Custom Firmware User Manual
First of all i'd like to say, "in Dark_AleX we trust. amen". I'd been thinking of doing a complete user manual for custom firmwares, and this seems like the perfect place for it. And now here is the result of all my experience with the wonderful custom firmwares DAX has given us.
Next we'll elaborate, that as of this time, the PSP slim or lite as it's referred to in some countries, does not support the 1.50 kernel by itself. If you are desperate to run a 1.50 only kernel eboot on the slim though, read further for the section on eloader for slim. This does not support all 1.50 apps, but it just might support the one you desperately need. There is also a program called Dark Alex's Time Machine which is basically a way to Devhook 1.50 on the slim, where the firmware is read directly from the memory stick. Way to go DAX. But realistically, we don't need the 1.50 kernel anymore. The 3.xx kernels are much more efficient, use single folders, make better use of the PSP's hardware and firmware, and can use the slim's extra ram. And without the 1.50 kernel we save a great deal of room on the nand flash. What will DAX do with all this extra room? Who knows but I'm sure it will be awesome.
Now let's go over some basic lingo you'll read over and over here in the manual.
EBOOT.PBP - This is a program meant to run on the PSP. Eboots are used for many things including emulators for game consoles, homebrew apps, installers for firmwares and firmware updates, Playstation 1 games converted for the PSP, and PSP demo games. An easy way to differnciate eboots visually is 1.00 and 2.xx+ use only a single folder and single eboot file, for the application to run, while 1.50 eboots will consist of 2 similar folders with one named blahblah and the other named blahblah%.
Recovery Menu - One of the best features of DAX's firmwares is the recovery menu. With the PSP completely off (not in sleep mode) hold down the right trigger button, while turning the PSP on. Continue to hold the trigger button down until you see the recovery menu. If you have an older PSP, do this and after 6-7 seconds if you still do not see the menu, hit the brightness button and it should appear. The recovery menu allows us, in most cases, to access the PSP without booting all the way up. Here we can change many settings and in the event of a partial brick, we can use a recovery Eboot to get us working again.
VSH Menu - This is basically a miniature recovery menu, that can be accessed without turning the PSP completely off. To access the vsh in 3.52m33-4 hit the home button while in the XMB. In 3.60 M33 and later use the select button instead.
UMD ISO driver - This is the driver used to play the games off of the memory stick. Think of this like a virtual drive on your Pc for mounting ISO's and similial disk image files.
XMB - Xcross Menu Bar. This is the normal PSP menu you see when you turn on the PSP.
.ISO - An image made of game or movie. These can be played directly from the memory stick with custom firmware.
.CSO - A compressed version of an .iso. They function exactly the same as an .iso as far as the PSP is concerned, except at this time UMD movies cannot be compressed to this format. aside from removing unneeded content from an ISO, this is by far the best way to shrink a games size.
Memory Stick - Memory Stick Pro Duo. Available in sizes from 16 MB - 4 GB. There are 8 GB and 16 GB now, but personally i cannot vouch for whether these super sized cards work properly. I've also heard horror stories about people buying fake memory sticks when buying them online, so do yourself a favor. Go to a store, and spend a few bucks more there. At least if the card is fake or damaged somehow, you can return it.
Plugins (.prx) - These have many functions from adding older popsloaders to newer firmwares, adding customization such as MP3 playing and screen captures, and mass storage features like running ISO's off your hard drive through USB. and these are just a few.
CFE - Custom Firmware Extenders. These are packaged sets with all the plugins you could need, already configured for use.
Here's what many of you have come for; so I'll try to be as specific as possible.
Problems with iso/cso games not playing
1) Make sure the game is in the ISO folder at the root of the Memory Stick. If you've created the folder yourself, make sure it's in the same directory as the PSP folder and that it's named 'ISO'. If you reformat the card, the folders will be created for you, all in the proper locations. And make sure the file extension is still correct.
2) Make sure you're using the proper UMD driver. In the older CFW's the only choices were normal (UMD required), and no-umd. The newer firmwares have more choices, including Normal UMD Required, M33 Driver, and Sony9660 No UMD Drive. With these 3 drivers, no game should be unplayable. If you encounter a message that "game could not be started" or the game begins to play and then hangs, or just a black screen, then try the other drivers until you find one that works. you can change the drivers in the Recovery Menu, or the VSH Menu in 3.52M33-4 and higher.
3) Try setting the game and clock speeds to 222. If the game now acts correctly then you can adjust the speeds incrementally until the game begins to mess up again. and the best advice i can give is to always keep the game and clock speeds at the same setting. (i.e. if game is at 333 then clock should also be at 333).
4) Format the Memory Stick, and copy over the problematic game first, then copy back over any other files like game saves, music....
5) Try re-ripping the game, as there may be an error in the copy.
This can be different from one type of eboot to another so please read the appropriate sub category. If you only have the game folder in the PSP folder and not game, game150 and game3xx then format the Memory Stick via the PSP, and they should now be there.
If it's a single eboot with only one folder place it in the game3xx folder, or place it in the game folder and set the game folder kernel to 3xx by changing the option in the recovery menu.
If it's a dual eboot, with a foldername and a foldername% and an eboot inside each, then place them in the game150 folder or place them in the game folder and set the game folder kernel to 1.50 by changing the option in the recovery menu.
Now try playing the homebrew again. if the homebrew contains a readme, it may give the proper location.
Emulators are homebrew apps. Please read the homebrew section.
Place these eboots in a single folder with a simple single word name like godofwar. The name is only important to you so you can visually recognize the folder and know what's inside. Just remember to keep the name to a single word, no special characters and stick with all caps or all lower case. No mixing.
Firmware updates and installers
These will most often need to be placed in a folder called update and this folder will be placed in the game, or game150 folder depending on your kernel settings. many of DAX's installers will have their own folder names, in this case leave the name exactly as it is.
These very handy eboots will be placed in a folder named recovery and this folder will be placed in the game folder. These eboots should be run from the PSP's recovery menu.
Dev hook, eloader, and time machine
Dev hooking is a way to load in higher firmware, or a different firmware, from either a 1.50 firmware, custom firmware or hen enabled firmware. This can allow you limitless room to customize your XMB, gameboots and such, since these are stored on the Memory Stick and not the nand. It's also a great way to use features from the later firmwares without updating your firmware if you have original 1.50.
Eloader use to be a way to load all your homebrew from one menu, which was great when we were using hen and tiff exploits, but now it serves a new purpose. The new eloader allows you to run most 1.50 eboots on slims and newer firmwares which don't support the 1.50 kernel. A very handy app to have if you own a PSP slim.
Time machine is an application to load the entire 1.50 firmware from the Memory Stick, even on slims. While still in development, this may prove to be better than Eloader. What will DAX think of next......
Tips and Tricks
1) Use your PSP to control your Pc. Achived by using the homebrew vncPSP, and any PC vnc client (i use tightvnc).
2) Play games on your Pc monitor, even with old PSP's. does not work with lots of games, so try and see which of your favorites do play. this is achieved with remotejoy (now has an easy gui for windows) and the included plugins for your PSP.
3) Play iso's directly off your Pc hard drive, with usbhosts. this is now included in IR shell.
4) Use your PSP as a wireless controller for your pc/laptop. most wireless pc controllers are junk, so now you can use your prized possession to play your games on your pc, even online games. this is done with the PSP homebrew app, wificontroller, and joy 2 key pc program. others may work as well.
5) Play your old nes, snes, n64..... games on your PSP. This is done through various emulators designed for the PSP.
6) Send and recieve instant messages with your PSP. This can be done with chat homebrew or websites which log you on to your chat client. These pages are also included in many PSP portals.
7) Take screen captures, and with some firmwares, video captures (animated gifs), of yourself beating a game, getting a high score, or just showing off your customized xmb.
8) Listen to mp3's while playing games or surfing the internet.
9) Stream videos and music from your pc, to your PSP. achieved with pimp streamer. includes the needed pc client and PSP homebrew app.
10) Use your phat PSP as a remote control for your tv, vcr, dvd.... pretty much anything which can use a remote control. Achieved with remote controller, ir commander, ir shell and other PSP homebrew apps.
11) Extend your PSP's battery life. cycle your battery every so often to prevent the battery from developing a memory. this is done by letting the PSP completely die. run it until the battery is dead. wait a bit, start it again, and let it die again. now charge the battery completely (100%) and repeat. 2 cycles every month or so should keep any rechareable battery in peak condition. also, a larger capacity batter will definitely increase play time.
12) More battery tips. if you're playing alone, and not surfing the internet, turn the wifi switch to the off position. next don't run the PSP's screen at full brightness if you don't need to. Backlit lcd screens are total battery hogs, so unless you're playing in direct sunlight, hit the brightness button a few times and save some power.
13) Final battery tips. running games off the memory stick is much more efficient than playing the umd version. motors for spinning the umd, and the laser reading the disk, use allot of power. however reading the game from the memory stick requires much less power, lessens seek time which increases loading times in games, and allows smoother gameplay.
14) A clean PSP is a pimp PSP. buy a microfiber dust cloth, and screen protectors. microfiber is the best kind of rag to clean your PSP with, much less chance of scratching, and screen protectors protect the most important part of your PSP. the screen. even if you've got all the mods in the world, you can't show off a PSP with horrible scratches all over the screen.
More tomorrow..... i do hope you're finding this info helpful, and if you ever have any questions regarding your PSP, please leave the big man and his friends alone. you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or message me on the PSP forum i administer. http://fantastico.21.forumer.com/index.php just look for any post by evilclarkkent, and you'll see the pm button to message me. thank you for your patience for the length of time this is taking to write, as i'm quite busy myself, and thank you for reading this.
And as always, if all else fails read the directions, the readme.txt, or ask my good friend Google. He knows everything. And thanks to the person taking the time to improve the look of this post. Whoever you are, thanx.