Softmodding a (fat) PS2 in 2017

Discussion in 'Sony PlayStation 1 & 2' started by rs1n, Jul 10, 2017.

  1. rs1n
    OP

    rs1n Advanced Member

    Newcomer
    81
    20
    Jul 26, 2013
    United States
    For any PS2 (slim or fat) with model number less than 9xxx, the simplest method is to obtain a memory card with Free MC Boot installed. The cost of such a memory card is around $10 (USD) on ebay. Once you have such a memory card, you can create new ones (I always have one as a backup that I have stored away safely). For owners of the fat PS2 consoles, you can also soft mod your PS2 to use your HDD (and even use Free HD Boot).

    Yes, I am aware that many users are kind enough to provide a free service for installing FMCB. I am of the opinion buying one from ebay is better than the time/cost it takes to send away a memory card and have it freely modified with FMCB.

    If you own a fat PS2, then you actually can create your own FMCB memory card without having to do any of the disk swapping nonsense. All you need are:
    1. the official network adapter
    2. and a PATA IDE HDD. Consult http://ps2drives.x-pec.com/?p=list for compatibility. You can alternately modify your network adapter to use SATA hard drives with: http://www.maxdiypower.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=103. If you stick with PATA drives, then chances are you will need some sort of USB adapter. I personally use: https://www.amazon.com/Sabrent-USB-...d=1499650298&sr=8-1&keywords=pata+usb+sabrent which has support for both SATA and PATA and runs on the faster USB3 ports (backward compatible with USB2).
    3. Lastly, you will need a USB drive formatted to FAT32.

    Once you have the necessary hardware, it is a fairly simple process. The idea is to write a boot image to the HDD so that we can run custom code. The boot image can be found in the first post of this thread: http://psx-scene.com/forums/f153/softmodding-fat-ps2-hard-disk-drive-[tutorial]-116178/ (the direct link is: http://psx-scene.com/forums/attachm...2-hard-disk-drive-[tutorial]-fat_soft_mod.zip)

    1. Connect the HDD to your computer. Mac and Linux users can copy the image file to their HDD using the dd command. Windows users can use Win32 Disk Imager (https://sourceforge.net/projects/win32diskimager/). There are plenty of alternatives, so feel free to use your favorite.
    2. Connect the HDD to the PS2 via the network adapter. (Make sure that the PS2 is unplugged whenever installing or removing the HDD or you could very well blow a fuse!)
    3. When you boot the PS2, it should eventually load up UlaunchELF, which is basically like very simple-looking (but powerful) Finder on a Mac, or Windows Explorer on Windows platforms. Use this to run the FreeMCBoot installer (http://psx-scene.com/forums/f153/fmcb-v1-9-series-release-thread-116247/) by copying the installer onto a USB drive and plugging the USB drive into the PS2. Use UlanchELF and traversing to the USB drive (called mass in the UlaunchELF browser) to find the installer. Always format your memory card first!
    You can optionally install FreeHDBoot (the HDD equivalent of FreeMCBoot) but it will likely be slightly slower in terms of bootup time when compared to FMCB.
     
    RicoSuaveGuapo likes this.
  2. Sonic Angel Knight

    Sonic Angel Knight GBAtemp Guru

    Member
    9,474
    4,682
    May 27, 2016
    United States
    New York
    So is the HDD required? I have a PS2 Slim so i was just curious, My gameshark doesn't seem to properly transfer files from my USB to MC properly :unsure:
     
  3. rs1n
    OP

    rs1n Advanced Member

    Newcomer
    81
    20
    Jul 26, 2013
    United States
    If you absolutely do not want to shell out $10 (US dollars) for a pre-made memory card, then slim users must unfortunately use the disk swapping method (which I will not get into here because I have not done this myself) to install FMCB themselves.

    If you instead meant to ask whether the HDD is required at all to softmod your PS2 (slim or fat), then no an HDD is not required. Having an HDD simply makes it easier to do it yourself, and allows you to play games off of the HDD. There are other methods for playing games (e.g. via ethernet or USB) once you have your system softmodded.
     
  4. y0shim@ri0

    y0shim@ri0 Advanced Member

    Newcomer
    75
    14
    Nov 28, 2012
    United States
    Theres also a few other ways to mount a HDD: 1, you can buy a 20$ SATA board, and actually change the IDE to SATA, or 2, you can buy a cheap 3rd party sata or ide adapter which doesnt have any actual network capabilities. (and before anyone asks, yes, you can use these and they do work)
     
  5. Orangy57

    Orangy57 bruh

    Member
    197
    97
    Aug 17, 2015
    United States
    for the slim, I picked up a copy of Agent Under Fire and a DVD-R at my dollar tree, which totaled only six bucks. If you have a fat and slim PS2, mod the slim then transfer the memory card. It saves you quite a few bucks and a lot of time for disk swaps.
     
  6. RicoSuaveGuapo

    RicoSuaveGuapo Newbie

    Newcomer
    2
    0
    Jan 22, 2017
    United States
    Thanks for this guide... I've been using HDLoader* for years, but the optical drive is slowly failing.

    If I already have FreeMCBoot on a memory card (I just ordered one from eBay), what steps do I need to take from there? I assume I still need to write the boot image to the hard drive?

    *HDAdvance 3.0
     
    Last edited by RicoSuaveGuapo, Aug 6, 2017
  7. J-Machine

    J-Machine Self proclaimed Pog champion

    Member
    646
    219
    Aug 25, 2011
    Canada
    A concrete Igloo
    last i checked the custom code was on the memory card for everything but the homebrew itself which you can easily put on the usb drive. Softmodding the ps2 is just having a freemcboot memcard plugged in during boot. only if you are running backups off an HDD would it be required. (you can also run games over usb - not recommended- or ethernet network.) as for the network adaptor... just buy a sata based one. its not exactly easy to get such old HDDs anymore; especially new. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/SAT...lgo_pvid=bccd223b-13c6-4735-b16e-2422bb663449
     
    RicoSuaveGuapo likes this.
  8. RicoSuaveGuapo

    RicoSuaveGuapo Newbie

    Newcomer
    2
    0
    Jan 22, 2017
    United States
    Thanks - that clears things up a bit. I have the original network adapter and a working IDE drive installed, so I should be set. But I'll probably order one of those SATA adapters for future-proofing.
     
  9. TVL

    TVL #|

    Member
    443
    153
    Feb 17, 2004
    World -1
    I have the original network adapter too, you could just get an IDE to SATA adapter to future proof it (I have a Sata to SD adapter too and one of these days I'll use an SD card for my PS2 games, right now my IDE HDD is still alive though).
     
  10. J-Machine

    J-Machine Self proclaimed Pog champion

    Member
    646
    219
    Aug 25, 2011
    Canada
    A concrete Igloo
    i'll probably get an sd adaptor one day but for now having 500gb on a sata is pretty nice so i'm in no rush. The ide to sata though... they cost about the same and in my opinion is kinda useless unless you already have an IDE that still works.

    I also forgot to mention the HDloading software will format your drive for you in my earlier post for what it's worth.
     
  11. TVL

    TVL #|

    Member
    443
    153
    Feb 17, 2004
    World -1
    Yeah, I would see no reason to get one in your situation either.

    Not sure if there is a misunderstanding here, the adapter is from IDE to SATA so he can continue using the Network Adapter he already has. He's not saving a whole bunch of money on it though since what you linked was only 15 bucks (really cheap and an awesome thing for everyone who doesn't have the official network adapter already). I think you could get a IDE -> SATA for 3-4 dollars. If he happens to play online on his PS2 still he can keep doing that too. So I don't really see any downside whatsoever to my suggestion.
     
  12. DaFixer

    DaFixer Dare to be stupid

    Member
    378
    105
    Aug 29, 2010
    Netherlands
    In my mencave ;)
    You also use those 32mb,64mb and 128mb memory cards (from aliexpress).
    I using a 32mb for 3 years now, and they still works great ;)