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This article has been retrieved from [1]. We might have a similar article. SMC

by Georg Lukas, Michael Steil, Jeff Mears, 26 June 2002

Little is known about how to program the PIC. Basically, the PIC is an independent 16 bit microprocessor with its own RAM and I/O lines, connected to the CPU through the SMBus. Its own firmware makes it possible for the PIC to be talked to on a very high level. Flashing of the LED, for instance, is completely controlled by the PIC.

Command overview

Command Description
0x01 PIC version string
0x03 tray state
0x04 A/V Pack state
0x09 CPU temperature (C)
0x0A board temperature (C)
0x0F reads scratch register written with 0x0E
0x10 current fan speed (0~50)
0x11 interrupt reason
0x18 reading this reg locks up xbox in "overheated" state
0x1B scratch register for the original kernel
0x1C random number for boot challenge
0x1D random number for boot challenge
0x1E random number for boot challenge
0x1F random number for boot challenge


Command Description
0x01 PIC version string counter reset
0x02 reset and power off control
0x05 power fan mode (0 = automatic; 1 = custom speed from reg


0x06 power fan speed (0..~50)
0x07 LED mode (0 = automatic; 1 = custom sequence from reg 0x08)
0x08 LED flashing sequence
0x0C tray eject (0 = eject; 1 = load)
0x0E another scratch register? seems like an error code.
0x19 reset on eject (0 = enable; 1 = disable)
0x1A interrupt enable (write 0x01 to enable; can't disable once


0x1B scratch register for the original kernel
0x20 response to PIC challenge (written first)
0x21 response to PIC challenge (written second)

PIC version string

The PIC version can be read from register 0x01 as a 3-character ASCII string. Each time you read that register, the next of the 3 characters is returned. It repeats after the third read. Also, the counter can be reset to the first letter by writing 0x00 to this register. Some Xboxes have the letters "SMC P01" physically etched into the top of the PIC, and some have it on a sticker. The P01 is the version number. The following table shows known PIC versions:

Version Hex Description
P01 50 30 31 retail xbox 1.0
P05 50 30 35 retail xbox 1.1
DXB 44 58 42 debug kit

Reset and Power Off

The PIC controls the power system of the Xbox. To reset or power off the system, you write a request to register 0x02. Since the PIC takes some time to respond, you should do a cli/hlt loop after writing to the PIC. These are the values you can use (this is NOT a bitfield):

Value Description
0x01 resets the system and all hardware
0x40 power cycle: powers off then on (also clears scratch register)
0x80 power off

The AV Pack

The A/V connector on the xbox rear contains several pins to detect the kind of attached cable. In the PIC there is a register (0x04), where this information can be read out by software. The following values are known:

Value Description
0x00 SCART
0x01 HDTV
0x02 VGA
0x03 RFU
0x04 S-Video
0x05 undefined
0x06 standard
0x07 missing/disconnected


The PIC has its own timer to flash the LEDs: The LED color goes through four phases, 0 to 3. In each phase, the color of the LED can be different. The LED can be off, red, green, or, by turning on both red and green, orange. All the CPU has to do to make the PIC control the LED in a specified way is to transmit a byte containing the color sequence to it.

The PIC, by default, manages the LEDs itself. While the system is on, the LED normally is solid green. But when you hit eject, the PIC causes the LED to flash green. To override this, and control the LEDs as desired, you must write 0x01 to register 0x07 after writing your color sequence to 0x08.

Each phase consists of two bits, one for red and one for green, so four phases fit into a byte. Thus, the control byte looks as follows:

Bit # Description
7 Red (Phase 0)
6 Red (Phase 1)
5 Red (Phase 2)
4 Red (Phase 3)
3 Green (Phase 0)
2 Green (Phase 1)
1 Green (Phase 2)
0 Green (Phase 3)

To set an LED code, the command code 0x08 and the LED code as data must to be sent to I2C device 0x20, followed by the command code 0x07 with a 0x01 as data, both in byte mode.

 SMBusWriteCommand(0x20, 8, false, states);
 SMBusWriteCommand(0x20, 7, false, 1);

These are some example settings:

Code Binary Description
0x00 00000000 Off
0xF0 11110000 Solid red
0x0F 00001111 Solid green
0xFF 11111111 Solid orange
0xC0 11000000 Slow red flashing
0xA0 10100000 Fast red flashing
0x63 01100011 Off - red - orange - green flashing

You can use the blink tool available from CVS as a frontend for this:

  1. blink ABCD

ABCD are the LED states for the four phases, possible values for every state are:

Value Description
r red
g green
o orange (red+green)
x off

If you want to make it slowly switch red/green, run blink rrgg, fast orange blinking can be achieved with blink oxox.

Interrupt reasons

The PIC sets the interrupt reason register (0x11) with a bitmask of the following values to indicate to the operating system why the interrupt occurred:

Value Description
0x01 power button pressed
0x10 A/V Pack removed
0x20 eject button pressed

Scratch register values

The original kernel uses this register (0x1B) to "remember" some information across a reboot, and interprets its contents after rebooting. The PIC itself probably makes no interpretation of this register. The register is a bitmask with the following values:

Value Description
0x01 eject after boot
0x02 display error message after boot
0x04 skip boot animation
0x08 run dashboard no matter what

PIC Challenge (regs 0x1C~0x21)

To try to thwart any attempt to hijack the entire boot process by bypassing the MCPX, the PIC does a security check on the booting ROM. After reset, the PIC gives the CPU about 250 ms to respond to a cryptographic challenge before the system is reset. The PIC generates four random(?) bytes, read from registers 0x1C~0x1F. To disable the countdown, you hash these four bytes and write the result to 0x20 and 0x21. Details of this process are given here .

On a "Debug Kit" (PIC version "DXB"), registers 0x1C~0x1F all return a value of 0x00. It is unknown whether the challenge system is active at all on these machines.

(original version: [2])