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Some PlayStation 3 Service Mode Details!


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304w ago - Over the months there has been a lot of inaccurate information circulating in regards to how exactly the PlayStation 3's Service Mode works, and as promised in our previous Dev updates here are some of the facts to help separate the rumors and speculation.

It is a fairly simple process as follows.. For starters, the PS3 is powered off, and a special USB dongle, known as the Jig, is connected. The PS3 is then turned on, and then off, once it has detected the Jig.

After this occurs, the PS3 is then turned back on, into "Service" Mode. From here, the PS3 is re-flashed using a Firmware Update on a USB stick, specifically designed to only install from the Service Mode. Once the PS3 is re-flashed with the software, it is then used in conjunction with a PC running customized software, specifically the DEX.exe and CEX.exe's.

There are a multitude of special PS3 firmwares, basically three major ones. The first is a Core System, followed by the Service System, then finishing it off with the Final Software.. usually Retail.

From the CEX/DEX PC side software, just about anything can be done: Copying, transfer and resigning of box-specific items like PSN games, user profiles, etc.

Furthermore, the systems can be re-flashed to any software version as well. The system's keys can also be "rearranged", such as the marrying of the PS3's BD-ROM Drive (or controller) with the mainboard. Needless to say, this can do a lot more than a simple "Recovery Menu", as it can change firmware and more.

Over the last few months we have also compared the flash dumps (pictured below) done by our very own courier of a PS3 in Service Mode with a Retail (and a Debug) and found that the systems are primarily alike, however the Bootloader 1 of the Service Mode PS3 differs than that of the other systems. Work is still being done by the resident PS3 Devs in trying to pinpoint exactly why this is the case.

Finally, we have a correction to make to our previous PS3 Dev update as follows: it should read that the older PS3 consoles utilized dual (2x128MB) 48-pin chips totaling 256MB versus 512MB. To make it a bit more confusing, most PS3's actually use two 1 Gigabit flashes (for a total of 2 Gigabits), however, in actuality its only 256 (2x128) Mega Bytes. These things tend to get lost in translation from Italian to English at times! To add onto that, the new PS3's use a 128 Mega Bit flash, for a total dump of 16 Mega Bytes!

We would have corrected this on the same day, but by the time it was discovered the post was linked throughout the Internet with only a few users even noticing the typo.. so we opted to mention the correction in our next update instead of leaving users with a dead link- our apologies!

One last tidbit of news - Even on a Debug PS3 console, that can downgrade from any Firmware back to 1.00 via the System Software, it can't via swapping flashes.

Our first thought went to EFUSES, however, on a closer examination this may not be the case as we are currently in the process of examining the PS3's power supply to trace out where the power for the efuse blowing "mechanism" may reside- stay tuned!



Stay tuned for more PS3 Hacks and PS3 CFW news, follow us on Twitter and be sure to drop by the PS3 Hacks and PS3 Custom Firmware Forums for the latest PlayStation 3 scene updates and homebrew releases!

Comments 32 Comments - Go to Forum Thread »

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CoreTX's Avatar
#17 - CoreTX - 304w ago
Is this copy' n paste from lvl2 files, or does a scener have the jig ?

UserXY's Avatar
#16 - UserXY - 304w ago
wow nice work after soo long time I hope you'll released it as soon as possible!

XVISTAMAN2005's Avatar
#15 - XVISTAMAN2005 - 304w ago
nice find, hopfully more soon..

PeacefulDiscord's Avatar
#14 - PeacefulDiscord - 304w ago
Wow... So say if this jig thing was to be replicated and the CEX/DEX PC software was to be used, can we do something about the Hypervisor, say like disabling it? I am a bit of a noob when it comes to these things.. It would be cool to be able to run Linux or even XP on the PS3... The ultimate media centre!!

But seriously, you guys should set up a donations thing for the site.. I would donate... I feel Premium Memberships are not for everyone... but those who would like to still contribute to the devs in some kind of way should be able to do so... Just my 2 cents!!

PS3 News's Avatar
#13 - PS3 News - 304w ago
The closest thing we have to that is the Premium Memberships: [Register or Login to view links]

Money from that goes to CJPC and helps pay for Dev stuff we buy, and in return users get to view the site 100% ad-free and don't have to make posts to download, etc.

Anyway, when CJPC is back on he will answer some of the tech questions posted earlier in this thread... so we can get it back on-topic.

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