Saving a dell 1501 and Installing Ubuntu 16.04 and RetroPie

inspiron
At my apartment building we have an electronics disposal container. People throw old electronics there to be recycled. I always go there and try to search for things that might still be useful. I recently found a Playstation 1 and it was in full working condition.

This past Thursday I found an Dell Inspiron 1501, it is an old computer that was designed for Windows XP
I took it upstairs and it didn’t have a charger so I ordered one from amazon. 9 bucks I turned the computer on and that was good. It booted into Windows XP home edition.

There is not much you can do with Windows XP nowadays. So I got an old USB thumb drive and on my Mac downloaded a copy of Ubuntu 16.04 64bit and created a bootable thumb drive. I installed Ubuntu 16.94 MATE, it ran but it was a big sluggish. So I thought it was the computer , then my next project was to install Retropie on it.

retropie

The first thing was to install wifi on this machine. It comes with A broadcom wireless card but it is so old that ubuntu doesn’t detect it but it was an easy fix.


sudo apt-get install b43-fwcutter firmware-b43-installer

With that installed it was a matter of adding this to the rc.local file

modprobe b43 so that the module would load after a reboot or at start.
This made the machine get wireless access so I could do apt-get update and sudo apt-get upgrade.

With that finish I installed retropie from scratch. I loaded EmulationStation and it launched but there was some annoying flickering :( this was so annoying. I could not play my games.

I tried a few things but nothing worked so it turns out that this machine has an old Radeon X200 express which is really old card. So nothing I could do was working and the computer was a little slow.

So then I had one last idea. I downloaded Ubuntu 16.04 32 bit , I reinstalled the computer and reconfigured the wireless card and installed RetroPie.

I launched EmulationStation and Boom.

There it was in all its glory EmulationStation loaded and all my games. I added my USB gamepad and was able to launch my games. I could not enable any of the shaders but I added smoothing to the pictures and it looks great.

I installed other stuff on my machine. I added Gimp, A few programming tools IDE’s and git and now I have a full machine with an updated secure browser , a machine that runs very well with a 32 bit OS
and has updated tools that I can use to program.

:)

Another computer saved from the graveyard.

How to Burn PSX Disk to Play on a Playstation 1 in 2018.

psx

For a long time I always wanted to mod my psx to play burned CD’s , however I didn’t know how to mod playstation1’s and I was afraid to break mine. Recently on the recycled electronics section in the basement of my building someone threw a playstation 1 with a strange adapter connected to the serial port on the Playstion 1.

psx

After googling the name of the device I realized this was an action replay adapter which would be used to load backup psx games or imports. I turned the machine and it booted into a Chinese language menu. I went to google and learned how to use the adapter, basically you put an original psx disk and turn on the psx with the action replay and boot up the machine. then the disk will spin but stop and then you switch it for your burned disk.

So I found a link on the internet with all all the psx games available for download and I burned my CD. I the files came in a zip folder with files that contained a cue and bin files inside . The majority of tutorials said to use IMGburn to burn the cd.

imgburn

I burned the image at 10x and then took it out of my CD burner and then I went to my psx and turned it on. I removed the real psx disk I had on it after it stopped spinning and put this new disk. I crossed my fingers and nothing happened. The disk just spinned and spinned and then stopped . I tried 3 times and no luck :( .

I guess maybe I burned the disk at a high speed since many blogs said to burn at slow sleeps. I tried burning at 2x , 4x, 1x and no luck :( only once I was able to get a menu to boot from a Tekken game I burned but it will fail to load the game.

cd

I spent a whole night up reading why this process was not working when it occurred to me that I had another psx which I had my original psx so I put the adapter on it and booted the real game and then switched for the backup cd I had created and I was able to get further.

it was 4am in the morning and I was able to get the games loaded but the sound was stuttering and music out of sync. I went to bed knowing that was getting close to solving this issue.

The next day I searched online and many people complained about this same issue. It was hard to find information because this information is outdated since no one is burning psx games anymore and most articles are from 8 to 9 years ago.

What I found was that you must use high quality disks to burn your CD’s and burn at 8x on most recent CD burners from the past 4 years. I went to Best Buy and bought these CD’s verbatim is the best brand you can buy and also the cd’s look cool since they look like 45 records. Who remembers those right.

vinyl

I went home that night and downloaded crash bandicoot 3 put it on the burner and burned the cd and waited. Once the CD ejected I took it out. booted the psx with the a real psx disk and then did the swap
and guess what. :)

crash

The first thing I heard was Sony computer entertainment presents and then I saw the intro for crash bandicoot and a big smile appeared in my face. I was able to play a few stages and all of them worked fine.

The new day I setup a script to download all the games from the site that I found and download them to a 2 terabyte disk I have and I burned other games and all of them worked.

So what was wrong with the psx that I found ? Well two things were the problem with that machine. One is that the lens on that machine was already worn out eventually the psx lasers start losing sensitivity and need to be replaced. you can change the potentiometer and try to make them work which I did but still had errors. However, I knew I took care of my original playstion and its lens was fine.

Second the quality of the disks I was using was important so if you are burning psx games in 2018 you have to make sure you have a machine with a good lens and use verbatim or better quality disks :)
and use imgburn at 8x speed.

Thanks for reading :)

crash