Crystal Chip and the SCPH-18000
This would probably be something really cool if I had done it several years ago, but the truth is that it's quite outdated. I also would have posted this earlier, but psx-scene started having trouble and I was unable to. Either way, I felt the need to report this:
Introductory Note: This is formatted as a testimonial/tutorial at the same time.
Anyone who has ever been to the Crystal Chips website (even in its overly corrupted current state) and read the F.A.Q. has seen the question about the first three Japan-only ps2 versions (SCPH-10000, SCPH-15000, SCPH-18000) and how the Crystal Chip is not compatible with them due to them being much different from later ps2 consoles.
However, being that I am part of the obsolete ps2 v0 enthusiast community (mostly due to the fact that I got into this stuff a long time ago), I could not ignore the following statement: Crystal Chip will probably work just fine in the SCPH-18000, however we do not intend to claim support of any models we cannot guarantee 100% compatibility with. I happened to have an SCPH-18000 (GH-008, not the dreaded GH-003 I once had) unit on hand, as well as an unopened Crystal Chip v1.2 in my possession, so I decided to test the Crystal Chip teams words.
It did not necessarily surprise me that the Crystal Chip team came out and said the SCPH-18000 might work with the Crystal Chip. Im not surprised that the SCPH-10000 and SCPH-15000 models would not work, since those consoles are extremely different from the later models of PS2. Both models have an incomplete bios (this prevented the devolution mode on the old dms3 modchip from functioning correctly), and are missing a pre-installed dvd player. The dvd player was packaged on a utility disc, and the original version of the dvd player actually had a serious bug that allowed the playback of any region dvds. The SCPH-18000 console was the first ps2 console to feature a pre-installed dvd player, and changes were made to the bios (I have heard this before, though I cannot officially confirm it), making it closer to the later consoles to come. So like I said, the Crystal Chip Teams words did not surprise me.
Now, obviously, since the SCPH-18000 is not officially supported by the Crystal Chip, there are no installation diagrams in existence. But, since I have been modding PS2 consoles for years with different variations of modchips, figuring out where the wires should be soldered to was simple:
3V3: qwms DMS3 SCPH-18000 install picture
P,O,N.M.Q.T.U.V.R.W: Messiah 2 SCPH-18000 installation pdf
A,B,H,I: Messiah 2 SCPH-18000 installation pdf
F,G: Not Used (implied, since they arent used until the slim PS2 models)
HA: Crystal Chip v1/v2 installation diagram
TO: DMS3 v0 installation diagram
SX: Messiah 2 SCPH-18000 installation pdf OR v0 neokey installation diagram.
Once I had figured this out, I was ready to attempt the install. The bios wires from my first attempt proved to be somehow bad at first (Black Screen on boot), but I redid them and everything was fine. Here is a picture of my install:
So now that the chip was installed, I of course had to test it. Because I had purchased my Crystal Chip v1.2 from foundmy.com, I assumed that the hacked firmware would probably be preloaded. I first tested discs that would work on the system regardless of a modchip being installed: audio cd, NTSC-J PSX game, NTSC-US PS2 CD game, NTSC-US PS2 DVD game, Region 2 DVD Movie. All booted and ran fine. But, the problems began once I tried booting discs that were reliant on a modchip to boot. Backups and NTSC-US imports all gave me RSOD, and a Region 1 dvd gave me a dvd region error. I even tried booting a firmware cd I had burned, and that too gave me RSOD. I even went ahead and redid the SX, I,H,B,A, and HA wires, but still ended up with the same result. So, how was I supposed to do this?
Then I remembered the Crystal Chips capability of updating the firmware using the network adapter. This was the answer. So, from here, the materials needed are:
-SCPH-18000 console (GH-008, not GH-003) (obviously)
-Original PCMCIA v0 Broadband Adapter (if you can find one)
-Crystal Chip, either 2.0 pro or v1.2 (obviously)
-Another PS2 console, one that runs uLaunchELF and cd-r
-Optional: usb flash drive with the BM folder in the root directory.
-An official Sony PS2 Memory Card
-A PC running windows
-Memory Card Exploit installer CD
-Original NTSC-J PSX Game
-Ethernet crossover cable OR Ethernet hub with pc and ps2 attached
-uLaunchELF and PS2Link elf files
-ps2client for CC
The first step is to make a memory card exploit that is compatible with NTSC-J consoles. Because NTSC-J consoles and NTSC-US consoles store the system configuration file in different locations (NTSC-US consoles use the folder BADATA-SYSTEM, while NTSC-J consoles use BIDATA-SYSTEM), the exploit will not normally launch on an NTSC-J console. Since by this time you should have installed your Crystal Chip in the SCPH-18000 console, first you need to make the memory card exploit installer cd, with a few minor differences. First of all, you need to replace the exploits boot.elf with the boot.elf of uLaunchELF, and copy any other files associated with uLaunchELF into the FILES directory of the exploit. Secondly, you need to make the title.db yourself with the serial number of your original NTSC-J PSX game inserted into it (I used Biohazard: SLPS-00222). You also need to make sure that your exploit will be able to launch PS2Link. (With regards to your ip settings, I always set a static ip address with the following settings: ip to 192.168.1.3, subnet mask to 255.255.255.0, and default gateway to 0.0.0.0, and set my PCs information to the same except that I dont actually set the default gateway, and the ip address ends in 2, not 3). Once this is done, use your other ps2 console to install the exploit on a memory card of your choice. Now you need to use uLaunchELF to slightly modify the installed exploit. Run uLaunchELF and go into your memory card. Create a folder called BIDATA-SYSTEM. Go into the BADATA-SYSTEM folder and flag/copy all files installed with the exploit, and copy these files to the BIDATA-SYSTEM folder. Now your exploit will work on your SCPH-18000 console.
The next step is step is to execute PS2Link using the exploit. Connect your ps2 to your pc using a crossover cable or hub (depending on your setup) and make sure all your ip information on your pc is correct. Then, turn the PS2 on as you normally would (the chip must be turned on for this part to work), and run the exploit, then go to your memory cards BIDATA-SYSTEM folder and execute ps2link.elf. What you will do now is execute BootManager over the network. However, one default setting will cause you to have to start over if you dont prepare for it at this point: the autoload! When BM is executed, because your NTSC-J PSX Game is in the drive, it will try to load it, and give you probably the most bizarre error youve ever seen on PS2:
So, to avoid this from happening and having to start all over, make sure to take your PSX game out of the drive either once the exploit has executed (I know I told you late) or after ps2link has executed but before BM has executed! Once you have done that, go to your pc and execute the reset.bat, then once that has finished, execute the exec.bat (it is assumed at this point that you have compiled your firmware, and correctly placed/setup your ps2client software with the correct ip information). PS2Link will say Executing host:/BM/BM2.ELF, then the Crystal Chips logo will come up, followed by the normal BootManager menu. From here you will upgrade the firmware and install Bootmanager to whatever location you want (since I used the Crystal Chip v1.2, which doesnt have internal flash, I installed them to the memory card). Optionally, to have a more secure update/install, you can put the firmware and bootmanager on a usb flash drive. This is more secure because there is the slight chance that the connection to the host could drop, in which case you would have to start the whole process over. Having installed Bootmanager and the firmware, you will now be welcomed by the Crystal Chips logo when starting up your system. Your SCPH-18000 console is now running with the Crystal Chip!!
Hypothetically, this tutorial would give you full Crystal Chip functionality on the SCPH-18000 console, making the words of the Crystal Chip team correct. However, this is not the case. The truth it would seem is that although the Crystal Chip hardware functions correctly in the SCPH-18000, the Crystal Chip software does not. Although the Crystal Chips team was correct in their assumption that the Crystal Chip would work with the SCPH-18000, it would require them to tweak their firmware slightly to get it to work, and the truth is that if this were the case, you probably would not have to go through the trouble outlined in this tutorial to get it to work.
So, the truth is that once you have updated the firmware and installed bootmanager, imports and copies still give you RSOD, and out of region dvds (ie region 1 and other non-ntsc-region 2) give you the same region error in the dvd player, and these are all if you try the discs from the browser. Attempting to load imports or copies in BM completely freezes the menu and forces you to reset the console. The BM menu also has a horrible flickering aspect to it that usual delays your operations.
I have attributed the problem of trying to boot backups/imports freezing BM to something. We all know that when the crystal chip authenticates PSX discs, it presses the eject button for a second, then continues. It seems that on the SCPH-18000, it does this for EVERY disc when in BM, and the freezing occurs right before it is about to authenticate the disc. This only occurs when using BM, since trying to boot the discs using the browser just causes them not to authenticate, giving you the RSOD. For Region 1 DVDs, the discs authenticate just fine in both BM (the cd with filmstrip icon appears) and the browser, but booting them gives you the usual dvd region error, even though the all region flag is set in BM. These problems cannot be due to bad wiring, because the ps1 disc authentication test available in BM v2.1.0 completes successfully, and the status LED physically located on the Crystal Chip itself only lights up for a second, indicating "All is fine :)"
But enough shit-talking, here are some of the positive findings ive discovered from all this. Despite its buggy/flickering performance, Bootmanager will allow you to install, run, and remove homebrew applications like you normally would on any other ps2 console. All the normally supported devices are supported and working (Memory Cards, HDD, USB Flash, PC Host, etc). The System information section correctly displays the model number as SCPH-18000, although BM 2.1.0 displays the version as ??? and BM 2.1.0 incorrectly displays it as v3. Heres some pics:
One major thing I feel I must report is the usage of the original BB Unit. The original PS2 v0 consoles (SCPH-10000, SCPH-15000, SCPH-18000) did not have an expansion bay, but rather a PCMCIA slot similar to those found on laptop computers. Therefore, the network adaptor (which only featured Ethernet connectivity) was internal and the official 40GB sony HDD was featured as an external enclosure that sat on top of the console in horizontal orientation, or alongside it in vertical orientation (the original vertical stand could extend to cater the hdd). Although older PS2 software with hdd capability (such as Biohazard Outbreak) supported this old hardware, more recent software such as hdloader/hdadvance explicitly say they are incompatible with the original v0 consoles (which is true if you test it). However, the Crystal Chip and uLaunchELF are completely compatible with this outdated hardware. In uLaunchELF, you are able to open the hdd and view/modify/delete its contents as if it were a normal internal hdd installed on another ps2 console. You can create logical partitions on the drive as normal, such as the +Crystal partition. Doing this makes the hdd visible in BM, and you are able to start the hdd as normal, install/run/remove applications on the hdd as normal. If you run the BM FTP server, the hdd becomes visible and you can browse it just fine. So major props to the Crystal Chip Team and the makers of uLaunchELF for (among countless other things) making their software compatible with very old and more-or-less forgotten hardware (whether it be intentional or not)!
So, the overall conclusion from all this is that the Crystal Chip in fact does NOT work just fine on the SCPH-18000, but this is the result of incompatible software, not hardware. I also conclude that getting the Crystal Chip to work on the SCPH-18000 would be overly difficult and not worth it, since you need another console and the very rare v0 BB Unit to get the system working. Of course, it would be a very likely assumption that if the SCPH-18000 were officially supported by the Crystal Chip, the trouble outlined in this tutorial would likely be avoided.
I made a few videos throughout this whole thing. I'll post links and explanations of each once I post them on youtube.