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XBox Optical to Coax hack

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hi,

I just started setting up my home theater, and one issue that i had is that the receiver I bought only had 1 optical and 1 coax ports for digital sound. The optical was taken up by my HTPC and I wanted to use the coax for something other than my subpar DVD player (old Aiwa model). I also have an Xbox w/ the HD AV connectors (Component and Optical/RCA sound).

This hack is essentially an Optical to Coax conversion for the HD AV cable. I uploaded a rough image to help you with it (it's VERY easy, and only took me a few minutes to figure out). BTW: thanks to Matt Staroscik for the inspiration.

I am not responsible for damaged/broken/messed up equipment - this worked for me, however.

Tools needed: Soldering Iron, Solder, screwdriver (to pry open the connector), wire stripper and cutter (to strip the RCA and also to cut the head of the RCA when needed)

Anyway, here it goes:

Step 1) get a single-connector RCA cable (stock is fine, or if you're fancy, use a monster. The only thing is that you may not be able to fit a monster into the connector.

Step 2) cut off the head of the connector and there you will find two sets of wires (#1 in diagram). In mine, one wire (red) was in the middle (a), surrounded by loose wire (b). The red is the "hot" lead in the RCA wire, the black is ground - simple enough.

Step 3) Get your HD AV connector (#2 in diagram), and open it up. You will not be able to put it back together as you had it before, because Microsoft decided to make this shell un-resealable. It's ok - I used take to patch it up! Anyway, when you remove the shell, you will see a very closed metal connector, on top of which, like a burial mound, you will find your Optical connector. Luckily, we're not looking for the actual connector, rather, for the other side of its PCB.

Step 4) Get your iron ready, and when its hot, apply heat to the solder on the sides of the connector to unsolder it from the inner shell (where the optical connector is). When you're done, you will be able to remove the casing and see the actual connector, dangling on a wire.

Step 5) When you see the actual connector, bend back the optical adapter to see what I illustrated in #3 - a PCB with three wires connected - a black (ground), red and white. For our purposes, the optical connection only uses the white and the black, with the red used for Stereo (we don't need no stinking stereo, we need Dolby Digital).

Step 6) Solder the red lead from the rca to the white connection on the PCB (you don't need to put it RIGHT on the white, but make sure that it's on the same lead. Do the same with the loose wires and the black.

Step 7) When you're done with this, make sure you isolate all of the wires with electrical tape (you don't want shorts and such inconveniences).

Step 8) Put everything back, attach the metal shell to the connector, put the plastic back, tape it up.

Step 9) Connect to your XBox, connect the Coax to your receiver and enjoy #4 - DOLBY DIGITAL!!!!
LL
post #2 of 18
Cool stuf...
You could also spend $27 to get a transcoder...
... nahh... that's not a hack...
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
I suppose. The modus operandi for my home theater is using as many "found at home" parts and accessories as I can. I just graduated from college and I don't really want to be spending a ton of money on converters, cables, blah, blah, blah.

My HTPC is a PC my brother was throwing away (I decided to give it its second home) - and now its the center of my set up. A few tweaks, and a new video card, it works like a charm and I am able to display 1280 X 720p on my Sony 34XBR800 (that in itself was also a BIIIG hack, but I will let people know how to do that a little later).

Anyway, it's a fun project, easy, and cheap!!

-Anatoly
post #4 of 18
I need this exact thing to happen with my PS2... I am going to take a peak at it's guts later but has anyone done anything like this for PS2 as the optical is built right on? Would appreciate any advice.

Nice hack BTW!
post #5 of 18
does the original xbox even support dolby digital 5.1?
post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tweakophyte View Post

Cool stuf...
You could also spend $27 to get a transcoder...
... nahh... that's not a hack...


what's a transcoder?
post #7 of 18
Fry's has plenty of optical to coaxial and vice versa.

$30.00 each.
post #8 of 18
Radio Shack. 19.99.

Can convert optical to coax or vice versa. Just flip a switch to change.

Easier and safer than "do it yourself".
post #9 of 18
This is NOT an xbox forum, PLEASE!
post #10 of 18
You're sending a 5V TTL signal to a device expecting 500mV p-p.
You might want to pad that down a little.
post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by pilferk View Post

Radio Shack. 19.99.

Can convert optical to coax or vice versa. Just flip a switch to change.

Easier and safer than "do it yourself".

What's the part number? I can't seem to find it on their site?
post #12 of 18
Good to know, I may be needing something like this soon.
post #13 of 18
I did this on the non HIDEF version Xbox Cord that has a toslink 5.1 and I have 4 all in use on my nakamichi. Switched it to coax and all is right in the world. You are right about Micro not wanting you to put it back together though. I do not know,I am a terrible solderer so it is a mess but it works. It works...Thanks
post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Targus View Post

You're sending a 5V TTL signal to a device expecting 500mV p-p.
You might want to pad that down a little.

So is this hack unstable?

Anyone tried this on an Xbox360 cable? I have a $15 generic Ebgames branded HDTV component cable that, like the oem cable, only has optical out. I need digital coax out. You think this hack will work on that cable?
post #15 of 18
I believe there is a converter at monoprice. Check out product #2948
post #16 of 18
Yeah, I bought the monoprice optical to coax box for $11 or maybe $13... works great.
post #17 of 18
Or there's this:

http://www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/B0002GV...pf_rd_i=507846

(Link won't work)

Amazon: CABLES TO GO 40019 Optical -coax Audio Converter
$15.45
post #18 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by uscboy View Post

Yeah, I bought the monoprice optical to coax box for $11 or maybe $13... works great.

I am so glad we have this forum. I just bought a HD DVD player which has an optical audio output but I have a 7 year old Bose lifestyle system that only takes coax. I was planning on returning the HD DVD player when I saw this post.

I just ordered the converter and optical audio cable from monoprice for a total of $20.22 shipped and including tax.
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