For as long as Sony’s PlayStation Portable has been on the market, it’s been a juicy target for hackers. With burly hardware (for a handheld) and a gorgeous screen, it just begs to play homebrew, and lots of PSP owners have cracked their devices to do just that. Unfortunately, Sony has had other plans for their handheld, and has released dozens of firmware updates and several hardware revisions to make it harder to hack the PSPs handheld.
As such, there’s no one hack that works on all PSP, and in fact some PSPs are completely unhackable. There is, however, one fairly easy method that works on most consoles, which is what we’ll illustrate in this article.
First, plug in the PSP and make sure that it’s fully charged. This is vital because you’ll be screwing with the firmware on the device, and losing power and shutting down during a firmware flash is one of the quickest ways to brick your precious handheld.
Next, make sure that you have a large enough memory stick to run the hack. You need at least 512 MB of space on your memory stick to perform the hack, but if you want to load it up with homebrew apps, you'll need more space than that. If you're looking to upgrade from the dinky memory stick included with most PSPs, you can get a 4 or 8 GB Memory Stick Pro Duo off of Amazon on Newegg for around $15 or $30. If you do get a new memory card, you need to format before beginning the hack, which you can do by inserting it into the PSP and selecting Settings->System Settings->Format Memory Stick .
Now, if your firmware is any version below 5.03, you need to upgrade to the official 5.03 Firmware. To do this, first download the 5.03 firmware update here . Next, plug your PSP into the computer, and turn on USB mode from the Settings Menu. Now, on your computer, access the PSP like you would a USB drive, and place the file EBOOT.PBP that was in the file you downloaded earlier into the folder /PSP/GAME/UPDATE/. Make the UPDATE folder if you have to.
Now disconnect the PSP from the computer. In the Games menu, select Memory Stick, then choose to run PSP Update ver 5.03. You will have to agree to some terms of service and such, and then the PSP’s firmware will be updated to version 5.03. As with any firmware update, it’s absolutely vital that you not screw with the PSP while this is going on, or you will ruin it .
For the next steps, which will install custom firmware on your PSP, you will need a couple of files, all of which are contained in this archive http://thesdf.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=489 .
First, you will need to load ChickHEN onto the PSP’s memory stick, which allows you to run some homebrew apps on a PSP. Open the ChickHEN folder in the archive you just downloaded. You will notice that it contains a file called h.bin, and two folders, called PHAT and SLIM. Copy the h.bin file to the root of your PSP’s memory card.