10.01.2017

A Tale of Three PSPs

20171001_112756I purchased a used PSP (a ‘phat’ 1001 model) from eBay with the intent of repairing to play Patapon on a larger screen.  The unit I received was unrepairable (understandable for $10) but had some useable parts.  After comparing the individual component prices (TA-082 Mother board + ribbon cable) I found two similar PSPs on eBay for less than the cost of parts.  Between the three, I could Frankenstein together two working PSPs 

  • 1st PSP (TA-082):  Had obvious signs of water (more likely it was diet Coke/Pepsi) damage; there was corrosion on parts of the internal metal frame, the power and WiFi switches were sticky, the paper backing on the screen was deteriorated/torn/stuck, and there was a line of dark ‘goo’ encircling it beneath its silver edging.  The unit would not power on as a short had burned through three conductors in the ribbon cable (and the on-board connector) that connected the power board to the mainboard. (Also, a nice burn mark on the metal frame over that area).  Later I would find the screen had many diagonal streaks that appeared to be from a dark stain on the LCD or backlight panel.


    image


  • 2nd PSP (TA-079): this was sold with a defective screen.  Powering also appeared to have issues, but it ended up being a problem with the battery not seating correctly.  I replaced the screen with one from the earlier PSP and it worked- but the screen has strange streaks across that looked bad.


    image


    After replacing this, everything worked Ok and I could install a 6.6PRO-C2 custom firmware. (more on this later).
  • 3rd PSP (TA-086):  this unit was sold as-is untested.  The exterior was in much better shape but it initially would not power on.  I booted to a Pandora’s battery with some success, but ran into a problem as it would also try to access the UMD drive when powered on (with no UMD inserted), hang for 30 seconds and display a message that it was unable to read the disc.  After the delay, the PSP seemed to work, but I had power issues (I suspect my battery again).  I did find a spot of corrosion on the UMD ribbon cable that had eaten entirely through one of the traces (I had to use a jeweler’s loupe to see the break).  

20170930_150248_HDR

The screen from this device was removed and installed in the 2nd PSP to make it 100% functional. I transplanted the 2nd PSP’s screen (the ugly one originally from the 1st PSP) into this. I also tried swapping the UMD assembly with the drive from the first PSP with the same pause on startup result. However, after I manually manipulated the sensor and eject lever in the UMD drive, it started working normally (save for the ugly screen).

I now have:

· One fully working PSP 1001

· One working PSP1001 with a bad display and a suspect UMD drive

· One dead psp: Dead board, bad power ribbon cable, bad umd ribbon drive, broken UMD door, broken screen…

I ordered a white full housing replacement for the working PSP from eBay.  I am still deciding if I want to purchase an additional PSP (for parts), order a replacement LCD screen, or recycle the partially working unit.

PSP Mods:

My old Pandora’s battery and Magic Memory Stick (MMS) was old and it flashed v3.71 onto the PSP 1001s.  They behaved oddly and I assume this was due to changes made with later firmware.  I found Rain’s MMS Maker v1.2 to make a newer (v5.00) MMS and this flash seemed to behave better.  (Note: hold down left trigger when booting with new MMS and inserting Pandora’s Battery; the older 3.71 MMS boots without this.)  I had trouble figuring out how to update to a newer version, and realized the Pandora’s Battery is now obsolete. 

Installing the 6.60PRO-C2 CFW is much easier:

1. Update to the official 6.60 firmware

2. Copy the 6.60PRO-C2 CFW to the Memory Stuck

3. Run the Update from the Games menu in XMB

4. Run the CIPL Flasher (only for PSP1000s and early PSP2000s)

This CFW will work on any PSP, but later model PSP 2000s and PSP3000s (and PSP Go) will need to re-run the Update on each hard reboot.

Memory Stick Replacement:

clip_image001[4]The PSP uses a MS Pro Duo memory card, that is still overpriced-as-fuck.  I had an old SDA-1800 dual Micro SD to MS Pro Duo adapter that I attempted to use: Although the manufacturer states it will take up to 1TB MicroSD cards, my unit would only recognize 29GB of a single 64GB.  I attempted to use different card configurations (using Rufus to format as FAT32 on my PC) but all would fail on a format from the PSP.  Single cards were limited to 32GB and dual SD card configurations would always fail (even in a 2 x 16GB configuration).  I realize there was an issue with the adapter as I had the same issues when connected to PC (My 128GB Micro SD was showing up as 1GB; two 32GBs showed up as 29GB, etc.). 

I eventually destroyed the adapter (crushed, broken and burned) and ordered a single Micro SD adapter from amazon. The new card will not work with my 128GB Micro SD but does work great with a 64GB card.  64GB can hold a lot of PSP CSOs (compressed ISOs).  :)

9.30.2017

Old Playstation Tomfoolery

In a prior post, I mentioned finding my old PSP Go and regaining interest in the old Patpon game.  I have a dock for my PSP Go! and discovered there an option for sending the video out to my TV via an componet cable.  I also learned I could use a PS3 controller with the PSP Go while for control- put it requires a PS3 to pair it. Luckily I have an old (phat) PS3 in the closet..

Image result for CECHE01 PNGMy PS3 was second gen (CECHE01) and was running firmware 3.51. A google search revealed the PS3 is ‘hackable’ up to v3.55; after that, I would need a hardware device to downgrade to v3.55. 

I could find no explict instructions on how to upgrade an old 3.51 firmware to a modified 4.81.  The process I eventually used:

The last two updates probably could have been combined, but I was unaware of the 4.81.2 release until I began this post.

I also repalced the hard drive in my PS3 with a 1TB drive. 

MultiMan is a file manager tool that allows me to copy my PS3 games to copy and paly my games from the internal hard drive.  It also allows me to run PS2 and PSX games- but this may actually be handled by the Rebug firmware and MultiMan only provides and interface to launch.  I was able to play the orginal PSX Crash Bandicoot from my origial disk with no issues.  (This game also made me realize I do not like this genre of video games as much as I once did.)

During the upgrade proces, I kept my PS3 offline to ensure I would not recive a PSN ban for running a modified console. Rebug 4.81.2 indicates it should work with PSN ‘until the next firmware update’ (Sony’s last official update was Nov 1st, 2016), so I will give it a go; worst case scenario is I will only be able to play local games offline- which is my preffered gaming type.  

So far, I have been able to update the PS store app and download an update for Super Startdust Delta (v5.0 to v6.0) with no problem.

Additionally, there is a large amount of PS3 homebrew applications for console emulators, FTP, IRC, media players…There is even a cloud sync for game save backups.

Final result: I have an PS3 console that can hold all of my PS3 games, play older PSX/PS2 games, run emulators and homebrew. 

9.27.2017

LG = Life’s (not so) Good

LG is a company that I want to like; they are not as big as Samsung or Sony, and their products have been fairly inovative.  However, I funally ralized their products are unreliable and their customer support is less helful than Comcast support (my former worst support). 

I am on my thrid- and last- LG cell phone.

LG G3
MORE PICTURESThe LG G3 moved the volume buttons to the back of the phone- and that was amusing for a while.  The phone itself was slow and chewed through batteries.  I used this phone for ~6 months and ‘upgraded’ to the LG V10.

LG V10
MORE PICTURESThe LG V10 had a second screen for noticicaitons and an enahcned DAC for better sound.  It was also ‘ruggitized’ for duriability.  It had the rear volume controls around the power button and a fingerprint sensor in the button.  The first issue I had with this device is the fingerprint sensor would not work if the phone is in a case…

The GPS was unreliabe; several times I could not get a GPS lock while driving down the interstate in GA.  A reboot usually temporarily fixed this- but this also lead into its second issue: the battery would drain much faster than anything could charge.  On several occasions, I would try to use Google Maps for directions and the phone would steadly creep down the battery percentage while connected to a QC 2.0 charger.  I happily returned this phone when my ‘lease’ ended with T-Mobile.

LG G5
MORE PICTURESMore recently I purchased the LG G5.  I loved the phone for the size, the performance and the USB C charging connector.  I picked up the LG G5 Camera addon and the LG 360 camera (more info my prior posts) accessory.  It seemed to be the perfect phone- until the volume control became intermittiant.  I am unsure if it is a hardware or software issue, but it usually stops working after I connect to a bluetooth audi device (headphones, car, etc).  A few reboots sometime fixes this, but is yet another LG pain-in-th-ass.

I have LG several chances to make me like them and have received poorly designed (and seemingly untested) devices complimented with poor support and broken support websites; my next phone will be a Google Pixil or a Samsung.

9.26.2017

Recent Target Deals

I like to check the back endcaps in Target’s electronic department as they can get pretty aggressive at trying to discontinue items.  I found a few items at the Milton, GA store that I could not pass up.  Please note these closeouts may be store-by-store and pricing in other stores  may vary.  Today I scored:

View Master Deluxe VR Viewer: Marked down to $11.98 from $39.99

Image result for View Master Deluxe VR Viewer

This is yet another headset that uses smartphones as a VR device.  It is designed to work with View Master ‘experience packs’ (such as the Space pack below) and also doubles as a pretty decent Google Cardboard device.  One oddity is the front is see-through red and this tints any AR viewing via the phone’s camera.  (Rose colored glaases?)

One complaint is that it does not have a head strap option- and holding with my hand creates more shake than similar models that do have a strap.

View Master Space Experience Pack: Priced at $4.48 (from $14.99)

Image result for View Master space

I believe this is geared to a younger audience.  The AR and VR interaction is pretty cool, but it provides elementary school level info on planets, rockets, etc. that has no real depth.  One VR segment features a Saturn V rocket and has three points of interest (command module, stages, thrusters) which have pop-up windows with text information. 

At $5, this still feels like a waste of money.

PowerA Xbox Fusion Wired Controller: Was $49.99 and closeout at $14.98

Image result for PowerA Xbox Fusion

This feels like a decent quality controller; not quite xBox or Logitech quality, but fairly nice .  The handles feel better to me as they are a little more narrow than a normal xBox controller. The package provided three different style analog stick for customization.

Homedics Mercury Percussion massager: Also $11.96 (from their normal $39.99)

Mercury™ Percussion Massager with Heat 1

Just a hand held massager; I have been considering picking up something similar to this, and a 70% discount made it too good to pass.


I have a strong feeling I will tire of the first two items in a few days- but $17 for a few hours of entertainment is worth it.  I will likely donate to a thrift store once I am done for someone else to enjoy.

9.22.2017

PSP CSO Batch File

Small Windows batch file to compress all ISOs in current directory (W:\ROMs):

ECHO OFF
for /r %%i in (*.iso) DO (
ECHO Source: "%%~ni.iso"
ECHO Destination: "%%~ni.cso"
w:\ROMs\ciso 9 "%%~ni.iso" "%%~ni.cso"
DEL "%%~ni.iso"
)

Copy the ciso.exe found in the \files directory under the PSP ISO Compressor folder in program files to the current directory.

The batch file will loop through files with an .iso extension to compress into a .cso and delete the original.

I would suggest commenting out the DEL line for a first run- just to make sure everything works as expected. ;)

9.21.2017

PSP Go! Resdicovered

clip_image001I was cleaning out my closet and came across my old PSP Go! (with 6.20 PRO-B10 custom firmware).  This model as 16GB integrated plus a 16GB M2 Duo memory card- and can hold several compressed CSO ROMs.  :)

One of the ROMs on the my system is Patapon; a highly addictive rhythm based game.  After a few hours, I remembered why I  stopped playing: it can be frustrating as hell if you miss one beat in the middle of a large battle.  Luckily, the Internet has provided game save files with near completion or large amounts of resources. 

I also thought it would be fun to order an old 'not working – for parts’ PSP 1000 from eBay and attempt to repair.  The screen is larger (4.3” vs 3.8”) and the buttons feel better on the full-sized PSP.  Once I get the older PSP working (I may need to order another ‘for parts'), I plan to encase in a new shell (first choice is gold, but also considering the see-thru red and white housing) to make look decent.

I also still have a Pandora’s battery and ‘Magic Memory Stick’ that should allow me to put a CFW on the PSP1000…