I own a "fat" PS2 which has served me very well over the years, despite the amount of tweaking and heavy use it has been subjected to. Currently it has a modbo chip and an ethernet card with a HD, and it is configured to start on DEV2 mode (booting from the HD). The boot.elf was a copy of ULE 4.16/4.19 (unfortunately, cannot check at the moment), working flawlessly.
The problem is that today I decided to do some maintenance on my dear PS2: added a couple of games to the HD, and updated the default ULE to the latest version (4.40). As usual, I overwrote "/bootpartition-cantrecalltherightname/BOOT.ELF" with the newest ELF file (the compressed one, in case it matters). After rebooting, the PS2 hangs after showing the chip load screen with a completely red screen.
After browsing for a while, unfortunately I was not able to find a reliable source by myself that explains the problem, though a couple of forums point to issues with the autoloaded BOOT.ELF. Could this be the case? For the record, I was able to load and run the ELF correctly from inside the older ULE version (ie launching it from the file browser). Could it be a problem with the case of BOOT.ELF (the older ULE filename was on lowercase)?
To make things worse, the DVD reader of the PS2 has been dead for a long time, and unfortunately I do not have a memory card with some ELFs on it that I could boot from. This means that I currently have no easy method of booting somehow a copy of ULE and try to replace the BOOT.ELF (if that is the source of the problem, of course). The solutions I can think to my problem are:
a) get someone to put the ULE ELF in a memory card for me (probably using a modded PS2) - unfortunately I do not know anyone with a modded PS2 near my area
b) replace the DVD reader with a working one, and boot ULE from a DVD - might be tricky to find and replace the DVD reader
c) attach the HD to a PC, and replace the ELF from within the filesystem - is this even possible? I know some programs are able to modify the HDL partitions (since I have no DVD reader, I usually use hdl_dump for that matter); however I am unable to find a program that allows full access to the PS2 filesystem.
Am I missing something? Could someone please give me more information on how to solve this issue? Thanks a lot in advance, and don't hesitate on asking me any questions if you need more information - your help will be very much appreciated!