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Help identifying DTL-H1100 motherboard/modchips (if any)

fisetdavid26

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Hello everyone.

I got myself a DTL-H1100 blue debugging station recently. I was quite chuffed because it's in its original box (matching serial numbers) with manuals and all the necessary leads, correct external PSU, etc.

However upon booting up a game the "SCEI" string appears beneath "Licensed by Sony Computer Entertainment xxxxx" (varies according to the inserted disc region) on the black PS family logo screen. I've read that there shouldn't be that SCEI string on a genuine debug, so that worries me.

I've opened up the console and immediately I saw that the sticker on the motherboard doesn't match the serial number on the back of the console (301165 on the mb vs. 301163 on the label).

I'm not really familiar with the modchip scene, but I can't see any on the motherboard. The motherboard is a PU-8.

I've seen on YouTube another DTL-H1100 and a DTL-H1200 that also display the SCEI string, but I've also seen a DTL-H1102 that doesn't. All DTL-H100X debugs have seen don't show the SCEA/SCEE/SCEI string beneath "Licensed by Sony Computer Entertainment xxxxx" either.

So my question is: what's going on? What have I got exactly? If the motherboard has been swapped for a "retail" PU-8, how come the console can boot games from both NTSC J and U/C region without having to use swapping tricks or the likes? (I don't have a PAL game to test unfortunately). Is there a modchip that I can't see?

Thanks a lot for your help.
 

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tjd2

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I don't have any real experience with PS1, but i'll try to help.

First try looking at the opposite side of the motherboard if the chip isn't there.

Maybe it's factory or unofficially refurbished? Also maybe someone swapped the BIOS chip. Try looking at the BIOS chip if you can see any signs of resoldering.
 

fisetdavid26

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I don't have any real experience with PS1, but i'll try to help.

First try looking at the opposite side of the motherboard if the chip isn't there.

Maybe it's factory or unofficially refurbished? Also maybe someone swapped the BIOS chip. Try looking at the BIOS chip if you can see any signs of resoldering.

Thanks for your willingness to help :)

Here's a picture of the backside of the motherboard + a zoom on the chips located there. Nothing looks suspicious to me, and as far as chips are concerned I don't see any sign of soldering on either side of the board. Perhaps you have a more trained eye than I do?

Regarding the BIOS, I found some info on that website (link): "DTL-H1100 šŸ‡ÆšŸ‡µ - Japanese blue-colored debugger. it has a unique BIOS that is not available on any retail consoles."

Maybe it's normal behaviour then for a H1100 to display the SCEA/SCEE/SCEI string since it has a different BIOS than the other debugs? Other than asking other H1100 owners if theirs do that too I don't know where to look to find the info.
 

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psx-collector

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Japanese units will always show this string. Nothing was modded in your DTL-H1100.
 

samspin

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Sorry to bump a very old thread but I thought I'd chime in here since this question is often asked through search engines. All Japanese consoles have a BIOS that require the correct SCEI string, and correct licence file on the CD-R in order to boot (except the very first BIOS, which was bugged and simply skips the Playstation logo if there is a mismatch).
During the PSX boot sequence, the BIOS issues the GetID command to the CD-ROM mechacon to know what to display where SCEx should be. On retail units, this will always be the matching region string. On EU and US debugs, the GetID command always returns four empty ASCII spaces, hence you get an empty space on the screen where the SCEx normally would be.
The likely reason for this is because debug CD-ROM mechacons are only slightly different from retails. Retail versions look for the corresponding SCEx code in the wobble groove of an inserted CD. If not found, the error handler says to treat the disc as unlicensed.
Debug versions: they instead look for four empty ASCII spaces. But this time, the routine is flipped: if four empty ASCII spaces is found on a disc, it should treat it as unlicensed (will never happen, since no such disc has ever been pressed like this). If not, there is an error, but the error handler says "treat as licensed" and to continue booting. This explains why debug units take slightly longer to start booting- since they always look for something that isn't there. But it makes sense since it only required very slight changes to the code in the mechacons. Sony always wanted the debug units to function as close as possible to retail units. To prove a point for academic purposes, I once temporarily fitted a flashed modchip programmed to inject four empty ASCII spaces onto a debug board. It gave the familiar "please insert Playstation CD-ROM" stop screen and was therefore completely useless until I removed it.
Because the Japanese variants always require the correct string because of the extra check in the BIOS, Sony customised the corresponding debug mechacon to always respond to the GetID command with SCEI, even though the reality is, it is still searching for four empty ASCII spaces. The reason for this is because Sony often pulled spare retail boards and swapped the CD-ROM mechacon before shipping them to developers whenever they needed to. Part of the certification requirements for games is that developers had to test their games on the correct region of debug console.
Something more of note: DTL-H1201 (NTSC) and DTL-H1202 (PAL) use the same SC430920PB mechacon. The DTL-H1200 (for Japan) uses SC430919PB.
 
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