Gamecube Xeno Mod With SD2SP2
I haven’t been that into the Gamecube because I was mostly into beer and PC gaming during that era. When I learned about the new SD2SP2 board that @citrus3000psi created, I very much wanted to do this mod.
Using the SD2SP2 with a Swiss boot disc is TOPS!
Making the Board
On the SD2SP2 Github page (linked above) are great instructions for creating the board. The BoM (Bill of Materials) is super simple, all you need is a surface mount capacitor and a SD card slot. The page also links to JLPCB which is @citrus3000psi’s recommended PCB manufacturer.
I followed his example and used JLPCB to have 5 boards made. I cloned the repo using git to my local workstation and uploaded the SD2SP2_gerber.zip file during the board purchase process.
I also chose the recommended ENIG surfacing. Though it added significantly to the cost.
This is my first time having a PCB made so I’m pretty much flying in the dark, but at the worst case I’d waste around $20. Not too big a deal. You do get a discount for your first purchase with JLPCB.
I’ll admit the first time I tried to order some PCBs I uploaded the wrong files. Or the zip file I tried to upload contained a sub-folder with the actual gerbers and JLPCB rejected it.
So Pro Tip: make sure the gerber files are in the root of the zip file you upload!
Modding the Console
To play games using the SD2SP2 you need to boot the Swiss utility. In order to boot unlicensed DVDs (or mini DVDs) you’ll need to install a mod chip. Or more accurately one way to boot Swiss is by using a mod chip.
The popular mod chip for the Gamecube is the XenoGC chip. I picked up a couple from eBay for around $15 or so. You can also find them on other sites like AliExpress, but shipping will be faster from a US source.
Installing the XenoGC chip is very easy. Especially compared to other mod chips for things like the PS2. There’s a detailed guide here that I followed at first.
I followed it first because I ended up using wires to install the chip because I had some issues booting burned discs. I bought some DVD-RW discs thinking they’d work… turns out that no, no they don’t.
To make it easier to check that my connections were 100% correct I used wires between the connections.
The image to the left was makes it easier to tell where the solder points go.
As I mentioned finding mini DVDs that can boot on a Gamecube was harder then anticipated. The first ones didn’t work, but maybe that’s due to be rewriteable.
I eventually found some Sony mini-DVDs that worked great when I burned the Swiss ISO file.
Download the release archive, extract it, and burn the ISO file for your system. For me I used the ‘swiss_r714/ISO/swiss_r714(ntsc-u).iso’ file. Though with the XenoGC chip I believe any of the regions would work.
Results & Future Mods
The mod worked great once I was able to get a good mini-DVD burned. I also tested with a full size DVD. When I initially installed the mod chip I was out of full size DVDs so I wasted some time trouble shooting connections when the problem wasn’t with the mod chip. Using a full size DVD requires taking the top cover off and holding the switch at the back to make the console think the cover is on.
Additional mods I think would be awesome is to paint the silver Gamecube I’m keeping for my collection. I picked up 3 Gamecubes and the silver one is the newer model without the Serial Port 2… doh!
The case is pretty dinged up and the paint is rubbed off on a couple places. Not sure how that happens with a TV console???
Also, Rocker Gaming has some sweet jewels that would be cool to place in a Gamecube. Also, might create some of my own. Though not sure I could do such a good job.
Another idea, following folks like Rocker Gaming, is to mod the controller. Buying some clear buttons and LED ring for a Gamecube controller from Rocker Gaming might be a lot of fun. Or creating my own mods from things I already have… ideas ideas!