The PlayStation 2 was originally released in 2000, and over the past 23 years, has asserted itself as the best-selling and most popular video game console ever made. While the original PS2 model was a hit, Sony doubled down in 2004, releasing a sleek and updated PS2 model dubbed the PS2 Slim. That’s where the official system versions end, but what if there was a PlayStation 2 that was even smaller than the slim?
I recently tackled this task by creating a tiny PlayStation 2, all with the help of Wesk’s Ultra Slim PS2 mod. Wesk is a network engineer from Australia with impeccable talent, providing tons of valuable assets and projects for the retro modding community. Their Ultra Slim PS2 mod offers the opportunity for a PlayStation 2 that’s nearly half the size of a slim model, making it the smallest form factor available. I recently covered this mod in a tutorial showcase video on my YouTube channel, so be sure to check that out to see the mod in action!
"Despite some daunting points in the installation process, it was an extremely fun mod that resulted in a clean final product with some really smart features."
Making a Tiny PlayStation 2 with the Ultra Slim PS2 Mod
Installing the Ultra Slim PS2 mod isn’t incredibly tough, but it will require some soldering knowledge, confidence with PCB cutting, and a small list of tools. If you’re looking to create your own Ultra Slim PS2, you’ll first need a donor console, specifically a 79000-series Slim model PS2. This is the only type of console that will work with this mod, due to the small motherboard included. You’ll also need some soldering tools, a craft knife and a hacksaw, as well as some spare wires.
The rest of the required parts can be found on Wesk’s PS2 Ultra Slim thread on BitBuilt, with schematics that are free to download. For the shell, simply download the schematics and then order a custom-built shell through PCBWay. Wesk recommends the UTR-8100 transparent resin coupled with a transparent spray varnish, resulting in a sleek and see-through shell. Other parts are needed and can be found via Wesk’s BitBuilt thread, including the resin-printed power button and an SD-card retaining bracket. This specific sliding switch is also necessary, plus you’ll need an SD card and SD card adapter to load your games.
Ultra Slim PS2 Mod Basic Tutorial
Once you’ve got all your parts, you’re ready to begin the mod. Please keep in mind that this is a very basic installation guide and if you plan on performing the mod yourself, I highly recommend you follow my step-by-step video tutorial for the most accurate instructions possible. To start, you’ll need to isolate the motherboard from your donor PS2 console, so simply remove the screws and attached ribbon cables and set it aside. From here, we’ll be doing some cutting and soldering, so prepare to put in a bit of elbow grease.
First, you’ll need to cut away the part of the motherboard containing the second USB port. I started by scoring the surface of the board with my craft knife and a ruler, then made the full cut with a hacksaw. Once the piece is removed, sand down the sides to prevent any shorts in the underlying PCB. Some wiring will need to be done to power the console, and the lid detection switch will be repurposed to reset the console. Once these steps are completed, it’s a good time to test your console and ensure power is properly supplied before continuing.
From here, take the bottom half of your custom shell and cut the SD card adapter so it fits in the predesignated spot. You’ll then need to solder the SD card adapter to the Slot 2 memory card pins. This is an involved wiring process, but luckily Wesk has an explanatory diagram that should help you during this step. Once that’s completed, you can drop the SD card adapter and motherboard into the bottom shell, ensuring you use the 3D-printed bracket to separate the adapter and board. Drop the RF shield into the shell and fasten the fan to the shield, then assemble your sliding switch and pop it in before applying the top portion of the shell. Now is a great time to apply a spare rotating PS2 logo if you have one, because screwing the top and bottom of the shells together marks the end of the mod!
The Pros and Cons of Wesk's Ultra Slim PS2 Mod
The Ultra Slim PS2 has some excellent features and definitely lives up to its name. Sitting at half the length of a normal Slim model, it’s got one of the smallest footprints I’ve seen for a mod of its kind. I especially appreciate the mod’s inclusion of the rotating PS2 logo, as it’s something I personally requested for the project and Wesk delivered in full. The shell design is both visually appealing and improves the functionality of the console, with better cooling and circulation.
The positives don’t stop at the design though, as the Ultra Slim PS2 mod also has an internal MX4SIO feature that lets you load grabs directly from an SD card. This is optional of course, as you can use a standard MX4SIO PS2 memory card, but having the feature as a base inclusion is wonderful. Unfortunately, since this mod removes the disc drive, you’ll have to rely on the MX4SIO platform for your games. This means that infrequent game compatibility issues may arise, but should improve as the OPL and MX4SIO project continues.
Overall, I had a great time installing Wesk’s Ultra Slim PS2 mod, and was happy to start 2023 with this interesting new project. Despite some daunting points in the installation process, it was an extremely fun mod that resulted in a clean final product with some really smart features. I’m excited to cover more of Wesk’s mods in the future and am thrilled to see even more ingenuity sprouting up in the modding community.