Removing, Cleaning and Lighting the Xbox Jewel

1. Introduction

This page details how to remove the Jewel from your Xbox, clean it, cut a hole in the Xbox and have a glowing light. To do this you will need:

  • An Xbox
  • A T20 Torx screwdriver
  • A hair dryer
  • A small screw driver
  • Dental floss
  • Brasso
  • A cloth or old rag
  • A drill and some drill bits
  • An abrafile
  • Some “Wet ‘n’ Dry” sandpaper

2. Removing the Jewel

Before you can remove the Jewel you need to remove the lid from the Xbox. To do this you will need a T20 Torx screwdrver. There are six screws holding the Xbox together. Four are under the small feet and two are under a couple of the silver stickers (run your finger of the stickers and you should be able to feel there the hole is). Once you’ve taken the screws out, turn the Xbox back over and lift the lid off. Now the lid is off you will need to detach the metal shielding. If it doesn’t come off easily try sliding a small screwdriver under the four flaps that are pushed up against the plastic posts (look at the image below).

xbox-shield1xbox-lid-underside

Now the lid is off get your hair dryer and heat the back of the Jewel up for about 10 minutes. Once it’s nice and warm take some dental floss and try to slide it under the jewel. You may need to use a small flathead screwdriver to lift the edge of the jewel up, but be careful not to crack the jewel or dent the surrounding plastic. Once you’ve got the dental floss under there start pulling to and fro. It took me about 10 minutes to cut through the glue and I did need to reheat the back of the Jewel half way through.

floss-jewel

Once you’ve cut through the glue the jewel should just pop off and you’ll be left with one jewel and one Xbox lid.

xbox-jewelxbox-jewel-backxbox-lid-minus-jewel

3. Cleaning the Jewel

Now you have removed the jewel you need to clean the black sticky glue and green paint off it. This part is probably most time consuming part of the mod assuming you do it the way I did. Some of the guides on the net say to use sandpaper to clean the jewel. This method is probably the quickest, but if you’re not careful you can end up with scratches all over the back of your jewel. The method I chose was to use Brasso to clean the jewel. I got this idea from a guide over at xbox-scene.com. Other people have used oven cleaner and mineral turpentine, but you can easily buy a can of Brasso from your local supermarket.

The black glue can easilly be scraped off with a nail. Don’t be tempted to use a screwdriver or something similar because you might accidently scratch the jewel. If you’re going to use Brasso, like I did, get an old rag or a cloth and put a bit of Brasso on it and start rubbing the back of the jewel. Repeat until all green paint is removed. Note, this can take a _very_ long time!

xbox-jewel-cleaning

Once you’re done you should have a nice green rag/cloth and a nice clear jewel.

xbox-clear-jewel

4. Cutting a hole in the Xbox

Now you have a clear jewel you need to cut a hole in the lid of the Xbox so you can shine a light through it. This step is relatively simple, and probably even simplier if you have a Dremel. Unfortunatly I don’t, so I had to make do with a drill and and an abrafile.

Before you start drilling and cutting note that you will need to leave a 3-4mm edge round the hole for the jewel to sit on otherwise it will simply fall through the hole!. I started by drilling four small holes at 90 degrees to each other. These were to insert the abrafile through and start sawing round. This probably took about 40 minutes to cut out. Once cut I then took a round file to smooth the edges up. Once the edge was reasonly smooth I used some Wet’n’Dry sand paper to sand it even smoother. The easiet way to sand the edge of the hole is to wrap the sandpaper round something like a piece of drain pipe. Start with the sandpaper dry, and then wet it for a really smooth finish.

xbox-hole-1xbox-hole-2xbox-lid-with-hole

5. Lighting your Jewel

Now that you have clear jewel and a hole in your Xbox the next stage is to put a light behind there. There are two main methods of lighting your jewel. One is to use a ring of LEDs and the other is to use a round cold cathode such as the ones you get on case fans. I have tried both…

5.1. Round Cold Cathode

The round cold cathodes used on 80mm fans are exactly the right size to fit round the jewel. I didn’t have any CCFL fans, but I was able to find a company selling replacement round cold cathodes. Komplett.co.uk sell a blue Spire Neon light ring.

round-ccflxbox-ccfl-jewel

The effect I wanted for my jewel was for it to appear black when the Xbox was off, and to glow blue when it was on. A couple of guides recommended tinting the back of the jewel with the window tint they use to tint car windows. Unfortunatly I couldn’t get my hands on a small offcut and I didn’t fancy spending ?15 for a complete roll when I only need a small piece. An alternative I found was to use a piece of black plastic and attach it to the metal shielding so that it is underneath the cold cathode. I cut a piece of plastic out from the back of a DVD case.

xbox-black-plastic

Now that’s done you can run the lead for the cold cathode through one of the many flaps on the metal shielding (just bend one back and poke the cable through. There is just enough space behind the DVD drive to fit the cold cathode inverter. As there is only one molex connector in the Xbox you will need a Y-splitter or a passthrough cable. Fortuantly my cold cathode came with one.

Once you’ve connected your cold cathode up and re-assembled the case you should see something like this when you switch your Xbox on:

xbox-jewel-light-1xbox-jewel-light-2

5.2. LED Ring

After using the round cold cathode for a few minutes it started to get very warm. In fact it was too hot to touch. This struck me as very odd seeing as the regular long cold cathodes in my computer case only get warm to the touch. I contacted the manufacturer who ran some tests and confirmed that they run at an average temperature of 30 degrees Celsius. Unfortunatly I can’t say whether all round cathodes run this hot so others may be ok.

Not wanting to risk damaging the pastic case of my Xbox or overheat anything else I decided to look into LED rings as an alternative method of lighting the jewel. Basically all you need are a dozen or so LEDs and a resistor. Most guides then used a hot glue-gun
to mount the LED’s in place, however after some searching I came accross a company called The Chip Shop who sell Xbox accessories and spare part amongst other things. There I came accross their Xbox Jewel Light Kit which is a PCB with 8 LED’s and a resistor pre-soldered for you that fits round the jewel and even has two tabs on the PCB that fit over 2 screw holes for easy mounting. A couple of scotch-locks are also included in the kit to connect the LED’s onto the HDD power lead.

xbox-led-1xbox-led-2xbox-led-3

As you can see this kit looks slightly more professional than simply glueing 8 LEDs round the xbox lid! So I ordered the kit and within a few days a small jiffy bag popped through my letter box. The kit is very simple to install and they even provide instructions to help you. Here’s how the final thing looked:

xbox-led-4xbox-led-5xbox-led-6xbox-led-7

As you can see, there is a bit of a difference between the effect from the Cold Cathode and this LED Kit. The cold cathode is quite a bit brighter, but it also gets rather warm and you have to fit an inverter in the case. The LED kit may not be as bright but the colour is a much deeper blue and you get quite a nice pattern from the eight LEDs, and of course you LED’s don’t get warm!