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My Adventures in setting up PCSX2.
#1
Hello! My thanks to everyone involved in making this amazing PS2 emulator. My PS2's disc drive is getting sticky and wanted to use PCSX2 to immortalize my PS2 digitally. I post this to help those who want to do the same. The rules of this site prevents me from stating specifics, but I'll share my story otherwise. My PS2 is a SCPH-39001 (fat), NTSC-U machine.

I started by finding a PS2 emulator via Google and found PCSX2 as the top result. After peeking around the website, I decided it was what I wanted, especially after finding out it can play the discs of my PS2 games. After downloading and installing PCSX2, I started going through the initial setup. When I reached the empty BIOS, I knew a world of research was ahead of me. Here we go!

I like staying legal, so I didn't want to download a BIOS online, but rather copy my own machine's BIOS. I read the many ways one can copy their machine's BIOS. I don't have the network adapter, the codebreaking and gameshark discs and accessories are all too expensive for my taste. Although, I did discover a method that would copy my BIOS into my flash drive. I chose that method because I found what I needed on eBay for cheap and had a reliable seller.

Once it arrived, I got right to work! I downloaded the BIOS dumper from this site and found a YouTube video that showed how to use it. The video showed me to choose the MASSDUMP ELF file, put it in my flash drive, open it in my PS2 and let it do its magic. Didn't work. I switched to a flash drive with a more reliable connection. Still didn't work. I waited up to 30 mins for each attempt because my screen would switch to No Signal and wouldn't show me progress. My flash drive stayed lit up so I thought it was still going, despite the internet saying it takes 5 mins tops to dump the BIOS.

I found another YouTube video that showed how to use the ps2dumper ELF file. This looked promising so I tried it. I noticed this method had me to cut the ELF from my flash drive to my memory card and activate the program there. Again, I had "No Signal" and waited forever. After restarting my PS2, I checked the drive in the PS2 and it said it had all the files, at promising file sizes. Yay! Went over to my PC and got the "not recognized" error. Restarted my PC, still had the error. Tried a different PC. Again, same error. Plugged it back into the PS2 and it couldn't find anything. I concluded my flash drive no longer broken. Sad news, but good thing I was using an old one still!

So I setup my nice, newer flash drive, put both dumping programs on it and had an idea: what if I tried the older MASSDUMP ELF file, but activated it from my memory card instead of the flash drive? This was my last ditch effort before asking for help. At this point, I worked on this step for about 5 hours and was getting very sleepy.

Still, no signal, so I waited a long time. However, I did notice a difference: the drive was flashing regularly instead of sporadically. Took this as a good sign to restart the PS2. Checked the contents: I noticed a .BIN file was added to the list. So far, so good! Took it to the computer...and it found the flash drive!!! Copied and pasted to my BIOS to my emulator and it found it in the initial setup! Completed the initial setup and went to bed happy.

Woke up a little early before work the next day to try a game. Took me a little while to figure out how to play from disc as it is not super intuitive to a new user. Once I figured it out, it made sense. Opened the game's menu and was playing at 100% speed. Expecting slower speeds from my aging desktop (6-7 years old), I was quite happy, but had to go to work.

After a long, hard day at work, I was able to find a little time to start the game. Menu worked great, but the actual game slowed to nearly 50%...figures. After spending a few hours to experiment with video settings and learn the speedhacks, I finally got it to work to 80-95% speed. A little slow, but it's consistent. Kinda feels like playing with a bit of lag online.

Now, I'm working on all my other games, making IMG backups, and seeing how to make each one work. Seems like the settings need to be tweaked for each game to make them work. Oh well, at least I get to play my PS2 games at the comfort of my PC!

I hope this thread helps those who are trying to backup their PS2 machine digitally too! While researching, I found lots of useful ideas, but none newer than 2013. I want to show the people of today it is still possible! Again, thank you very much for making this wonderful emulator. It has brought me and my family great joy in these recent days.
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