Sunday, March 2, 2008

PSP: Pandora's Battery
How to load a custom firmware on your Sony PSP

These instructions are quite old. Click here for more up to date instructions that work on any Operating System!

While I am no fan of Sony, I have to admit that the PSP has amazing potential. But only a fraction of that potential can be realized out of the box.

My brother purchased a PSP (the original black "Phat" as opposed to the current thin "Slim" version) and it wasn't long before realizing that building a decent library of games would cost a small fortune. So I searched the far reaches of the internet to amass the knowledge that I am going to divulge to you right here.

In order to convert the PSP's internal operating system (the 'firmware') you must start with a PSP that already has its firmware updated to 'custom firmware'. This 'custom firmware' is a patched version of Sony's official firmware that unlocks many of the restrictions of the offical version. This includes playing copies of games off the Memory Stick.

To flash the firmware to custom firmware we are going to perform a trick known as Pandora's Battery. The battery's serial number will be temporarily rewritten in order to put the PSP into service mode. Then it boots off of the memory stick and initializes the rewriting.

To perform this, you need the following:

Step 1: Backup your memory stick, get the firmwares, install the 1.50 kernel in the SOURCE.(Revised March 7)

Charge your battery until it is 100%. You cannot run out of power during the process of writing the firmware.

Copy everything you want to keep on you memory stick to your hard drive as we will be formatting the card during this tutorial to make it bootable.

Download all the software to your "My Documents" folder.
Download all the firmwares to your "My Documents" folder. Extract them one by one and rename them as 150.PBP, 340.PBP, 380.PBP, and 390.PBP.

Download the 1.5 Kernel Addon for your version of the Custom Firmware. Connect the SOURCE PSP to the computer in USB mode. Uncompress the contents to /PSP/GAME, then disconnect the PSP and run the 1.50 kernel installer.

Step 2: Install Microsoft .net 2.0

Pandora's GUI will not install or run without it.

Step 3: Install Pandora's GUI

Following the Ultimate Pandora link above will get you the file "14885_Pandora_sUltimateMagicStickv2.rar". Double click on it and double click on "Pandoras_GUI_v1.5.rar" in the new window that opens. Then copy the "Pandoras_GUI_v1.5" folder to your desktop.

Go into the folder and double click on "Setup Pandora's GUI.msi" to install the software. When complete, an icon will appear on your desktop.

Step 4: Prep your Memory Stick with Pandora's GUI

Put your memory stick and fully charged battery in to the SOURCE PSP. Connect the PSP to the computer via USB so it appears as a drive.

Double click Pandora's GUI to run it. It will start on the "Pandoras Battery" tab.

Click on "Load local file" and locate 150.PBP, and hit OPEN.

Under PSP Memorycard, change this to match the drive letter of your PSP while connected to the computer. Use "My Computer" to verify the letter. Change the target folder to PSP/GAME150.

Click on "Format My PSP" when done, disconnect your PSP, remove the card, hold the power button on off until it shuts down. Don't shut down Pandora's GUI.

Put the card back in, power up the PSP, and connect it via USB again. Go back to Pandora's GUI and click on "Copy Files".

When done, disconnect your PSP, remove the card, hold the power button on off until it shuts down.GUI. Put the card back in and power up the PSP.

On your PSP go to GAMES > MEMEORY STICK. You will see four items, "Pandora's Battery Creator", "Pandora's Battery Firm. Installer", and two corrupt files. This is OK, don't delete anything.

Go to the installer and press X to run it. When complete it will bring you back to the main PSP Screen.

Reconnect your PSP in USB mode. In Pandora's GUI, click on "Write IPL".

When complete, close Pandora's GUI. Keep the PSP connected in USB mode.

Step 5: Copy the additional files and folders to the memory stick

Copy 150.PBP, 340.PBP, 380.PBP to the root of the Memory Stick.

Double click on "despertar_cementerio4.rar" and copy the "despertar_cementerio" folder to your memory stick in PSP > GAME.

Double click "390m33_2.rar" and copy the UPDATE folder to your memory stick in PSP > GAME. Copy the 390.PBP firmware to your memory stick in PSP > GAME > UPDATE.

Step 6: Create a "Magic Memory Stick"

Disconnect your PSP. Under GAMES > MEMEORY STICK, run "Despertar del Cementerio". Once complete it will bring you back to the main screen.

Step 7: Create Padora's Battery

Remember, if your SOURCE PSP is a PSP Slim and the TARGET PSP is a Phat PSP, put the Phat PSP battery in before doing this step. Why? It will work with both batteries but the Slim battery only fits properly into a PSP Slim, it simply will not make proper electrical contact in a PSP Phat. Thus, Step 8 will not work.

The Phat PSP battery will make proper electrical contact in both kinds of devices.

If both the SOURCE and TARGET PSP's are Slim, then you are OK.

Under GAMES > MEMEORY STICK, run Pandora's Battery Creator.

When the select screen comes up, press triangle to backup your battery info. This is important so we can restore it later. The program will exit.

Run Pandora's Battery Creator but this time press "X" to rewrite the battery's serial number. The program will exit when done.

You now have what is known as a "JigKick Battery".

Step 8: Flash to the 3.80 Custom Firmware.

Now remove the battery and Memory Stick from the TARGET PSP.

Put the "Magic Memory Stick" into the TARGET PSP first, before the battery.

Now put the Pandora's Battery into the TARGET PSP. The unit will turn on automatically, go into service mode, and boot from the Memory Stick (that is why the Memory Stick had to go in first).

You will now be presented with four options. Simply press "X" to install 3.80 M33, the custom firmware. The install process will take up to 10 minutes. Put the TARGET PSP down and let it run through. It will either restart on its own or prompt you to press a key. Press the key it asks for.

Step 9: Upgrade to 3.90 M33-2

After the unit restarts, go to GAMES > MEMORY STICK.

Run the "PSP Update ver 3.90". Some text will display and then the official Sony Installer will begin. This is OK. Follow the on-screen prompts and let it install the update.

When it is complete, CONGRATULATIONS!!! You now have a fully modified PSP running custom firmware.

Step 10: Switch the battery back to normal

If you have other batteries, and wish to keep this in Pandora Mode, then skip this step.

Otherwise power down the PSP, remove the Pandora's Battery and connect the A/C Adaptor and plug it in.

Now power on the PSP. When it is fully started, put the Pandora's Battery back in. Since the PSP if fully on, it won't go into Service Mode.

Go to GAMES > MEMEORY STICK, and run Pandora's Battery Creator. If you backed up your battery in Step 7, press the L + R buttons at the same time. This will rewrite the original serial number to the battery.

If you did not back up the serial, press the square button to write a generic serial number instead.

Now your battery will function as normal.

Step 11: Prepare to play copied games

Keep the Memory Stick in a safe place if you intend to unlock more PSP's otherwise go to SETTINGS > SYSTEM SETTINGS > FORMAT MEMORY STICK. Then copy your backed up files from Step 1 back onto the card.

Press SELECT. An on screen menu will appear. Highlight "UMD ISO MODE" and press the right direction key until "M33 driver" appears. Then highlight "EXIT" and press "X".

Copied PSP games have an *.iso or *.cso file name. Simply create an ISO folder in the root of the Memory Stick and save the games there.

They will appear under GAMES > MEMORY STICK
If the system can't see any games in the ISO directory, copy the entire contents of the Memory Stick to a temporary folder and format the Memory Stick, then copy your stuff back to the Memory Stick again.

Well that's it. Its alot of work, but is definately worth every minute.

Until next time, keep on having fun!

"bah weep graaagnah wheep ni ni bong"


kangjie said...

hey i cant run the firm.installer, it says game could not be started (80020148). any help on that? the source psp is runnin 3.80m33-5. please help thx.

Soundwave said...

Hi kangjie,

Try this, go to and download "1.50 Kernel addon for 3.80".

The firm. installer should now work if it is in the /PSP/GAME150/ folder.

On my PSP, I installed the addon on my 3.90m33 firmware in order to run an SNES emulator, this was before trying my hand at FIRMWARE modifying.

Please post a response if it works and I will revise the instructions.

kangjie said...

hey i read on forums aft i posted here that 3.80m33 no longer allows u to copy ipl bud all u needa do to patch it with some file from UPMS.. anw i managed to mod mine with UPMS which is a similar method to yours.. Pandora!! =)

Soundwave said...

Hi kangjie,

Thanks for the feedback.

The process I have outlined in my blog is the process that I used on my own PSP Phat to create a Pandora's Battery to customize a friend's PSP. I am sure that there are many ways to create Pandora's Battery, I have merely documented one way.

My PSP was a 3.90m33 (the first version), I installed the 1.5 kernel addon and everything worked. Perhaps Dark Alex made some extra changes to 3.90m33 that allows you to copy the ipl.

UPMS needs you to downgrade to 3.71m33, which I think is a pain in the ass. Try upgrading to 3.90m33 or 3.90m33-2 and see if it works the way I documented the process.

Anonymous said...

Will this work on a slim (psp-2001)?


Soundwave said...

To Anonymous:

All PSP's can be flashed using Pandora's Battery.

However, only PSP Phats and older PSP Slims can create them. The motherboards have been updated so that only SONY signed IPL's can be run.

I am not sure how long ago the new motherboards were used, so all I can tell you is MAYBE.

Chronos said...

Dear Anon, yes a psp 2001 (slim)
should work mines a daxter slim (psp 2001) and it works just fine

Andreya said...

Hi Nice Blog .I've made up my mind: I'm gonna buy an MP3 player. I just don't know which one. I like the ipod replacement battery, but do I really need something that small?

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