Tag Archives: Playstation 2

Fixing a Playstation 2

(This post was originally part of the previous one, but I felt that it was too long and two separate topics.)

Here’s an example of a project that I couldn’t post on until it was resolved. Over winter break, Kaylen decided to open up her Playstation 2 and blow on the DVD drive lens to fix read errors. Even though she was following an Internet guide, something happened that made the PS2 unable to power on when reassembled. So I told her not to worry because I would fix it when we were next together–even though I’d never even seen a PS2 up close before.

Initial speculation on the power problem was the awkwardly positioned power and eject buttons and cable which Kaylen had torn out from the mainboard upon first opening the case. We tried numerous ways of repositioning the cable into its connector and the red standby light would come on but not the green power light. I’m not sure if I was driven more by the need to troubleshoot the device or just take it apart, but I proceeded with further disassembly so that I could test the power supply fuse and current. Although there was a mishap with shorting some AC power, the fuse and current tested fine.

At this point, I was stumped as most of the “ultimate PS2 repair” guides dealt mostly with disc read errors and I couldn’t even get it to turn on. After hunting around on Google for a while, I came up with an awesome find, though…an official PS2 service manual complete with exploded views, detailed electrical schematics, block diagrams of the architecture, printed wiring board diagrams, parts lists, and even a disassembly guide. This thing was so detailed that it even had the functions of the individual pins on the ICs labeled; you could practically build your own PS2 with this manual in hand. (I put together a collection of all the manuals and guides I used with restrictions removed here. Hope they can help someone, but shhh…don’t tell anybody.) I used this to further test some of the possible problems such as all the fuses on the mainboard, the power supply output (the pinout is 12V, 12V, GND, GND by the way), and even the circuitry for the power button and cable–all were fine.

Defeated, I started putting the PS2 back together. Then, I noticed a small, transparent blue sheet of plastic that must have fallen out of the casing at some point during disassembly. Its width was exactly the same as the power button cable. Without a second thought, I shoved it into the connector with the cable and turned on the power supply. And wouldn’t you know it, when I hit the power button, it turned green and the console started to boot. It was this stupid piece of plastic that Kaylen must have dropped into the case all along. Oh well, at least I took the whole thing apart and didn’t break it–quite an achievement. Although, there were a couple screws left over after reassembly.

Even after it was running again, the disc read errors remained. I tried adjusting the tray alignment knob for hours, which had audio CDs and video DVDs working, but not game DVDs. Ultimately, all it took was cleaning the lens thoroughly with some rubbing alcohol and a Q-tip. Now Kaylen can get her dance dance dance on. I hear she’s “not an ordinary fella”.

And the moral of this story? Clean the fucking lens with a commercial cleaner disc first.

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