I have had a closer history with PlayStation 2 than I first remembered. I had one (the slim I believe) in 2005 and I had Gran Turismo 4 when it just came out, I remember because I could transfer my save files over from the previous versions. Then in 2008 when I had a small apartment in Sydney for 6 months I got another PS2 cheap and had only 1 game… Gran Turismo 4. I love racing games and GT4 was captivating for me, the graphics still look fantastic and it has such cool inclusions as Australian vehicles Holden and FPV PLUS you could play on the Nürburgring Nordschleife which is one of my favorite places in the world. It’s a very long race circuit in Germany which is open to the public and in 2006 I went there and rented a BMW M3 for the day to hook around it. When I had to move back to Sydney, I spend hours doing hot laps around the Nordschleife in a BMW M5 in Gran Turismo 4. So this game has sentiment to me.
I recently scored a Playstation 2 and it has had a hard life. Lots of scratches but also it appears to have been used as a vacuum cleaner as it was full of dust. Lets just say, as a comedian I wish I had a few fans which were as dirty as this. The machine was playing all the games I had although I noticed I had to position it upright for most of them to play. I did some research and this is pretty common when the PS2 has disc reading issues but stuff was working so I didn’t bother to open it up.
I didn’t waste too much time in ordering Gran Turismo 4 and when the moment came…. it wouldn’t load! Ah! The PS2 was not going to play nice, basically the GT4 disc is duel layer which came out well into the life of the PS2. So I have a very early and dirty PS2 trying to play a very advanced disc which was produced after it was made. Ok so I get it, it was time to clean the internals of the PS2.
Taking off the lid of the original PlayStation 2, we have a DVD drive off to the right looking pretty dirty. The PS2 can play DVDs also and at the time this was a BIG thing as you didn’t have to buy an extra unit to play movies. This was a relatively big thing in the west but in Japan it was NUTS. DVD had never really taken off there before this due to their market embracing VCDs much more, which were a previous sort of standard but it used regular CDs instead (700MB rather than a DVDs 4.3Gb) so the quality of VCDs was much lower and they often spanned 2 discs. This meant not many people already had a DVD player in Japan at this stage (unlike the west) so this really brought these units into the average Japanese lounge room and kicked off what is now a massive movie industry over there.
When I clean a system like this, at first I am basically just using rubbing alcohol and some cotton tips to clean off each surface and get any dust sitting around. There isn’t anything fancier than this to cleaning up a machine. I used a tip to clean the lens of the laser which you can see on the above picture and I wiped down all the internal surfaces. My secondary objective inside the unit was the wide silver part at the bottom, which is the fan.
Some jiggy jiggy gets the fan out and oh shit!
That’s one dirty mofo of a fan. The unit comes with this mesh on the outside to stop larger object hitting the fan blades. So a dirty fan is both more noisy which sucks cause the PS2 is kinda loud already and the fan won’t run as effectively meaning your system could overheat a bit. It’s not generally a huge problem but the very early models of PS2 ran rather hot and the heat would effect the laser and burn it out quicker.
I took to it with a handful of cotton tips and it was WAR people, there was carnage. Cotton tip after brave cotton tip was sullied getting more and more gunk out of this thing, until the battle was over
Oh dang! Ain’t nobody dope as me, I’m just so fresh, so clean! I also looked up how much a total replacement fan would cost, seems a few bucks would get one but it doesn’t come with that small plug you can see on the right hand side. It wouldn’t be hard to take the plug off this one and attach it to a replacement fan but given this one cleaned up pretty well, I decided to end the game while I was still ahead.
I didn’t screw the whole thing back together yet, I wasn’t sure if all this cleaning would fix the disc read issue but oh shit, I gave it a go and volia!
It’s possible to run this without the cover on the machine, the only thing you need to do is put the plastic cover over the DVD drive. This screws down and holds the DVD in it’s place so if you don’t use it, the DVD wont spin properly and at worst you might get a flying DVD around your room.
It’s looking good, so I’ll put the lid back on!
There we go! cleaning out the drive bay and cleaning the laser lens fixed it! The fan thing is separate, I just wanted to clean that dirty bad boy out while I had the unit open, with the side effect the machine is now much more quiet.