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Thread: Sega Saturn acting weird (Memory Card/CD Drive Related)

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    Insert Coin (Level 0) Omni's Avatar
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    Default Sega Saturn acting weird (Memory Card/CD Drive Related)

    I've had a Saturn for a good 3-4 years now. In the first 1-2 years, it worked perfectly. However, around the 3 year, it started to act weird. At first, the cartridge slot stopped working. (I was worried, but I could still play my games.) Soon after, many game CDs started spinning oddly, as if they were really close to the surface of the bottom of the CD drive. Now, this could be because I used the CD swap too often to play backups, but i'm still unsure as to what's causing the problem.

    I haven't been able to play my Saturn games for over a year now, and i'm starting to get tired of that. Help would cause me to be very grateful!

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    Insert Coin (Level 0) lakeflaccid's Avatar
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    The Sega Saturn, like a few other game consoles, sometimes develops an issue with the CD spindle. Specifically, the hub on which the disc rests will drop down too low. This results in the disc riding too close to the laser.

    Examine the hub and see if it looks too low. I can't really explain how low is too low, but if the metal rod coming up through the center of the hub is sticking up significantly past the top of the hub, it's probably resting too low.

    If it is too low, you should be able to CAREFULLY lift it so it rests further up on the rod. Before doing this, however, it would be advisable to somehow mark the current location of the spindle on the rod so as to not make things worse. This can be done with a permanent marker, for example. Remember to life the hub carefully because there's any number of things that can break (the hub could split, the rod could get bent, etc, etc). Also, make sure you follow proper safety procedures (unplug the console, etc). I'm not responsible for any damages incurred.

    Regarding the cartridge port not working, there seems to be some kind of connection between having a good memory backup battery (the CR-2032 that can be replaced through the hatch in the rear of the Saturn) and the cartridge port working. Specifically, I've seen several people who've had cartridges not work until they replace the backup battery.

    Good luck.

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    About the memory card, my built-in memory was still working when the card wasn't, so would what you say still apply?

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    Insert Coin (Level 0) lakeflaccid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omni View Post
    About the memory card, my built-in memory was still working when the card wasn't, so would what you say still apply?
    I think all of the incidences I've read where the cartridge port fails to work involve a battery that's dead enough to constantly require clock setting.

    First try cleaning the cartridge port and cartridge if you haven't already. If that doesn't work, purchasing a new battery might be worth a shot. There certainly are no guarantees, though.

    Of course, if the disc mechanism isn't going to cooperate, it might not be worth bothering with the cartridge port.

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    In my model 1 Saturn, the rod seems to be very hard to adjust. I can't seem to get it to lift up, and the disc seems to spin better with the black protective casing removed.

    Also, should I just leave the protective casing off? The discs spin a hell of a lot better than they did with the casing on, but would this be better in the long run?

    P.S.: I have another model 1 Saturn coming in the mail, so do you have any tips to make it last longer than my current one?
    Last edited by Omni; 07-25-2007 at 09:53 AM.

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    Alex (Level 15) InsaneDavid's Avatar
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    Alright, I'm sure all of us techies have been wanting to say this but I'll be the one to step in...

    Quote Originally Posted by Omni View Post
    Now, this could be because I used the CD swap too often to play backups, but i'm still unsure as to what's causing the problem.
    Ding ding ding! That's what you get for using that ridiculous "swap trick."

    Quote Originally Posted by Omni View Post
    P.S.: I have another model 1 Saturn coming in the mail, so do you have any tips to make it last longer than my current one?
    Um, don't stop the disc spinning with your hand in the middle of a boot read sequence, remove the disc, and then toss in a backup - Saturn's tend to really not like that.

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    Insert Coin (Level 0) lakeflaccid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omni View Post
    In my model 1 Saturn, the rod seems to be very hard to adjust. I can't seem to get it to lift up, and the disc seems to spin better with the black protective casing removed.

    Also, should I just leave the protective casing off? The discs spin a hell of a lot better than they did with the casing on, but would this be better in the long run?
    I honestly can't remember how hard it's supposed to move. I'm guessing it's usually going to be tight, but if it's quite difficult then perhaps the problem lies elsewhere. When your other Saturn arrives, inspect the hub on it and see if it looks to be positioned differently than your old one. This will provide some indication as to whether or not the problem is really the hub.

    You mean that you're running the Saturn without the top installed? I would advise against doing this for an extended period of time because dust will build up and it's also possible to drop something into the Saturn shorting something out and possibly doing serious damage to things beyond just the Saturn. Also leaving the case off leaves the laser beam more exposed which the warning labels advise against.

    Quote Originally Posted by Omni View Post
    P.S.: I have another model 1 Saturn coming in the mail, so do you have any tips to make it last longer than my current one?
    I'm not very familiar with the details of the swap-trick, but I would guess that avoiding any unnecessary disc swapping would be a good idea. Other than that, I don't really know anything that would prolong the life of the Saturn. There may be someone else who can provide more information, as I'm no expert on the Saturn hardware. I've just had to deal with spindle hubs on various hardware.

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    The top of the outer casing is on, the black casing around the CD reader isn't. (The piece of black plastic that surrounded the CD reader was popped off, but could easily be put back on.) Still, i'm not clumsy, so I doubt I will be dropping anything into my Saturn. As for the dust, that can easily be taken care of.

    Also, InsaneDavid, thanks for the very..."kind" response. It could of had a lower asshole factor, but your words have helped me decide that playing only official copies on my newer Saturn would make it perform better in the long run.

    Thanks guys!
    Last edited by Omni; 07-25-2007 at 04:35 PM.

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    Alex (Level 15) InsaneDavid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omni View Post
    Also, InsaneDavid, thanks for the very..."kind" response. It could of had a lower asshole factor, but your words have helped me decide that playing only official copies on my newer Saturn would make it perform better in the long run.
    "...some folks have to learn the hard way." -Apollo Creed, Rocky IV

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