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The North American collector's edition of Xenoblade Chronicles X comes with a USB drive containing 10 tracks from the game itself. It's a neat little extra, but largely useless once you've listened to the music - which is why Nintendo Life reader Ben "mikey64" Barger has come up with this handy little hack which allows you to turn it into a fully-fledged USB drive with some useful storage capacity.

Obviously, if you do this it's at your own risk, and if you're unsure of how it works then seek some further assistance.

With that said, over to you, Ben...


The following tutorial allows you to "upgrade" the otherwise useless USB key that comes with the Collector's edition of Xenoblade X. The upgrade just allows you to boost the available memory on the device from the undesirable 1GB to whatever size you want by swapping out the chip with another one. It's really pretty straightforward, but some people may find it useful.

There are two methods for installing this mod:

Easy but effective (USB 2.0, no LED):

Firstly, you have to break apart the Xenoblade flash drive. You can do this by carefully inserting a very thin screwdriver or knife blade (whatever you feel most comfortable using) into the widest crack you can find around the edge of the drive and pry it open. It's not very hard to get apart. You find a "USB-on-a-chip" inside. This is the part you swap out for another (be careful with the original though, as you may want it later in order to listen to the soundtrack again). I used a "PNY Voyager mini" thumbdrive, but there are other brands that use these chips (IMPORTANT: look for the "mini" type of thumbdrive, as some of the bigger ones still use big circuit boards). Once you get the new USBoaC out of your selected "mini" thumbdrive, you simply swap it for the Xenoblade USBoaC (being sure to reapply some double-sided tape or hot glue) and put it back together.

NOTE: You will lose your blue LED with this method if your replacement USBoaC does not have an LED already attached.

Be careful when doing this
Be careful when doing this
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Harder option, but rewarding (USB 3.0 and/or w/LED):

Items needed:

  • An LED (colour of choice)
  • A resistor (chosen here)
  • A soldering iron (or a friend with one - best option)
  • A Dremel tool or similar sanding/grinding tool (if upgrading to USB 3.0)
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1: Assuming you are upgrading to USB 3.0, and you have power contacts to solder to, solder the cathode (the shorter leg) to the large "ground" contact and the anode (the other side) to the resistor and then to the far right smaller contact. To confirm this, you can connect your USB drive and test the voltage across these two contacts with a multi-meter. It is always better to "tin" the contacts (pre-melt some solder to them) before soldering two objects together. To do this, simply set the soldering iron on the contact, then apply solder. The solder should melt on the iron then run onto the contact, making a nice tinned layer.

The resistor is necessary since the USB device sends out ~5 volts DC, and most 3.5mm LEDs can only take about 2-3.3 volts before frying (they will melt). There are 5 volt LEDs out there, but I added this bit just to be safe. Again, use this site to figure out what resistor you need. Just as an example, my setup used a 3.5mm, red LED that had a forward voltage of ~2 volts DC and needed a 150 ohm (brown, green, brown) to safely use the USB power.

2. Dremel or sand away the small lip that obstructs the new, thicker USB 3.0 interface. Doing this with gloves and eye protection is a MUST, as small metal flakes will be flying everywhere and grinding small objects is difficult. You could also clamp the casing in a vise with wooden pads to keep your hands out of the equation.

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You'll want to keep the original drive if you want to listen to the music again. I tried backing the files up, but they didn't seem to work when not on the thumbdrive. My solution to this was to be careful with the casing for the new drive when extracting the new USBoaC and just swap the Xenoblade USBoaC back into the new drive's shell, after snipping the LED off so it would fit. I then sharpied "Xeno" onto it to label its permanent purpose. It works just as it did. Unfortunately, to my knowledge the only way to get actual MP3 or similar files of the sound track is to obtain them elsewhere. The "soundtrack.exe" that comes on the drive is pretty well protected and essentially useless.


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