just want to make sure my reasoning is correct before I do it.

    Just a few weeks ago got rid of an old pc that would have made the perfect tester, because I knew I’d never “use” it again…

    I’ve got an old S controller hooked up and running, so it’s pure curiosity that is killing me. The wireless is pointless as I’m about 1 foot from my tower, and the number of buttons is the same(though bumpers instead of black and white is nice).

    1. dilandou Post author

      I’m a little confused, to be honest. Why do you need an xbox for the power? A couple of diodes would work. If you’re stuck for a 3.3v power supply you could tap into the 3.3v rail from the computer’s PSU (orange wire), and hook the wireless unit up inside the PC instead (an idea that has been used already).

      If you’re using an external power supply to the USB you need to have a common ground, or the logic won’t work.

      (Also wireless is never pointless. Wires are just plain annoying. :P)

      1. Omega

        I just ran the diode on the USB power from the xbox(E74) because I wasn’t sure it was safe for the PC, due to ample warning above. The line now runs 3 volts, and I then wired up the RF unit to it, but have not plugged the unit into the PC(or applied power to the RF unit from the 360 since wiring it up.)

        I was only checking power output of the (modded) cable, not trying to operate the RF unit. It has not seen power yet as fully wired.

        Didn’t see the bit about using the PC power supply.(that’ll teach me to scan comments).

        To do that it’d be orange(formerly red from the USB) and a ground from the PSU, and green/white from a USB, correct?
        Would it make a difference if I piggy back on a SATA or the mainboard plug?(all cables w/ orange are used)

        Anyhow, sorry for the confusion.

      2. dilandou Post author

        You could piggyback from an sata power connector, yes (orange again). To make things all neat an tidy, you could even connect the USB D- (white) and D+ (green) directly to a USB header on the motherboard.

        I’ve seen someone attach the RF unit to a header bracket from an old PCI card and mount it inside the case that way. Just an idea. Only downside to it is no easy way to access a sync button (if you’re planning on the necessary additional microcontroller). Irrelevant if you have a play and charge kit to use for syncing, however.

      3. Omega

        Thanks a bunch. That’s the route I’ll take, except I may mount it externally, using the 360’s motherboard socket for the RF unit to wire everything up, maybe do up a clear case, not as much fun if you don’t show it off after all. : )

        Going to take a day or two to plan it out though.
        /I’ll be doing the Play n Charge to sync, haven’t gotten into microcontrollers at all.

  35. Joseph

    I have a 16 pin Micro controller. Labled EXACTLY.
    E8004 PE
    Un0308 6
    Will that work for the syncing controller?

  36. JK

    Thanks for this awsome hack. Works perfect. If my pc ca see the Xbox controler surely it should be able to pick up an Xbox universal remote, but I can’t get that one working. Any ideas?

  37. curirin

    I have soldered USB cable to the rf module (I don’t have any arduino etc.). I also have Xbox 360 Slim and I want to sync through it, but i have a problem. When I plug it to the console, the console freezes and I cant do anything. Could you help me what I am doing wrong? Thanks in advance

    1. dilandou Post author

      Wait, what? Plugging the RF module into the USB ports of an Xbox won’t work. To use an xbox to sync the RF module to a controller it would have to be plugged into the xbox it came from, in the original port on the mainboard, with the xbox able to be powered up and working long enough to sync.

      As a side note: fat and slim xboxes use different, incompatible rf modules.

      1. curirin

        Thank You for help.

        So I only can do it using Play&Charge kit? Can I use some equivalent?

  38. Eric099

    hello guys, Great tutorial btw!
    i did all of the above steps but my controller wont connect to the RF module (and yes i made sure it was previously synced with the xbox it came from) i dont know what to do 😦 ive tried two different RF modules and still nothing. ive also tried with two different controllers. please help and thanks in advanced 🙂

    1. dilandou Post author

      Unfortunately all my knowledge of the RF modules lies on this site. All I can suggest is maybe finding someone with a play and charge kit and borrowing it to see if it forces the controllers to sync. If not, the microcontroller route. If not that, then I’m afraid I don’t really know.

  39. Helge

    Hey there, I saw this kind of tutorial on some different pages now, and I really want to try it out. I have an old ROD Xbox lying around, so no worries about that. BUT i want to try it without having to buy Diodes. Since I am a complete newbie in this area (I can solder, np) I have no clue about resistancies or diodes/LEDs in general. In what kind of electronic devices could i find a DIODE which I could use without having to buy one? Just to stay logic, wouldn’t it be possible to find one in a USB-Stick? I mean, the USB stick can handle the 5V, or does it contain more in-built resistance, which makes my idea stupid? Anyway, would it be possible to find this kind of diode(s) in old devices like Remote Controls? And what about LEDs? Dont they provide an “in-built” diode/resistance?
    Sorry if I sound stupid, but everybody once started from zero 😛

    1. dilandou Post author

      Everyone started at zero, aye. I only got into electronics because I wanted to make a remote shutter release for a camera that didn’t support it. I needed to learn how a transistor worked, and kind of carried on from there. But anyway…

      Most things will have diodes in them, but trying to salvage a surface mount diode is a Very Brave Thing, and not something I’d bother with. Look around inside old power supplies, anything that rectifies an AC supply to a DC supply. Chances are you’ll find a bridge rectifier using through hole diodes. They have a chance at working. Grab your multimeter and do some probing for their values.

      If you’re still stuck for diodes you could, if you had spare resistors sitting around instead, make a voltage divider (which I’ll let you look up).
      Failing that, if you have a spare LED sitting around, that would do the same job. The average forward voltage drop of an LED is around 1.7-2V. Only downside, you’d most likely have to add in a current limiting resistor in series with the LED to prevent it going pop. Not sure what the RF module will think of that.

      Failing all of that, you could always go for the internally mounted option, and draw the necessary 3.3V from an SATA power connector (orange wire in the cable).

      1. Helge

        Hey, first of all thanks for the quick reply.

        Internally mounted sounds good to me, since I want to use it on my Desktop-PC anyway. To clarifiy, I would solder the orange wire of an SATA power connector to the Xbox-receiver part, while it is Pluged in into my mainboard? All the other cables would still be attached to an old USB cable, right? Just that the voltage now comes from the SATA port and not the USB…but what do i do with the USB power cable, just cut it off?

      2. dilandou Post author

        The best one I’ve seen so far had the RF module mounted inside the case using the old backing plate from a network card or something. You have two options for the power really, if you’re going to use SATA:
        If you have a power supply that has modular cables, and you don’t mind slicing one up, then use the 3.3V (orange) and a ground (black) from that. At least then you can unplug it. That way you only need the USB D+ (green) and D- (white) connected via either USB cable, OR (seeing as you’re mounting inside) directly to a USB header on the motherboard (via a connector, for unpluggability).
        If you don’t have a modular power supply, then I’d personally either make up an adaptor, or rip an old adaptor out of an old SATA hard disk and ramble something together to make a socket for it. Permanent soldering directly to power supplies is A Bad Idea.

      3. Helge

        Perfect answer, thank you. That does make it very easy for me, since I have a pluggable USB header – connector and a modular cable, and I can build it on an old PCI express card. You have been a great help, and I will report if it worked.

        I just got one question left: how do i handle the wires I do not attach (2 from the SATA, 2 from the USB header). Just leave them open? I’m afraid they might conduct anything or cause problems?

      4. Helge

        alright, I will give it a try and let you know about the outcome. And again, many thanks. 🙂

  40. cbradley88


    Great post, I love DIY solutions to things like this. I have a question for you. I have an xbox 360 wireless controller that I use with a laptop, but using the oversized receiver from microsoft is annoying so I was looking to see if there were smaller receivers available. There aren’t, but logitech makes a gamepad that works with its universal nano-receiver which has almost exactly the same layout as the xbox controller. Is there any way to hack the controller to use the logitech receiver? I guess you could probably buy both and physically open up the controllers, swap out the insides, and re-position the buttons and joysticks accordingly, but is there a way to change the firmware or drivers or whatever on the xbox pad to those of the logitech?

    Thanks for the time.

    1. dilandou Post author

      Nice idea, but I’ll be honest – I very much doubt it. Unless you’re up for reverse engineering two different RF protocols, then a wireless controller’s hardware, and finally either making alterations to the wireless controller’s processors or replacing them, and writing custom firmware for them..

      Might be worth sticking with the Logitech controller, or seeing if you can cram the guts of one into an xbox controller.


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