PSP Trigger LED Modification Tutorial
I am updating this as I write the post. Updates will be here until complete and I will link to the main page article for full sized images once finished. ;)
Today we are going to break open our precious PSP's once again. This time for some nice cosmetic enhancements. Right off the bat I would like to warn you this is a moderately difficult modification. However with the necessary tools and some patience you will be on your way to a sweet looking PSP in no time. I see you sitting there at your PC palming your PSP as I speak, so without further ado lets hop to it...
A few items you will need [Battery and Penny shown for size comparison]
In order to perform this modification you will need a few tools and supplies. Everything should be available from Radio Shack. Just this last time when I went in they did not carry 26 Gauge Wire (AWG). I'm not sure if this is only my location or nationwide so I have specified other places to obtain parts.
Two SMT LED's (Surface Mount) - eBay
Soldering Iron and Solder - Radio Shack, Ebay, etc. (many places)
26 Gauge Wire - Sometimes marked AWG - Usually available at Radio Shack [eBay, Mouser]
Shrink Wrap / Electrical Tape
10 ohm resistor - eBay, Mouser
Drill - optional
Small Phillips and Flat Head Screwdrivers
Chaos, not quite. A few simple steps and you will be ready to proceed.
First remove your faceplate. This is what the phillips is for so break it out and get to work. A few screws on the back (including in your battery compartment. Finally a single screw on the bottom will allow you access to the inside of your PSP.
1. First we need to remove the home bar assembly. This is the bottom row including Home, screen brightness etc. Find the clip on the right and use your small screwdriver to flip it up to remove the cable. Then slide your Home Bar Assembly off the LCD screen.
2. This part is a bit more tricky. Take your flat head screwdriver and place it in the square holes marked above. Then press in gently and pry the screen upwards. I unclip two on the same side [left or right] then the screen pops out easily.
3. Now that you are able to life the screen upwards you will have access to the 2 cables that connect the LCD screen to your PSP. Gently pry the larger of the two up like you did previously with the Home Bar Assembly. When you get to the smaller of the two wires carefully pull the wire out. When removing the wire make sure not to pull up on the wire, and just pull directly away from its connection.
4. Now your LCD will be completely unattached from your PSP. Place it to the side and remove the screws that are marked in the image above. There are 7 screws in total (place these to the side as well). Now you can remove the LCD mounting bracket.
Its Decision Making Time!
Well folks, heres the decisive moment. You need to decide if you are going to drill into your PSP Triggers or not. I personally found it to be better in the long run however there are a few advantages and disadvantages both ways. For example, If you choose to not drill into your triggers the light emitted from your LED will be a bit more dim then it would be if you do use the drill. Drilling could also be potentially dangerous since the triggers themselves are rather small. You could also ruin your Triggers since there is a slight possibility of drilling straight through your Trigger. If you are inexperienced in certain areas theres no harm in asking someone for help.
If you have decided NOT to drill the triggers you will need to pass up this next section and Jump tp Making the LED Circuit.
If you decided you are going to drill the triggers you will need to take a drill and make a hole a little bit bigger then your SMT LED. There are a number of different sized leds that fit under the SMT LED category. I purchased mine from a eBay seller from China. They make good leds and are extremely cheap if you want to buy them in bulk. I purchased 50 leds for about $15 including shipping. Just 2 may cost you up to $6 or $8 bucks at your local Radio Shack. Once you see the result you will want to have more laying around for projects, trust me.
Take your triggers and drill a hole into the highest part of the slope in the center as pictured above. Use a drill that is one size larger then your LED. Needless to say if your LED is larger then the trigger you got the wrong ones and dont proceed before replacing them. ;) Once you have drilled your Trigger buttons, make sure that your LED fits in easily. At this point you might consider making a test solder to make sure you have enough room for the LED and the wire as well.
Making the LED Circuit
A Parallel circuit for LED's is a circuit which incorperates a number of LED's together in which the same drop is shared between all LED's on the chain. What this means to you is that each LED that you attach will use the exact same voltage as theWe are going to learn how to setup a simple circuit for our project. The circuit is completed in this case by whats called a Parallel the other ones. Which results in all LED's giving off the same amount of light. Here is a textbook example of a typical Parallel LED Circuit provided by Metku.
So now that we have the basic structure of a LED circuit down we need to apply this to our PSP Trigger LED Mod. I measure out the lenth of wire I will need for my project so I have it handy (especially if I am planning to do more then one modification that day.) As you can see from the image on the left we have the wire soldered to the positive conductor, then to the resistor (hidden in the electrical tape) and finally bridging the LED's in parallel and coming back via the negitive wire (not attached yet in the image). Similar to the picture in above and to the right, you can trace the wires to see they make the exact same style of circuit.
Heres a sneek peek into how the resistor was hooked up. I have taking the resistor and bent one of the legs back up against the side of it (typical if you have modified Xbox Controller Ports to add leds. Then you are able to solder a short length of wire onto the end (for the positive connection) and wrap the resistor up. You will be able to then solder the positive wire to the respective contact point and procede with wiring up your LED harness.
In order to get a really good connection make sure that the items you are trying to bond stay in a fixed location for a few seconds after the solder connection is made. Also remember that too much or too little solder can both cause problems. The better your can get the connections the better, however you may need to open up your PSP again to adjust the wires if the circuit isn't working correctly for your LED Modification.
Now that you have your LED's wired up, it would be a wise idea to test them prior to inserting them into the triggers (or the other location we will get to in a minute). Make sure all the wires are looking good, and nothings touching, then pop your battery back into the PSP. Flip the switch to the on position and if you did everything correctly you will be rewarded with some nice bright light coming from your SMT LED's. If your LED's don't turn on, double check to make sure the wires are correct and that you didn't accidently hook up the LED backwards (which happens to the best of us).
If you did not drill your triggers now that you have mastered making a circuit you need to check the spot where the LED is installed. When not drilling the LED will be installed in a tiny cavity behind the trigger. In the small picture on the bottom you can see how the wire is bent keeping a low profile to retain responciveness. When you install the led make sure that it is as far back as possible and you can use a bit of hot glue to keep it in place. Once both LED's are installed put your triggers back in and if you want toss your faceplate on (without LED screen etc to see how they look and modify as necessary. Once you are satisfied, reassemble your PSP and enjoy!
However, If you are putting the LED's in your Triggers then you will need to take the leds and insert them into the holes that you drilled previously and then use the hot glue gun to seal them in. Once sealed inside this will keep them from moving around a bit and aid your solder connections. Then you can simply insert the Triggers back in their normal position and if you want to double check (not a bad idea) toss in your battery and flip on and off your PSP again to make sure they are still working and the buttons motion is not hindered by the wire or glue. If everything looks good you can seal up your PSP and enjoy the new modification thanks to your fine handywork.
Please post any questions or comments and I will do my best to assist you.