If you are reading this guide, more than likely you are considering dissassembling your PSP. For whatever reason, be it dust removal, custom faceplate installation, PSP2TV installation, or a combination of the three, no matter how much you dread it, eventually you are GOING to attempt to remove the faceplate, despite your own lack of information on the procedure. Going into this situation with little to no idea of what can go wrong will result in a lot of unecessary stress, and depending on your level of obsession, heartbreak. After all, the PSP is an expensive and delicate handheld device, and the thought of dissasembling it can be nerve-wracking, especially if you have never voided a warantee before. But trust me, if you attempt this procedure without the proper information, everything that can go wrong will, with plenty of potential for IRREVERSIBLE mistakes. However, because I have gone through this procedure and experienced many of the possible pitfalls, hopefully, you won't have to.
Warning: Dust CAN get back underneath the screen after you've sealed it. If you are intending on opening your PSP purely for dust removal, unless you have A LOT of dust, you may want to reconsider.
What you will need:
- 1 Small Phillips Head Screwdriver (I will get the exact size later, but it needs to be small, maybe the size of a glasses repair screwdriver. However, most of these are flathead, and flathead didn't work for me, especially not on the tight screws.)
- 1 Can Compressed Airduster
- Static Free Glasses Cleaning Cloth (I used some individually sealed alcohol cloths I got from the optometrist)
- OPTIONAL: 1 Large Refrigerator Magnet (If you drop one of those screws it's good to have one handy to find it in the floor, especially if you have carpet. DO NOT GET IT NEAR YOUR PSP
For the procedure I suggest you find yourself a sterile environment, say for example a tile bathroom. I did it in a living room, but that meant that I spent about an hour trying to get the PSP perfectly sterile before sealing it off. This is because dust is constantly moving about, and it's a good idea to get as dust free as possible.
The first thing you're going to want to do is remove the battery. Just set it and the battery cover off to the side. The battery cover is also a good place to put screws when you remove them.
TIP: It might be a good idea to go ahead and remove any UMD game or memory stick you have in your PSP as well... just in case.
Next you must remove all of the screws with red arrows pointing to them (that is, if you ONLY want to remove the FACEPLATE.)
If you are only removing the faceplate, do NOT remove the screws with GREEN arrows pointing to them.
- The bottom silver screw (located on the bottom part, opposite the top part, which has the USB port)
- The top left black screw (underneath the battery)
- The bottom left black screw (underneath the battery and the left side of the warantee sticker)
- The top right screw (located on the back side of the psp in a hole on the outer casing)
- The bottom right screw (located on the back side of the psp in a hole on the outer casing)
NOTE: The screws listed in BOLD (The bottom two screws on the back side) are tighter than the rest. If you try too hard to unscrew these screws with no results, YOU WILL STRIP THE HEADS! If the screwdriver only turns without moving the actual screw, don't keep at it until you've ruined them or you will never get them out. However, as long as there is still enough grip for the screwdriver to catch, there is still hope.
TIP: Try rocking the screws back and forth with the screwdriver if they refuse to budge, moving them slightly looser with each small adjustment. Don't let the screwdriver skip over the grips because it will only further tear out the head of the screw, but instead take advantage of what grip you DO have in this way.
TIP: If you cannot get the bottom back screws loose, get help from someone more familiar with electronics and/or hardware. If you keep at it you're going to get careless and destroy your PSP.
DO NOT ATTEMPT ANYTHING UNTIL YOU GET THE FACEPLATE OFF!
If you are still unable to remove the tighter screws, stop. Try another time. Persistence to open the faceplate without getting this out of the way will only result in careless, IRREVERSIBLE mistakes.
Now I'm sure many of you have found this guide because you are planning to clean out the dust under your faceplate. However, I want to assure those who are only installing a new custom faceplate that this is just as important for you as it is for them. Depending on where you attempt the procedure, dust WILL settle inside the faceplate before it is over, and you're going to feel stupid when you get your PSP all sealed up only to find specks of dust clinging to the inside.
Set your faceplate aside, facing with the inside up. Be careful so that the home row buttons don't fall out. (If you wish you can remove your L and R buttons and airdust them off, but I didn't bother.) Get your airduster ready. Most compressed air cans come with two little plastic hoses, a small one and a long one. I prefer the smaller one for this procedure, as I can get it closer to the device and manipulate it easier.
DO NOT ANGLE THE AIRDUSTER DOWNWARD WHEN SPRAYING! If you do so, a liquid (which I assume is liquid oxygen) will spray out ONTO YOUR PSP. I suggest picking your psp up with one hand (if right handed, the left hand, and if left handed, the right hand) and holding it facing you, and airdusting with the other hand.
DO NOT TOUCH THE INSIDE OF YOUR PSP WITH ANYTHING BUT COMPRESSED AIR OR A LINT-FREE CLOTH.
Some specks of dust simply refuse to move even when being blasted with compressed air. For these, I suggest a static-free cloth. Don't poke it with the little straw like I did. The inner side of the faceplate glass is softer than the outer side, and easily dented, scratched, and smudged. I used individually sealed glasses cleaning cloths. However, I have been told that alcohol can be damaging to the circuitry. Also, I have a small smear on my inner faceplate that I assume is from the alcohol.
As far as I know, the dust inside a PSP faceplate has been there since assembly. This means that the dust you can see isn't necesarily ALL of the dust. Before you blow off the screen or inner faceplate I suggest completely blowing out all of the dust inside the unit. Regardless of whether there is visible dust on the inner faceplate or screen, there still may be dust elsewhere inside the device that can end up on the inner faceplate later on. In order to keep from ever having to go through this procedure again, I suggest you make sure there isnt a single speck of dust left inside the unit before closing it up. This part is difficult, especially depending on the dust content of the environment you have chosen for this procedure. More than likely you will spend a good bit of time playing your own little version of the Lights Out game, where every time you blow or wipe off a speck of dust, three take its place. Just be patient, however. Don't get yourself in a rush, just keep at it until all the dust is gone before you shut it up for good. However, depending on how long it takes, you may end up with one speck of dust left towards the edge of the screen and decide to go ahead and close up the faceplate before more of them settle in.
Once your inner faceplate is dust-free and everything is order, it is time to seal off your PSP. Place your faceplate carefully over the top as it was and press down gently, making sure your L and R buttons are in correctly and everything is perfectly aligned. Go ahead and screw the bottom silver screw back in, holding the PSP together. Now, carefully flip the unit and place it with the screen facing down, like it was when you removed the screws. You can screw the rest of the screws back in whatever particular order you like. To my knowledge they are all the same length and size, but just to be safe I kept track of which screws went where. Have patience with the top right screw on the back; you're going to have to attempt to drop it down in the hole and screw it in correctly. This shouldn't be too hard, but because you cannot see what you are doing, you're going to have to feel for the screw. If you don't catch the grooves just right you can easily find yourself screwing without actually doing any good :P.
Make sure all of your screws are tightened all the way. The buttons and thumbstick connect with the main unit via small electrical sensors, and if not all of them are in contact, it can result in the memory stick not working properly, as well as causing trouble with your thumbstick. Press around the unit and make sure it isn't creaking or loose anywhere. You shouldn't be able to pry open the faceplate with your fingernail. If the faceplate is still loose around the L and R buttons, they are probably caught on the faceplate. Press down on them until they pop back into place, then make sure all nearby screws are tightened.
- Wipe off all of the outside dust from your PSP, making sure all of the dust is EXTERNAL.
- Replace your battery and turn your PSP on. Make sure everything appears to be in working order.
- Pop in a memory stick and attempt to view a picture. If the picture remains blurry and never focuses, the screw nearest your memory stick may not be fastened all the way.
- Pop in a UMD Game and test all of the buttons, including the thumbstick, making sure all of them function properly. If any of these don't work, make sure the screw nearest to that part is securely fastened.
Q: How do I get the tight screws loose?
A: A slow, back and forth rocking motion with the screwdriver should work, as long as you try and rotate the screw loose without your screwdriver hopping the ridges.
Q: I don't have any grip left in my screws! The screwdriver just turns! What should I do?
A: Give up. You've stripped the heads. As long as you can still feel a little bit of grip in the head of your screw and it still looks like a plus sign, there is still hope. However, if you HAVE drilled out the head of your screw, there is a strong chance that if you keep trying, you're going to get careless and damage your PSP. Even if you have stipped the heads of the screws, this shouldn't affect the working parts of your PSP, and it should be undamaged. Whether you are trying to clean out the dust, install a new faceplate, or any other reason, you have to decide if that is important enough to you that you would risk damaging, even destroying your PSP. And if it's still in the same working order as it was before, I say you're lucky.
Q: I'm blasting this peice of dust with compressed air and it still won't budge. What do I do?
A: Wipe it off with a static free cloth. The one that came with your PSP should do well, without leaving any lint behind. Even if it does leave lint behind, you can blow it off with the airduster.
Q: I got liquid oxygen on my screen/inside faceplate. What should I do?
A:Clean it off with a static free cloth.
Q: I've scratched my inner faceplate! How do I fix it?
A: If you don't want to open your PSP ever again, you'll want to find ways to deal with it. To try and make it less noticable, try putting a screen protector on the outside of the faceplate. If it is still a burden, this may be a good time to look into a replacement faceplate.
Q: My faceplate won't seal all the way around. What's wrong?
A:Try pressing down on your L and R buttons. If either of them doesn't move, you have to pop it down into place first. Then, make sure the nearest screw is fastened all the way.
Q: When I try and view a picture, it stays blurry. Also, when I play a game, my guy runs when I'm not touching the thumbstick. Do I have to open my faceplate and reconnect stuff?
A: No. Don't bother opening your PSP again.The screw nearest the memory stick (the one that was under the warantee sticker) is still a little loose. Make sure it's screwed in all the way.
Q: One of my buttons isn't working. What's wrong?
A: The screw nearest that button isnt fastened all the way. Make sure it's snug.
Q: My PSP squeaks. What the hell?
A: Yeah, scary. Make sure everything's screwed tight.
Q: Why did you write this guide?
A: Because there wasn't a guide like this when I dissasembled my PSP, and because I didn't know what could go wrong, everything did. I couldn't get my tight screws loose, so I tried to pry my psp open and spray inside it. I filled my psp with liquid oxygen, which pushed all the dust to the screen and left some nasty stains. When I finally did get my faceplate off, I wiped the stains clean and airdusted it out. When one of the specks of dust wouldn't come loose from the screen, I tried poking it off with the airduster straw, and made a smudge on my inside faceplate. Once I had everything sealed off, I turned on my PSP to find that Tony Cipriani was running around in circles and none of my pictures would focus, rendering eboot loader useless because I had reset my default settings and couldn't set a new custom background. Luckily, however, I noticed that these two problems were both connected to physical parts near the same screw, and I realized that all I had to do to fix the problem was screw in that screw tighter. After going through this fairly awful experience, I wanted to make sure NO ONE else made my mistakes.
If you have a PSP faceplate removal question that is not listed, submit it and I will try my best to answer by editing this list.