The earliest handheld game consoles used regular AA batteries, that anybody could buy off a store shelf. While these were cheap and easy to replace, they couldn’t provide the power or runtime of lithium-ion batteries. Consoles like the PSP and GBA SP were the first to feature rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.
Speaking of the PSP, how long can a PSP battery last? It depends on the type of app you’re running and the health of your PSP battery, which can drop to 80% of max capacity within 3 to 4 years. Combined usage (gaming, movies, and music) will result in a runtime of 4 to 6 hours if you have a full charge.
All versions of the PSP have similar battery life, even though later models like the 2000 and 3000 series downgraded capacity from 1800mAh to 1200mAh. That’s because Sony used advances in processor manufacturing technology to reduce node size and energy consumption (it went from 90nm to 65nm). You can remove the battery from the regular PSP models, but the PSP Go battery isn’t designed to be user replaceable.
How Long Can A PSP Battery Last?
Normal gaming runtime varies between four to six hours, but you can get more if you’re just viewing photos or playing music. Turning up the brightness and volume will lower battery life to 3 or 4 hours. If you connect a headphone, that lowers battery life a slight bit more.
If your PSP is an old unit with over a decade on the battery, it probably won’t go beyond 5 or 10 minutes. Because there is a certain number of charge and recharge cycles that a battery can take before it loses most of its energy retention. With a typical lithium-ion battery that you get in portable consoles and phones, the battery drops to 80% capacity after 500 charge cycles.
To put that in perspective, someone who uses their PSP regularly for gaming is probably charging it daily as well. So the battery would drop to 80% capacity in one year and four months. Even if you purchase a PSP made in 2014 (the final manufacture year), it probably doesn’t have much capacity left in the battery.
Some folks selling their PSP on the used market haven’t put many hours into it. So the battery still works like new. You might get lucky and end up with a late model used PSP manufactured in the 2010s, that has just 100 or 200 cycles on the battery.
How the previous owner treated their PSP will also affect its battery life, along with the climate you live in. If you live in a place like Alaska, the freezing temperatures will significantly reduce battery performance and capacity. Conversely, if you live in a desert the battery will take longer to charge and suffer from greater self-discharge rates.
To make a lithium-ion battery last longer, you should keep it within the 20 to 80 percent charge range. So you charge it when it hits 20% capacity, and don’t charge beyond 80%. This is hard to do in real life since we can’t plan everything perfectly and are often negligent.
But if your PSP’s previous owner was someone who followed this rule, you get to take advantage of a healthier battery. Or you can just replace the battery with one of the several 3rd party PSP replacement batteries available on the market. OEM batteries from Sony are still available, but these will cost more and are harder to find.
Is It Okay To Play PSP While Charging?
Yes, you can charge your PSP while playing games and it won’t drain the battery. Once your PSP gets to 100% charge, it switches entirely to AC power. If you’re charging via USB, it won’t play games at the same time.
And while you can charge from the AC adapter even with a dead battery, you must have some battery left to switch your PSP into USB mode. Otherwise, it won’t charge. Both the PSP and USB source (laptop/ desktop) must be switched on for USB charging.
How Can I Make My PSP Battery Last Longer?
You can’t really do much, other than turn down the brightness and volume levels. Battery life will go up or down depending on the system load, which can vary significantly based on the type of game you’re playing. If it’s a AAA action game, it probably requires more GPU and CPU power than a 2D platformer.
To extend your battery lifespan, you should never let charge levels drop below 20%. And you should not charge beyond 80%. This will help your battery last an extra year or two.
Can PSP Battery Be Replaced?
Yes, and it’s very easy to do. Replacement requires a new battery and zero tools. But first, you must make sure your replacement battery is the right fit for your PSP model.
If you have a PSP-1000, you need a 3.6V 1800mAh battery pack. PSP-2000 and PSP-3000 use 1200mAh battery packs (same runtime as before due to more efficient hardware). Turn your PSP around, remove the back cover, and swap out the old battery for a new one.
You can’t put the battery in the wrong way because Sony has beveled the housing around the battery and cut notches into the battery. Insert it so the bottom botch locks in first, and then press the top side in after that. The label side should be down, and the side facing you should have the battery voltage and mAh numbers on it.
How Do I Know If My PSP Battery Is Bad?
First off, it won’t hold onto charge for very long. You will discharge the entire battery within minutes. If you’re unable to charge your PSP via USB mode, it means that either the battery is dead or you have a bad USB cable.
Some PSP batteries swell to the point where you can’t even attach the top cover anymore. This is due to a lack of usage and happens when the battery’s charge level falls below a safe minimum. Each battery has an internal safety circuit that self-drains the charge over time.
After a certain point, the battery self-discharges too much, and its chemicals start releasing gases. These accumulate underneath the outer plastic shell of the battery and make it swell. If you completely drain your PSP battery while gaming and leave it in a drawer for a year, you will probably end up with a bloated battery.
So either remove the battery from your PSP, or charge it at regular intervals. Don’t leave it sitting there inside the console at zero power for several months in a row.
How To Play PSP Without Battery?
The PSP can charge via USB or AC power. If you connect a USB cable from your laptop or a power bank, the PSP must be turned on to go into USB mode. So it needs a functioning battery.
Plus, the PSP can’t play games during this mode. However, it can play games while charging from the AC adapter that’s plugged into your wall. And once the battery hits 100%, it stops charging and the PSP draws power entirely from the wall.
Here’s a little tidbit you might not know- even if you remove the battery from your PSP, it can run entirely on wall power. So you can play games and watch movies with no battery in the PSP. However, it will turn off if there’s any disruption in the power supply.
This is bound to happen at some point because that cylindrical plug isn’t very secure, and might slide out of the power port. Even a 50-millisecond disruption in power is enough to turn off your PSP mid-game. So you must make sure that the plug is seated properly, and try not to move your PSP around too much while gaming.
The PSP is an interesting handheld and carries all the hallmarks of Sony’s innovative design approach. Its use of UMD discs allows it to fit bigger games than the Nintendo DS. Plus, you could even buy movie discs in the UMD format and play them on your PSP.
Because it was unusually powerful for a handheld, graphics on PSP games were quite close to PS2 games from that era. There are still thousands of PSP users who regularly play their old games. And there is a market for replacement batteries + chargers, despite this console being nearly two decades old.