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Tales of a New PStwo Owner

Discussion in 'PS2' started by pretense, Feb 11, 2005.

  1. pretense

    pretense Regular member

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    Back when I originally bought my PStwo on January 17, I planned to "mod" my slim console with a fliptop lid and report on how well (or unwell) it worked. Needless to say, things have unexpectedly changed a bit since then; but hopefully people can learn from my mistakes and gain something from positive from the experience. But anyway, straight from the beginning!

    [bold]January 17[/bold]

    I buy my new PStwo console from EB Games. Just to be on the safe side, I get a product replacement plan from the store, which dictates I can return the console any time within a year should it fail. Considering the general diceyness of the PStwos thus far, I consider it $15 well spent.

    With no small degree of anticipation, I open up my treasured white box and plug in the new PStwo. To my surprise, it says "5A" on the back sticker under Date Code; previously, 4D was the latest model. Crossing my fingers, I hope that this shipment will be the rumored "fixed" model from Sony... though the "Made in China" label doesn't exactly inspire confidence. (I later learn that all PStwos are now manufactured by third-parties in Chinese factories.) I also read in the manual, on page 49, that the PStwos are now covered by a one-year limited warranty, rather than the mere 90 days I'd previously thought was the term of coverage. Oh well, at least I can return my console (should it fail) directly to EB instead of worrying about shipping to $ony.

    Time to test my shiny new console! I promptly throw in Xenosaga: Episode I and get to work. Aside from learning that Episode I has perhaps the most uneventful, boring first three hours of any game in history (though it does ramp up significantly right after), I also learn that my console seems to hold up pretty well playing original discs for an extended period of time (DVDs, music CDs, original PS2 games). It doesn't get particuarly hot, though it does get pleasantly warm (about 80 degrees F to us Americans; or 27 degrees Celsius for everyone else). To put it in perspective, it's a lot cooler than my Dreamcast (may it rest in peace!) once it gets going; it's also a lot quieter, too.

    Unfortunately, I can't test any backups until my fliptop lid and Swap Magic set arrive from ps2cover.com; but I hope that day will come soon, despite having waited over a month. Shows how little I know.
     
  2. pretense

    pretense Regular member

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    [bold]January 23[/bold]

    Almost a week after I get my PStwo, and still no sign of either the Swap Magics or lid. Needless to say, I am steamed. I contact PS2cover.com yet again, this time with some strong language indicating I want to cancel my order if they don't intend on delivering it to me. (Previously, in two separate, earlier correspondences, they blamed a defective shipment of Swap Magic discs for a failure to ship my order. What they didn't mention was why they never e-mailed me an order confirmation or gave any sort of indication whatsoever that they had received my order... or when it would be shipped.)

    After five days, they finally respond. They concede that they can either cancel my order entirely, partially, or ship my lid first and the Swap Magics later. Again, they don't give any sort of timetable for fulfilling my order. Since the lid is pretty much useless without the Swap Magics, and since I am pretty much sick of ps2cover's song-and-dance, I emphatically cancel the order. Moral of the story: Don't order from ps2cover.com.
     
  3. shine87

    shine87 Member

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    Good choice, dont trust ps2cover.com. I emailed them asking if they could ship to Australia and they emailed 2 weeks later saying they do, n i had already decided to order from a local importer thank god. Has anyone succesfully orderd from them?
     
  4. Auslander

    Auslander Senior member

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    why would you order a flip top for the new ps2's? they already have a flip top. all you need is (i believe) what's called a "ghost kit" or something along those lines.
     
  5. pretense

    pretense Regular member

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    [bold]February 8[/bold]

    I finally receive my much-awaited lid and Swap Magic 3.3 set, this time from mod-chip.com. It takes about two weeks to get to me (my order was placed on January 25th), but hey, I figure it's better than eight whole weeks without any sign of them (my original PS2cover order was on December 7th). Mailed from Austria, I see. No wonder it took so long to arrive. But the main thing I notice is just how cheap-looking the lid itself is. Essentially, it's just a flimsy piece of black plastic which copycats the bottom of the actual PStwo lid. The only thing special about it is the circular opening, which allows the hinges and tabs beneath the lid to still press down on their respective sensors, fooling the system into believing it's still closed. The same thing could basically be achieved by cutting out a CD-sized circle (avoiding the tabs) in the middle of the actual PStwo cover, and reattaching the cut-out circle via some sort of improvised hinge.

    Unlike the original cover, though, this PS2lid has no texture; it *is* just cheap plastic, after all. So while it may be roughly the same color as the rest of the PStwo, the lack of texturing makes it appear lighter, based on how it reflects light. The overall appearance and feel are quite cheap and flimsy; I wouldn't even pay $5 for it if I didn't need it. There isn't even a spring for the hinge, so the lid just flops right back when opened. I'm sure something like this can easily be manufactured en masse for less than a dollar. *sigh* But I don't really care about looks, just functionality, so I shrug and move on.

    I take off the back screws easily and pop off the front lid after some effort, using the warranty sticker as a hinge. Now that it's exposed, I take a little time to look inside the fabled PStwo innards. Hmm. I spy the back sensor, positioned right behind the warranty sticker and with its little tab sticking up. Apparently, the two-pronged hinge of the PStwo lid pushes down on this when closed. Similarly, I take a look at the front sensor, positioned in the bottom right, just behind the power button. So the little tab on the cover presses down here. Makes sense. Moving onward, I start to remove the last two screws on the cover.

    Disaster strikes. I remove the vertical one easily enough, but the horizontal one doesn't seem to want to budge with my screwdriver. Hmm. I run off to Radio Shack for a set of Philips screwdrivers and rush back. 1.6mm seems to be the right size for the job. But unfortunately, the damage is already done. For some reason, the screw head is "soft," causing it to strip easily. Though I try to gain traction with my 1.6mm screwdriver, it only succeeds in completing the stripping so I can't move the screw at all. I get sick to the stomach, realizing that I can't install my lid... foiled by a single screw!

    I read online about screw extractors and drills for removing stripped-head screws, but it doesn't seem terribly hopeful. "Tape-mod" it is! Having seen the sensors, I know what to do. I tape the back sensor with a few squares of Scotch, having no duct tape around for the job. I make sure the job is secure by prodding it with a screwdriver. I put the case back on, since I figure taping the front sensor is unnecessary. It turns out I'm right. The front sensor is exposed to the air when the tray is open, so you can just push a tiny ball of tissue in to press the tab down.

    My "mod" now done, I throw in the Swap Magic 3.3 DVD with my fingers crossed. It boots! And, almost like magic, the backups boot up, one after another, without any problems. Even so-called "problem games" on swapmagicfix.com like Soul Calibur 2, Suikoden 3, and Kingdom Hearts boot up (and run!) with nary a problem, despite using no loaders whatsoever. After four hours of swapping trials, I am pleased. Touching the console, it doesn't seem any warmer than before running backups as opposed to the originals. Perhaps a tad bit warmer; but I'm not sure if that's just my imagination running amok.
     
  6. Auslander

    Auslander Senior member

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    good to hear things worked out for you. happy burnings!
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2005
  7. pretense

    pretense Regular member

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    [bold]February 11[/bold]

    Having tested quite a few more backups, I'm still pleased to say that the PStwo slim runs fine to this very day. There were a few minor hiccups along the way, however; namely, MGS3 runs fine during gameplay and cutscenes, but seems to skip somewhat during codec audio; The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age runs fine during exploration and cutscenes, but has unusually high loading times/skipping before battles; and NFL Street vol. 2 seems to have some annoying skipping during the music. I'll try reburning these on my new batch of Ridata G04 4x DVD+Rs, but any suggestions would be appreciated as well. It's possible that at least one of them was an early backup where I didn't follow proper "procedure"... e.g., I was web-browsing and running music while burning, therefore wreaking havoc on the buffer :) . Not recommended!

    The other strange occurrence was that my Swap Magic 3.3 CD didn't seem to agree with my PStwo at first; it gave a "Please insert valid PS2 disc" screen the first couple of times I tried to boot it, but worked fine thereafter. I'm still scratching my head a bit over that one, but as long as it works, I have no complaints. Everything else seems to work as advertised, and I haven't had any malfunctions yet... though who knows what the future will bring. Hopefully, this early success will continue, but I've got a replacement plan if it doesn't, heh.

    General summary:
    1) Backups work fine, with occasional hiccup (MGS3, LOTR: The Third Age)
    2) Burned at 2.4x on Ridata R03 8x DVD+Rs, NEC-1100A
    3) All discs, CD or DVD, load up within 5 seconds on Swap Magic 3.3 without loaders; though it's possible I haven't tested enough problem games yet
    4) Taped back sensor, tissued front sensor; SCPH-70012 CB/97003 Date Code: 5A PStwo
    5) No appreciable heat or noise, but maybe my standards are too low; by my guesstimation, it generally runs at about 27 degrees C/80 degrees F, regardless of what is being played (DVD, CD, original, backup). The loudest discs are CD games; for instance, Dynasty Warriors 2 produces consistent whirring. Ico, on the other hand, was largely silent. DVD games are mostly silent, except for occasional noise during loading screens (e.g., Xenosaga).
     
  8. pretense

    pretense Regular member

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    As for a more permanent mod than my tape/tissue combo; well, I like my front tissue mod just fine! For some reason, it amuses me to see a little tissue ball stuffed into the front hole, but that's just me ;). The tape concerns me a bit because of longevity issues -- that is, there's some concern about whether it can keep it down forever -- but I'm guessing the hinge of the cover should continually press it down anyway when closed; besides, replacing the tape is easy and quick enough.

    I am a bit tempted to get a slim tool -- but I kinda don't want to spend any more money or time after dealing with so many shady dealers. Just the sight of my useless, cheapo PS2lid gets me steamed once more! Plus, the tape/tissue work just fine. Having seen the sensors myself, it's not a matter of safety; all the available swap mods do the exact same thing: Press down on the two lid sensors. The PS2lid does it by essentially cutting a circular hole through the cover so it stays "closed," the ghost switch/magic switch/slim tool do it by stuffing pieces of plastic into the holes to press the sensors. It's all very low-tech and simple. The tape does the exact same thing, and it's not electrically conductive, either -- not that I believe the sensor tabs conduct any electricity on the outside surface. It's only a matter of whether it holds.

    Anyway, if anyone has any further questions or suggestions on what to test with my 5A console, I'll be glad to oblige. I'll also update on any further disasters/happenings with my PStwo ;)
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2005
  9. RemyK313

    RemyK313 Regular member

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    Awesome. I've been tracking PSTwo backup progress on forums for a few months now. In fact, I started up my own thread focusing on DVD media, and then it turned into a discussion very much like your anecdotes here.

    Anyways, I too, using a "4D" model of the 700012 v12 have had no problems with Swap Magic.

    Yeah, I also had problems removing the screws. Out of fear of stripping the heads, I stopped, and picked out a higher quality set.

    People who work a lot on electronics take good tools for granted. They don't understand that not EVERYONE has tools that are good enough to get the job done, that most home-modders are guys who've never opened up any electronic devices. They don't tell people that when you're working with anything, to have the best tools available to get the job done.

    Anyways, it's good to hear more personal reports of success. I know that when I was making decisions for my PSTwo plans, I had no clue because no one ever made them. Now that I have my PSTwo up and working, I'd like for other people to not have to hunt everywhere and deal with rumors and opinions mistaken for facts.
     
  10. pretense

    pretense Regular member

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    [bold]A little update[/bold]

    My 5A PStwo hasn't blown out (yet). Still working fine, though I still get the impression that it runs a bit hotter with backups as opposed to originals. I've learned a few helpful lessons with the Swap Magic and backups in this time, though.

    [bold]Lesson 1: Getting rid of skips[/bold]

    Like I said before, The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age had some pretty severe skipping before battles. I also noticed that some other games had skipping of various sorts (Castlevania: Lament of Innocence during the initial talk between Leon and the shopkeeper, after he gets the whip; NFL Street 2's music). Well, skipping of any sort is pretty annoying; especially when it renders the game unplayable, as in The Third Age!

    Anyway, one of the other threads in AfterDawn suggested going into Options --> General --> Reading for Alcohol 120% and changing the Default DPM measuring precision to "High," and also going to Options --> General --> Data Type Setting and, for the PlayStation 2 disc type, checking the Data Position Measurement box and setting the precision to "High" as well. To make a long story short, this worked like a charm for me, even when I tried "copying my copy" by creating an ISO with Alcohol 120% from my skipping-beleagured backup. Needless to say, I was quite pleased to have my new backups of The Third Age, et al. working the way I expected them to.

    [bold]Lesson 2: Swapping with Loaders[/bold]

    Thankfully, the Swap Magic 3.3 set gets rid of the need for loaders for almost all games, from my experience. But a (growing) handful of games still need loaders (geh). How to load, then? And how to do that TOC swapping thingy if the lid sensors are always depressed?

    Good thing the DVDloader has an (undocumented) way of spinning down the discs for swapping. Here's my method for loading Champions: Return to Arms, which is a good example since it needs the DVDloader with the 5v3 No PN option to load.

    1) Boot up Swap Magic 3.3. Put in DVDloader v7 ALL disc and select "Load Program."
    2) DVDloader will say "Insert disc," but press X to go to options. Choose 5v3 No PN and press X to go back to the original "insert disc" screen.
    3) Press [bold]triangle[/bold] to spin down the disc. Insert your Swap Magic DVD (or a high-TOC original PS2 game, should you choose).
    4) Press [bold]triangle[/bold] again to spin up the disc. Press X.
    5) The screen will change to a red screen with the words "Put in a DVDR by EA method and press x to play." That's when you throw in your backup and press x, as the screen suggests. Done! (phew)

    The good thing is that there aren't very many games like Return to Arms; the bad thing is, these games seem to have been increasing in 2005. Which leads to the third lesson I learned:

    [bold]Lesson 3: North American developers (especially EA) hate us swappers[/bold]

    From what I've heard, Bloodrayne 2, Ghost Recon 2, Mercenaries, Shadows of Rome, Champions: Return to Arms, NBA Street v3, and UEFA Champions League all need patching or (my favorite, since I can't always get the patches to work) rebuilding the image in order to run with the Swap Magic discs. Well, that's no big deal, you say; a grand total of seven or so games out of the whole PS2 library! The problem is, five of those games were released in 2005 and are therefore pretty new; as a result, you can expect more "problem games" in the future. The common theme, of course, is that all these games were by North American developers -- and two of them were by EA. After all, you don't see any Japanese games with this nonsense.

    As for EA, I'm guessing they didn't figure out how to implement whatever protection scheme they're using in time for NFL Street v2 (which was released at the end of December), but that protection's in full force now. I'm also guessing FIFA Street will need patching/rebuilding too when it comes out in the very near future. Oh well; it's a good thing I actually like rebuilding images, heh.
     
  11. Titmus

    Titmus Member

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    Ive also got the problem of these annoying skips during games. Some people say that to get rid of the skips during gameplay you should rebuild the game. Does anyone know how to do or a better way to get rid of them.
     
  12. Titmus

    Titmus Member

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    wat speed do you burn games in alcohol on
     
  13. pretense

    pretense Regular member

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    I currently use Ritek 4x DVD+Rs burned at 2.4x on my NEC-1100A. But I was using Riteks before (albeit R03s, which are also considered quite good), so media wasn't the problem. Once I changed the settings in Alcohol 120%, that eliminated skips completely. Some people have also had luck checking "Skip read errors," though I haven't had to use that myself.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2005
  14. Titmus

    Titmus Member

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    wats the step by step guide of changing the speed for alcohol fanx mike

    i need your help!!!!
     
  15. dPure

    dPure Member

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    Respect to u pretense. U dont think u can write down a faq on how to burn ps2 dvd games with alcohol and the settings?
     
  16. pretense

    pretense Regular member

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  17. ajarina

    ajarina Member

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    oh pretense, i read your little diary here and it was almost exactly how things worked for me. xenosaga 1 was the first game i tested with (haha!) and i ordered my lid and swap magic from ps2cover and received the same correspondence about defective swap discs. such a headache. two months later, i still hadnt received them and i subsequently ordered from modchipstore.com and received them in 2 days.

    after some trouble with the install (stripped that horizontal screw also), i finally got things working well and i am happy. sorry if you didnt care to hear my story, but i figured you might like to hear someones similar experience :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2005
  18. pretense

    pretense Regular member

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    lol, that's a funny story, ajarina! Isn't it weird how the vertical screw is so easy to remove, but horizontal one (exact same screw) is such a pain? Oh well.

    It'd be nice if more people posted "success stories" of "outright failures" with info about their PStwo models, since it would not only be helpful to prospective buyers, but current owners as well. Be as it may, I'll keep updating this thread to the (hopefully not) bitter end of my PStwo.

    [bold]A little monthly update[/bold]

    It's been almost exactly one month to the day I tape/tissue modded my 5A PStwo, and it still seems to be going strong. While it's been mostly a smooth ride, there have been a few bumps in the road:

    1. A few more problem games found.

    This was from before I set data precision measurement to 'high' in Alcohol 120%, so I'll have a few more games to test this method on:

    a) The GTA games, which seem to have disc reading error screens when driving with music on;

    b) Neo Contra, which gets stuck at a black screen after the Konami logo;

    c) Spider-Man 2, which has sound glitches in the narration.

    Unfortunately, my "experimenting" will have to wait until my new burner gets in, since I'm afraid my ND-1100A has seen the last of its days. It gives me cyclic redundancy errors on data burns and freezes up in Nero nowadays, refusing to open up until I reboot. Sad, sad stuff. :(

    2. Swap Magic DVD refuses to boot! Sort of.

    Story: I'm playing Def Jam: Fight for New York on backup discs with a friend for several hours. We decide to switch up and get a little soccer action in (Winning Eleven 8), so I unplug the console, throw in the Swap Magic discs, and press the power button. To my surprise (and dismay), the browser screen shows up! What the...? I press the power button to reset... another browser screen... and another... and another, as I keep trying repeatedly. I tear out my hair and throw my PStwo to the ground in disgust.

    True story! Well, except for that last part. Obviously, this rather concerned me at first, but I've since found a way around it. After a few hours of play on a backup, such that the PStwo reaches what I call a "max heat" level, the Swap Magic DVD doesn't seem to boot too well, going to the aforementioned Browser screen instead of the Swap Magic screen. And, like I mentioned, no amount of resetting will help.

    The only solution, I've found, is to let the PStwo "cool down" for a minute or two. Then the DVD works just fine again. I know, weird stuff. So I guess that's the perfect chance for a bathroom break before you get your gaming on again :lol:

    The other solution? Play a CD game instead! For some reason, the Swap Magic 3.3 CD reads even better when my PStwo is at "max heat," with even faster loading times and less noise. Again, weird stuff!

    The Swap Magic discs are not exactly the best pressed discs in the world, so I'm not too surprised to have some reading errors in these conditions. My game originals boot fine in any condition, "max heat" or not. I'll have to investigate this further since I've never heard anyone else mention something similar. Again, this only seems to happen during really extended gaming sessions since I can still swap fine with the SM 3.3 DVD (without "resting" my PStwo) after an hour or so.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2005
  19. pretense

    pretense Regular member

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    [bold]Alcohol 120% fix update[/bold]

    Alcohol 120% comes through in the clutch again! Seems like I can't do any wrong after I changed the data precision measurement settings (mentioned above) to high.

    1) Spider-man 2 has no more glitches (though I had to burn twice, once at a lower 2.4x because my 4x burn had a sound desynch during the first Otto cutscene).

    2) The GTA games no longer have any DREs (disc read errors) at all.

    3) Godzilla: Save the Earth (which hung at one of the initial screens before) now works fine. Don't ask me why I have the game.

    4) Neo-Contra still doesn't boot... but that's because it needs the special boot option (press square at the Load Program screen). Pretty bizarre, since this is the first game I've encountered which needs the special boot option to work. But once you've special-booted it, it works fine.

    On the negative side, it seems like a lot of CD games are incompatible with the Swap Magic 3.3 -- which, depending on how important certain games are to you, may or may not matter, since there aren't too many CD games to begin with.

    1) Metal Slug 3 (JAP), Frequency, Mr. Mosquito, and Castle of Shikigami 2 all don't work for me with the Swap Magic 3.3 CD. I either get a black screen upon choosing "Load Program," or a "Not a valid PS2 disc" message. Unfortunate.

    It's possible that the upcoming Swap Magic 3.6 discs might resolve this issue, but I doubt I will be springing for them, since the 3.3s (especially the DVD) generally work extremely well for me. Like I mentioned above, I've never needed any loaders or TOC-swapping with the 3.3 set, except for Champions: Return to Arms.
     
  20. Titmus

    Titmus Member

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    does any1 know anything about a ripper gold chip 2 im getting my ps2 chipped but dont know whether this modchip is good or not

    thanks mike
     

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