PlaystationPI: getting and disassembling the console

A lot of people have been snagging some original Nintendo NES consoles to put their Raspberry PI in and having it act as a retro-console. I really wanted to do the same thing, being a gamer that grew up with all these consoles as well –except I never had a Nintendo console. We had a Master System at home, then a Mega Drive, followed by the original Sony Playstation. As a kid, I even remember its price: a staggering 2099 french francs (~US$340 today, or ~US$540 in 2016 money adjusted for inflation). I have very fond memory of this console, growing up with Crash Bandicoot and Final Fantasy.

Second hand playstation

So, a playstation case for the PI would be cool –I thought. And down the rabbit hole this project went!

It all started with find a playstation. Luckily, the “for parts or not working” consoles on eBay are still really cheap. I got a Japanese original playstation for US$5 (and $25 for shipping…)

broken Japanese Playstation on eBay
broken Japanese Playstation on eBay

It came out in perfect condition, neatly packed. The stereotype about Japanese being very conscientious held up for sure in this case.

Playstation case
Playstation case

A bit of general cleaning and dusting and it was brand new!

Playstation back face
Playstation back face

This particular model is a SCPH-5000; so there is still the slot on the left for the Parallel I/O port (later removed). If you want to do this project, I’d advise you to get the older models, otherwise the back plate will be completely molded into the plastic and much harder to exploit.

A comparison of the SCPH-1001 (bottom), SCPH-5001 (middle) and SCPH-9001 (top) models. The SCPH-900x revision saw the removal of the Parallel I/O port while the RCA jacks were removed in the SCPH-500x revision. Source: Wikipedia
A comparison of the SCPH-1001 (bottom), SCPH-5001 (middle) and SCPH-9001 (top) models. The SCPH-900x revision saw the removal of the Parallel I/O port while the RCA jacks were removed in the SCPH-500x revision.
Source: Wikipedia

 

Tearing it up

Opening the Playstation was really easy. Compared to newer product where manufacturers purposely make your life harder, the Playstation was awesome to work with. All the screws are easy to find, some marks inside the case even point out where the screws are!

Playstation: open case
Playstation: open case

The architecture can be split in 4 different distinct compartments:

  • On the left: the power board. Contrary to many consoles that have their AC/DC power unit outside the machine, the Playstation fully includes this board inside. We can easily recognize the full diode bridge rectifier and primary coil. This board also includes the reset and power buttons, and it connects to the main logic board.
  • The optical drive: optical drive is mounted on top of the main logic board, but it’s a separate element and can be completely dismantled.
  • The main logic board: contains the famous 32 bits CPU and all connectors that can be seen at the back.
  • The controller ports: controllers and the memory cards are plugged through a small detachable board. It’s an interesting design choice for sure.
Controller board, detached from the main body
Controller board, detached from the main body

 

Next: power handling

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