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Can my PSP have custom firmware installed?

I’ve been receiving tons of questions on how to check if their PSP can have custom firmware installed.  Here’s a complete and concise guide to get you going.  Make sure to read through the guide fully since it will answer all your psp motherboard related questions. First of, you need to understand that there are three types of PSPs:

  1. 1000 Series (Also known as PSP Phat/Fat)
  2. 2000 Series (Also known as PSP Slim or Lite & Slim)
  3. 3000 Series (Also known as PSP Brite)

So why install Custom Firmware on a PSP?

People install Custom Firmware so they can run Homebrew, programs developed by people that don’t have a contract with Sony. A PSP with Custom Firmware could also back up your games from the UMD to your computer; it also allows you to play those backups from your Memory Stick (MS). You could also do some serious customizations to your theme. Basically, you free your PSP from the hands of Sony.

Can I install Custom Firmware?

Before anything, you should know that there three ways to classify Sony’s PSP.  Hardware, motherboard and Hackability.


To date, these are the hardware models of the PSP

  • PSP 1000 or the PSP Phat
  • PSP 2000 or the PSP Slim
  • PSP 3000 or the PSP Brite
  • And last but not the least, the PSP Go


Each hardware model of the PSP change motherboards over time.  However, this classification is only important for the PSP-2000 Slims.  Why?  I’ll tell you that in a bit.  The PSP Slim has 6 motherboard versions but we’ll focus on what’s important so I’ve split them into just 3.

  • 1st generation PSP Slims: pre-TA-085XX motherboards
  • 2nd generation PSP Slims:  TA-088v3 motherboards
  • 3rd generation PSP Slims: TA-090v1 motherboards


The hackability of your PSP [in simple terms, can you put CFW on your PSP] depends on several factors.  I’ve made a list so you can easily classify things:

  • PSP-1000s are completely hackable.
  • 1st and 3rd generation PSP-2000s are completely hackable.
  • 2nd generation PSP-2000s and PSP-3000s are partially hackable

What does completely hackable and partially hackable mean?

A completely hackable PSP means that you can have custom firmware PERMANENTLY installed on it.  This means that the custom firmware stay on your PSP until you decide to remove it.

A partially hackable PSP means that it’s custom firmware is only temporarily loaded via a special exploit called the Chickhen hack.  If you shut down your system or had it turned off, you need to load the custom firmware again.

What will prevent me from hacking my PSP?

There’s several factors that will stop you from installing custom firmware.  Here’s a run down:

  • A 2nd generation PSP-2000 with firmware ABOVE 5.03
  • A PSP-3000 with firmware ABOVE 5.03

Why version 5.03?  Because 5.03 is the only firmware version that supports the Chickhen hack.  Firmware versions succeeding it (5.50, 5.51 and 6.00) have this exploit patched.

Is my PSP Hackable?

This is the simplest method out there.  You can check things manually but this is the recommended method:


Install chickHen R2Before you proceed, you need to install and successfully run the chickHen hack. Read the guide and come back here to finish the installation.


  • Connect your PSP to the computer in USB Mode when you have loaded ChickHEN R2.
  • Extract the file to your computer
  • Copy the PSPident folder to your X:GAME/GAME3XX folder
  • Disconnect your PSP
  • Run PSPident
  • If you did it right, you should have this screen pop out

PSP Ident

With that information, you can compare it to the table below to see if your PSP is hackable.

Hit for the Full version

Manually Checking your PSPs hackability

If you want to do things manually.  Follow this guide:

  1. What is the Firmware the PSP came with?

  2. The original firmware that came with the PSP right out of the box is an indication of its Motherboard, & here’s the list: If you’ve bought a PSP with Official Firmware higher than 4.01, chances are it doesn’t support Custom Firmware, any attempt to install it will be met with a Game could not be started error. Note: If you updated the PSP or the PSP you’ve bought has been upgraded before you got your hands on it then you need to find out what was the first firmware installed on it as the list above only applies to said version.

  3. What is the PSP’s Serial Number?

  4. The Serial Number is found on a label where the battery is supposed to go. Refer to the picture below for a better illustration: PSP Serial Note that this applies to Piano Piano Black PSPs (for now). If the serial starts with HU2, then the PSP most likely has a TA-088v3 Motherboard. Any other serial (Say starting with HC or HB or HJ) can have CFW installed.

  5. What’s is the PSP’s Identification Letter

  6. It’s the letter on a label on the box that indicates the version of the unit. A picture is shown below: Note that this label is only present on the normal PSP box and not those large “Limited Edition” ones. PSP Serial Anyways, See the G there?

    PSP-2000 CW 100v G

    That G is the letter in question. Here’s a list of all the letters that the 2000 series ship with:

    (No Letter) = 3.60
    A = 3.71
    B = Doesn’t exist
    C = 3.72
    D = Doesn’t exist
    E = 3.80
    F = 3.90
    G = 3.95 (TA-088v1) / 4.01 (TA-088v2) / 4.01 (TA-088v3)
    If the letter is absent or is from A to F, then you can install Custom Firmware. If it’s a G then you can’t.

  7. What’s the Box’s Serial Number?

  8. If your box doesn’t have a label with a letter in it, like the G in the third method, then it should have a label with another serial that’s not related to the PSP unit. PSP Serial Note that American 2000 series (2001 PSPs) & Japanese PSPs (Both 1000 series & 2000 series) Don’t have those date codes on them, just like the 2001 Piano Black PSP pictured above. The 2000 Series Date Codes go as follows:
    7C: Supported by cfw
    7D: Supported by cfw
    7(Any later Letter): Supported by cfw
    8A: Supported by cfw
    8B: Supported by cfw
    8C: very high chance it's not supported by cfw
    8D: Not supported by cfw

How can I install custom firmware on my PSP?

If you have a completely hackable PSP (please read the guide again if you don’t know what a completely hackable PSP is) then you just need to follow the basic installation guide:

If you do have a PSP-3000s and PSP-2000 with TA-088v3 or any PSP above 5.50 OFW then you’re in luck.  You can still enjoy games and homebrew on your PSP by installing any of the following Hen + ISO loader combo:

These are compatible with ALL PSP models so you can install 5.03 GEN-C, 6.20 TN-E or 6.35 PRO-B5 regardless of your PSP unit.  At the moment, all available firmwares for the PSP are hackable except 6.37 and 6.38 so please don’t update to that.  Read this for further information about 6.37 OFW, 6.38.

Now, if you’re still not sure how to proceed, ask a friend who’s familiar with Custom Firmwares to check for you. If you have a suggestion or a question, just post a comment.

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