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Modified Playstation 1

Modified Playstation 1 to look like an 'audiophile' one from the 90's, October, 2020
Modified Sony Playstation 1

Modified Playstation 1 Full Guide:

Disclaimer: There’s plenty of PS1 models around for almost no money these days, I paid £12 for this particular one on ebay auction and it’s very grotty and yellowed – so it’s prime for being modified. Before anyone would like to accuse me of ruining it then; it’s cost me less than £20 all in and It looks great on the shelf and plays/works fine, which it didn’t to begin with and it’s not a rare piece of hardware, or boxed, or in nice condition. Be aware you are also not adding any real value to it, so don’t expect to mod one and then suddenly sell it for a few hundred £, it’s still an old PSX, you’re just making it more unique and personal to you for a few hours work and a very small amount of money. These also make ideal gifts for retro gamers, which is where most of mine end up.

Sony Playstation 1 Sony Playstation 1

The Guide:

The first step is to remove the housing – this consists of 6 screws at the bottom of the unit at the corners and the centre then slide the disc cover / top section of the console off. Nice and easy so far. Can’t go wrong yet!

Second step is cleaning the internals, as with most things 20+ years old, this is likely going to be full of dust, fluff, dirt and crap from the previous owners. +50 bonus points if you find any dead insects in there too, in my case I was pretty lucky but it was still disgusting. Remove the disc drive unit (it’s not secured on anything other than the ribbon cable) and the mounting plate (again, not secured). Probably a good time to remove the power board too as dust tends to gather underneath it, it’s only secured with 2 screws from the rear however and a plastic clip at the front, so should slide out no trouble. The circuit board itself shouldn’t be too bad so I cleaned mine out with a tin of compressed air and the soft brush vacuum attachment, which did the job a treat. After that, general purpose cleaning wipes (non-abrasive) will do the job to pick up any remaining dirt on the heatsinks and covers as well as the inside of the case. Depending on your model you may or may not have a couple of massive heat sink covers over the board, later revisions tend not to feature this.

The model featured here is specifically an SCPH 7502, the SCPH - 5502 model (and some earlier ones) features a different kind of heatsink cover plate, so yours may look different to mine, however the process is the same. The SCPH-7502 while the 7502 is the most common model in the UK as it was sold cheaply towards the end of the Playstation 1's life.

Sony Playstation 1 Sony Playstation 1

Remove the controller port screws as well as the remaining screws on the circuit board then lift both out to reveal the metal ‘mounting tray’ underneath. Pull this and give it a clean too as it tends to gather dust and grime. The Tray is just held in by the sprung/bent sections, it’s super thin so shouldn’t put up any resistance when removed.

Full video on cleaning and dismantling can be found here:

That’s it, the case is apart so now onto prepping and painting it.
First step is to remove the stickers (front and back) – I use a heatgun (or a hairdryer) and a knife blade for this, so get them good and warm and slide the knife under and remove them, the glue on these metalised stickers should remain good, if not a very small amount of PVA can be used to reattach them later. Keep them somewhere they’re not going to pick up loads of fluff on the back as they can be reused as is if they’re in good condition.

Sony Playstation 1 Sony Playstation 1

Next step – mark up there you want to make the main incision – If you loook at the underside of the disc tray lid, there’s a moulding mark – like a little pin – this is dead centre. Take a small drill bit (2mm or 3mm) and make a pilot hole in the centre of this moulding mark – that will serve as the guide hole for the main cutout. The Cutout is going to be 120mm.

This is where it can all go wrong – Use the pilot hole you’ve just drilled, enlarge it a little with a bigger drill bit then take the holesaw to the lid. I would personally do this with the lid attached to the body as this makes it easier to clamp the body down to the workbench and give you a stable surface for making the cutout on. Depending on the sharpness of the holesaw and the speed of your drill (as well as how much force you apply from the top) then this operation could take a few seconds or up to 10 minutes. You’ll likely want to go back and forth a few times to ensure the holesaw does not get stuck in the cutout it’s making as well as to be kinder to your drill. It’s also advisable not to run it at max torque, plastic tends to bite into holesaws, especially the more readily available coarse toothed ones designed for wood (which is what I am using) – If you run your drill at max power / speed / torque there’s a good chance the saw will bite, get stuck and try and pull your arm off, whereas if you run it at a lower speed then there’s less chance of this happening, however it will obviously take longer to complete. Downward pressure should be applied at all times to ensure the saw bites in evenly and all the way around.

Sony Playstation 1 Sony Playstation 1

Okay, cutout made! Time to clean this mess up.

Im using 80grit sandpaper to start with and a file/rasp to de-burr any sharp bits and take the inside of the cutout down to a smooth surface. Playstation plastics aren’t particularly soft but 80grit deals with them easily. After going all the way round for a few minutes I then take some 120grit and 180grit and do a pass of each, evening out any slips, dips, scratches and scuffs from the top as well. I then do a full pass of the whole machine with 220 grit, being careful not to make any deep scratches.
This complete pass of the case is to “key” it in, to remove any residue / dirt and give the paint something to adhere to. I think clean the whole machine with cleaning wipes – some people use alcohol for this, I use “panel wipes” which are for prepping car bodywork before paining. Essentially, as long as there is no dirt, glue residue or silicone residue on the case then there should not be any issues with the paint. This is a good time to remove the buttons too, they’re just held in by clips either side – the power button has a spring as well but they’re essentially all the same, squeeze the clips from below and remove them.

Sony Playstation 1 Sony Playstation 1

Paint time:

Painting is a relatively easy one – as I write this guide in late October from the UK it’s about 6c here, which is neither ideal for paint spraying or for paint curing. The garage is a little warmer than that, around 12c so that’s the best we’re going to get! The whole unit is going to need 4 coats – 2 of a base colour and 2 of clear lacquer (this is the minimum, use as many as your require for a good finish without too much paint buildup that nothing closes properly or affects button operation, I would suggest no more than 5 total coats).
I don’t have any special affinity towards any particular brand of paint but I do like MTN 94 and MTN Hardcore supplied by Graff City in the UK, there’s a good choice in vibrant colours and it seems to last well – the downside – they HATE drying in cold temperatures and take far longer when not in sunlight (due to the UV radiation).

MTN Hardcore is what I’m opting for here as it’ll produce the best result but really any cellulose or acrylic based paint should be fine. Give it a lighter dusting coat to ensure adhesion and allow it to dry for probably an hour if your temperatures are below 18c. Second coat should provide a nice glossy look, make sure to dip the disc cover down to do the bit at the back as well. This will need some time to dry before it can be lacquered. If we were in the summer and I could leave this outside somewhere warm, this would be done in a few hours no problem. Unfortunately, it’s freezing cold and cloudy, so this will need at least 2 days to fully cure, if not slightly longer. Once this is partially dry I’ll move it over to a window sill so it can get some exposure to UV and help cure a bit quicker.

Once that’s cured, give it the same 2 coat treatment with the lacquer (I’m using PU lacquer because an old man once told me it was better for plastics although any will likely fine) and leave to dry for another couple of days. It may be dry sooner, but the very last thing you want is to get to this stage and then leave a finger print in your freshly painted Playstation.

I did not forget about the buttons – I’ll be doing them separately – I sit mine in the top of the vice to paint them however a bottle or anything hollow where they can stand up will do just fine. This gives you the opportunity to do them a separate colour if you wish or to leave them grey. This lot will have a custom 2cm x 2cm decal applied later on.

Sony Playstation 1 Sony Playstation 1

Okay now the paints dry we can fit the clear insert to the lid. This is made from 3mm Perspex and is available in 140mm laser cut circles on ebay for £1.73 (at time of writing) delivered to your door.

Link Here: Ebay listing

These are secured by glue, I use UHU Multipurpose for this since it dries clear and doesn’t damage or melt the plastic (like superglue will), there’s also some good offerings from Bostick but really any multipurpose gel type glue will do the job. I apply a thin circle of glue around the edge of the Perspex piece, ensuring that it is relatively near the edge, the holesaw cutout is 120mm so fitting a 140mm Perspex piece gives a bit of room around the edges for any error correction and space to affix it without the glue being visible from above. Once the piece is fitted it needs to be held in place until it is dried, so flip the casing over while holding it from behind and lay it flat, there is not much space to weigh this down so I use an empty wine glass as this will fit into the gap between the Perspex and the casing and sit relatively central; then fill it with water to add some additional weight to keep the Perspex secure while the glue sets.
For the UHU glue this takes around 8 hours to fully dry, however whichever you choose will indicate this on the packet/box – usually between 6 and 24 hours.

Sony Playstation 1 Sony Playstation 1

Once that’s all fixed properly, we can re-assemble the console. Ensure the metal board tray is sitting properly then just drop the board in, gold screws are for the board/inside, black screws are for the outside of the case – all screws are the same size so makes no difference which goes where. Be careful reattaching the ribbon cables, they must sit flat so you may need to apply a little bit of force to get these to sit correctly, having built many of these, it’s unlikely you will break a ribbon cable here as they’re pretty sturdy, but don’t over-do it as they are just wires in plastic.

Now that’s all back together, serial number sticker back on the bottom, small amount of PVA if it needs it but it’s unlikely it will if this is it’s first removal and buttons back in before all the screws go back in. Flip it over, black screws in the bottom and apply the last mod part to it, the Speaker Feet.

Sony Playstation 1 Sony Playstation 1

Obviously these are optional but I personally really like that old stereo hifi look, these ones were slightly more expensive at the astounding cost of £3.13 delivered (for the 30x8mm ones).

Link here: Ebay Link

Anything that adds some damping to a mechanical disc drive can’t be a bad thing and they do help with that ‘on the shelf’ look. These are applied using the same glue as before. They can be secured using a small bolt or screw however the board sits so close to the base inside I personally would not take the risk of causing a short.

That’s it then, mods done, console done, functional and good looking and resembles the old 90’s Audiophile Playstations as closely as I can find from images without really extreme hardware mods on the cheap. You can now watch discs spin while playing to your hearts content. Good job!

Sony Playstation 1 Sony Playstation 1

Additional Mods:
I’ve seen some PSX units in the past that feature VU and audio or power meters – these would be possible in addition to this mod as there is plenty of space at the front of the case to the right (as it’s facing you) of the controller ports. However, Bezel’s are difficult to get hold of in this country to the average consumer (so your cutout would have to be PERFECTLY sized) and I am terrible at soldering so I think it’s unlikely I’ll be covering those in future. I have also seen people using Valves/Tubes on this style of PSX to sit at the on the right hand side, I have less than no idea how I’d wire these in or include a valve holder from below with the space restraints, so would stay well away from that full stop.

Drop me a tweet or tag me in an IG post if you make one of these yourself, would love to see what you come up with!

Sony Playstation 1 modified audiophile

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