yes much cheaper than installiong new chip ... its very easy to do .... have a look around .. EmporerOfCanada hase posted a nice guide to follow to start softmod ... and will work on first try if you follow instructions carefully and take your time ...
have you got a link or would the 1.9 update be ok to try
ive seen a lot of posts about this and a lot of the time its just a simple case of unplugging gc controllers and sd cards, dont know if it is the same thing
that shouldnt give error 001
those should just not work right like in Illvelo wii, if you got the GC controller pluged in you cant push Start =P