The PlayStation Portable has been around for nearly 2 decades at this point and it has only become better over time. With the release of new custom firmware and homebrew applications, functionality keeps getting added to these old consoles. However, you also risk bricking your old console while working with hacked software.
How to know if a PSP has been bricked? The signs are: the complete lack of any display output, dead controls, it doesn’t turn on or reset and charging the battery doesn’t do anything.
Hard-bricked PSPs can’t be reset unless you use a Magic Memory Stick and Pandora’s Battery, while soft-bricked PSPs running Infinity firmware are easier to fix.
If you’re going to run homebrew on your PSP, do sufficient research beforehand. Understand the pros and cons of this choice, and make sure to get your firmware from reliable sources. Don’t use a dead battery while flashing your PSP, it will immediately get bricked if power is lost during the flash.
How To Know If A PSP Has Been Bricked? 5 Signs
A bricked PSP isn’t as uncommon as one might think, given the proliferation of custom firmware and homebrew. Sometimes, you just get unlucky and mess up one of the steps while flashing your PSP. Or, you might have downloaded custom firmware that’s simply incompatible with your PSP version.
Either way, you need specialized tools to fix a bricked PSP. These are things you can create yourself with some online research. Watch this video to get an idea of what Pandora’s battery is.
Some fixes will only work on PSP-1000 and 2000 models. Plus, you could have a soft-bricked PSP which is easier to fix. Especially, if you’re running Infinity on your PSP.
It Won’t Turn On
This is the most obvious sign that you have a bricked PSP. Slide the power switch to its “On” position, and you’ll get a green light similar to the one when a PSP turns on. However, your screen will be completely dead and the PSP will turn back off after a few seconds.
You Only See A Black Screen
If you have a bricked PSP, the screen won’t show anything. Not even a logo or symbol, it will be entirely dark. However, there are two shades of darkness.
One where the screen is completely off, which happens in the case of a hard brick. The other is when you have a lighter shade of black, indicating that your screen is receiving power but no display signal. If you have a soft brick, you will get a lighter shade of black.
All Controls Are Dead
No matter what you do, your PSP just won’t respond. Pressing the triggers, Start, Select, Volume, etc. will do nothing. Your PSP isn’t operating in a limited form, it is completely dead (bricked) due to a firmware failure.
Changing The Battery Doesn’t Help
Sometimes, it’s just a bad battery and you can get your PSP to turn back on with a quick swap. But a bricked PSP cannot be recovered by swapping the battery. After all, the issue lies within its corrupted software files- not the power supply.
Your PSP Won’t Reset
Normally, you can fix a PSP that won’t boot up due to memory card errors or corrupted configuration files with a soft reset. For this, you hold the power switch in the top position till your PSP turns off. Wait 30 seconds, then turn it back on while holding Triangle, Square, Start, and Select at the same time.
However, a hard-bricked PSP won’t respond to this fix. You need specialized tools for that. Namely, the “Magic Memory Stick” and “Pandora’s Battery”.
What Does It Mean If My PSP Is Bricked?
Before I talk about fixing a bricked PSP, let’s understand what the term means. Bricking is used as a general descriptor for any consumer electronic device that is dead. It doesn’t have to be a firmware issue, as physical damage can also “brick” a device.
However, in the modern context bricking usually refers to a jailbreak gone wrong. You try to install custom firmware on your phone or game console and end up killing it instead. Because the flash went wrong, or your firmware is incompatible with the device.
So, if we’re talking about bricked PSPs, it means you can’t power on your PSP anymore. Even if it has a functional battery and has sustained zero physical damage. It is functionally dead, and you must fix it through unconventional means.
Like resetting the console to its factory defaults, or flashing the internal storage to install new firmware. Soft bricks are easier to fix, and people have demonstrated this through online guides. They involve holding down certain button combinations while booting up your PSP.
Can You Unbrick A PSP?
Yes, but you must first determine whether it’s soft-bricked or hard-bricked. For this, you’ll need to put the power slider in its “On” position and pay close attention to the display. Does it flash slightly and turn into a light shade of black?
If so, you’re dealing with a soft brick. A display that doesn’t receive any power will show a darker shade of black, and there won’t be a flash of light at the start. This indicates a hard brick.
Knowing which custom firmware is installed also helps a lot. As solutions can vary depending on what you’re running in your PSP. For those who’re using Infinity, fixing a soft brick can be as easy as holding down the Home button while powering on the console.
If that doesn’t work, try pressing Triangle, Square, Select, and Start at the same time as your turn on your PSP. This method only works on PSP-1000 and PSP-2000 models. You can try similar tricks with PSPs that are running other types of custom firmware, but success isn’t guaranteed.
Now, for the tough one- fixing a hard brick. You need a PSP memory card with some custom firmware on it and a battery that has been hacked to force your PSP into service mode. The memory card is called Magic Stick, and the battery is called Pandora’s Battery.
Both of these can be done at home, using regular PSP memory cards and batteries. You need a functioning PSP that’s running cracked firmware, preferably with an original Sony battery. There are both hard and soft mods to do this.
You’ll find online guides that explain how you can create Pandora’s battery and Magic Memory Stick. Like this one, but follow at your own risk and understand that success isn’t guaranteed. Plus, many of these methods won’t work on newer PSP versions like PSP-3000.
If you want to unbrick a PSP-3000, you need a hard modded battery that is created with a tool called “Baryon Sweeper”. You can use it, but you’ll need soldering skills and basic electronics skills.
Can You Jailbreak A PSP?
The Sony PSP has been jailbroken since over a decade ago, and modern methods make the process completely painless. No tools or specialized hardware of any kind is needed. You just need a PSP memory card with custom firmware on it.
I recommend going with Infinity, which is the easiest way to jailbreak your PSP right now. For this, you want a PSP running the latest firmware version- 6.61. Then, you need a computer and a USB cable (mini-B).
Download the custom firmware files to your PC and transfer them to the PSP. Check out a video guide to understand how it works. This can be done on all versions of PSP, including Go.
Which PSP Models Are Hackable?
Every single PSP from 1000 to the Go can be hacked with custom firmware. If you have a PSP Street, you need to update its official firmware to 6.61 via USB from your computer. Because that version of the PSP has no Wi-Fi, you need the latest official firmware version to use tools like Infinity.
What Can I Do With My Old PSP?
Well, the most obvious answer is playing your backup games. With cracked firmware, you don’t need to load games from UMD anymore. You can load them straight from a micro SD card (provided you have the micro SD adapter for your PSP).
You can also use emulators to play NES, SNES, and N64 games on your PSP. And here’s the awesome part- PSP can emulate DS games. That’s right, this handheld from nearly 20 years ago can emulate first-party games released exclusively for its direct competitor.
Oh, and you can also run stuff like custom themes on your hacked PSP. You can still use it as a portable music player when you don’t want to bring your phone along.
It can even play UMD movies. A bunch of PSP owners purchased Spiderman 3 in the UMD format so they could watch it on the go. Unfortunately, UMD died out around 2010.
A bricked PSP is hard to misdiagnose. For starters, it won’t turn on no matter what you do. Thankfully, there are fixes for both soft and hard-bricked PSPs (barring the PSP-3000).
The PSP is an interesting system that showcased what was possible in a portable format. While Nintendo took the idea of a console and tweaked it for a portable format, Sony just made a portable PS2 with phone-like features. Even today, a hacked PSP can be so much fun thanks to emulation and homebrew.