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Posted on Sep 3rd 2017 at 08:00:00 AM by (Addicted)
Posted under PS2, Consoles,Hidden Gems

We've all been there. You find an untested system at Goodwill, flee market, or the local game store. You bring it home and power it on only to find out that the laser is dead and replacement parts are hard to come by. This is especially true of the PlayStation 2 fat systems whose lasers are difficult to replace. The good news is your PlayStation 2 can play games again with some help from Google, and a couple spare parts.

Let's get this out of the way first. Any time you are working on a PlayStation 2 fat system you should always pull the plug and wait a couple minutes before you begin any work. The PlayStation 2 hereafter referred to as the PS2 has a fuse that is easily blown if you detach and reattach the network adapter while the system has any power. To get started we need the following parts. Please note that I do not endorse any of these sellers nor do I receive any money from the sale of these products.


* 1 Official PS2 Network Adapter (http://www.rfgeneration.c...fo.php?ID=U-072-H-00150-A) You could try a bootleg from Aliexpress but the build quality is questionable.

* 1 IDE 3.5 to IDE 2.5 converter (https://www.amazon.com/St...words=startech+ide+to+2.5) Power on the side is required to make sure the adapter will fit.

* 1 44 Pin 2.5" Male IDE to SD Card Adapter (https://www.amazon.com/Op...fRID=N4M8F0VY6JAPF4ZDEM9N)

* 8Gb or higher MicroSDHC card with adapter (https://www.amazon.com/gp...age_o08_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1)

* PS2 Memory card with FreeMcBoot 1.93 or higher installed. (You can buy these from Amazon or Ebay. You can also make your own.)


* WinHIIP 1.76 or other PS2 utility (Used to format MicroSDHC card and install games.)

* Software to create ISO images from your PS2 DVDs/CDs. (Just need something that will create an image file .ISO or .BIN/.Cue)

Let's start with FreeMcBoot. FreeMcBoot is a soft mod that allows you to run applications without the use of a modchip. When a memory card with FreeMcBoot is inserted in to a PS2 it allows you to run applications. When the memory card is removed the PS2 returns to stock configuration. For our purposes FreeMcBoot allows us to run an application called Open PS2 loader. Open PS2 loader is as the name suggests an application to load PS2 games from any region and in our case off the MicroSDHC card. You may be wondering why we aren't using using the USB ports on the front of the PS2. The USB ports are USB 1.1 this means that running games off them will be slow and cutscenes will be choppy. The other reason we are using a MicroSDHC is future proofing. IDE hard drives like CRT TVs are becoming a rarity and it will be harder and harder to find working ones. By using a MicroSDHC we are eliminating all moving parts from the PS2 ensuring longevity. If you ever want to increase the hard drive capacity just buy a larger MicroSDHC card.

The hardware is simple to assemble. Attach the IDE 3.5 to 2.5 (desktop to laptop) converter to the PS2 network adapter. Attach the 44 Pin 2.5" Male IDE to SD Card Adapter to the IDE 3.5 to 2.5 converter. When assembled it should look similar to this:

With the hardware assembled we can focus on the software. Insert your MicroSDHC or MicroSDHC and adapter into your Windows computer. Start up WinHiip as Administrator and select the MicroSDHC card. Format the MicroSDHC card. Use add images to load your PS2 DVD/CD images on to your newly formatted MicroSDHC card. Once you have loaded your DVD/CD images on to your memory card remove it in place it in to the Male IDE to SD Card Adapter. You can now connect the PS2 network adapter to the back of your PS2 and plug in the cables. If you need further instruction on how to use WinHiip please visit https://www.youtube.com/ and search for WinHiip.

With the hardware assembled, Free McBoot memory card inserted and the PS2 powered on we are ready to play some games. Select Open PS2 Loader from the application menu and switch over to HDD Games. You should see the list of games you loaded using WinHiip. Press X to start and game and enjoy!

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Wow, this is very cool. One of my fat PS2's sometimes acts up a bit...I should try this out.

One question: is there any particular reason why you use a MicroSD card over a regular SD card? From the pictures of the SD to IDE adapter it looks like it would accept a regular SD card.
My silver PS2 has a 160GB IDE hard drive inside it. I got that from a DVD player/DVR combo unit that someone was throwing out.
It seems to me that the biggest hurdle is getting free mcboot onto a memory card, because you need other things to get it onto a memory card which I also don't have.  I have found that buying a memory card with it loaded is the cheaper option, and will likely get one of those to get this going.  It is disheartening that you can't burn the Action Replay Max disk, and go from there, it would have to be a factory disk, which is a lot more costly than simply buying a memory card with it pre-installed.

I have a 20 gig IDE in my ps2 fat (all that I had with an IDE interface), but I plan on hooking it into my network to boot over the network as well, and installing ps1 games mostly to the hard drive since my main issue is that neither of my PS2's will read PS1 disks anymore.
Ironically, my post launch PS2 is still rocking and rolling despite being used as a main DVD player from 2000-2003, and falling off various coffee tables and what not.  In contrast the Bluray drive on my PS3 has died AGAIN, which would means an application of another $20 if I ever want to finish Ni No Kuni before the sequel comes out.

I've had these modifications in mind for a while now, so it is nice to see plans laid out nice and linear like.  Thank you for that.  If I could add anything I would say that component cables, coupled with the right kind of TV, would be a good choice.  Keeping in mind that I own a 40" Zenith CRT, I couldn't believe how much those cables improved the general picture, especially the colors and sharpness.  Definitely not on the level of running an upscaler or PC based PS2 emulator, but more than worth the $10 it cost for the cables, and my PS2 games have never looked better!
Addicted has been helping me for months trying to walk me through running ISOs on my PS2. The info in this article is what finally succeeded for me. Not counting the Micro SD Card itself, this mod is only going to cost you about $25 if you just buy a memory card with FMcB already on it. I got mine off ebay.

I will note that it can be a little tricky to unallocate a micro SD card on Win10 (at least it was for me). This is required to format the card in Winhhiip. After a little googling I figured it out using the diskpart command prompt with the "clean" command. After that is was smooth sailing.

I have an HDMI adapter on my PS2 that I also got off ebay a while back. It looks absolutely glamorous on my modern TV.

Addicted, how about the OG Xbox next? All you need is a controller to usb adapter that you can make or buy for two bucks from China!
This is really cool!  Thanks for sharing.
Let's keep those PS2s alive and kicking!
@Sirgin: MicroSD cards tend to be more common and cheaper than full-size SD cards these days, mainly because most phones can use them for external storage.
@Gamer4Lyfe: Ah yes, network booting games from a network share is great! It also removes the need for an internal hard drive or SD card.
I haven't been able to do that since Windows 10 though. It's been a while since I tried it, so it may work again now.
I have done this to 3 of my consoles, and installed the games that have network support, so I dont have to rebuy the game 3 times.  I only have 1.93 where do you get the 1.95 FW? but its great fun to play Time Crisis 2 and 3 on 2 TVs. and Network gaming on GT and Battlefront.
@Sirgin: As ApolloBoy stated the MicroSD card + adapter is cheaper. You can use either.

@mumboking: Nice! Can't be free! I haven't tried booting from network share yet. I'll have to take a look.

@Gamer4Lyfe: I wish the process was a little more straightforward when dealing with installing Free McBoot. I built mine using the PS2 to PS3 memory card adapter. I bought it around the PS3's launch but it goes for too much money for me to recommend now. The best option for most is to buy it pre installed on an official PS2 memory card. (Make sure it say's magic gate on the memory card)

@bombatomba: Sorry to hear about your PS3. The prices on them are coming down so you might be able to snag a slim model for cheap. I highly recommend component cables or SCART for connecting your PS2. My Life in Gaming should be releasing a video soon regarding getting the best picture out of your PS2 and I would wait to see what they recommend as far as brands.

@GrayGhost81: Congrats on getting it working! I don't know of anything off the top of my head for the Xbox but I will take a look.

@ApolloBoy: Yep. I'm hoping the 200GB+ start coming down in price.

@douglie007: I'll shoot you a PM.
Dude, thanks for writing up this tutorial!  I have a network adapter and IDE-to-SATA adapter I bought in anticipation of doing the Free McBoot thing with my Fat PS2, but haven't got around to it yet.  I have a 128GB SSD I plan on using with this thing, assuming my adapter works w/o a hitch, but with your write-up, I might have to tackle this sooner, rather than later.  My PS2 Slim is beginning to get flaky, and I have stacks of PS2 games I want to play yet, and I'm not excited about dropping $40 or $50 on another deck, unless it's a nice color I don't have.
@MetalFRO: There isn't much point using an SSD as the PS2 can only use it at IDE speeds. The only good thing about it would be no moving parts.
For those of us that do have the PS2 to PS3 memory card adapter, where are instructions for building your own card?
@Duke: I would start at: http://www.ps2-home.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1248
and look at http://www.ps2-home.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=297

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