Welcome to my PS1 Portable guide! This is a guide made entirely by me for you to use if you decide to make a PS1 Portable yourself. If you wish to copy what I did exactly, go ahead! Also, feel free to use and distribute any of the images in this guide as you wish, I only made them for your benefit and couldn't care less if you want to post them elsewhere. Before we start, I would just like to say that I do not hold responsibility for anything that may go wrong for you whilst making yours. And now... let's begin!
If you use the exact parts that I used, you will need:
- Console - A Sony PsOne (slim version)
- Screen - A 5" Sony PsOne LCD screen
- Controller - An official PsOne controller
- Batteries - Check out my batteries section for more information
Firstly, take your PsOne slim console and make sure it looks like this:
If it doesn't... well the chances are you've got the wrong console...
Moving along... Make sure there aren't any disks inside the console before you begin to remove any screws. Then proceed to remove the 6 Phillips screws on the bottom of the console. Note that there is one under the warranty sticker.
Once all 6 screws have been removed, flip the console back over and carefully remove the top half of the case. You should now be able to see the disk drive mechanism. Be careful not to damage the lens in these next few steps as it will render your PlayStation useless!
Gently remove the two disk drive connectors underneath the disk drive. The ribbon connector is held in quite tightly so may require some wiggling!
Now you can remove the disk drive and keep it in a safe place. Again, be very careful not to scratch the lens! Once you have placed it somewhere, I would advise you to place a disk inside the drive to cover and protect the lens.
Go back to the console, you can now lift off the metal plate to reveal the PS1 motherboard! "Gasp!" Carefully lift this out the case and place it on a non-conductive surface. DO NOT place it on carpet or other materials which can hold static charge because this could kill your PS1 before you've even started! This is what you should be left with:
We are now ready to begin modding the console! Firstly we will attach our batteries to the console. Fortunately, the PsOne can allow a fairly wide voltage range of about 7v to 12v, so 7.2/7.4v should be able to simply be connected directly to the motherboard without needing a voltage regulator or any capacitors to smooth the voltage. Firstly, locate the 7.5v connector:
Remove the power connector, you can either rip it off or desolder it. If you decide to rip it off, be VERY careful not to damage any surrounding components or the motherboard. I have decided to desolder it because I will be using the original power supply in this guide rather than choosing batteries. Check out my batteries section for more information, if you really can't decide, I would recommend using BP-915 camcorder batteries. Connect 2 (you can connect more) in parallel to increase the current. The great thing about a PS1 is that it seems to draw VERY little current! It only draws about 600mA which means with only 2 of these batteries in parallel, you will get quite a few hours of playing time before needing to recharge them again! Anyway... this is what you should be left with:
Next, we will make sure the power switch is bridged, so that the console will turn on as soon as power is supplied to the motherboard. This is necessary because we want to have both the screen and the console to turn on at the same time. This will be explained in more detail further on. Locate the power switch, it should look like this:
Once again, you can either desolder it if you want to re-use the switch sometime, or you can just rip it off. Again, be careful not to damage any surrounding components if you do! I have chosen to desolder it because I will be re-using it as the power switch later on.
Next, the on/off switch contacts on the motherboard must be bridged EXACTLY as I have below:
Finally, on the other side of the controller and memory card slots there is a disk eject switch. This allows the disk only to spin when the cover is closed. If you are using the same cover, you can keep the switch exactly how it is or you can relocate it. If you are planning on not using a disk cover, or simply do not want that switch anymore, you can replace it with a toggle switch so you can change or clean the disk without needing to restart the entire system. The other obvious alternative is to simply remove the switch and bridge the pins underneath or on the other side of the motherboard. That way the disk will always run and can not be changed without restarting the system. I wasn't bothered about this, so I chose the last option and removed the switch altogether.
Now that we have done that, we are now ready to connect our batteries to the system! Go back to where the power connector was and look at the underside of the motherboard. There should be 3 solder joints where the power was connected. 2 of these are ground and the one in the middle is where 7-12v should be connected (bearing in mind that the PsOne Screen can only take 7-8.5v) Like so:
The wire used for power lines should be thicker than the other wires ( for the controller and AV lines). You should use similar wire to the one on the right in these next couple of steps whilst we connect power to the PS1:
Solder the batteries to the PS1 motherboard and the power switch you have decided to use like so... you could connect the switch to the +7.5v line rather than ground if you wanted. It doesn't really make a difference as long as you are cutting off either 0v or +V from the battery like this:
Now we are going to connect the screen. I have chosen to use a 5" PsOne screen because it runs of the same voltage as the PsOne (obviously) and can use RGB as well as composite. This is where to connect power: (I pulled off the clips at the bottom of the board and am soldering to the pads underneath) YOU MUST NOT EXCEED 8.5v OTHERWISE YOU COULD KILL YOUR SCREEN!
Now that our batteries have been successfully connected to our system... we can move on to connecting AV to the screen! This step will be useful to you even if you aren't using a PsOne screen, because it shows where the outputs are on the PS1 motherboard. Go back to where the AV connector was and look at the underside of the motherboard. Use the diagram below to connect AV, if you are using a PsOne screen, you could use RGB, however some screens do not take RGB in which case you would need to use composite. If you are going to use RGB, you will need to connect C-Sync and if you are using a PsOne Screen, you will need to connect 5v to the +5v (enable) pin too (the furthest right pin on the left connector). I would advise using composite however, because RGB gives a slight tint.
There is just one more step before we test that everything is working. We need to install another power LED. You can skip this step if the original surface mounted LED is where you need your LED to be anyway, however if you want the LED in another place, another colour LED, etc, you will need to install a different one. You don't need to, but I also decided to remove the original LED.
Since the original LED is surface mounted, it makes it very difficult to remove without damaging it. I certainly didn't need it, so I just heated it up with my iron and used some tweezers to pry it off the motherboard. The original power LED can be located at the front of the PS1 motherboard in the left corner (to the left of the controller/memory card slots) and right in front of the original power button.
You can now connect the new power LED. I wanted my LED to be very dim because it will be on the front of the system shining right at the user's face... so I used a whopping 1K resistor in series with an ultrabright green LED (I only had ultrabrights) and diffused it with sandpaper. DO NOT connect your new LED where the old one was, instead connect it directly between power to the console and ground... with a resistor in series of course! Make sure your wires are long enough for the LED to reach where you want it to go in your case. You can use thinner wires for this.
Once you have connected the power to both the console and the screen, have connected AV and installed a new power LED, it's time to test the system! Make sure your batteries are charged and flick the power switch. If all goes well... great! This means that your system works so far and you are ready to move on to the next step. If it does not work however, check the troubleshooting section at the bottom of the page. Check that any wires have not broken loose, are bridging something else and have not been connected to the wrong place.
Now we can move on to the memory card and controller ports. This is very dependent on your design... here are the options you can choose from:
Controller Option #1 - (Keep both memory card ports and controller ports)
Leaving them in exactly as they were before does not need to be demonstrated, however I will show you how to re-locate them both. Since these are not power lines, it is Ok to use thinner general purpose wire. You can also use IDE (ribbon) cable if you wish. I will show you what the outcome is with both types of wire, they both work so it is really up to you to decide. If you decide to so this, try to keep the wires as short as possible otherwise it could lead to problems later on. If you need long wires (for whatever reason) you can always use thicker wire, however I try to avoid this whenever possible because it is less flexible and can break off joins far more easily! If you are unsure whether thinner wire will work for the length you need, just give it a go and see whether it does or not! You have nothing to lose after all.
Now we need to connect the SPDT switch to choose between the internal controller and the external controller. You need to connect it between the data line on the motherboard and the internal controller's data line when one way and the external controller's data line when the other way. The controller's data line is the furthest pin to the left when holding the correct way up. It is quite difficult to explain, so just follow this diagram:
Controller Option #2 - Do exactly the same as with option 1 however remove the 2nd controller port. Again, you could either desolder it or rip it off. If you are very careful, you could even cut off that controller port and the tiny unnecessary) part of the board where it is connected. Then you could "rip" off the first controller port and wire the 2nd controller port there instead.
Controller Option #3 - Simple enough... just remove both controller ports and connect your internal controller directly to the pins where the 1st player port used to be. Use the above diagram to help you with where to solder which colour wires.
Now onto the memory card options. Just because the controller and memory card ports are joined, doesn't mean you can't separate them by the way. You could use a dremel to cut through the pins of the memory card slot and then cut the whole piece in half either with a dremel or a small saw. That way you could use any 2 options you wish, e.g. keep the memory card slots but remove both external controller ports.
Memory Card Option #1 - Keep both the memory card slots and allow the user to use their's externally. This is simply a matter of carefully desoldering both memory card slots (being careful not to damage any of the pins in the process) and relocating them to where you want them in your case. (That is if you need them relocating)
Memory Card Option #2 and #3 - This is simply a matter of removing both memory card slots, taking apart some/a PS1 memory card(s) and directly soldering them/it to the motherboard. Like so:
Once you have done this you can test the system again... if it works, CONGRATULATIONS! You have finished making the electronics for a PS1 Portable. Now you just have to insert it all into your case and voila! If you haven't made your case yet, now you can start making it. Check out my case-making guide to see how! [CASE-MAKING GUIDE COMING SOON]
Just ONE more thing... when it comes to putting the electronics inside your case, make sure that the boards are well insulated from each other. You could use a number of things for this... I personally use electrical insulating tape (cover the boards with it) and put a type of arts and crafts foam in-between. It is called different names in different shops however it is all the same stuff. In Hobbycraft it is called "Fab Foam". It is very good at insulating two or more motherboards from each other as it it is fairly tough and a couple of mm thick, yet it can be compressed and made thinner.
If it doesn't work for some reason... don't fret! Check out the troubleshooting section below and once you have got it working, come back here and re-read the above two paragraphs!
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If nothing turns on including your power LED, there is probably something wrong with your power lines. Make sure everything is connected correctly and test the voltage with a multimeter. Test the voltage coming straight from the battery before the switch and after the switch into the motherboard to find where there is a bad connection. It could be that the switch has been connected incorrectly or is broken, or even that the wire you have used has broken somewhere. This is very unlikely, but can happen sometimes. If the voltage at the motherboard is correct, don't forget that you could just have connected the LED the wrong way around and it could be the next problem.
If you are getting no audio or video but your screen, PS1 and power LED turns on, there is probably something wrong with your AV connections. (You know if the screen is getting power because it goes slightly darker and when the power is disconnected, it fades gradually back to dark grey) Double check that you have connected either RGB or composite to the correct places on both the PS1 board and the screen board. Make sure that you are looking at the PS1 motherboard the same way up as it is in the diagram. If all the lines look like they are connected properly and the screen turns on but doesn't output any audio or video, test the PS1 on another screen/TV and test the screen on another console. That way you know whether it is the PS1 or the screen which is not working.
If your console and power LED are turning on however your screen isn't, check the voltage at the screen with a multimeter. If it is 0v... there is a bad connection with the power going to your screen. If it is 7 - 8.5v (DO NOT EXCEED 8.5v) but your screen doesn't appear to be getting any power at all, you may have blown this fuse, in which case you can just bridge it (cross your fingers) and hopefully the screen will work again!
If everything seems to be working except the disk drive, the odds are that you either haven't connected BOTH the ribbon cable and power connector to the motherboard or that you haven't bridged the disk eject switch. If you relocated this switch, make sure it is closed otherwise the disk drive will not work.
If you are still having problems, don't hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll try to get back to you asap to help you with your problem.