Notes: 1. At the time of writing this FAQ, the current official firmware is 3.52, and on August 03, 2007 so thus all the questions will be answered and be factual as to the time of writing. 2. Many of the downloads here will be links to archives of either .zip or .rar. These can be extracted using 7-zip, found here... http://www.7-zip.com Index: 1. What is firmware? 2. What is all this upgrading and downgrading I hear about? 3. How do I determine the firmware of a PSP using it's boxcode? 4. How do I update my firmware? 5. How do I downgrade my firmware? 6. Will my PSP be compatible? 7. Are there any other issues to look out for? 8. You said custom firmware allows "easier" use of higher firmware features. What did you mean by that? 9. Any advantages to using 1.5 over custom firmware? 10. Any other custom firmware features? 11. What custom firmware is the best? 12. How do I install custom firmware? 13. How do I install hotfixes in M33 custom firmware? 14. What are the risks of downgrading/installing custom firmware? FAQ: Firmware General 1. What is firmware? Your PSP's firmware is essentially it's operating system. This is similar to Windows or Linux on a PC. 2. What is all of this upgrading and downgrading I hear about? This has all sprouted by the "homebrew scene" that has been around as long as the PSP has existed. To put it in simple terms, having a lower firmware enables you to do more with your PSP than that of someone who upgrades there PSP, as lower firmwares have less security and allow you to run programs not authorized by Sony. (Programs not authorized by Sony=Homebrew) Currently, the desirable firmware for homebrew is firmware 1.5. However, there are other, "custom" firmwares that allow you to use all the features of 1.5, with an added on ability to use all the official "upgraded" PSP features easily. Upgrading is just that, upgrading. Someone may upgrade their PSP because they don't care for homebrew, are ignorant of it's existence, are worried about the risks involved in using it, such as not having the warranty intact anymore. 3. How do I determine the firmware of a PSP using it's boxcode? Look on the box of the PSP. On the label, under the voltage setting, there should be a letter. The following is the list of what letter means what, and if it's been confirmed or not. (Credit to this question goes to NeilR, of QJ. http://forums.qj.net/f-guides-gener...-using-box-codes-september-7-2006-28718.html) A = 1.5 confirmed B = 1.51 confirmed C = 1.52 confirmed D = 1.52 confirmed E = 1.52 confirmed F = 2.0 confirmed G = 2.01 confirmed H = 2.50 confirmed I = 2.60 confirmed J = 2.70 unconfirmed K = 2.71 confirmed L = 2.81 confirmed M = 3.01 confirmed N = 3.03 confirmed O = 3.10 confirmed P = 3.11 confirmed Q = 3.30 Unconfirmed R = 3.40 confirmed 4. How do I update my firmware? Simply use the network update icon in the system area, or download the "EBOOT.PBP" (In previous versions of my guide, I stated that caps do not matter because FAT file systems are not case sensitive. It turns out that I was wrong, and while FAT file systems still aren't case sensitive, the PSP apparently cares if names of things are not in caps. So put them in all caps to ensure lack of problems.) of the firmware that you wish to update to, and place it in the "X:\PSP\GAME\UPDATE" where X is the drive of your PSP when in USB mode. (From this point on, X will always mean what I specified just before this sentence.) Then go to game, memory stick, and hit X to execute the update program. Note that when you update, it is not a sure thing that you can go back to the original firmware you were using, so keep that in mind if you plan on using homebrew, or downgrading. Also, certain games may have the firmware update already on them, at which case you just run the update and follow instructions. The latest official update for Sony's Firmware can always be found here... http://www.us.playstation.com/psp/downloads/systemupdate/pc.html As well as Sony's instructions on how to upgrade. (The download is in step 3.) 5. How do I downgrade my firmware? Here are links to the downgraders..... http://dl.qj.net/dl.php?fid=9928 = 2.00/2.01 Downgrader. ( Needs Eloader to run. Get it here http://www.noobz.eu/joomla/index.php?option=com_remository&Itemid=88888895&func=fileinfo&id=3 ) http://forums.maxconsole.net/showthread.php?t=53043 = 2.71 Downgrader http://forums.maxconsole.net/showthread.php?t=53933 = 2.80 Downgrader. http://forums.maxconsole.net/showthread.php?t=53936 = 3.03 Downgrader. Needs Unpatched GTA: LCS! (Patched has 2.60 Update on it, and unpatched have 2.0 Update.) http://dl.qj.net/Hacks-Exploits/pg/12/fid/13978/catid/114 = 3.50 Downgrader. Needs Lumines 1! (Any US and EU version will work.) Now if your version is lower, like 2.70 or some version like that, you can simply update to 2.71 or whatever downgradable firmware. So all firmwares below 3.50 are downgradable by either flat out downgrading, or upgrading then downgrading. You can easily find these updates here... http://dl.qj.net/Firmwares-PSP-/catid/163 If they're not on the front page, simply search for them on the top. Take note of this link, as I refer to it several times in this guide, hence the reason for all of this being in bold. In previous versions of this guide, I had decided to simply link to each downgrader, and tell you to read the readme from there. It has come to my attention that this tactic is not good enough and that I should guide you through each downgrade. I'm also going to note that all downgraders here are corruption free downgraders, meaning they will downgrade TA-082's in a clean manner, unlike some other downgraders out there. Credit goes to Kurgan777 for the 2.71, 2.80, and 3.03 downgrader links. (Also note that you'll need a free membership on maxconsole to get the files, but it's not really out of your way and it's free anyway) So with that out of the way, I will now give instructions for each downgrader. 2.0/2.01 Downgrade Guide 1. Once you have the downgrader and eloader downloaded, install eloader by copying the "PSP" folder into "X:\" Overwriting anything in the way. 2. Make sure you have a custom wallpaper set. (any image will be suitable here) 3. Now install the downgrader. Use the same way as described in step one for Eloader installation. 4. Now download the 1.5 Update using the QJ link above. Extract it, make sure it's named "EBOOT.PBP" and place it in the "X:\PSP\GAME\UPDATE" folder. 5. Now go to the photo menu, and select the "eLoader 099" folder. This will launch Eloader. 6. Now run the downgrader using Eloader. Now select "set to v1.00" using the O button. 7. Once you've done this, run the 1.5 Update from the game menu. The update will fail in the end, this is normal. Once it fails and gives the error message, restart your PSP. 8. Now you'll get a blue screen telling you that your settings are corrupted. Simply press O. You'll need to put in your settings again. 9. You now have a 1.5 PSP. Good job. 2.72, 2.80, 3.03 and 3.50 Downgrader Guide Only step 5 is different between downgrades, so I'll specifiy the step 5 for each respective downgrade. Also, step 6 is skipped on the 3.03 and 3.50 downgraders. 1. Once you have the downgrader of your choice downloadeded and extracted , go into the MS_Root folder. 2. Copy all that is in the MS_Root folder to the root of your memory stick. (Root meaning X:\) If it asks to ovewrite, then hit yes. 3. Now obtain the official 1.5 Update using the QJ link I specified above. (simply search "1.5" and download from there) 4. Unzip the update using a tool of your choice , and rename the produced file to "UPDATE.PBP" Then move the file to "X:\PSP\GAME\UPDATE" (As with all folders, if it's not there, then create it) Be careful to not overwrite the EBOOT.PBP that is already there. Doing this will result in a brick. 5. (For 2.71) Go to the Photo menu, and select HEN-D picture. It should turn green briefly, then go back to the XMB, this means that it works. (If you get a Red screen, then simply try again until you get the green screen) 5. (For 2.80) Go to the Photo menu, and select "HEN_280". Note that the exploit is very unstable, and may take several times to finally launch. (Note that this doesn't mean the downgrade isn't safe, but that it takes a few tries to get HEN to load) Now if your PSP froze, restart and try again. If you get red, then just try again. If you get blue, then you are good. Proceed to step 6. 5. (For 3.03) Load GTA:LCS. You will get to loading a save, and then the screen will go black, and you will be presented with a blue screen, and your PSP will go back to the XMB. Proceed to step 7. 5. (For 3.50) Make sure your PSP's Language is set to English before starting. Load Lumines. Once you get the screen that says to press start, press start. The screen will become blue, and will then reload the XMB. Proceed to step 7. 6. Now that you are in HEN, go to the game menu and select "1.5 Enabler" from the memory stick. If it says you can run it, then you're fine. If it says you cannot, then simply press X to alter the keys allowing you to do so. Once it says you can run 1.5, go to step 7. 7. Go the game menu and select "Update X.YZ" from the memory stick. This will start the downgrade to 1.5. (On the 3.03 and 3.50 Downgraders, you may be asked to patch your motherboard to downgrade. You will not be able to proceed without patching your motherboard. If it asks you to do this, then simply accept and hit X again to start the downgrade process) 8. Once done, you will be asked to press X to reboot the PSP. Press X. 9. If the downgrade succeeded, you will be presented with a blue screen that will ask you to press O to restore the default settings. Press O, and you will now have to put in your settings again. 10. You've now downgraded to 1.5. Good job. You can now delete all the files used to downgrade. 6. Will my PSP be compatible? All PSP's can be updated, but not all can be downgraded. The general issue is the software (firmware) compatibility. When I say hardware, I refer to PSP's with different motherboards. All current PSP hardware will downgrade without problems. But you still need to make sure the downgrader you get, will support TA-082 hardware or higher. Here is a link to a picture for checking this. http://z.about.com/d/psp/1/0/9/1/-/-/pspboardphoto.jpg The other issue is firmware. Currently, firmware 3.50 and below can be downgraded, either by upgrading then downgrading, or just flat out downgrading. Note that some downgraders need to have Grand Theft Auto Liberty City Stories to work OR Lumines, as these games has a bug in it's saving system to allow homebrew. However Sony quickly caught onto the exploit and soon patched the UMDs for GTA Liberty City Stories. In order to use the 3.03 downgrader your copy must be "unpatched" the difference between patched and unpatched is that the unpatched will have a firmware upgrade to 2.0 on them, and the patched will have an upgrade to 2.6 on them. Currently, 2.80 and below can be downgraded without GTA, while anything up to 3.03 will need GTA. The 3.50 downgrader will require a copy of Lumines. 7. Any other issues to look out for? Yes, when doing either, make sure your battery is fully charged (or at least 75%, but better safe than sorry right?), and that your PSP is plugged into the charger (safety purposes) and that you don't power off or let the battery or AC fall out while doing it. If your power fails during either case, you will have a "bricked" PSP. Or a broken PSP with non functional firmware. (IE, it won't start anymore) Custom Firmware: 8. You said custom firmware allows "easier" use of higher firmware features. What did you mean by that? I mean that all higher firmare features can be used on firmware 1.5, but another program called devhook is needed. Devhook essentially emulates the higher firmware, and allows you to use their features so you don't need to give up on official stuff to enjoy homebrew. Devhook can be found on the sites posted above for firmware updates/downgrades. 9. Any advantages to using 1.5 over custom firmware? There is really no reason to use 1.5 over custom firmware, as custom firmware has the 1.5 kernel built into it, allowing it to run all homebrew programs while still being able to play the latest games. 10. Any other custom firmware features? You can play your legally bought PSX games on your PSP from the memory stick, with some doing. This isn't covered in this FAQ, but it is a feature. There is also a recovery mode to recover from bad modification flashes, or firmware flashes. The list goes on. 11. What custom firmware is the best? This depends on who you ask. The general rule was that the OE firmwares by Dark_Alex was the best, but other teams like Team M33 are taking his old position. Since there is currently no better firmware than M33 (In my opinion), the custom firmware installation in this FAQ will reflect that 3.52 M33. (From my observations, this seems to be the most requested and used firmware as well, so it is not based on my opinion alone) The author of this FAQ personally prefers 3.52 M33,the latest custom firmware by the M33 Team, but it really depends on your own personal interests. 12. How do I install custom firmware? Here is my installation guide for 3.52 M33 Edition.... This is essentially a rewrite of the original M33 Readme, which is very ****** IMO. Note that in order to follow this guide, you must download the 3.52 M33 package. (Linked at the end of this walk through to ensure people read it first) PSP 3.52 M33 Installation 1. (Skip to step 2 if you're using any kind of custom firmware)If you are using the official 1.50 PSP firmware, copy kxploitpatcher and kxploitpatcher% folders from "1.50only/" of this download to your "X:/PSP/GAME/" where X is the drive letter of your PSP when connected through USB. (X stands for this for the rest of this guide) Then go to the Game Menu and select the non corrupt program from the memory stick. (One of them being corrupted is normal.) 2. Copy the M33CREATOR folder to your "X:/PSP/GAME" if you are on firmware 1.5 or "X:/PSP/GAME150" (SE/OE) 3. Download official 3.52 eboot , rename it to 352.PBP and place it on "X:/PSP/GAME/M33CREATOR/" on firmware 1.5 or "X:/PSP/GAME150/M33CREATOR/" if you're using custom firmware. 4. Download official 1.50 eboot and then extract the .zip. Once extracted, rename it to 150.PBP and place it on "X:/PSP/GAME/M33CREATOR/" if using firmware 1.5 or "X:/PSP/GAME150/M33CREATOR/" if using custom firmware. 5. Go the Game menu, and launch the "3.52 M33 CREATOR" from the memory stick. Once finished, it will go back to the XMB. 6. Go again to Game Menu on your PSP, and execute "3.52 M33UPDATE" (Which was just created). You'll have to press X to agree to the installation. 7. When finished, press X to shut down and reboot manually. 8. You're now done. Enjoy 3.52 M33 Edition. http://dl.qj.net/General-Apps/pg/12/fid/14167/catid/151 = 3.52 M33 Package. Also, get the 1.5 and 3.52 Updates using the QJ link above. (Though I'm not sure of the 3.52 Update is at QJ or not. If not, just use the Sony site to get it) 13. How do I install updates/hotfixes for M33 custom firmware? 1. Download the update/hotfix package from wherever you get it. (ex. QJ) 2. Extract the package using 7-zip or other archiver. 3. Move the produced folder to "X:\PSP\GAME150" 4. Go to the game menu, and launch the update from the memory stick, then hit X to perform the update. 5. You have now updated your custom firmware with a update/hotfix. Feel free to delete any of the files used in the process. Risks 14. What are the risks of downgrading/installing custom firmware? When writing to the flash of any device, there is always a chance of a brick. (A brick is referring to corrupting the PSP's firmware, causing it not to boot) Upgrades and downgrades carry the same risk. As long as you follow the instructions, the chances of bricking are minimal.