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PS2 PlayStation 2 TOOL DTL-T10000/DTL-T15000 Reliability

FromAllAspects

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Hi all,

I'm not sure if this is the right place to put this (please correct me if this is the case), but I'm currently wondering, does anyone know how reliable the PlayStation 2 TOOL development systems are? In terms of hardware, I would be looking primarily at the HDD's (are they IDE?), disc drive (for CD/DVD use), processors (Intel Pentium/Celeron) and other components that make up the TOOL. In terms of construction, are the TOOL's sturdy or do they tend to be a bit fragile? I've seen some TOOL's that no longer possess their blue vertical stand. Only reason I'm asking all of these questions is due to the fact I would like to own one for the sole purpose of collecting and testing (eg: hardware testing/game development). I've been trying to find one since 2017, but have had no luck since. (mostly as they sell almost immediately) I look forward to hearing everyone's responses!

Kind regards,

FromAllAspects
 

Alpha

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PS2 tools have 2x IDE hard drives. I can't remember if mine were 20GB or 40GB.

The plastic casing tends to be fragile due to how old they are (which is why most of them show at least a few cracks).

The DVD drive laser would most likely be the first thing to go on them.
 

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XenForo says Oct 18, 2008, but actually I originally register in 1998...
The drive tray eject mechanism is quite tricky and sometimes it tends to get stuck in the open position, just like in very old PS2s. In that case one needs to replace the tray mechanism belt and grease the gear train appropriately.
 

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PS2 tools have 2x IDE hard drives. I can't remember if mine were 20GB or 40GB.

The plastic casing tends to be fragile due to how old they are (which is why most of them show at least a few cracks).

The DVD drive laser would most likely be the first thing to go on them.
I've heard of IDE connections being quite unreliable. (my old iMac G4 failed and that sucked) If I were to modify one, would it be possible to put an IDE adapter for SATA hard drives? (it's a thought. It's ok if it isn't possible)

In terms of the DVD drive laser, is it an off the shelf item or is it a specific one for TOOL's?
The drive tray eject mechanism is quite tricky and sometimes it tends to get stuck in the open position, just like in very old PS2s. In that case one needs to replace the tray mechanism belt and grease the gear train appropriately.
My PlayStation 2 SCPH-10000 exhibited symptoms like that, but most of the time it would try to eject entirely, but would give up and close. (you needed to assist it slightly in order for it to keep open) In terms of tray mechanism belts are they easy to find or do you need to fabricate a new one? Thanks for the advice, guys! I really do appreciate it!

Kind regards,

FromAllAspects
 
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jollyroger

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XenForo says Oct 18, 2008, but actually I originally register in 1998...
My PlayStation 2 SCPH-10000 exhibited symptoms like that, but most of the time it would try to eject entirely, but would give up and close. (you needed to assist it slightly in order for it to keep open) In terms of tray mechanism belts are they easy to find or do you need to fabricate a new one? Thanks for the advice, guys! I really do appreciate it!

It was the same situation for me.
In terms of belts, I found them on eBay last year but that seller ran out of them. I believe they can still be found googling enough.
As for the tray itself, I found that it had been damaged by the previous owner by forcing it when it would not stay out, so I had to source a replacement for that too.
After quite a bit of research I found the most similar DVD drive was in the SCPH-15000, so I ordered one from Yahoo Japan for $20 and I replaced the tray.
 

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It was the same situation for me.
In terms of belts, I found them on eBay last year but that seller ran out of them. I believe they can still be found googling enough.
As for the tray itself, I found that it had been damaged by the previous owner by forcing it when it would not stay out, so I had to source a replacement for that too.
After quite a bit of research I found the most similar DVD drive was in the SCPH-15000, so I ordered one from Yahoo Japan for $20 and I replaced the tray.
I think the one I may purchase soon has the same issue with the tray. Is the procedure easy? Only reason I'm asking is because I've seen a document relating to the disassembly of a TOOL and it looked a bit daunting (hahaha). At least I'll be able to find a suitable replacement when the time comes. Actually, I was going to ask, in terms of functionality, do they suffer from the infamous RAM failure? Only reason I'm asking is due to the fact my 10000 is currently undergoing repairs as it would exhibit erratic behaviours, including shutting down randomly. Thanks for the advice, jollyroger. I appreciate it!

Kind regards,

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XenForo says Oct 18, 2008, but actually I originally register in 1998...
I think the one I may purchase soon has the same issue with the tray. Is the procedure easy? Only reason I'm asking is because I've seen a document relating to the disassembly of a TOOL and it looked a bit daunting (hahaha). At least I'll be able to find a suitable replacement when the time comes. Actually, I was going to ask, in terms of functionality, do they suffer from the infamous RAM failure? Only reason I'm asking is due to the fact my 10000 is currently undergoing repairs as it would exhibit erratic behaviours, including shutting down randomly. Thanks for the advice, jollyroger. I appreciate it!

The issue is only that, as you know, servicing the drive requires disassembling the TOOL a fair amount.

Opening and servicing a 10000 is quite straightforward, while the 15000 is a bit more involved, as it is a little more densely packed, but overall the procedure is the same.

It takes some time, but following the guide one can find online and being careful with some steps where small plastic parts can snap, it is quite easy to do.

The guide is quite comprehensive on how to service the drive tray mechanism, which is also easy to perform, although there are a few issues to be aware of, most notably when reassembling the tray one has to ensure that the mechanism operates properly, by having the white plastic notch correctly inserted in the "rail/guide" under the tray itself.

This image shows the "notch", which is part of the mechanism that opens the tray, on the bottom right.

421

This image shows the bottom of the tray. The "rail" is the L shaped groove that runs on the left side of the image and then turns right.

422

The guide was not very explicit about it, and to be honest I should have checked properly when reassembling, but I found out I didn't put together the mechanism properly until re-mounting the drive on the TOOL to test it (even though I didn't completely reassemble it), so I had to take the drive apart again to ensure the mechanism was operating correctly.

Also, the white plastic part that is moved by the gear train (and that has a notch that slides in the rail mentioned above) is operated in a way that if the tray is pulled or pushed hard by hand (which happens when impatient users try to force the drive open or close when the belts slip), it can damage the rail, which in turn makes the notch to slip out of the rail, locking the drive completely.
This is what had happened to the drive in my 15000 (see the image below), and that was the reason I had to source a replacement tray.

423


As far as general functionality, I used TOOLs (both 10000 and 15000) extensively in production back in the day and none of them failed on me (beside the drives). I have had my 15000 for a few years now and so far it has worked flawlessly.

Jolly
 

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The issue is only that, as you know, servicing the drive requires disassembling the TOOL a fair amount.

Opening and servicing a 10000 is quite straightforward, while the 15000 is a bit more involved, as it is a little more densely packed, but overall the procedure is the same.

It takes some time, but following the guide one can find online and being careful with some steps where small plastic parts can snap, it is quite easy to do.

The guide is quite comprehensive on how to service the drive tray mechanism, which is also easy to perform, although there are a few issues to be aware of, most notably when reassembling the tray one has to ensure that the mechanism operates properly, by having the white plastic notch correctly inserted in the "rail/guide" under the tray itself.

This image shows the "notch", which is part of the mechanism that opens the tray, on the bottom right.

View attachment 421

This image shows the bottom of the tray. The "rail" is the L shaped groove that runs on the left side of the image and then turns right.

View attachment 422

The guide was not very explicit about it, and to be honest I should have checked properly when reassembling, but I found out I didn't put together the mechanism properly until re-mounting the drive on the TOOL to test it (even though I didn't completely reassemble it), so I had to take the drive apart again to ensure the mechanism was operating correctly.

Also, the white plastic part that is moved by the gear train (and that has a notch that slides in the rail mentioned above) is operated in a way that if the tray is pulled or pushed hard by hand (which happens when impatient users try to force the drive open or close when the belts slip), it can damage the rail, which in turn makes the notch to slip out of the rail, locking the drive completely.
This is what had happened to the drive in my 15000 (see the image below), and that was the reason I had to source a replacement tray.

View attachment 423


As far as general functionality, I used TOOLs (both 10000 and 15000) extensively in production back in the day and none of them failed on me (beside the drives). I have had my 15000 for a few years now and so far it has worked flawlessly.

Jolly
I saw the manual regarding this. You aren't wrong there! (but I am open to maintaining/repairing systems like these. They're just interesting) I've only ever done work to a 39000 series PlayStation 2 (mostly dust removal; it was excessive!), so this will be something different. Was the systems fragile nature an intentional part from Sony when being manufactured in-house or is it mostly due to age? (I saw the guide regarding this and it was quite surprising to see how certain clips can be broken. Then again, weren't the earliest examples manufactured in 1999?) I thought something might have been slightly off about the guide regarding the tray. The hard drives I think may always be a problem, considering the fact they're IDE.

Some people can never be careful with certain equipment, especially TOOL's. It's a shame to see when they're damaged. At least they don't suffer from the dreaded RAM failure. That became a very annoying thing with my SCPH-10000. I have seen a few videos on the TOOL's and they do look like they're a reliable unit. Actually, I was going to ask, when you mean you used them extensively in production back in the day, did you do game development? Thanks again, jollyroger. I hope I'm not annoying you too much with random questions regarding these systems.

Kind regards,

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XenForo says Oct 18, 2008, but actually I originally register in 1998...
I saw the manual regarding this. You aren't wrong there! (but I am open to maintaining/repairing systems like these. They're just interesting) I've only ever done work to a 39000 series PlayStation 2 (mostly dust removal; it was excessive!), so this will be something different. Was the systems fragile nature an intentional part from Sony when being manufactured in-house or is it mostly due to age? (I saw the guide regarding this and it was quite surprising to see how certain clips can be broken. Then again, weren't the earliest examples manufactured in 1999?) I thought something might have been slightly off about the guide regarding the tray. The hard drives I think may always be a problem, considering the fact they're IDE.

Some people can never be careful with certain equipment, especially TOOL's. It's a shame to see when they're damaged. At least they don't suffer from the dreaded RAM failure. That became a very annoying thing with my SCPH-10000. I have seen a few videos on the TOOL's and they do look like they're a reliable unit. Actually, I was going to ask, when you mean you used them extensively in production back in the day, did you do game development? Thanks again, jollyroger. I hope I'm not annoying you too much with random questions regarding these systems.

Not annoying at all, after all this is what this forum should be about, right? :)

I don't think Sony designed some parts of the TOOL to be intentionally fragile, simply they designed them to be robust when used appropriately, so only their internal technicians would have to repair them every now and then. They were not designed to be taken apart every other day.

When in use in production, they were actually quite tough, besides perhaps the power button at the top, which if pressed a whole lot of times heavily, it could eventually give in.

And yes, by "in production" I meant in games studios where/when I was a a games developer; I wrote games professionally between 1993 and 2003, nothing amazing but I have very fond memories of that time, and it is the reason I "collect" development kits, as I am interested mostly/only in the ones I actually worked with at the time, which it turns out were quite a few...

I like every and all devkits, but of course I have some preferences, and I think that overall the T15000 still is my favorite development system of all time.

Jolly
 

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I've heard of IDE connections being quite unreliable. (my old iMac G4 failed and that sucked) If I were to modify one, would it be possible to put an IDE adapter for SATA hard drives? (it's a thought. It's ok if it isn't possible)

I don't see why not but since space isn't an issue, I would recommend an IDE to Compact Flash card adapter since they're pretty much the same protocol. There isn't really a reason to have SATA since you don't need the drive capacity and it might just cause more trouble than it's worth.
 

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XenForo says Oct 18, 2008, but actually I originally register in 1998...
I don't see why not but since space isn't an issue, I would recommend an IDE to Compact Flash card adapter since they're pretty much the same protocol. There isn't really a reason to have SATA since you don't need the drive capacity and it might just cause more trouble than it's worth.

I second this, the system having IDE controllers is really not an issue, and the IDE-CF solution is excellent, the higher throughput of the SATA bus and the larger capacity would be a waste and may actually cause some issues on those old motherboards.
 

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Not annoying at all, after all this is what this forum should be about, right? :)

I don't think Sony designed some parts of the TOOL to be intentionally fragile, simply they designed them to be robust when used appropriately, so only their internal technicians would have to repair them every now and then. They were not designed to be taken apart every other day.

When in use in production, they were actually quite tough, besides perhaps the power button at the top, which if pressed a whole lot of times heavily, it could eventually give in.

And yes, by "in production" I meant in games studios where/when I was a a games developer; I wrote games professionally between 1993 and 2003, nothing amazing but I have very fond memories of that time, and it is the reason I "collect" development kits, as I am interested mostly/only in the ones I actually worked with at the time, which it turns out were quite a few...

I like every and all devkits, but of course I have some preferences, and I think that overall the T15000 still is my favorite development system of all time.

Jolly
Thanks for your understanding. I'm keen to learn about these systems, so it's good to hear it from people who have used them either in the past or are still using them now. I've always regarded Sony for high quality, so at least this is a good thing that they were designed for being quite a tough system. Exactly, no system is made for being opened/taken apart every day, if this was the case, there wouldn't be much that would remain of the system. (hahaha) I've always found the power and reset buttons on the TOOL's to be quite cool. They just have their own form of individuality. I've never seen any of those buttons become damaged so that's completely new to me. (hahaha) I've mostly seen complete cases become destroyed accidentally (as seen on some parts of Assembler threads; most painful being a Performance Analyser), which must be a rather sad event.

Wow! That must have been amazing to write certain games. At least you have very fond memories of being in the industry. I know I would be if I was ever in that industry. (I'm thinking about going down that road in the future, but since game developing here in Australia is practically non-existent, I may have to go a country such as North America in order to do so) Just to create a game must be a huge achievement, whether it's big or small. Actually, I found something to be quite intriguing, it was a Nintendo GameCube (Dolphin?; it has the dolphin logo around the Nintendo one) NPDP-GBOX. Now that was something I've never seen before. It looks weird, but cool at the same time. (if that makes sense) I've always found development systems to be more interesting than their retail counterparts, mostly with all of the hardware that's involved in them.

The DTL-T15000 must be an absolute beast, since it's the Performance Analyser. They're supposed quite a rare unit compared to the DTL-T10000, aren't they?

In terms of development systems, there's still a lot I need to learn (as you might understand; I've tried finding information on them through the PlayStation 2 Dev Wiki, but it's bare bones. There's nothing on TOOL's), but with so many emerging, it's hard to catch up. (hahaha)
I don't see why not but since space isn't an issue, I would recommend an IDE to Compact Flash card adapter since they're pretty much the same protocol. There isn't really a reason to have SATA since you don't need the drive capacity and it might just cause more trouble than it's worth.
That's one thing I didn't think of before. That actually sounds quite interesting. I'll definitely consider that, especially since it sounds like it might be a bit more reliable and trouble-free. (especially since they won't suffer badly from errors that are otherwise preventable) Thanks, Alpha!
I second this, the system having IDE controllers is really not an issue, and the IDE-CF solution is excellent, the higher throughput of the SATA bus and the larger capacity would be a waste and may actually cause some issues on those old motherboards.
I'll definitely give this a try when I get mine. As you said, SATA may not be the best for a machine of this age, so I'll definitely avoid this at all costs. Thanks for all of the information. I appreciate it!

Kind regards,

FromAllAspects
 

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Wow! That must have been amazing to write certain games. At least you have very fond memories of being in the industry. I know I would be if I was ever in that industry. (I'm thinking about going down that road in the future, but since game developing here in Australia is practically non-existent, I may have to go a country such as North America in order to do so) Just to create a game must be a huge achievement, whether it's big or small. Actually, I found something to be quite intriguing, it was a Nintendo GameCube (Dolphin?; it has the dolphin logo around the Nintendo one) NPDP-GBOX. Now that was something I've never seen before. It looks weird, but cool at the same time. (if that makes sense) I've always found development systems to be more interesting than their retail counterparts, mostly with all of the hardware that's involved in them.

Developing games is certainly one of the most entertaining activities I have ever experienced, even though when I decided to quit the industry, I felt that development teams had grown too large for individual people to truly feel a sense of ownership, so I changed careers.

About the development systems I feel the same. Development systems are in my opinion much, much more interesting than retail systems, and some even more than others.

The DTL-T15000 must be an absolute beast, since it's the Performance Analyser. They're supposed quite a rare unit compared to the DTL-T10000, aren't they?

The 15K is quite rare, as it was more expensive and was produced in much smaller amounts, only towards the end of the commercial life of the Playstation 2. As you know in general it has the same capabilities as a regular TOOL, but the additional performance measurement hardware is truly a gem, much like the previous DTL-H2700 was for the PS1.
The level of detail that could be extracted was ahead of anything else available at the time, including PCs or pretty much any other console up to that point, and to me it was amazing to see the level of hardware integration Sony achieved in that machine. It is effectively a powerful logic analyzer connected to all (most) systems buses and devices, with analysis software that synced the pulses of the main clock with the source code trace, amazing.
Yes, Intel had performance profiling tools, but nothing even comparable in terms of precision and amount of extracted information, the 15K was a brute-force approach to performance measurement, really memorable in my opinion.

In terms of development systems, there's still a lot I need to learn (as you might understand; I've tried finding information on them through the PlayStation 2 Dev Wiki, but it's bare bones. There's nothing on TOOL's), but with so many emerging, it's hard to catch up. (hahaha)

Even though I used these systems for years to make games, I am by far not the expert on TOOLs here or on AG, @wisi and sp193 for example know way, way more than me...

Jolly
 

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Developing games is certainly one of the most entertaining activities I have ever experienced, even though when I decided to quit the industry, I felt that development teams had grown too large for individual people to truly feel a sense of ownership, so I changed careers.

About the development systems I feel the same. Development systems are in my opinion much, much more interesting than retail systems, and some even more than others.



The 15K is quite rare, as it was more expensive and was produced in much smaller amounts, only towards the end of the commercial life of the Playstation 2. As you know in general it has the same capabilities as a regular TOOL, but the additional performance measurement hardware is truly a gem, much like the previous DTL-H2700 was for the PS1.
The level of detail that could be extracted was ahead of anything else available at the time, including PCs or pretty much any other console up to that point, and to me it was amazing to see the level of hardware integration Sony achieved in that machine. It is effectively a powerful logic analyzer connected to all (most) systems buses and devices, with analysis software that synced the pulses of the main clock with the source code trace, amazing.
Yes, Intel had performance profiling tools, but nothing even comparable in terms of precision and amount of extracted information, the 15K was a brute-force approach to performance measurement, really memorable in my opinion.



Even though I used these systems for years to make games, I am by far not the expert on TOOLs here or on AG, @wisi and sp193 for example know way, way more than me...

Jolly
It must have been! I've always admired the work that goes into games, like starting from scratch, creating an engine, the artwork, scripting, then creating a possible sequel or creating another game, et cetera. There's so much that goes into games that some people don't notice, but I've always looked up to people like that who have created any form of game, big or small. One company that I've always been a fan of (even though they themselves are getting larger) is Insomniac Games. There's something about them that makes themselves a little more unique than other game developers. They at least don't rush games and create a huge library immediately (they've created around 30+ games since 1994, so at least they don't rush things. Take Spyro for example), they dedicate all their time to one game and then go to the next, a bit like Naughty Dog. It's highly commendable.

Currently, the only development system I have in my possession so far is a 60GB PlayStation 3 DECHA00A. Even though it's very similar to a retail 60GB, it's not region locked (can play any region PlayStation 1, 2 or 3 game; apparently they can also play prototype/review PlayStation 1 and 2 games), can't play DVD's/Blu-Ray movies (they're like that from factory, but oddly enough, they can play audio CD's) and has a debug settings function. (the coolest thing ever!)

I've never seen a DTL-T15000 for sale before (I've only ever seen the eBay archives for them; I believe the last one that sold on there was back in 2017), so that's definitely true, they are a rare system. I've actually never heard of a DTL-H2700. It sounds like another PC-related development system. (didn't they run Windows 95/98?) I've seen some people on YouTube talk about them and test them, but the videos never seem long enough, which is a shame. (the only one I believe that somewhat went in depth, even though it wasn't a 15000, was on Assembler's YouTube channel) So even Intel couldn't keep up with them? Hahaha. It would've been a memorable moment in game development history.

Trust me, Jolly. You've provided me a lot of information that I didn't know before, so thank you. Without this, I wouldn't have known key things about these systems. It's amazing. Any information, is good information, so I look forward to hearing more. (if possible) I'll let you know how I go with the deal regarding the DTL-T10000! Thanks again, I really do appreciate it.

Kind regards,

FromAllAspects
 

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Look on Yahoo Auctions from time to time, dev hardware is often sold on there.
In terms of reliability, old IDE hdds can fail obviously, but as was said in the thread you can use Compact Flash cards instead.
The T10000 has two 30GB drives installed, but you wouldn't need more than a 512MB card, and only the 1st HDD is really necessary.
The T15000 has two 40GB drives, and it uses the same drives as the ones for the Expansion Bay in retail consoles.
If the shipping and handling is really rough, the CPU can get loose from the SBC card, the PCI slot in use can crack, the metal frame can get bent, and the plastic panels can break.
And the stuck drive tray is a known issue with them as well.

T10000 were available with different SBC, the PCI-586HVE-S or the PCI-815VE, for which I found the manuals years ago:
The newer SBC has two PS/2 ports and its serial port is on another bracket.
You can upgrade the CPU on the SBC to faster models if you really want.

The DTL-H2700 is a 3-layer ISA card, it has software for Windows 95, if I recall correctly.
You can check the list of PS1 and PS2 dev stuff, there are a lot more models that you can imagine!
 
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Should we put up T10000 HDD dumps here in case anyone needs them? Also, what should I use to dump mine, since i have to crack mine open as it is not a celeron board?
 

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Should we put up T10000 HDD dumps here in case anyone needs them? Also, what should I use to dump mine, since i have to crack mine open as it is not a celeron board?
Maybe using a dedicated thread for that would be better, no?
 

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Seems good, yeah.
 

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Look on Yahoo Auctions from time to time, dev hardware is often sold on there.
In terms of reliability, old IDE hdds can fail obviously, but as was said in the thread you can use Compact Flash cards instead.
The T10000 has two 30GB drives installed, but you wouldn't need more than a 512MB card, and only the 1st HDD is really necessary.
The T15000 has two 40GB drives, and it uses the same drives as the ones for the Expansion Bay in retail consoles.
If the shipping and handling is really rough, the CPU can get loose from the SBC card, the PCI slot in use can crack, the metal frame can get bent, and the plastic panels can break.
And the stuck drive tray is a known issue with them as well.

T10000 were available with different SBC, the PCI-586HVE-S or the PCI-815VE, for which I found the manuals years ago:
The newer SBC has two PS/2 ports and its serial port is on another bracket.
You can upgrade the CPU on the SBC to faster models if you really want.

The DTL-H2700 is a 3-layer ISA card, it has software for Windows 95, if I recall correctly.
You can check the list of PS1 and PS2 dev stuff, there are a lot more models that you can imagine!
In a way, I have some good news. At the start of next month, I'll be purchasing a DTL-T10000. It's got quite an interesting history behind it. (definitely not an EA owned one) Thanks for the information, unclejun. I appreciate it! I found some of the TOOL's on Yahoo Auctions/Buyee to be in a questionable condition. (like cracked cases, memory card slots swinging open; maybe a missing spring??) I guess it's all age related, so I can't be too surprised.

Should we put up T10000 HDD dumps here in case anyone needs them? Also, what should I use to dump mine, since i have to crack mine open as it is not a celeron board?
I agree with unclejun on this one. It's probably best to create a thread dedicated to that side of things. Perhaps on the Sony Development page?

Kind regards,

FromAllAspects
 

Rawit

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I saw IDE-CF adapters mentioned here. I'm running DOS machines with CF cards instead of HDD's and this works like a charm. But DOS is easy when it comes to transfers etc. I'm not familiar with PS2 TOOL units, but if there are many writes and/or swapping get yourself at least an industrial CF card, they are made for such purposes. HyperDisk Flash Card modules are also an option and might be easier to get hold off and to install.
 
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