Some of the most common problems with the PSX is skipping video, skipping audio, poor
action during play or not reading disks. Here is some of the most common solutions to
repairing your PSX.
DOES YOUR PSX DO THIS?
The most common fault with the PSX is skipping, not
reading disks, poor play action and poor full-motion-video (FMV) at the beginning of
games. The problem sometimes gets worse the longer the machine is on.
The CD-ROM mechanisms in earlier PSX's has a common
flaw, which shows itself in the initial stages as skipping FMV (full motion video), and
streaming audio such as background music during gameplay. In the middle stages, worse
skipping is exhibited, plus longer loading times and random hanging and abortion of FMV
playback. In later stages, the mechanism totally fails to read data from a CD-ROM. The
screen will go directly to the blue Memory Card/CDplayer section instead of the black
background with the Playstation logo. Turning the PSX upside down sometimes helps.
Does this sound like your Playstation?
Skipping occurs when the laser optics can't track or
read the data on the disk. The problem is more apparent in earlier versions of the
Playstation, Sony tooks steps to combat this problem in later revisions of the machine.
The very first edition of the PSX (Model Numbers SCHP 1000, 1001, 1002) was the worst for
this problem. These early models used plastic parts in the laser unit (described later )
which over time, became worn. The later versions of these machines (Model Numbers SCHP
1000, 1001, 1002) came with a modified laser unit that used die cast alloy parts instead
of plastic. The latest revision of the PSX the SCPH-550x series and it seems to be problem
free and no adjustments should be made.
Please Note: The problems are more apparent with
copied disks because they can never reflect the laser back as efficiently as an original
disk. This is because CD writers cannot burn the pits that form the data on a CD-r disk as
cleanly as you get with a pressed disk.
You can proceed with the procedure below or order
the "Atlas Kit" that basically does the same thing but replaces the sled. You
can order the kit from here: http://www.werewolf.net/~vdospec/playstat.html
DO YOU HAVE AN EARLIER MODEL?
Disconnect all power to your PSX and carefully turn
it over and check the Model Number to determine if you have an early version - Model
Numbers SCHP 1000, 1001, 1002 (Fig. 1).
If you have an early model PSX, then your
problems are probably coming from a worn laser sled. The sled holds the laser and moves
back and forth to read the CD. Over time, it wears a small groove in one side and begins
to tilt or sit lower than the other side. It may or may not be noticable to the naked eye.
The worn sled causes focusing problems which cause the
REPAIRING THE LASER SLED
I am not an electronics engineer or a rocket
scientist but I do like to tinker with electronic things. I believe anyone can perform the
following procedure if they work slowly and patiently and take time to notice what they
are removing and where it goes. This is not a "fix all" guarantee but, it did
fix our PSX system and many others too. Remember to disconnect the power supply if you
attempt this repair. I am not responsible for any damages.
Basically the repair will lift the side of the laser
sled that has dropped because of sled wear. The best way to achieve this is to
dissassemble the laser and add a small piece of thin sheet metal between the sled. The
trick is to make the sled that carries the optics (lens) level or parallel with the CD,
and all you need to do is devise something to make it level again.
Remove the five screws from the underside of the PSX
(see Fig. 1 above for screw locations).
Carefully turn the PSX over and remove the top cover (Fig. 2)
After removing the cover, you will notice the Black CD Laser and Drive Unit located in the
upper center of the PSX (Fig. 3)
You must now disconnect the CD laser cable. Very carefully remove the retainer clip and
lift the cable up. Notice the orientation of the cable (Fig. 6).
Using a very small screwdriver, remove the two screws that hold the laser drive cover
To remove the laser cover, you will first have to turn the laser unit over and carefully
push the laser in the opposite direction. This will allow the cover to be removed easily
(Fig. 7b and 7c).
Carefully lift the cover from the drive. There is a small latch on the back that will need
to be disengaged first (Fig. 8).
With the laser drive cover now removed, turn the drive over (use care not to damage or
scratch the lens) and use a pair of tweezers to remove the snap-on pinion gear. This is
accomplished by "pinching" the two plastic pieces together and pushing downward.
The gear will then fall out (Fig. 9 and 10).
With the snap-on pinion gear removed, you can now easily slide the drive all the way
forward as indicated by the green arrow below. After moving the drive forward, unlock the
sled retainer by pushing it forward slightly also (Fig. 11).
After disengaging the sled retainer by moving it forward, carefully lift it up and remove
the retainer (Fig. 12)
Carefully lift the laser lens unit out of the sled (Fig. 13).
Turn the sled assembly over. The amount of
wear on the sled may range from slight to major. See the diagram below to locate the area
of wear (Fig. 14b).
To fix the problem we need to make the sled
perfectly horizontal again, the simplest way to do this is to add a small piece (approx
3mm by 5mm in length) of sheet metal around 0.3mm thick to the sled unit at the position
shown in the diagram below.
I used the metal cover from an old floppy
disk and then cut off a small strip with a sharp pair of scissors. Clean the area removing
any grease with a Q-Tip and alcohol before gluing. The sheet metal piece can be glued in
place with a tiny amount of super glue or other type of glue. It is a bit tricky to fit
the metal in the small area, but it can be done see (Fig. 14). The metal doesn't have to
be the full length of the sled.
While the glue sets relubricate the sled rails
with some decent quality grease, molycote if possible or silcon grease is also good.
Reassemble the PSX.
This repaired my PSX and now it runs just
If this does not repair your system, you
may need to Adjust the BIAS and GAIN. However, this should be done with great care. I will
have more information soon on this separate procedure.