I had the sudden urge to play some classic console games earlier today. All my past favorite consoles, such as my Super Nintendo (SNES) and Playstation (PSX), are in a closet somewhere back at my parents, so I satisfied the urge through the help of emulation software. I didn’t like using the keyboard, so I used my roommate’s wired Xbox 360 controller. It worked really well; the Xbox 360 controller is pretty versatile to be configured for multiple consoles. I wanted my roommates to play along, but unfortunately we only had one wired controller. It wasn’t fun or fair playing multiplayer games with one of the players using a keyboard. I did have a ton of wireless Xbox 360 controllers however. I looked online to see how much a wireless receiver would cost me. They had quite a few on eBay, but then I thought about an alternative solution.
I have a couple of old, broken Xbox 360s that have been sitting in the closet for quite a while, so I figured I could use some of their parts. I searched the internet to see if it was possible to reuse the RF (radio frequency) module on the Xbox 360 to be used on the PC. I was excited to learn that is was! The requirements were: the RF module, a USB cable, a 5V diode, a soldering iron and solder. Luckily, I still had several diodes from my school’s lab kits.
For more detailed instructions, visit se7ensins.com. In this post, I will just briefly explain what I had to do.
If you’re planning to do this, if you do not have a play and charge kit (charging cable), be sure to sync the controller first to the board (through a working console) as the board does not contain a ‘Sync’ button. With the charging cable, you don’t have to sync beforehand (at least I didn’t have to) and can use the cable to sync (primary and additional) controllers to the RF module at any time.
If you are unfamiliar with parts of the system, with the shell casing removed, the RF module sits in front of the Xbox 360 (the board also contains the LEDs that light up when the system is powered). I removed the three Torx T8 screws holding it in place and slid it away from the system. There are four pins located near the front, bottom left of the module. These pins can be soldered onto the wires of a USB cable.
Excuse my poor soldering skills in the photo. Once you have completed soldering the four wires to the four pins on the RF module, plug the USB cable to the PC. The PC should begin to recognize new hardware. If it does not, check for any short circuits, that you soldered correctly the right wires to the right pins and that the solder points are solid. Note: None of the LEDs on the module will light up, even when synced and operational.
Download the Xbox 360 Accessories software from Microsoft’s website.
It should ask you how it should find drivers for the new hardware. Choose to ‘Browse my computer for driver software’. Then ‘Let me pick from a list of device drivers from my computer’. Here is where it might be a little different. Four devices drivers showed up automatically for me; if it does not, you may have to search the ‘Microsoft Xbox 360 Accessories’ directory in Program Files for the drivers. I choose to install ‘Xbox 360 Wireless Receiver for Windows”. You may get a warning about the drivers, but just ignore it. It will show up as working fine after.
Once the drivers have been installed, sync the controller by using the Plug and Charge cable. Simply attach the cable to your PC and controller and let Windows install the drivers for the controller. Once synced, you can remove the cable and sync other controllers if needed.
Go to your ‘Devices and Printer’, the controller should appear as soon as it is synced. You can right click the icon to configure or test the controller.
The controllers work flawlessly; no lag is noticeable. My buddy and I were playing Super Mario Kart to test the controllers. This may come on handy for the arcade cabinet I’ve been wanting to build!