Having trouble modding a PlayStation 1 to be region free.

Discussion in 'Modding and Hacking - Consoles and Electronics' started by LG2, Jan 11, 2019.

  1. LG2

    LG2 Member

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    Hi,

    I was wondering if you guys could help me mod my original PlayStation to play US and Japanese games (I’m in a PAL region).

    I ordered an MM3 mod chip and planned to install it into my SCPH-9002 model system.
    Upon opening the system, I found it had actually already been modded.Here is a picture of the chip that had already been installed. I can’t find any reference to the points they’ve soldered to online: all the ones I’ve seen use all eight pins and span the whole board as I’ll go into later on in the post. [​IMG]


    Proceeding this knowledge I put the system back together and booted up Final Fantasy Tactics in the hope that it would work. I never thought to try it at first as I presumed it wouldn’t have already been modded.
    The game booted and I thought I was in the clear, though upon watching the opening cutscene and starting the game, it got stuck on the loading screen. I tried a couple of other games (PAL region ones that didn’t need the mod chip to work) and some of them were getting stuck loading levels, too.
    All the disks I tried were in great condition so I presumed it couldn’t have been the disk at fault and thought that I’d maybe not put the system back together right after opening it up.
    However when I opened it back up to inspect it Everything seemed to be in order.
    I then swapped the disk drive out from another spare PlayStation so see if maybe I’d accidentally damaged the laser or something taking it apart, but the problem with the game persisted.

    I then out the original disk drive back in, cleaned the laser with 99% rubbing alchohol and then tested again for good measure. The other games now seemed to work flawlessly, the PAL ones, but the NTSC Final Fantasy Tactics was still getting stuck on the same spot - right when the opening cutscene had finished.

    I decided it might be the mod chip that had been installed by the previous owner, so I de-soldered it and attempted to install my chip that I bought using this diagram: https://quade.co/ps1-modchip-guide/mm3/pu-23/

    Just booted the system up now with the new chip installed, and now the disk drive isn’t spinning up at all when a disk is in.
    Pressing the little button that is pressed down by the lid doesn’t momentarily turn the spindle and move the laser back and forth as it usually does in a working system; but turns the spindle quickly and continuously with no movement of the laser.
    My guess is that one of the points I’ve soldered to is causing the drive to malfunction.

    I have to say, the installation didn’t go that great. It certainly wasn’t a “neat” job, and I was concerned when putting the shield back on that the wires on the chip were going to come in contact with each other and that the other points on the board were going to come in contact with the chip.
    The solder points were so tiny and fiddly it was a real challenge to do it, and even more so considering I didn’t have a magnifying glass or helping hands.
    I am certain I was able to solder onto every point without touching others, despite the difficulty; but whether or not with everything out back together the chip is coming into contact with points it shouldn’t is a different question.
    The points and chip are so tiny I just don’t know to isolate them with tape as I ordinarily would.
    I’m no soldering expert, either, and though I’ve modded other consoles this particular installation was challenging to say the least, and now I don’t know what the hell is happening with the disk drive or whether the chip is even properly installed or not.

    I’ve been reading some other posts on here and you guys seem to really know what you’re doing. So what should I do next? I’m going to have to trouble shoot this but I dont know where to start, and even if I get the drive working I’d be surprised if the compression on the chip and wires isn’t causing the thing to short somewhere and not work. It’s likely I’ll need to re-install it which is something else I’ll likely need help with.

    Any ideas?

    Many thanks!
     
  2. TriMesh

    TriMesh Site Supporter 2013-2017

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    The way that chip was initially installed (3 wires and a link) was the first approach to installing a "4 wire" type mod chip into the newer systems (SCPH-750x, SCPH-900x) - it sort of works, but it also degrades the performance of the tracking servo, which could well explain the problems you were seeing.

    For troubleshooting, the first thing I would do is remove the chip and see if the system works OK with in-region originals - if it doesn't, then check for solder shorts and displaced components in the area you were working - it's very easy (especially if you have a larger soldering iron) to knock some of the SMT components out of place.

    If you can't see anything and it's still not working, then check the fuses - these are on the left side of the board near the power input connector and have reference designations starting with "PS" - they should read as being basically short circuit with power off.
     
  3. supersega

    supersega I have 7 and a half PS1s in my room alone.

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    I'd check continuity between the wires after removing the chip, but leaving wires attached to the board. Then try the unit as TriMesh said. Your solder work looks relatively clean as it is though, I see no things that stand out, but it's worth a shot to check.

    Do you have an oscilloscope? One crazy thing you can do it see if the laser eye pattern shows up if you touch the ground to the metal shield and the probe on CL710 (if I'm not mistaken, check the service manual for better instructions) and see if anything happens. I doubt that it will though if the unit doesn't even know the laser is installed.
     
  4. Nully

    Nully Dauntless Member

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    That website's installs get worse every time someone links to a new one.

    We need a picture of YOUR install. Whatever the issue is, most likely, if not absolutely wasn't worth typing all that.

    Considering he has a lot of positive feedback for the chips I'd say:

    1. Your install is bad, remove the chip and wires; does it boot? Resolder connections

    OR

    2. You bridged something; we need clear large pictures. I'd say check the resistor points on the top right would be the first place to look.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
  5. LG2

    LG2 Member

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    I don't have a decent enough camera to take detailed pictures of the solder points, so that's why I haven't.
    Regardless, I've done as you and others have suggested and removed the chip; first the chip and tried to boot, then when that didn't work I removed the wires from the board also, but still no luck.

    The drive doesn't even spin at all now when pressing the button. I can see the red of the laser when the powers on, but non of the mechanisms (spindle or laser carriage) move now.
    I'm starting to wonder whether I've knocked or damaged the laser in some way during disassembly.

    I'll have to check with a magnifying glass tomorrow on all the solder points to see if I've bridged anything, and I'll try and borrow someones camera to take some pictures.

    Cheers
     
  6. LG2

    LG2 Member

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    The soldering work in the picture isn't actually mine. This was a chip that was installed prior to my ownership of the console that I found when I opened it up to install the same chip. It didn't seem to work, though, and region locked games were getting stuck on loading screens despite the disk being flawless.
    Checked leaving the wires on with the chip removed and got no luck. Removed the wires now and still nothing. As I said in the post above, non of the drive mechanisms are even spinning up now so I don't know what's happened.

    I don't have an oscilloscope, unfortunately.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
  7. LG2

    LG2 Member

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    Ah ok, that makes sense. I wondered if it was an earlier approach or something. As you say it did sort of work; the game booted but once I got past the menus and the first cutscene to where I'd actually be playing the game it just got stuck on the loading screen.

    Maybe I have knocked something off inadvertently. As you say it's incredibly fiddly, especially with my soldering iron only seeming to heat up on the side, so I can't use the tip as I need to.

    I'll check the fuses.

    Thanks for the suggestions.
     
  8. LeHaM

    LeHaM Site Soldier

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    What country are you from? @LG2
    I might still have some programmed chips instock (pre-wired with decoupling cap) or I can program one for you and just send to you.

    That diagram sucks, use this one (I made it). This is the low res version sorry, if you need the 20mb version PM me, it's on my other computer.

    [​IMG]
     
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  9. Nully

    Nully Dauntless Member

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    Well if you removed the wires and chip and the board is still non-functional then you've likely bridged or lifted something. You shouldn't have too hard of a time seeing it with your eyes usually and a cell phone camera should suffice with proper lighting and focus. Take a picture of point 3 and post it here at least so we can see what you're working with.
     
  10. Mord.Fustang

    Mord.Fustang Fiery Member

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    IIRC, a while ago I had accidentally removed one of the resistors at pin 3 and it caused disc issues. So check pin 3 as Nully pointed out.
     
  11. LG2

    LG2 Member

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    So I’m assuming Pin 3 is pretty instrumental in disk drive issues? What does it do?

    Here’s a picture of pin 3. Cheers[​IMG]
     
  12. LG2

    LG2 Member

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    Thanks! That’s a much better diagram.

    I’m in the U.K.?
     
  13. LG2

    LG2 Member

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    Found the fuse; if it wasn’t working surely the system wouldn’t even power on at all? What am I checking for?

    Many thanks.
     
  14. TriMesh

    TriMesh Site Supporter 2013-2017

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    There are multiple fuses, and they do different things. On the PU23, they have the following functions:

    PS601 - Supplies sled, spindle and the CD 2-axis device
    PS602 - Supplies 8V to the controller ports (check this if no rumble on dual-shock controllers)
    PS603 - Supplies 5V regulator - runs video DAC and audio buffers
    PS604 - Main 3.3V supply fuse
    PS605 - 3.3V to control ports

    The easiest way to check them is using a multimeter - just turn the console on and check for the same voltages on both sides of each fuse. PS601, PS602 and PS603 should be about 8V and PS604, PS605 about 3.3V

    Looking at the photo, check the connectivity of pin 14 of IC304 - it looks like it might have been knocked off the pad, and since this is the master clock input for that chip that would certainly break things.
     
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  15. LG2

    LG2 Member

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    Than
    Thanks for the tips! So if the drive isn't moving I may have an issue with PS601, if I'm reading your description right. Is it likely there'd be an issue with the fuse, though? I know they can blow, but this started happening after I fiddled with it. If it were to be fuse issue it must have been something I've done, so what could I have done thats damaged or blown the fuse?

    I don't actually have a multimeter but I'm aware I really need one - can you recommend a good model or brand?

    Regarding pin 14, I thought the same but upon inspection, it was just a blob of solder that I've now removed.
     
  16. TriMesh

    TriMesh Site Supporter 2013-2017

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    They are honestly rather easy to blow if you are playing with the board when it's powered up. It's hard to do remote troubleshooting, but the fact that the laser diode turns on when you operate the CD door switch suggests the mechacon CPU is running since that's what's generating the LDON signal.
    Another possible cause of the symptoms you are seeing is if the signals from the mechacon to the CD DSP are interrupted - but they are carried by those 3 resistors to the right of the mechacon chip, and they look OK.

    I personally like Fluke meters - but that's from the perspective of someone that does electronics for a living. I use a Fluke 87V, and can highly recommend it - but you probably don't want to spend $250 on a meter... Honestly, for basic troubleshooting on low voltage circuits even a $5 DMM from Harbor Freight is perfectly adequate.
     
  17. Bad_Ad84

    Bad_Ad84 The Tick

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    I'll spend $250 on that meter. They are like £430 here
     
  18. phillip

    phillip Active Member

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    Hey there. Sorry to hear of your hard mod troubles. If that doesn't get resolved to your satisfaction, you might want to consider trying a soft mod instead:


    Essentially you can flash a Gameshark cheat device so that it allows your PS1 to play games from any region (barring PAL issues of course.) Also, you can play backup games as well. No modding to your system required, although you do need to have one of the earlier model Playstations that have the I/O port in the back. I did this months ago and I love having the ability to just remove the Gameshark so my PS1 operates like normal when I want. Very cool stuff indeed.

    Best of luck!
     

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