Easily mod your PS2 in 30 minutes… (with no soldering!)

This tutorial is the work of Ben Guild and can be found here

if you’re like me you like to play imported and backed-up PS2 games… but don’t feel like modding your PS2. I, myself, have busted two consoles trying to get away with putting a chip in minus the proper supplies. trust me, it sucks when that happens.

eventually I decided that I was going to go the chipless route and masterminded a very simple way to mod your system with just a roll of electrical tape and a few common screwdrivers.

overall… this took me about a half-an-hour to do, and the results are immediate.

I’M NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY DAMAGE TO YOU OR YOUR PS2. You’d have to really mess this up for anything bad to happen… but just in case I’m saying this anyway. However, regardless if you break it or not, you will void your warranty if it hasn’t run out yet. (or hasn’t already been voided… hehe)

what you need:

First, you’re going to need to buy a copy of SwapMagic. This is a special DVD that enables you to swap in a DVD-R disc with a game on it… or an imported title. It costs $25. For most people, this is the only purchase that needs to be made. NO… you cannot use a burned-copy of SwapMagic… it’s a specially designed disc that will later allow you to run burned games.

Next, you need to have the following items:

  • Standard ‘Philips’ Head Screwdriver (that’s the ‘+’ one)
  • Small ‘Philips’ Head Screwdriver… about half the size of the standard sized first one.
  • Small ‘Blade’ Head Screwdriver (that’s the ‘-’ one) or knife
  • A roll of electrical tape (black is best). Duct tape or something else can be substituted… but electrical is recommended.
  • A small plastic sandwich bag.

If you don’t have these things… the total is probably going to be less than $10. Remember, this is much less expensive than modding a PS2 with a chip… and a lot less dangerous.

what you’ve gotta do:

Overall, this isn’t very difficult and should only take about a half-an-hour, as mentioned earlier. I’m going to show you how to do it on a Version 4 PS2. (what version is my PS2?)

Step 1 is to unplug everything (cables, controllers, memory cards, etc.) If you have a hard drive or network card installed, you should not have to take them out. Next, pry up the little plates covering the case screws on the bottom of the unit with the blade screwdriver or very carefully with the knife. Then, unscrew all screws that were under each cover. This is generally 6 to 8 screws total. Store all covers and screws in the plastic bag.

You’ll have to carefully cut through the tape holding through the case together on the back of the unit with the knife. This tells Sony that you’ve opened the case and voided your warranty. If you do not wish to continue, replace all screws, screw covers, and twiddle your thumbs. Cut carefully where there is a gap in the casing so that the knife is not damaging the case.

The top half and bottom half of the case should now separate. Carefully tilt the top half of the case backward as shown in the next image. Be very careful of the silver ribbon cable that’s connected to the power and eject switches. On many PS2s it is taped to the top of the CD/DVD drive with a white sticker. Take the sticker off.

Now that the case is out of the way, and so is the silver ribbon cable… unscrew the 4 tiny screws on the top of the CD/DVD drive with the smaller Philips head screwdriver. Store these screws in the plastic bag.

This allows disc-swapping access to the CD/DVD drive by removing the top cover.

Place the CD/DVD drive’s top cover back on the driver properly and place the top half of the case back on the PS2. Make sure that the silver ribbon cable is not caught on the CD/DVD drive, bent, or squished in any strange way. It is very delicate and needs to be handled with care.

Get out the electrical tape… we’re going to use it to keep the case together and for easy swapping access!

Apply two 3 or 4 inch pieces of electrical tape as shown. Apply the left piece to the bottom of the unit, then fold it over up onto the back. This will hold the top and bottom halves of the case together on that side. Do the same on the right side of the unit, but instead just apply the entire piece without any folding. (you’ll fold it to separate the halves) Fold a tiny bit at the top of each piece down over the sticky side to make it easier to pull the tape off a single half of the case when swapping discs.

Last, apply a long piece of tape under the DVD/CD drive but above the USB/iLink connectors as shown. This is barely visible if you’re using black tape, and allows the top and bottom halves of the case to swing apart when the pieces of tape on the back are folded down.

Ta-da! This allows you to swap discs for just $25. (unless you had to buy supplies… but then again it’s still pretty cheap)

I’ve attached a short MPEG-4 video of me using the SwapDisc to load a backed-up copy of “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas”. You’ll need Quicktime to view it.
smash’s PS2 Swap Disc Mod (in action!)

This tutorial is the work of Ben Guild and can be found here