Earlier this month I installed a Modbo 4.0 modchip into my SCPH-70012 PS2 slim console. Since I also own an SCPH-39001 PS2 fat, I decided to install a modchip into it. Modchips for the PlayStation 2 you to get more out of your PS2. Things like playing games from other regions, playing PS1 and PS2 backups, and running homebrew applications. This blog post covers the installation of the Modbo 5.0 modchip into my SCPH-39001 PS2 fat console.
Update: I put together a Modbo modchip installation guide that covers all board revisions. You can find that guide here.
Things you’ll need
- An SCPH-39001 PS2 fat console
- Tools to take apart the PS2
- A Modbo 4.0 or Modbo 5.0 modchip. They are pin compatible, I bought my chip from Eurasia.
- 30 AWG kynar insulated wire wrapping wire
- A soldering iron and solder
Both the Modbo 4.0 and Modbo 5.0 modchips are good modchips. The Modbo 5.0 chip allows booting homebrew directly off of a USB flash drive, which is less important for a PS2 fat, because of the hard drive bay, but still a nice feature.
I’d also like to mention that I was able to install the modchip with a pretty standard 1.6mm chisel tip on my Hakko FX-888D soldering iron. In other words you don’t need a super special tip for your soldering iron. You just need patience, good eyes, and a steady hand.
At the time of writing this post I have installed a modchip into two different PS1 systems, two different PS2 systems, and soldered a Teensy to a PS3 slim. I’ve learned a lot along the way, so I’d like to share some tips that may help your modchip installation experience be a smoother one.
Since these tips apply across a lot of posts, I’ve put them into a single page that is linked to from multiple posts.
Modchip installation diagram
Above is an image of the installation diagram for the Modbo 3.0 diagram for NTSC V7 PS2 consoles. This diagram is the same for Modbo 4.0 and Modbo 5.0 chips. If you need a diagram for another version of the PS2 just leave a comment and I’ll upload a copy for you.
The diagram is labeled for Japanese and Taiwanese PS2 consoles, but it’s the same wiring for American consoles. I found many diagrams that didn’t include the point H, which is actually needed. Without pin H soldered I was able to run homebrew, but not run game backups from the disc drive, so pin H is important.
As you can see from the diagram there are a total of 21 wires that need to be soldered from the PS2 to the modchip. The chip comes with double sided tape that you use to stick it to the board.
I chose to mount my modchip on top of one of the larger chips in the middle of where all of the wires needed to go. I also made sure that the metal shell would fit back on with the chip in that position before I stuck it to the board. Make sure you leave room by the modchip for a few wires to run to the legs of the chip to the left.
With the modchip mounted I soldered each wire to the board. I started with the pads and legs of the chip to the left of the chip, and then followed a counter clockwise pattern around the modchip once I finished soldering those first set of wires. Above is an image of what my installation looked like after I finished with the left side of the modchip.
There were a lot of places where I had to solder wires to components surrounded by a lot of other components. I’d recommend positioning the board and your soldering iron so that you can solder at a good angle.
Above is an image of the back of the board. I ran the wires through the big hole, and left a little bit of extra slack so I could move them around if something got in their way when putting the console back together. This picture was taken before I figured out that I needed to solder the H wire to the modchip.
Eventually I finished soldering all of the wires to the board, and the image above is the result. As you can see I routed three wires for ground, and three wires for 3.3V. You could alternatively just use a single larger diameter wire for each power line.
Putting everything back together
Once I had soldered the modchip to the board, I could put the console back together. I started by taping over all of the points I soldered to, including most of the modchip. Taping prevents any of the connections from being shorted with the case, and also helps hold the wires in place.
I had no troubles putting the console back together like I did with my PS2 slim. Everything fit back together nicely.
I was able to install my modchip in less than an hour. I found the installation process to be more difficult than the installation of a modchip on a PS1, or soldering a Teensy to a PS3 Slim, but very similar to the installation of a modchip onto my PS2 slim.
After installing the modchip I was able to read PS1 game backups, and genuine PS2 games just fine, but wasn’t able to run PS2 game backups. I was able to play PS2 game backups after I adjusted the DVD potentiometer on the laser. So if you have an old PS2 and are having some problems playing game backups it could possibly be an issue with the laser.