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Saturday, October 01, 2011

How not to cause a fire

A couple weeks ago, I made a second XB360 to Jamma adapter for a friend, same as my previous project here. In testing it out on an Astro City cab, I noticed a faint electronics smell, you know that smell from the back of an old dusty television? [Apologies for those not old enough to have owned a tube television.] Well I thought nothing of it, and continued to show him how he could configure controls on an XB360 game when all of a sudden a ton of smoke starts pouring out of the converter box! I quickly shut off the cab and pull the converter off the jamma loom to notice it was actually the jamma connector that was burning.

In the pic above, I dug out the burned pins, which basically melted inside the plastic housing.

My guess is I did not put the jamma connector on completely straight, and the ground and +5 pins were making contact with the same tooth on the fingerboard, resulting in a short that started burning the trace as well as the two pins inside the Jamma loom. Well needless to say I was quite embarrassed by this rookie mistake, and realized this could have started a fire if not noticed soon enough. Since this converter box is only used in converting the controls, I didn't need +5, -5 and +12 being connected, so I decided to sand off the contacts [via a dremel] on both sides of the fingerboard to prevent the possibility of this ever happening again.

I hope others learn from my stupid mistake, and make your converter boxes a little safer to operate!