What Is Pandora’s Battery?
If you just bought a new PlayStation Portable, then you probably came upon the term “Pandora’s Battery”. That is the answer that most forums will give you if you ask how to play downloaded games or mod your PSP in other ways. But what exactly is a Pandora’s Battery? I will try to describe in this post what this magical device is and what it is good for.
Many PSP owners want to run homebrew applications and backed up ISO games on their handheld gaming console, but to do that they need to install custom firmware. However that can be quite tricky, because Sony will not allow you to run the installer. This lead homebrew hackers (most notably Dark_Alex and Team Noobz) to find exploits to get around these restrictions placed in the official Sony firmware, and the latest of which is the Pandora’s Battery. It is basically a modified battery that overrides the system boot code and runs the installer instead of starting up your PSP.
With it you to can install custom firmware one any PSP, including ones that run the latest official firmwares 3.71, 3.80 and 3.90! Actually it is the only method for installing custom firmwares on those firmwares. There are two variations of the Pandora’s Battery: the softmod and the hardmod.
The softmodded battery is created by running an homebrew application on the PSP to change some settings on the battery. But as you probably realized, to run the homebrew application you need custom firmware, and therefore an already modded PSP. If you do not have any friends that can help you, there are always people on different forums that will meet with you (or you can send them your PSP) and use their PSP to softmod your battery. If this is something you would like to do, check out the DarkMessiah site for a complete list of such people, and just send them a PM telling them that you are interested in their service.
The other option is to change those settings in the battery physically, and thus create a hardmodded battery. By cutting a certain pin in the battery, you can force it to always override the PSP bootcode. Of course, you can still use the same battery to power your PSP by reattaching that pin back in with a graphite pencil or use a boot-loader application, like Extended Pandora Bootloader, to pick between booting your magic memory stick and PSP. But the whole process requires a bit of engineering skill or the patience to follow a good guide, so it is not recommended for everyone. Luckily there are also places one can buy a hardmodded Pandora’s Battery.
There is one more part in the Pandora’s Battery, and it is the magic memory stick. Magic memory stick is basically your standard Pro Duo memory stick with a special code inserted into its first few bytes that will allow your PSP to boot from it. The magic memory stick is created from a computer, and the process is documented by almost every Pandora’s Battery guide, so it should not be a problem for anyone. However note that having just a magic memory stick is not enough, because you also need to tell your PSP to read those first few special bytes; that is what your modified battery will do.