Thread: Begginer's Guide to Emulation (AKA Emu Noob Guide)

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  1. #1 Begginer's Guide to Emulation (AKA Emu Noob Guide) 
    Senior Member I Modded My PSP
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    I'm putting this together in a simple question answer format to help beginners out with their shiny new PSP. It is designed to answer even the most basic of questions. It's not because they haven't been answered before(there is a search function), but because we all had to start somewhere and there are many conflicting answers out there. It covers: PSP Types, Firmware, Emulators, Homebrew and more. To make it simpler I grouped the question by top starting with PSP info.

    Edit: Originally this was going to be an PSP emulation guide, but to make it as Noob friendly as possible I decided to make it a bit more complete than that. Now instead it will be a start to finish guide from "Out-of-the-Box" to playing your games and finally trouble shooting tips and tricks. I'm going to separate it into a couple sections. First is a FAQ. Then a modding guide. Then and Emu guide. Then the Tips and Tricks + Extras I didn't think fit else where.


    F.A.Q. (Frequntly Asked Questions)

    Q: What is an Emulator?
    A: An emulator is software that allows you to run programs on a system that were not designed for that system. It does this by copying in software the hardware of the original system or converting the instructions to ones the playback system understands. What this means for you is being able to play Nintendo titles on Sony equipment or playing console titles on a PC.

    Q: What types of PSPs are there?
    A: Fat and Slim are the two main type, but they have also gone through slight hardware version changes that are currently unimportant to the-PSP mod community.

    Q: How do I know which I have?
    A: A quick way to tell is to look at the top of the PSP and if it has an Open button to open the UMD door it's a FAT if not it's a Slim.

    Q: What is the XMB?
    A: This is the main menu of your PSP when you start it up.

    Q: What is Firmware?
    A: This is the software your PSP runs when you start it up and there is no game or memory card in it. (Includes the XMB, but also stuff to run the hardware)

    Q: What version Do I have?
    A: You can find this in the XMB. It's under "Settings", then "System Settings", then "System Information". Your version will be listed next to "System Software". I your PSP is un-modded then it will only be a number from 1.00 - 3.95 (As of the start of this thread.)

    Q: What is CFW (Custom FirmWare)
    A: Custom firmware is hacked version of the system software that allows you to do things the manufacturer doesn't allow or never thought of. This is the main mod for the PSP... There are other mods, but nothing other than the initial firmware, homebrew, and emulation will be in this thread.

    Q: What is a bricked PSP?
    A: A "bricked" PSP generally has bad bios software (AKA Firmware) on it either by getting corrupted or a bad mod. It will not generally do anything but have a light come one. (If this doesn't happened it not just "bricked" but completely DEAD or the battery is dead). (Someone more experienced with bricks can correct me if I'm wrong about them.)

    Q: Can it be fixed?
    A: Most of the time it can be fixed as far as I know. Normally when sent to SONY they un-brick it by reloading the broken software on it using a special battery/memory card combination. This is how PSP modding was born. However through techniques linked to and explained below you can do this yourself.

    Q: If I can get one cheap should I?
    A: If you can get it cheap, it may or may not be worth it, but you are taking risk that it can't be fixed because:
    1. It was dead and not bricked
    2. The ROM that allows the bios to be loaded is damaged.
    3. The SMS/Battery slot has a problem.
    It's always buyer beware, but most PSPs can be unbricked, but you will need to already have a MMS/Pandora to do it with a bricked PSP.

    Q: Why should I mod my PSP? Is there a risk?
    A: According to SONY you shouldn't and it breaks the warranty if that's of concern to you. However, it's allows you to back up your PSP titles to a memory card. Allows you to use software that you other wise could not.(AKA Emulators and Homebrew). The risk if done properly is minimal compared to the benefits. The risk is a bricked PSP.

    Q:Can my PSP be modded? (I have FAT/SLIM with 1.00-4.XX Firmware on it.)
    A: The short answer is: YES!!!! Currently, firmware version/type does not matter using the Pandora/MMS method. I have personally modded two PSPs.
    1 FAT 3.95 Original Firmware
    3 Slim 3.95 Original Firmware
    1 Slim 4.01 Original Firmware (Special Silver Edition)
    The long answer depends on the specific firmware you have/want and what can be done to change it, but the method I provide is virtually universal. (I used the same method on both the FAT & Slim.)

    Q:What is the best PSP model for modding?
    A: That depends on you. The Fat PSP is more compatible with homebrew due to being able to run the 1.50 kernel which many apps are designed for, but the Slim has more memory and software is currently trending away from the 1.50 kernel + you get T.V. out which means playing your emulators on the big screen. So the trade off is compatibility versus features. The Slims extra RAM may mean some homebrew eventually won't work on the Fat. Currently the extra RAM is only used by a few developers to speed load times from the UMD (The disc drive.)

    Q: Will modding my PSP affect my original PSP's abilities.
    A: Not in any way I've noticed. I used the browser, TV Out (for Slim owners), and the Internet Radio functions as well as different types of movie/music playback.
    ***My brother (The Slim Silver Owner) said PSN downloads require reloading, but still work.***

    Q:What are the requirements for modding a PSP?
    A:The absolute minimum is:
    1 PSP (Duhhh!!!)
    1 Pandora battery
    1 Magic Memory Stick

    Optional:
    1 USB Cable (Optional if Pandora/MMS are purchased separately, but will be needed for other stuff like backing up games.)
    1 PC (For Software and Storage)
    1 Specialized Software (Optional if Pandora/MMS are purchased separately)

    Q:What is a Pandora Battery?
    A:This is a specially modded PSP battery to get the PSP into recovery mode to replace the firmware on it. Either with custom firmware or un-bricking by replacing corrupted official firmware with non-corrupted official firmware. (The 2nd one is what SONY does to repair bricked PSPs).

    Q:What is a MMS (Magic Memory Stick)?
    A:This is a specially formatted Memory Stick PRO Duo w/Magic Gate loaded with the software to replace the firmware in conjunction with the Pandora Battery.

    Q:How do I make a Pandora Battery/MMS or where can I get them?
    A:There are many guides online as to this part here. Yes, this can be done no matter starting firmware, desired firmware, or PSP Model w/type of windows in XP/Vista. (I did mine without a modded PSP, made the Pandora/MMS myself using Vista, starting from 3.95 the latest at this point.) In short I haven't put together a guide yet but the ones here,PSP Hardware Guides, are a good place to start. (BTW, I'm used the same MMS/Pandora for the 4.01 Firmware)

    Q: What systems can be emulated on the PSP?
    A: Basically anything N64/PS1 and older and GBA and older. There are people working on a DS emulator but it does very little currently. N64 is coming along but has been at a bit of a standstill for a while now. For a fairly complete list with site/dowload locations, check my other thread(although not finished yet.)

    More to come....
    P.S. If a mod can help me... I need to fix the title and spelling for the header... Also I plan on making this into a complete noob guide not just an emu guide. If you can help then PM me.
    Last edited by Kreationz; 08-21-2008 at 01:27 AM. Reason: Did some organizing and Editing of the FAQ section.
    My PSP: Slim CFW 5.50 Gen-D3 w/Prometheus-4 patch
    My Wife's PSP: FAT CFW 5.00 M33-3
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  2. #2  
    Senior Member I Modded My PSP
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    Reserved for Part 2: The Official to Custom Guide (AKA Some Assembly required)

    This guide assumes a few basic things. One you have a PSP and a familiar with the buttons battery location, memory card location, etc... Basically basic PSP knowledge. If not get someone else to do this part. If you bought your Pandora battery from an outside source then you can skip Step 2, the battery mod part. If it also cam with a MMS. Skip to Step 4.

    Step 1: Gather your supplies.
    1 PSP
    1 Memory Stick PRO Duo (I recommend 1 or 2 Gig to save on cost and to keep separate in case of bricking.)
    1 Battery (the one with the Gold Lettering from Wal-Mart will work fine.)
    Here a link to Purchase: Sony Extended Life Battery Kit PSP / PSP Slim No longer available online from Wal-Mart. I wonder why? The pic is good though if you can find it elsewhere.
    1 USB Cable
    1 Sharp tipped exacto or or similar knife.
    Tape to hold it back together.

    Step 2: Make Your Pandora
    There are two possible ways to do this. Soft-mod and Hard-mod. For Soft-modding to work you need a modded PSP. So we're going to focus on hard-modding. BTW these images are stolen from other guides but they are good and clear. The first pic is not the Wal-mart battery the other two are. Read this part fully before you start or you may end up wasting $40 on a good battery.

    First open the battery by carefully and gently cutting around the edge of the battery with the exacto knife like so: (you may need to cut further along the edges a bit to make it easier to open)


    Next gently pry open the battery and you should see this: (If it doesn't open without a lot of force cut further along the bottom than the picture, but be extra careful along the top)

    Note:I need to redo images, sorry

    Next you need to cut one of the pins on one of the chips. Be CAREFUL NOT to touch any other parts with the metal of the razor. This is how it should look when Done:

    Note:I need to redo images, sorry

    Finally close it back up and tape it shut. (A little electrical tape goes a long way.) You should now have your own custom made Pandora Battery.

    Now to test it. Insert it in your PSP without the power cord plugged in. The power light should turn green but the system shouldn't be able to be turned on. If this is the case you were successful. If the system turns on and boots then open the battery back up and make sure the pin is cut. Then test again.

    Step 3:Making Your Magic Memory Stick
    What you need...
    1 Modded or Un-modded PSP (doesn't matter which)
    1 Memory card (512MB - 2GB is your best best)
    1 USB Cable
    This software: (Yes, it works under Vista and it works with the Slim PSP :P )
    PSP Grader v006 - Light - The light version doesn't include needed firmwares so get them next.
    These Original Firmwares:
    You will need the Sony PSP Firmware 1.50
    And the required Original Sony PSP Firmware for your version of PSP Grader. (4.01 as of version 006)
    Note: This software requires .NET Framework v2, so get that from Windows Update if you haven't yet.

    Insert the Memory Stick (512MB-2GB will work for sure, haven't test any other size). Insert your NON-Pandora battery (the original one). Turn on the PSP Plug it in to the charger. Plug in your USB cable to the PSP and then to your PC. Next go to "Settings" then "USB Connection" and Press X. Wait for Windows to add the PSP as an external media drive. Vista Note: Don't try to use it for the Speed up My System option just close that pop-up if it occurs. Next we need to setup the software. Run the PSP Grader Light install file from your down load location and follow the install instructions. Next copy the required firmwares to the install directory or else you'll get an error making the MMS. Vista Note: This software has to be run as administrator to work properly. When you run the software it will look like this:

    Note:I need to redo images, sorry

    All you should have to do at this point is select the directories where the original firmwares are located and which drive your PSP is. The second part usually selects it automatically. Then click start and wait for it to finish.

    Congratulations you should now have everything you need to set up custom firmware on your PSP.

    Step 4: Modding your PSP
    Now comes the part you've been waiting for after this step you will have a custom PSP capable of playing your backups from you memory card, running homebrew/emulators and more.

    Turn off the PSP by holding power until it is completely off. Next remove your battery and disconnect the USB cable. Next with the MMS still in the system, if you have a Slim hold down the "L" button (unless you changed it in the software) while insert your Pandora's Battery. If you have a PHAT all you have to do is insert it and wait.

    Note: Once the process is started it is a good idea to plug in you power cable to the PSP to make sure the battery doesn't run out while this is going on. If the procces can't complete you may end up with a brick and have to redo Step 4. Step 4 is also the process for unbricking a PSP.

    At this point your PSP should be modded and contain CFW 3.80 M33-5
    You can choose to upgrade downgrade/upgrade or add further extensions to your PSP at this point. I chose to go with 3.90 M33-3 (The latest out, but not for any other reason.) and added the 1.50 Kernel extension for my wife since she play more classics and the Multi-Popsloader for mine since I play games that need it (Read: She plays more SNES. I play FFVII, going for as close to perfect on it as I can get.)
    Last edited by Kreationz; 08-21-2008 at 02:22 AM. Reason: Needs Repair... :(
    My PSP: Slim CFW 5.50 Gen-D3 w/Prometheus-4 patch
    My Wife's PSP: FAT CFW 5.00 M33-3
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  3. #3  
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    Reserved For Part 3: The Emulation Guide
    Well first we'll start with the easiest to emulate system and then move one to the more complicated stuff, but you can just skip to the system you want to play for what to get and where and where to put it. Look in tips and tricks after you get it running if it runs, but just not correctly.

    Note: This guide section is based on a PSP Slim with CFW 3.90 M33-3. I plan to test it on a Fat when I get a chance. (But that's at least a week away.)

    PSX (AKA Playstation One):
    This is relatively easy as the emu is built into DAX's(AKA Dark Alex) Firmware which we just installed. The only semi-difficult part is converting you PSX titles to a format which your PSP can read. So we're going to go through creating an EBOOT for a PSX title. Then in the advanced section we will do a multi-disc title. Finally we will add custom graphics to make it look nice and pretty in the XMB. In Tips and Tricks we go beyond the basics to trouble shoot individual titles. The first we'll cover there is FFVII. (Only thing I've needed to play FFVII has been Multi-pops loader and I'm using 2.72 POPs on the Slim list below, just finished Junon, currently stealing Shinra Betas... Like I said above I'me going for a perfect All Items/Levels/Stats/Chocobo/Materia Maxed Game. So if there are any problems with FFVII left I WILL find them. He he...)
    (Have to gather my resources. This section will be done soon.)
    (Timeline Update: Life just hit me a bit, so no updates for a few days, but then I'll be back at it.)

    Atari2600: Runs Near Flawless so we'll do it next.

    SNES (AKA Super Nintendo): Haven't even tried it myself yet.

    NES: Same as SNES

    GBA: Only tried one title which didn't work... will work on this as well.

    N64 (AKA Nintendo64):
    While there is a proof of concept in the form of Daedalus most titles run way too slow if at all, so don't get your hopes up too much. However I will help you get Mario64 up and running.

    Note: I've played the first few levels of it. I'm currently try to contact Strmnnrmn about helping with the emulator by incorporating code from other open source projects I have gotten permission to use. This will soon (in a month or two) become a project I plan to invest a lot of time in. (My ultimate goal being in the form of the Zelda titles and Perfect Dark running as flawlessly as possible. Then I will work on other titles, but I figure if those can get to the point of playable any titles will be possible.) (Well Daedalus has had no activity in months, but source is available... So time for me to jump on board there.)[Edit: this part has taken longer than expected so I don't expect a release before next year as life has gotten busy.]
    Last edited by Kreationz; 10-06-2008 at 03:10 PM. Reason: Daedalus Update
    My PSP: Slim CFW 5.50 Gen-D3 w/Prometheus-4 patch
    My Wife's PSP: FAT CFW 5.00 M33-3
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  4. #4  
    Senior Member I Modded My PSP
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    Reserved for Part 4: Tips and Tricks (AKA XXXXX Game is locking up or too slow.)
    My PSP: Slim CFW 5.50 Gen-D3 w/Prometheus-4 patch
    My Wife's PSP: FAT CFW 5.00 M33-3
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  5. #5  
    Senior Member I Modded My PSP
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    Wow, I've been gone so long the images I was using got deleted. Oh well, give me a couple days and I'll have the is guide resurrected. I've been playing a little too much FFVII and War of the Lions. Looks like this thread is going to take a while. It's going to be about a month before I can make the images I need. (Currently away from home and going to need my camera, sorry. Read with have to wait 2 months for it to be fixed, but I am working on my emulator page.)
    Last edited by Kreationz; 10-05-2008 at 06:54 PM.
    My PSP: Slim CFW 5.50 Gen-D3 w/Prometheus-4 patch
    My Wife's PSP: FAT CFW 5.00 M33-3
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  6. #6  
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    i need help , step by step guide .how and where to install uo_gpsp_kai_3_3 .. psp slim cfw 4.01 m33-2. thanks!
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  7. #7  
    Senior Member PSP Elite Hacker tomaversa's Avatar
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    try to edit your posts kreationz....

    instead of having 5 in a row....


    Heres a few words of wisdom:

    When life gives you lemons, find someone whose life is giving them vodka.

    Never fry bacon naked....

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  8. #8  
    Senior Member I Modded My PSP
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    @tomaversa
    The first four were to make editing easier and were for four separate sections of the guide. If you had noticed three of those had been edited. (Within the last two weeks and this is a 4 month old thread.) #5 I added for a place to put a status update on it. After getting users like cmallari asking for help. I still am away from home until the end of Nov. (Then I wiil do a complete redo of this thread.

    @cmallari
    It goes in the psp/game folder on your memory stick. It requires a GBA Bios file to work. You can find it on Google. Just search for "gba_bios.bin" and you should be able to find it.
    My PSP: Slim CFW 5.50 Gen-D3 w/Prometheus-4 patch
    My Wife's PSP: FAT CFW 5.00 M33-3
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  9. #9  
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    ok thanks.. but after putting the gba bios in the psp/game folder, what folder should i put all gba games that i downloaded? just in that same folder along with the gba_bios.bin?
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  10. #10  
    Senior Member I Modded My PSP
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    1. Downloading Roms is illegal. Don't ever mention downloading Games/Roms, or any type of copyrighted materials. You will be severely chastised by the mod/emu community for it. Emu's are not meant to be tools for piracy only another means to enjoy games you already own and a way to explore the technical aspects of the system for developers.

    2. Put any roms you legally own and have dumped from the original carts in a folder called ROMS. The name and their location does not matter. The emu's browers work like the one on your pc and if you know where they are you can find them anywhere on the memory stick. Only some emulators have specific directory for games.
    My PSP: Slim CFW 5.50 Gen-D3 w/Prometheus-4 patch
    My Wife's PSP: FAT CFW 5.00 M33-3
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  11. #11  
    Junior Member PSP User WRAITH07's Avatar
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    Hi,i just bought tomorrow never dies for psx off ebay and i've picked it up. my cfw is 4.01 m-33 so which emulator do i need to use and how do i use it? thanks
    ps ive already converted it to eboot---did i need to do that?
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  12. #12  
    Senior Member I Modded My PSP
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    Just put the eboot in the PSP/GAME folder. Then it should show up in your menu.
    My PSP: Slim CFW 5.50 Gen-D3 w/Prometheus-4 patch
    My Wife's PSP: FAT CFW 5.00 M33-3
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  13. #13  
    bunnies ate my brain PSP Elite Hacker clwnz's Avatar
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    nice guide o_ob

    "I got ice in my veins,
    blood in my eyes
    Hate in my heart,
    love in my mind..."

    Guide: OFW to CFW|Free ISO/ROMS!|OFW EBOOT|Guide: CFW w/o Pandora!
    MySpace|Homebrew Thread|PSP Folder Organization

    Quote Originally Posted by KhAoSxChAoS View Post
    I facepalmed so many times, I have a fractured forehead...
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  14. #14  
    Junior Member PSP User WRAITH07's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kreationz View Post
    Just put the eboot in the PSP/GAME folder. Then it should show up in your menu.
    ok thanks, what about the keys.bin file?
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