A Tale of Troubles and Tribulations with Matrix Infinity 1.99
For those who just want to know how I got my 1.99 to work, skip to the second post. This part is mostly a story and rant of my problems.
OK, I knew I was taking a risk when I decided to take the plunge and mod my own PS2. Obviously, it breaks the warranty (which was long past anyway). And there is a real possibility of damaging something and hencefore be stuck with an expensive paperweight (or parts). But I've had a year of Electronics in Vo-Tech as well as many years of piddling around with electronics as a hobby, so I thought I could handle it.
Last year I bought a Matrix Infinity 1.99 from modchipcity.com. It did not come with any diagrams or instructions, so I had to search the net to find those. My PS2 model number is SCPH-30001 R and I learned that this (and an extra screw hole) means it's Version 5.
There's more than one diagram for modchips for Version 5. However, I was very confused on which of these diagrams I should use. And many V5 diagrams do not specify the model number. Strangely, some of these diagrams differ somewhat on where to connect certain tabs. Also, it was only recently (upon reading the Beware of fake Matrix Infinity's thread) that I learned that the Matrix Infinity 1.99 is a clone. (Though, the price tag of US $11 should have been a big clue.)
I decided to use two diagrams for Matrix Infinity. Mostly, I used this one from www.blade.cc for the SCPH-30002 R:
However, I made two exceptions:
1) Instead of soldering the 3.3V lead as indicated above, I soldered to the 3.3V point indicated on the following (another diagram for Matrix Infinity on a V5 USA PS2):
The reason I did this was because of my placement of my mod chip, so this method made for a shorter 3.3V lead. (I read somewhere that some modchip installs fail or run into problems because they made the leads to 3.3V or GND too long.)
2) Instead of soldering to the Ground indicated on the SCPH-30002R diagram I soldered directly to the bare copper edge of the board, which made for a connection only 3 mm long.
Finding a place on the crowded and bumpy mainboard to mount the modchip was a bit of a challenge. But I used the mostly vacant end of the board where there's a big rectangular hole. I was worried that the steel shield plate might short out a solder joint if it protuded too far, so I was mindful of that.
Also, my chip placement put it near one of the main screw holes. This caused some problems in that the numerous wires going to my chip had to go around this hole and leave a lot of leeway for the joint or risk having the wires smashed. To fix this and other loose wire issues I used small dabs of hot glue to hold the wires in place and close to the board.
I was concerned that hot glue might have very slight electrical conductivity or interfere with PS2 operation in some way. But I've seen circuit boards before with large amounts of hot glue on them and they seem to function fine. However, the hot glue caused headaches later when I had to remove a bad wire or change a wire path.
I did the best solder job I could with the tools I had. I wore a static grounding wrist strap most of the time. (Except on occations when I'd forget and start without.) I used a 30 watt iron (being mindful not to touch contacts for more than a second or so for fear of overheating). And I used some strands of wire from a recovered/recycled cord. In hindsight, I should have went out and bought a new 15 watt iron to be on the safe side (with new tip) and used brand new wire. (What can I say? I'm on a tight budget.)
I took my time with it. And I used an old toothbrush occationally to carefully brush away any debris or solder beads that might be left behind. Some of the solder joints are very tricky, though! I had particular trouble around P, O, N, M, Q, T, U, V, R, and W. These are all closely spaced. V and R in particular are next together and nearly touch. (I used a knife to careful scrape between them to make sure there was no connection.)
Soldering "W" gave me a nightmare because I accidentally touched the surface-mount resistor above it. My 30 watt iron loosened this resistor and to my horror it stuck to the iron! I wasn't even positive it was a resistor (Maybe a diode?) but I somehow managed to resolder it back in place. Using a large iron to solder a surface mount much smaller than a grain of rice is not easy!
But as bad as that was, it paled in comparisons to the trouble I had with the lead to "S" (also called "SCEX" on some diagrams). First, it's soldering to one end of a surface mount resistor. So there's risk of a hot iron loosening it. And a protruding chip nearby makes the task more challenging. But neither of those were my downfall. My problem was that - no matter what I tried - I could not get the solder to stick to the end of that resistor! I repeatedly scraped the end clean with a knife... no stick. I repeatedly filed it down (carefully) with a file from a jeweler's file set... still no stick. I must have tried a dozen times to solder it! A few times I thought I had it soldered, but when I gingerly pushed on the wire it broke loose. Eventually, though, I got it solid enough.
OK, so I put my unit back together. (I'd say assembly and disassembly itself is a challenge for those of us without much experience doing it. Thankfully, there's this step-by-step illustrated guide. Unfortunately, I assembled and disassembled mine a couple times before I found that help.) And as I hook it up, turn it on and push the Reset I hold my breath...
[PS2 fan blows but NOTHING else...]
All I see is the bright blue screen of A/V input... ;__;
So, I take it apart and carefully inspect all my solder joints and wires. But everything seems to be in order. I do resolder a couple I had a bit of doubt about. Then I tried assembling it and trying again. Still nothing but fan and blue! Finally, I take it apart (3rd or 4th time) and decided that since one of the V5 Matrix Infinity diagrams did not use "G" or "H", then maybe it was not needed for my PS2 model. So I unsoldered those two joints and taped the ends. I put it back together and crossed my fingers...
Still just a PS2 fan and a blue screen...