As I like to do with the gadgets I purchase, I like to tinker with them and figure out what makes them tick. One of the things that makes almost every portable electronics tick is the firmware. This is usually an operating system embedded in the device’s memory. It’s a piece of software that tells the hardware what to do and how to do it. When you buy a PSP (or other devices such as iPods) from a store, it comes pre-loaded with the factory firmware. As time goes on, the device manufacturer may release new firmware updates that correct problems and add new features.

So why customize the firmware of a PSP? Custom firmware adds new features to the PSP which are not supported or available through the official Sony firmware. The custom firmware allows me to run homebrew applications on the PSP, charge the PSP battery through USB while not having an established data connection (ie: charge while playing a game) and also backup purchased UMD games to memory stick where the games are playable direct from memory stick – this eliminates mechanical wear on the UMD drive, greatly increases load times and also greatly increases battery life.

Although this is not an overly difficult procedure, it does require some knowledge of how computers work and also some patience. This information is presented for educational use only. I am not responsible for any physical, emotional or financial damage you may cause to your PSP, yourself, your family, your pets, your friends, etc. If you decide to follow these procedures, you do at your own risk!

This tutorial will be divided in to five steps:
Step 1: Creating a bootable memory stick
Step 2: Creating a service tool battery
Step 3: Flashing the firmware

This tutorial is intended for PSP Slim (Model PSP-2000/2001) ONLY. I do not have an older “Fat” PSP-1000 to test on and I cannot comment on the accuracy of this information towards the previous model.

This tutorial will change the PSP Slim firmware to 3.90M33-3. This means that the base firmware will be Sony’s 3.90 firmware with the “M33″ extensions and revision 3. As of writing this document, firmware 4.01M33-2 is the latest version and it will be an easy update at the conclusion of this tutorial.

Tools required (in order):
PSP Slim Model-2000 or Model-2001
Memory Stick Pro DUO of at least 512MB in size. I am using a Sandisk 4GB stick.
Guitar pick
Magnifying glass
Sharp utility knife
Packing tape

All set? Let’s go to Step 1!

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72 Responses to “Howto: Install Custom Firmware on a PSP Slim – Introduction”
  1. crystal says:

    hi Len ^^
    nice tutorial …one of the best out there

    i think i understand most of it but need to make sure before i start

    do you think this will work on my psp

    its a slim psp 2004 with FW 3.95
    or is there another way for mine?

  2. Len says:

    Hi Crystal,
    I can not say with 100% certainty that it will work on your PSP. The only thing I can be 100% sure about is that it worked on my PSP-2001 as documented. Please be absolutely sure you want to do this before you take any risks that may permanently damage your PSP. Very glad you enjoyed the tutorial.

    Need help Reply:

    please send me the psp grader V005 because the sites that you have given us needs a members login. please send it in my mail

  3. Hung says:

    Hi Len. Your tutorial is the best one I’ve seen on the web. I currently do not have a PSP, but I am going to get one. I heard there are different motherboards for the psps. Does it matter which one I get like the piano core pack, god of war bundle, or other bundles? Thank you for your time.

  4. Sean Cyrus Towel says:

    I just got a psp-2001, which seems to have firmware 3.95. Do you think this will still work?

    Henry Reply:

    hey. yes ur psp will work. i have a psp-2002 with 3.95 factory firmware pre-installed and now i am running 5.00 M33-2 so yes urs will work

  5. Sean Cyrus Towel says:

    Well, I did it anyway. Just want to let anyone else who may be interested know. A new slim PSP-2001 out of the box, which oddly has firmware 3.95 will work fine with this walk through. I had no problems (aside from the battery taking a while to get open) with this tutorial. Great job!

  6. Hung says:

    Thanks Sean Cyrus Towel

  7. Len says:

    Hi Hung,
    Glad you enjoyed the tutorial. These instructions should be valid for any PSP Slim currently sold in North America. I’m not sure if the God of War, Daxter or any other bundles have different model numbers to them. I have the PSP Slim Piano black “Core” system which is model PSP-2001.

    Hi Sean,
    Glad you enjoyed the tutorial as well and got it to work on your PSP-2001. Yes, the battery can take some time and be a bit frustrated but patient work will certainly pay off. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  8. Matt says:

    I justed completed mine today and I have to say that this is an awesome guide that any beginner can use. It worked perfectly for me. I have the new PSP-2001 starwars version and it runs like a charm. Good Work Len.

  9. Andy says:

    I did mine last night and it worked like a charm. If no guitar pick is handy, I recommend using your knife to CAREFULLY pierce the seal of the battery and using a fingernail to pry it open. Thanks for the clear guide.

  10. ben says:

    Hi Len,

    This seems to be the most straight forward tutorial i have found that doesn’t think we all have spare batterys.

    I live in the uk and the only way of getting one is from the internet.

    my question is can this work on the 4.05 version of the psp slim and light???

  11. Len says:

    Hi Matt and Andy. Glad you enjoyed the tutorial and thanks for posting your experiences.

    Hi Ben,
    Other readers appear to have been able to flash their 4.05 psp slim.

  12. Jose says:

    hi i just bought the madden 09 bundle and i wanted to know if it work would work on it thank you! :P

  13. seancyrustowel says:

    Since the Maden 09 bundle came out yesterday, there is no way to know until someone tries it.

  14. Uhlan says:

    Hi i have a PSP Slim 2004 with 3.95, does this guide work for me?
    If not, can u link to a site that has a working guide for me?



  15. Alex says:

    Hey guys i have the daxter pack slim and i used the totalnewdie(Etc..) and it work alright on firmwire 3.90 (maybe3.93 or 3.95) the only thing that was odd was when i inserted the Memostick and battery and all to get it in service mode. that it NEVER SHOWED the white text, now dont be freacked out k cause i waited 5 minutes with it on touched nothing, after 5 minutes pressed X and the Wireless and Memo stick light went crazy which is good cause that means its loading, i wait 10 minutes (to make sure) once the lights stoped i pressed X and it shut down then i booted it with the Apdator too regulary boot it and it turned into 3.71M33,

    Now Uhlan this will work (thegudie) if you get a black screen WHATEVER YOU DO DONT TURN IT OFF but it sould work fine.

    Now what i need to ask is if anyone done this on 4.05 ofw cause i acciddently pressed the regular update and upgraded to 4.05 :P so i dont know if i sould try it the same way tks and Good luck Uhlan

  16. Arya says:

    hello alex
    i have been able to get this work with 4.05

  17. Prashan says:

    Hi Len
    I’m keen to load custom firmware on my psp and I was wondering whether this tutorial would work with a psp2002 with official firmware 4.05. Don’t want to take any chances, thanks

  18. Len says:

    Hi Prashan,
    According to what other people say, it should work fine.

  19. Rhith says:

    The pandora style update will update ANY version firmware considering the service mode ignores what version is on it and will write over it. The only issue is the newer slim’s having the new motherboard set which has not yet been cracked and you can not update.

  20. Lowebb says:

    Simply fantastic. Wasnt over eager to start cutting wires on the battery circuit board but it worked a dream and perfectly explained. For everyones information this works with the slim with firmware 4.01, (as the 3.90 description is no longer available due to the PSP Grader being onto version 6)

  21. Theblob says:

    Hi I’ve got a psp-2003 fw version 3.95

    I’ve tried using grader v005 and v006 with fw versions 3.90 and 4.01 and cannot get the psp to boot from the memory stick

    after reading Rhiths comments could mine be one of the new motherboards?

    the problem i get is no whit text appears and i also get no options, when inserting the battery while holding down L nothing appears to happen

    i’ve also read Alexs comment but mine does not appear to work

    I’m using the ‘battery service tool’ creator, has anyone used this to create a pandoras battery?


    and great website very helpful


  22. M4G1K Alex says:

    Hey so what u need 3.90 ofw before u do this?

  23. Annon says:

    Anyone tried this with 3.5 on a PSP Phat?

  24. blaster says:

    I have a PSP 2001 “Piano Black Vesion” The OFW is 4.01 and I have read as many threads as possible before attempting any mods. Does anyone know if this version can be modded? The reason I ask is some people say it has the ta-088v3 motherboard which is currently is not hackable.

    In any event I like the way you present your information. It’s very easy to read and understand. Other psp sites have so much conflicting info that I don’t know who to believe.


    blaster Reply:

    returned the “Piano Black Version” and bought the Blue PSP 2001 with Madden 09 bundle. I believe it comes with the TA-088v2 MoBo and OFW 3.95 and from what I read it should be okay to mod

  25. blaster says:

    update…I followed your guide and was successful in putting CFW 3.90M33 on my PSP. I also used a Lexar 8gb memory stick and pandora battery made from a phat 3.6v 1800mah battery. If this helps anyone the serial no. of my PSP starts with AM


  26. netkrusader says:

    Hi! I have just brought a psp 2001 and upgraded the ofw to 5.01 can i use this tutorial with this configuration?

    BTW the guide is excellent will try using it once u confirm I can. Thanx.

  27. James says:

    hi people, how are you i want to know something, is the blue madden09 psp 2000 or 2001?i need an answer please and does the psp-3000 have screen problems.bye

  28. Hayden says:

    Thaks for the info. I was just wondering if this would work on a psp 2001 with ofw 5.02 because i don’t want to take chances.

  29. Scott Hastings says:

    Hi everyone.
    I have done numerious research before buying my ‘PSP 2000′. Anyways got off amazon brand new and guess what….Its PSP-2003. So i have looked around about hacking/flashing it and i am a bit sketchy about what i have to do exactly. I have noticed that ‘out of the box v4.01 CANNOT be hacked due to a new motherboard however i carefully took mine out and checked and mine is 3.95OFW. I have ordered my pandoras battery and MMS via ‘pandoragadgets’ so i have emailed them to check, but can anyone actually clear my problem up for me?….I would like to downgrade.upgrade to CFW on my ‘PSP-2003 v3.95OFW’. Can i do this? If so how? Any feedback much appreciated.

  30. Breakage says:

    Thanks so much for this guide!

    Just followed all the steps and created a homebrew psp slim 2003 using a stanley knife..
    1gb sony mem card and a converted standard battery.

    Also just updated via network update to 5.00 M33-4 thanks!!

    Awesome stuff!

  31. rukesh says:

    can i use these guides to make a mms with a 4 gb stick duo made in japan and my psp is v5.02 official firmware will it still work

  32. ryanswan says:

    I have a Piano Black PSP-2001 with firmware 4.05. Any ideas if this guide will work on my PSP?

  33. Clank says:

    i have the same thing with ryanswan

  34. Hayden says:

    This works on any firmware version. This only doesn’t work you you have the new mother board in it like the psp 3000. I hacked my psp from 5.02 to 5.00 m33-6 with model 2001 with no problems.

  35. Clank says:

    but i have version 2001?!?!/! wuts wrong

  36. Clank says:

    i have a psp slim 2001 running OFW 4.05. i dont exactly understand wut to do on the MMS part. i have a TOOL battery that i bought. this is wut it says:3.6V 1800mAh PANDORA BATTERY. will this work with this stuff. i also dont have another psp with csom firmware PLZ RESPOND I NEED HELP PLZ!!!!

  37. Clank says:


  38. Hayden says:

    Have you read the whole artical on makeing the magic memory stick. The program will make it for you. You need a memory card at least in 512mb in size to do it. What part do you not get about it.

    Clank Reply:

    dude this is exactly wut i did i insterted the eboot i clicked create pandora stick it made the files i used my 3.6V 1800 mAh pandora battery that i bought and i used them WHILE HOLDING L AND THE BOOT MENU SCREEN DIDNT COME UP. i dont know if my psp is hackible and i checked at the umd slot. there is no number and my psp 2001 came out of the box with 3.95. is my battery a fake? am i doing something wrong? is my psp hackible? plz i need answers PLZ! i tried this 21 times with no luck
    P.S. i updated my psp to 4.05 plz reply!!!!

  39. Clank says:

    Oh yea and i have a sandisk pro-duo 512 MB if that helps

  40. Hayden says:

    Okay. So when you put in your battery does the green light come on automatically. Your psp should be hackable if it didn’t come stock with ofw 4.00 and up. When you inserted the mermory stick did you hold left triger button then put the battery while holding the left triger button. Also make sure to hold it when its in because it takes a couple secounds.

  41. Hayden says:

    Also what psp grader are you useing our what program are you useing to make your memory stick

  42. Clank says:

    i just updated to 5.03 and my psp slim 2001 came out of the box with 3.90 or 3.95. im using psp grader version 005 help!? oh yea and my green light does turn on automatically

  43. Hayden says:

    Is the battery charged all the way. If that doesn’t work i don’t know whats wronge

  44. Daler says:

    Can PSP 2004 firmware 4.05 be cracked

  45. paddy says:

    i have psp 3004 which firmware shud b insatlled pls reply me pls

  46. mark says:

    hi len.
    i have a psp2004 model with a software version of 5.03 and it can’t be played when i install games. the games by the way are being put in the ISO FOLDER. when using UMD it just works fine.. How can i make my psp works.. UMD’S here are very expensive.. (forgive me cause i’m really new at this. I’m working to find ways so that my son can play his psp) im trying to find a solution to this problem. hope u can spare me time to answer my questions.

    mark (from Philippines)

  47. Chris says:

    i have a PSP 2001 model runnining firmware 4.05 it DID NOT come with it when i got it the firmware was 3. something i had to upgrade my firmware when i went to play GOD OF WAR will this guide work for me?

  48. joe says:

    hey i have a psp 2001 ofw 5.02 will this work
    plz comment thanks

  49. Bob says:

    YOu guys need to read that artical because it says that it will work on any firmware on the psp slims no matter what.

  50. gougou says:

    hi all i just bought a new psp slim 2003 black and it has official firmware v4.01.
    Can i hack it with this guide?I don’t know about the motherboard and i am psp noobie.

  51. davinci 123 says:

    I would like to know: I am considering moding my psp. do any of the umd games have firmwhere embeded in them so that if i do mod my psp they won’t work. and on a skail of 1 to 10 how hard is it to mod a psp becaus im pretty good with computers and stuff, but Im clumsey.
    thanks davinci 123

    davinci 123 Reply:

    I was also wondering if psp v 5.5 can be hacked?

  52. hayden says:

    You can play any umd if you have the latest cfw which is 5.00 m33-6 if the firmware is 5.00 and under until they update it. Moding a psp is really easy. I just bought my pandora at and made the memory stick with psp grader.

  53. hayden says:

    I’m not sure yet. They said that they couldn’t decript it yet but im sure that they will hack it. Thats whats been happening when the psp came out. Ever time sony patched somthing hackers would hack it. They will probleby make one when 5.51 comes out to fix bugs.

    davinci 123 Reply:


  54. TOP says:

    hello.. i was wondering if i can update the psp slim with an ofw 4.01 to the latest cfw without using pandora battery.. help? here’s my email, thanks ^^

    Hayden Reply:

    The safest way to do it is with a pandora battery but i heared that you can put custom firmware by updating to 5.03 and useing the HEN hack to enable hombrew and the use hell cats latest cfw downgrader/upgrader. I only heard this worked with psp slims but not psp 3000 but it a risky process and don’t blam me if it gets bricked.

  55. VPHAC says:

    haha! finally! thanks to you Len! :D

  56. pwnzor says:

    I have flash cards for all of my handheld devices, no way I’m paying full price for my games…

  57. How to: Install Custom Firmware on a PSP Slim – Step 1 « how to central says:

    [...] Introduction Step 1: Creating a bootable memory stick Step 2: Creating a service tool battery Step 3: Flashing the firmware Conclusion [...]

  58. Howto: Install Custom Firmware on a PSP Slim – Step 2 « how to central says:

    [...] Introduction Step 1: Creating a bootable memory stick Step 2: Creating a service tool battery Step 3: Flashing the firmware Conclusion [...]

  59. Howto: Install Custom Firmware on a PSP Slim – Step 3 « how to central says:

    [...] Introduction Step 1: Creating a bootable memory stick Step 2: Creating a service tool battery Step 3: Flashing the firmware Conclusion [...]

  60. Howto: Install Custom Firmware on a PSP Slim – Conclusion « how to central says:

    [...] Introduction Step 1: Creating a bootable memory stick Step 2: Creating a service tool battery Step 3: Flashing the firmware Conclusion [...]

  61. edge says:

    Hi Len great tutorials!
    well i have a problem. i have a psp slim 2001 with 4.00 ofw.though a newbee in this kind of stuff,i find your tutorials quite understandable.I want to install CFW 5.00m33-4 and i really dont know how to go about it.
    Can i use your guide instead? and if yes can you send psp grader v005 to my mail since i cannot get it from any trusted website.please Len help me customize my psp to 5.00m33-4 and please reply me through my mail.

  62. edge says:

    Hi Len,great tutorial!
    i have a problem,i have a psp slim 2001 with OFW 4.00. though a newbee in this knid of stuff i kinda find your tutorials quite interesting.I want to install CFW 5.00m33-4 but i don’t know how to go about it.
    Can i use your tutorials? if yes can u also send me psp grader v005 or any one i can use for this tutorials since i cannot find any trusted websites to download it.Please help me install CFW 5.00m33-4 and reply me through my mail.

  63. Anonymous says:

    it broke

  64. najib says:

    hi iam new to use psp i know how to hack a psp and i just want to know wheathr is it good to hack or not thanks

  65. Ty says:

    This says the base firmware is 3.90 will I be able to use a snes or sega genesis emulator with this? From what I’ve been reading you need v1.0-1.5. Does this circumvent that?