PS3 Jailbreak with a TI-84 Plus Calculator

There are many posts going around on about the PS3 Jailbreak; there was an ‘official’ PS3Jailbreak package for $170  (banned for sale by Sony), followed by less expensive versions (PS3-Free, PS3 Liberator, etc)

More recently, PSGroove and PS Freedom options have popped up allowing install on USB Development kits, various phones (Android, Nokia N900, Palm Pre and older iPhones) and other devices (TI-84 Plus calculator) to be used.  These versions do not include the software needed to backup PS3 blu-ray discs to a hard drive and are intended solely for homebrew development on the PS3.

The basic premise is that the device has to act as a USB controller and send specific data to the PS3 on bootup, putting the system into a developer mode that can run unsigned code.

Note: The PS3 exploit must be run every time you boot the PS3; once you power off, you need to re-connect your jailbreak device to re-enable the exploit on next boot! 

  • The USB development kit was designed for this task and various version can cost $30-$50. 
  • The Android versions (different versions for each phone- check the PS Freedom compatibility list!) requires a custom system flash that will disable USB functionality while it is active.
  • The Nokia N900 and Palm Pre versions appear to use software running in a terminal (I do not have either of these devices so I cannot test)
  • The iPhone version requires an iPhone 2G/3G or a 1st gen iPod touch running iPhone Linux.
  • The final option is using a TI-84 Plus calculator to a program that you load and execute when needed. 

I opted for the later version and purchased a TI-84 Plus Silver Edition.  The TI-84 Plus Silver runs between $90 (Wal-Mart and Target) to $120 (Fry’s).  It is a pretty nice graphing calculator to have even without the PS3 exploit.  The TI-84 Plus and the Silver edition are about the same, but the Silver edition has 3x more RAM, a removable faceplate and some extra bundled apps- it was about $2 more at Target ($88.99 vs. $90.99), so it was a no-brainer for me.

What you will need to run PS3 Jailbreak with a TI-84 Plus calculator:

  • A PS3 system running 3.41 firmware.  If you have updated to 3.42 you will not be able to use this exploit (and you cannot downgrade once upgraded). 
    • It is also important to note that 3.41 is currently unable to connect to PS3 network; this was done by Sony to force users to upgrade to 3.42. (Although I hear rumor of using a PS3 proxy to bypass this requirement?)
  • A TI-84 Plus (regular or silver edition) running the latest firmware (currently 2.53MP)
  • The TI-84 PS3 Jailbreak software
  • TI Connect on your PC (included on CD with calculator).
  • A USB cable (USB A to Mini-USB B)

Steps to run the PS3JB on the TI-84 Plus

  1. Install the PS3JB code on the calculator
    • Open the ZIP file
    • Open TI Connect
    • Connect to your TI-84 Plus with ‘TI Device Explorer’ (located in the TI Connect suite) 
    • Drag the ‘PS3JB.8xk’ file to the TI Device Explorer window
    • There may be a few confirmations and the installation may take a minute or two
    • Once complete, disconnect the TI-84 from the PC
  2. Run the software on the TI-84 Plus
    • Press the ‘Apps’ button on the TI-84 Plus
    • Scroll down until you find the ‘PS3JB’ entry and press ‘enter’ when it is highlighted
    • Press enter to close the title screen
    • Press ‘1’ to execute the program
    • A screen will appear with instructions on the calculator
  3. Connect the TI-84 Plus to the PS3
    • Eject any discs in the PS3 and power the system down normally
    • Remove all power from the PS3; ie unplug the PS3 slim or use the power switch on the PS3 classic
    • Remove all USB connections from the PS3
    • Return power to the PS3 (but do not turn on yet).
    • Plug a USB cable between the PS3 and the TI-84 Plus (USB A to MiniUSB B cable)
  4. Power up and wait a few minutes
    • Power on the PS3 and quickly press the Eject button after pressing power (you should get three quick beeps indicating that the drive is empty)
    • You should see ‘working…’ and eventually a ‘done’ on the TI-84 Plus screen
    • Once complete you will have ‘* /app_home/PS3_GAME/’ and ‘* Install Package Files’ options under your game menu
  5. If the above does not work, verify firmware versions on the PS3 and the TI-84 Plus, and go back and start over at step 3.

You can now plug in a USB device and install a PKG file (as they become available) by using the ‘Install Package Files’ option under the menu. 

Developers are working on homebrew and various emulators for the PS3- such as a PSP emulator for the PS3- but there isn’t a whole lot of custom software out for the PS3 at the time of this writing.

The PS3 Backup Manager (manager.pkg) is an obvious package one you will want to search for (use ‘The Google’) as it will allow you to backup your purchased PS3 game disks to a USB hard drive.

Note: The PS3 Backup Manger package may be considered the line that separates ‘homebrew’ from ‘piracy’ on the PS3 as it allows you to copy commercial game discs to your hard drive.  While this is acceptable use for legitimate archival purposes of games you have purchased, it should not be used on games that you do not personally own!

Notes on the USB hard drive backup:

  • PS3 games can be pretty big (5GB – 40GB) and could take some time to backup to hard disk (1h 20m for God of War III)
  • You will need an original PS3 game disc in the drive to play a game as the PS3 checks for a disk (any disc will do) during game startup (similar to the UMD/ISO method on the PSP)
  • If you need to reboot the PS3, you will need to re-run the exploit to allow you to run unsigned code on the PS3 again (i.e. Backup Manager is unsigned code).

Here are some of the better videos I found that go through the jailbreak and backup process (one for TI-84 Plus, the other for Palm Pre):

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