Group 24 - Playstation 2

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The Sony PlayStation 2


Executive Summary

The objective of this guided investigation was for our group, Group 24, to look into the assembly, function, manufacturing, and materials of the PlayStation 2 gaming console via analytical dissection. The PlayStation 2 is a popular gaming console meant for the household. The group carefully recorded the investigation: we did a visual pre-dissection analysis, dissected the product and then reassembled it. Our pre-dissection analysis consisted of taking pictures of the PS2 we received and guessing as to the nature of the operation of the console, all the while recording our observations; since the console was not functional when we received it we continued on to the dissection. The disassembly was fast and easy due to the group taking a methodological and efficient approach to the task: we took pictures of each step, organized loose parts and made a written record of each step. During the dissection we paid close attention to the connections between the components and how they interact with each other. Post-disassembly consisted of the group investigating each part individually to uncover its function. Despite the cataloging of part and methodological dissection the reassembly was slightly difficult because of the amount of task of remembering how everything went together.


Sony PlayStation 2 Technical Specifications

  • Manufacturer: Sony Computer Entertainment
  • Product Name: Sony PlayStation 2 “Charcoal Black”
  • Product Code: SCPH-70000 CB
  • Compatible Media formats:
    • PlayStation® format CD-ROM
    • PlayStation®2 format CD-ROM
    • PlayStation®2 format DVD-ROM
    • Audio CD
    • DVD-Video
    • DVD-RW (VR mode)
  • Power requirements: 120 V AC, 60 Hz
  • CPU: 64-bit "Emotion Engine", clocked at 294.912 MHz
  • GPU: "Graphics Synthesizer", clocked at 147 MHz

The advent of video games has exploded into everyday life, first in arcade rooms, and then into the consumers homes, all thanks to consoles and computers. Where else can one experience the surreal and awe-inspiring visuals, plots, and all out entertainment of video games? The PlayStation 2 is a powerful graphics processing unit for the consumer that, because of its multi-media reading capabilities, allows consumers and corporate providers amazing flexibility in what the console can be used for (not just games: the console can play movies from DVD's and CD's because of its multifunctional integrated optical drive).

Group Members and Tasks

  • Nathan Boyar - Group leader, oral presentation, made/researched charts and pictures for group PowerPoint
  • Mike Chi - CAD model of power switch, made group PowerPoint presentation
  • Ron Heichman - wikipage and written material, documented dissection
  • Andrew Tomaschke - CAD model of console cover, lead mechanical dissection, made a second dissection
  • Ethan Ulm - CAD model of reset/eject button, lead mechanical dissection

Before Disassembly


The Sony PlayStation 2 gaming console is a video gaming entertainment console for the home. The main purpose of the PS2 is to provide the user with an interactive arcade-style experience in the comfort of their home at a lump sum cost, rather then the continuous spending that would be associated with arcade playing. The PS2 works by reading game data from an optical disk, converting this read only memory to functional RAM and then processing this game information in a GPU (graphics processing unit). The RAM, GPU information and any input from the user via the PS2 game controller are then processed in what is called an “Emotion” Engine. The Emotion Engine assimilates all the information from the 3 system processes into what you see on the screen. This whole process is the only computational part of the PS2; all other processes are “support” processes. Because the electrical components in the parts of the PS2 generate heat due to their natural electrical resistivity, the heat sink must dissipate the heat from the CPU/GPU (motherboard) and then the internal fan must circulate this hot air to the outside, so that the cooling can occur continuously and keep the electrical components at a temperature low enough so that they function at optimal performance levels.

Energy Usage and Conversion

Many types of energy are used and converted in the PS2: This all starts with the mechanical energy the user provides to complete the power-on circuit. This circuit now allows the electrical current from the wall socket to permeate the electrical components of the system. The electrical energy is converted into:

  • In the CPU the electrical energy is transmitted to the transistors to perform logical operations and as a result of the resistive nature of the components of the CPU, the electrical energy is partially transformed into (useless) heat energy
  • The fan converts the electrical energy into magnetic energy in its motor which is converted into rotational energy to dissipate the heat from the heat sink to the environment (a temperature low reservoir)
  • The optical reader converts the electrical energy to magnetic energy; this energy is used spin the optical disk by way of a motor (rotational energy). LASER head then reads the disk. The LASER head uses several types of energy: energy to move the head on its slides and energy for the motor to spin the gears to move it. The rest of the electric energy to the LASER is used as light energy for its laser. When the laser bounces off the optical disk it is converted back to electrical impulses which are read as data by the processor
  • The mechanical energy the user transfers to the controller via the buttons is converted into electrical impulses which are transferred to the CPU for analysis
  • The user’s mechanical energy gets converted by the “eject” button on the optical drive into an electrical impulse. The electrical impulse is converted into magnetic energy, this mechanical energy is used to spin a motor (rotational energy), and the motor then moves the tray (kinetic energy)


When we tried to operate the product it did not function and did not even turn on, we assumed it did not function because of some electrical system failure since the green light in the front did not blink or turn on

Constituent Components and Materials

We think that the product has about 5 main functional parts:

  • the GPU and CPU (part of the motherboard)
  • the heat sink
  • the fan
  • Optical drive

From what we can see, the product is made of metal (aluminum), plastic (most likely Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), which is oft used for electronic enclosures), Copper (for the wires), solder, steel (for screws), and gold (for the connector plating)

Disassembly Procedure

Step # Process Difficulty Tool Needed Visual
1 Removed screw covers on bottom of PS2 (Slots highlighted green in visual) Easy None DSCF2814.JPG
2 Removed Screws under screw covers (visual of screws and covers in bowl) Easy Phillips Screwdriver DSCF2817.JPG
3 Removed console top (visual is console adjacent top) Easy Phillips Screwdriver DSC00506.JPG
4 Unplugged data cable from assembly (visual is disconnected power cable) Easy None DSC00509.jpg
5 Unscrewed optical drive (visual is optical drive outside of console) Easy Phillips Screwdriver DSC00522.jpg
6 Unplugged power switch from console and removed it (visual is power switch held by group member) Easy None DSCF2821.jpg
7 Unscrewed Power supply main board Easy Phillips Screwdriver DSC00524.jpg
8 Unscrewed fan Easy Phillips Screwdriver DSC00519.jpg
9 Removed top cover (visual is the console with top cover removed) Easy None DSCF2837.jpg
10 Unscrewed expansion bay Easy Phillips Screwdriver
11 Removed heatsink cover (visual is of exposed heatsink) Easy Phillips Screwdriver DSC00512.jpg
12 Tried to remove heatsink from heatsink-motherboard assembly, not possible (visual is heatsink and motherboard connected together) Impossible Phillips Screwdriver DSC00511.jpg

After Disassembly

Component Table

Part Number Part Name Number of this type Part Material Manufacturing Process Image of Part
1 Case 1 aluminum, plastic (charcoal black) stamped metal, injection molded plastic Case
2 Electrical power supply board 1 Cooper, polytetrafluoroethylene, aluminum, ceramic, solder printed circuit board or silk screen printing Electrical power supply board
3 Optical Drive 1 Ceramic glass, plastic (charcoal black), aluminum, rubber (for belts), copper, solder Injection molded plastic, stamped aluminum, machine applied solder, human assembled Optical Drive
4 Fan 1 ABS plastic, copper, steel injections molded plastic, Fan
5 Screws ~15 Steel Extruded steel is threaded by a lathe Several Examples of Screws we Encountered

Reasoning for Materials Used for Parts

Record why your group thinks each component was made out of its type of material

  • Screws made of metal (steel) because they need to be able to hold the PS2 together, even under stress, with little warping or bending so that they can be easily unscrewed
  • Gearing is plastic because it is cheap and easily moldable into a gear shape, metal gears would be more expensive and can withstand way more stress then necessary for a CD-ROM
  • Belts in the optical are rubber so that they can easily bend to transfer power between motors and the CD tray
  • Heatsink must be metal because metal has a low enough specific heat that it can easily draw heat from the CPU/GPU
  • fan must is plastic because it is easy to mold plastic into the blade shapes and a metal fan could be a hazard

Design Changes

The PS2 was rather easy to dissemble, aside from the heatsink/motherboard assembly being impossible to separate. It would be better if, rather then permanently connecting the two components together, they were connected with screws

Component Functions

Case: to enclose and keep all the components of the PlayStation 2 system safe and organized.

Hard Drive: To store information from the PS2.

Power supply board: To properly distribute all electrical energy entering the system

Motherboard: To control and synergize all the logical and computational parts of the PS2

CD-ROM Drive: To read data from CD-ROMs and to send the data to the motherboard

Fan: To cool the system

Heatsink: To remove heat from the CPU/GPU

CAD Models of Selected Components

Major Components:

  • Complete PlayStation 2

Type of View Picture
Perspective Playstation2 (2).jpg
Front View Playstation2 frontjpg.jpg
Top View Playstation2 top.jpg

PlayStation 2: This is the complete PlayStation 2 assembly with all the components inside. This is how the PlayStation 2 would look like fresh out of the box

AutoCAD file Archive PlayStation 2 ZIP

  • Top Case

Type of View Picture
Top Perspective Perspective1.jpg
Bottom Perspective Bottom7.jpg

Top Case: This top case keeps the system in one piece and provides a barrier between the internal (and fragile) components of the PS2

AutoCAD file Archive PlayStation 2 Case ZIP

  • Optical Drive Reset/Eject Button

Type of View Picture
Perspective Untitled-1.jpg

Optical Drive Reset/Eject Button: This user interface assembly has a reset and eject button on it for the user to control the PS2 optical drive function. This button allows the user to (a) switch the optical disks in the drive or (b) to reset the system in the even or a crash or if it freezes

AutoCAD file Archive PlayStation 2 Reset/Eject Button ZIP

  • Power Switch

Type of View Picture
Perspective Power Switch.jpg
Front Power Switch front.jpg
Back Perspective Power Switch Back Pre.jpg

Power Switch: This power switch is on the back of the PS2 and it is the first step a user must take to use their PS2. This power switch is what allows the electricity from the wall socket to enter the PS2 and run the components

AutoCAD file Archive Power Switch

  • Expansion Bay Cover

Type of View Picture
Perspective Expansion Bay.jpg
Back Perspective Expansion Bay Back.jpg

Expansion Bay Cover: This is the cover to the expansion bay that hold the optional external hard drive of the PS2

AutoCAD file Archive Expansion Bay

Assembly Procedure

It would be redundant to write the assembly procedure because it is exactly the reverse of the disassembly. The reassembly was harder though, since we had to figure out where all the parts went and exactly how they fit together

After Assembly

The product never functioned to begin with and we never managed to fix it because of a ripped data cable, something we could not mend with the limited tools we had. Our predictions on how the product works were correct since we did research prior to disassembling the product; therefore, our understanding of the product's workings is unchanged.

Engineering Models'

  • Load Testing/Stress Model:

Because during normal usage of the PS2 the consumer might drop something on the device, or during shipping the device might be dropped or put under pressure, the engineer who designed it must have considered some of these scenarios when designing the structure of the PS2. They would have had to model how the PS2 behaves when it is put under mechanical stress that torques, compresses, tenses, or bends the materials of the PS2 to ensure it can survive such conditions.

Heat Management Model:
Because, as mentioned before, a lot of the components in the PS2 generate a substation amount of heat, that if left unmanaged could be very damaging to the PS2, there needs to be some sort of model that takes in to account how each components generates heat and where the heat goes. Once the engineers know how the heat in the PS2 behaves they can get up heatsinks and fans to dissipate it and keep the PS2 running smoothly

Assembly/Disassembly Notes

The assembly/disassembly were reverses of each other since there were not parts that were spring-based which had to be set once the product was reassembled. Also, because of the stratified nature of the product, the assembly/disassembly were easier. We were able to reassemble the product to the point that it was prior to us disassembling it.

Recommended Design Changes/Improvements

As mentioned before, the only real changes the group thinks should be made to the PS2 is that the motherboard/heatsink be separable. Sony had made several changes to the PS2 design to make the product appealing to a larger audience:

  • Slim version (thinner/smaller then original PS2)
  • flip-up optical disk

In addition to that the PS2 is rapidly becoming obsolete because of the PS3, X-Box 360, and Nintendo Wii