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Guidelines for burning PS1 games

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Guidelines for burning PS1 games

Postby thewheelman282 » Sun Jun 28, 2015 1:41 pm

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Guidelines for Burning PlayStation 1 Games

Ive been seeing a lot of people having trouble burning PS1 games lately so I decided to write this guide to try and assuage the influx of help posts here. Mods, if you could sticky this topic, that would be very helpful for everyone.

Lets start first by saying that a strict tutorial for burning PS1 games (or for any console for that matter) DOES NOT EXIST. You can find lots of information both here on TiZ and elsewhere on the web on how to burn PS1 games, but that info is different a lot of the time for different people. Why is this? Because there are too many variables to account for. PS1 CD-ROM drives, media quality and brand, CD burner brand and age, write speed, and supported write speeds for media and burners all have an impact on the burning process. As you can imagine, there are simply too many variables for there to exist a single, correct burning tutorial. Therefore, what your reading now is NOT a tutorial. Its more like a set of guidelines to follow to increase your chances of making a successful burned game.

I will cover the following topics and try to explain them the best I can:
+ Burning software
+ Your PS1 CD-ROM drive
+ Media brand and quality
+ CD burners
+ Write speed and supported write speed
+ Game images
+ POT tweaking the PS1 CD-ROM drive

Lets begin...

Burning Software
The rule is short and sweet: IMGBurn is all you will ever need. Yes, you can use other software to burn with if you want to, but there's no guarantee it will work. IMGBurn is super simple to use and works flawlessly every time. If a burned disc doesn't work, then its your fault, not IMGBurn's. The default settings for IMGBurn are all you need. There's no need for adjusting specialty settings. There's also no need to have IMGBurn verify the disc after its been burned because it either works or it doesn't. Your just wasting your time when you verify burned games.

Your PS1's CD-ROM Drive
As a general rule, all CD-ROM drives across all the versions of the consoles (SCPH-100x - 900x and SCPH-10x) are virtually the same in terms of their likeliness to read burned games. Most drives are picky and will NOT read cheap CDs. This is not completely true however. There are people who own a PS1 that will read cheap CDs perfectly fine. If you are one of these people, then consider yourself very lucky. In the grand scheme of things, the PS1 CD-ROM drive is the least of the variables.

Another important aspect of the drive is how well it has been maintained. Before you go burning games, clean your PS1's drive. There's no sense in going to the trouble of burning games is your disc drive is covered in decade old Doritos crumbs, pizza grease, and spilled soda. At the very least, clean the lens. Even better if you take the console apart and clean the sled rails, gears, and laser assembly. Remove all dust, hair, cockroaches, etc. Re-grease the rails and gears with a lite coat of grease. Be careful because there are some delicate pieces that can be easily broken if you man-handle them.
Just so we're clear, if your PS1 looks like this computer, you need to clean it :trollface:
Spoiler:
Image

A special note for SCPH-100x consoles. The CD-ROM drives in these consoles are made of plastic and over time part of the laser assembly will become worn out, causing the laser to be mis-aligned. The quick fix is to turn your console upside down or lean it against a wall. You can attempt to fix this problem, but its not easy. All other PS1 models use alloy metal drives and do not suffer near as much from this problem, although it can happen. If you want to replace the drive in your SCPH-100x, a drive from a SCPH-10x will fit perfectly.
If your interested in fixing a mis-aligned drive, check out jinn's post here:
viewtopic.php?f=84&t=6498

Media Brand and Quality
As I mentioned in the previous section, most PS1 drives are picky, so having good quality CDs is a necessity. This is probably the most over-looked and most important variable because it isn't common knowledge that not all CDs are created equal. When you do burn a game, there's no harm in trying a cheap CD just to see if it works. You might get lucky. If you do find yourself looking for better quality CDs, your only option is the internet. You cant go to Best Buy and get good CDs anymore so don't waste your time. Amazon usually has a good supply of quality media and eBay is another option. Two of the most well known/best brands are Verbatim datalifeplus AZO (yes, thats how its spelled) and Taiyo Yuden. You cant go wrong with these two brands. As a warning, "bad batches" do occasionally exist from any manufacturer. Thankfully its rare, but there is always a small risk.

CD Burners
There's not much to say about burners. Either it makes good burned PS1 games or it doesn't. If you determine that it doesn't, you might try getting a different or an older burner. You can get these cheap at some thrift stores and sometimes for free from a friend or relative that has an old PC laying around. eBay is also an option. There's not really a specific brand to look for, although a good brand would probably be better choice in general. However, this shouldn't be a deciding factor. You definitely don't need to spend a lot of money on a burner for CDs.

As a note, just because your already existing burner wont burn good PS1 games doesn't mean its junk. It will probably burn games for other consoles just fine, so don't trash it. Its good to have 2 or more burners anyway so you have options if your having trouble burning games on multiple systems.

All this assumes your using a desktop PC and not a laptop. If you plan to burn games using a laptop and its burner doesn't play nice with your PS1, then getting a different burner is going to be nearly impossible unless its an external burner. If you don't have an older desktop PC, it might be wise to get one for the sole purpose of game burning. Again, ask around your friends and relatives and you might be able to pick one up cheap or even free.

Write Speeds and Supported Write Speeds
This is likely the most controversial variable. Everybody claims different speeds to use, but in reality, its all bogus. What really matters is what speed works for your set up. Speeds WILL change from burner to burner and CD to CD so you have to find the sweet spot for yourself. As a general rule 8x is a good place to start since it seems to be the most compatible burn speed for PS1's. If your burns work at 8x then that's great. If not, you might try a higher or lower speed. Burning at low speeds is, in general, the accepted way to burn games. However, there is another method that says you should burn at the speed that your media is rated for. If your CD is rated to be burned at 24x, then people say to burn at 24x. In reality its a bit of a toss up. You can certainly try both methods if your having trouble but in general, burning at lower speeds is the best way to go. Again you have to find the sweet spot for your set up.

Now we need to discuss supported write speeds. Your burner is going to have a set of write speeds that it is capable of performing and this will change depending on the burner you use. For example, my DVD burner can burn discs at 16x, 24x, 36x, and 52x. These are the speeds it is capable of writing in. Even if you choose for your disc to be burned at 8x in IMGBurn, your burner can only burn as slow as it is designed to burn. So if I set IMGBurn's speed to 8x, my burner will burn at 16x (or close to it, like 14x or 15x). Sometimes this isn't a problem and the game will still work. Other times it wont. Again, it depends on your set up. If this is causing a problem then you need to use a different burner or an older burner (refer to previous section).

Info added by TimeKiller:
As you've correctly stated, burners have their set speeds - but so does the media. You can only burn at what your burner and media agree on. So if your burner can do 4x, but if your media's slowest speed is 8x, then you'll burn at 8x not 4x and visa-versa.

In order to find which speeds both your burner and your media supports, open IMGBurn and go to "Write image" mode. Your burner info will be in the right-hand info panel. Insert a blank disc and the info for the disc will be shown there too.

Game Images
If your going to burn a game, you need to get an exact and verified copy of it (Dreamcast is the only exception since most are optimized). You can find said games here on TiZ. Look into vga's (NTSC-U), maGer's (NTSC-J), and TimeKiller's (PAL) REDUMP collections as they are verified to be absolutely perfect. All other uploads will work perfectly fine too. Of course you can use images from other sites if you want, but YMMV. When you download the image, it needs to be in .bin/.cue format for PS1 games. This is the only format you will find here on TiZ. Other sites may have games in .ecm format which have to be decompressed to a .bin format. Don't even waste your time with these. Go download a .bin/.cue format instead.

Tweaking your PS1's Laser Adjustments
You need to know that this should be done LAST. This may not even be necessary for your console. What this will do is adjust the laser intensity and manual alignment of the lens so that the console can more easily read the burned disc. Again, this should be done very LAST, if at all. You need to ensure that you have hit the sweet spot with your burner set up before you attempt this.

What this means is:
+ You cleaned the CD-ROM drive
+ Your using good quality CDs
+ The image you downloaded is a good one (i.e. from TiZ)
+ Your burner is producing a game that your PS1 can easily read

You would want to tweak the laser assembly if the game you burned runs good, but not perfect. A good way to test this is with a game that has full motion video (FMV) like Bloody Roar II, THPS series, etc. If the FMV runs pretty good but skips a little bit, then there is a good chance a laser adjustment will help.

I have a tutorial on how to do this here:
http://www.theisozone.com/tutorials/psx ... -assembly/
The article says that it is used from tweaking SCPH-100x consoles, but it will work on all versions. Note that the later versions of PS1's don't have some the potentiometers because they were replaced by automatic adjustments.

I hope this will help you guys out with your burning process. It can certainly be frustrating at times, but hopefully less so now that you have read this. If anybody finds something that's not accurate or they want to add some information, let me know so I can edit this guide to make it better :)
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Last edited by thewheelman282 on Mon Jun 29, 2015 4:05 am, edited 4 times in total.
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>Helpful Tutorials<
How to properly burn PS1 games
How to use XboxHDM
How to install FreeMCBoot on your PS2
How to properly burn Dreamcast games

Image My YouTube Channel >> thewheelman282
Watch tutorials on console modding, repair, and more

The Golden Rule of Xbox Modding:
Backup eeprom.bin to your PC
Violators will be smacked!
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Re: Guidelines for burning PS1 games

Postby DenverNugs » Sun Jun 28, 2015 4:00 pm

Very thorough. Thank you for writing all that up. I'm sure it will help a ton of people on here. The bottom line is trial and error. Once you find a combination of burner/media/speed that works, stick to it. :)
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Re: Guidelines for burning PS1 games

Postby lukasn3 » Sun Jun 28, 2015 4:05 pm

Thank you bro :)
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Re: Guidelines for burning PS1 games

Postby Mr357 » Sun Jun 28, 2015 5:22 pm

Great guide! Thanks for writing all of this up!
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Re: Guidelines for burning PS1 games

Postby thewheelman282 » Sun Jun 28, 2015 5:43 pm

Thanks for the info TK :) i will add this in tonight
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>Helpful Tutorials<
How to properly burn PS1 games
How to use XboxHDM
How to install FreeMCBoot on your PS2
How to properly burn Dreamcast games

Image My YouTube Channel >> thewheelman282
Watch tutorials on console modding, repair, and more

The Golden Rule of Xbox Modding:
Backup eeprom.bin to your PC
Violators will be smacked!
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Re: Guidelines for burning PS1 games

Postby Sellith » Thu Aug 06, 2015 7:06 pm

Much appreciated information, thank you
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Re: Guidelines for burning PS1 games

Postby portnoi88 » Sun Jul 31, 2016 6:33 pm

Nice tutorial, thanks!
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