Memory Card Exploit
Hi, brand new to emulating here.

I want my ps2 bios. So in order to do the memory card exploit, do I need a modchip at all? 1/2 sources say yes. The other 1/2 say no. Every video I watch at some point says "Im assuming you have a modded ps2 and know how to do it so I'm gonna skip that" no one really goes into detail about this part of it. And this website says they will not discuss how to go about modchipping (which leads me to believe it is absolutely necessary) But my question is, can I get the bios myself without it?

I'm not looking for details on how to do it, just more whether this is in the realm of possible for me. I'm just lost on the subject and I'm constantly reading contradicting information. Thank you

Cheers, DF

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This isn't a binary question with a binary answer because it is missing a few details. So I'll try to cover all bases here.

The PS2 is a console made by Sony, and Sony only wanted it to run the software that they approved for it. So it was built with several protection mechanisms to make sure that you can never just insert some random disc with some random software and have it start running. The modding and emulation communities of course accepted the challenge and got to work with finding exploits.

To run any non-Sony-approved software, you need some kind of working exploit. The three most well known are the memory card exploit you mention, mod chips, and disc swapping. Lets review these in reverse order.

Disc swapping. The idea here is that while a game is running, you can fool the PS2 by ejecting the disc and inserting one that has an identical sector layout, but has a modified executable on it that suddenly executes your program. The game in the PS2's RAM thinks it is accessing itself, it goes to load what it thinks is another portion of itself, but since you put this identically formatted but completely different program on instead, that program is what executes. It could be any program, uLaunchELF, the BIOS dumper, FreeMcBoot installer (more on this later), whatever. The caveat here is that you need a specific game to do this. Most games only had one executable file on the disc, but some had multiple files, one file would be for one part of the game, another file for a different part of the game. Without one of these games, you can't really pull this off as far as I know. I don't know which games this can work with, but I do know that people have made disc swap guides that will usually give names of some games you can do this with.

Mod chips. Honestly unless you are an electronics enthusiast and legitimately, being 100% honest with yourself, know how to solder properly, I would not try this. One wrong touch with the solder and you can fry your PS2. That aside, the idea is that the mod chip bypasses the protections Sony has put in place. Basically, when it tries to check if the disc is legitimate or not, the mod chip arbitrarily responds to the signal with its own "YES IT IS A LEGIT DISC DO NOT QUESTION ME PLS K THX" type signal. This way, you don't need to do any fancy sector manipulation and disc swaps, just load your software on to a disc, stick it in, and your PS2 will be able to run it. I do not have personal experience but I believe mod chips do come with some extra perks, but that is really the main focus.

Memory card exploits. The idea here is that all PS2's except the very newest 9xxxx serial number slim PS2's had an arbitrary code execution vulnerability in the memory cards. Meaning, if you save executable code in a particular spot on a memory card, said code, which really should never be treated as actual code, will in fact be treated as code and ran by the PS2. FreeMcBoot is a software that you can load on to a memory card, which uses this vulnerability to launch a modified BIOS menu, at which point you are free to do basically anything you can imagine. Custom software can be launched off discs, USB drives, whatever. Here's the confusing part.
- You DON'T need a mod chip or disc swap to USE a FreeMcBoot memory card.
- You DO need a mod chip or disc swap to MAKE a FreeMcBoot memory card.
That said, here's the best part (in my opinion):
- If you DON'T want to mod chip or disc swap your PS2, you can go on Amazon or eBay and find a memory card that someone else has already loaded FreeMcBoot on to for somewhere around 10 USD. If you do this, PLEASE just get a regular 8 MB card. They are much more reliable than the larger ones and for safety sake you really should not be saving games to the FreeMcBoot memory card if you can help it.

Sorry for wall of text and if it was too technical, but (in my opinion) it's kind of necessary to go there, in order for someone to actually understand the reasons why it works like it does.
I read a few articles of people saying how mod chips damaged their ps2 in some certain way. It's possible, you'd probably most want to do free mcboot as tutorials are easy to follow and the method I used was disc swapping, but if you have a fat ps2 you can use a HDD method. You're most likely running under 9xxxx series so you should be fine. Downside to disc swapping is that only a certain number of games can swap the elf file. It's pointless to install a modchip just to install free mcboot, that's dumb af
9xxxx or not it doesn't matter.
He want to dump the bios which is the same thing as running any other program(including the FMCB installer)

Once you reach the point where you will try to run uLaunchELF or the FMCB installer,instead run the bios dumper
Having FMCB will just give you some extras but if you just want to dump the bios,then you don't need to install FMCB

And btw modchip damaging the PS2 is something really old.
You have to solder some really old and cheap modchip that can potentially damage your PS2

I solder mine on my Phat PS2 around 10 years ago(or more)and it still works fine
I also have FMCB installed by that's just for a convenience(I can do the same things with my modchip which is a clone of Matrix Infinity)

There are also cheap cards for sale at ebay with FMCB already installed

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