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Thread: Sega Saturn modchip

  1. #1
    Banana (Level 7) SkiDragon's Avatar
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    LateNightSalami

    Default Sega Saturn modchip

    I installed a modchip a while ago and it more or less worked for a while, but now I think it has broken. I stopped mid-game (during an FMV), went back to the CD player menu, and now no games work, even original pressed discs. Removing the chip restores original disc functionality, so I don't think it's my Saturn.

    This details my model of Saturn and how the chip was installed:
    http://www.angelfire.com/pa/Raluminat/model264.html

    I used the "A+B" method. I was wondering if switching to the other method would help, but I can't tell what pin the arrow is pointing to. It is a 64 pin chip, and I think I have my wire soldered to the right pin, but I could be wrong. It would be nice if there was a more detailed picture or diagram.

    I already ordered another chip just in case. Installing this new chip should solve the problem either way... right?
    Rarest games in collection: (R8) Chavez II for SNES / (R7) Star Gunner (Telesys) for Atari 2600
    Game Collection -- Game Commercials -- Favorite Game: Secret of Mana
    Wii code: 2572 7867 9177 9866 Smash: 0259-0110-4026

  2. #2
    Banana (Level 7) SkiDragon's Avatar
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    Man, it started working again for a second, then when I turned it off to plug in a memory card, it stopped again.
    Rarest games in collection: (R8) Chavez II for SNES / (R7) Star Gunner (Telesys) for Atari 2600
    Game Collection -- Game Commercials -- Favorite Game: Secret of Mana
    Wii code: 2572 7867 9177 9866 Smash: 0259-0110-4026

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    Jessica's Knight / SOFEL Fanboy InsaneDavid's Avatar
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    Try reseating the modchip. Since it goes in between the ribbon cable that runs from the mainboard to the laser assembly it could have a poor connection. I've seen Saturn's (Model 1's especially with their longer cable with two folds) do all kinds of strange things because that cable wasn't seated properly - from not spinning the disc to saying the game is from a non-native region to saying the drive is empty. Start there, possibly the cable is making a loose connection to the chip or the chip is making a loose connection to the board.

    These damn ribbon cables (rather than standard cables with a socket on the end) on the Saturn and the long power rods that run from the mainboard through the UNSECURED (no screws back where the power cable socket is) power supply on the Dreamcast are the two stupidest hardware designs in modern gaming in my opinion. Always prone to problems from simple handling wear and friction.
    Contributing Writer, Retrogaming Times Monthly 2004 - 2013
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    Great Puma (Level 12) jonjandran's Avatar
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    Or it might be that your laser is failing.

    That has been known to happen after a mod-chip install.

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    Banana (Level 7) SkiDragon's Avatar
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    Well, it seems to work fine when I remove the chip, so I think it has to be the chip or the connection. I guess all I can do is try to reseat the chip but I've already tried that once or twice with no success, except when it started randomly working for a couple of power ups last night.

    EDIT: I was able to perform the "swap trick" on my first try, so that will work as a stopgap until I can figure out the problem. Prior to this I unplugged the chip and the ribbon cable, cleaned all the contacts with alcohol, and reassembled. It worked for the first powerup, but then stopped.
    Last edited by SkiDragon; 06-20-2008 at 06:54 PM.
    Rarest games in collection: (R8) Chavez II for SNES / (R7) Star Gunner (Telesys) for Atari 2600
    Game Collection -- Game Commercials -- Favorite Game: Secret of Mana
    Wii code: 2572 7867 9177 9866 Smash: 0259-0110-4026

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    Banana (Level 7) SkiDragon's Avatar
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    Ok, I have to ask a new question. Is there any downside to soldering the drive door switch, so that it thinks it is always closed? Would there ever be a reason to "open the lid"?
    Rarest games in collection: (R8) Chavez II for SNES / (R7) Star Gunner (Telesys) for Atari 2600
    Game Collection -- Game Commercials -- Favorite Game: Secret of Mana
    Wii code: 2572 7867 9177 9866 Smash: 0259-0110-4026

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    Jessica's Knight / SOFEL Fanboy InsaneDavid's Avatar
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    I've heard that some multidisc games that don't have save at end / load at start and initial boot stuff on each disc will become unplayable if the system thinks the lid is always closed. Basically if a game doesn't have the option to save before a disc change and/or the option to continue a save file from the boot of a second or third disc, then you'll never be able to proceed beyond the first disc.
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    Insert Coin (Level 0)
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    I have a similar problem with my model 2 modded Saturn (also with the A&B method) where it worked great for several months and just yesterday it started reading games (both burned and actual retail) as Audio CDs. I'd assume the laser is good since it will play the audio off the CD, it just thinks the games ARE audio CDs only. I checked all the connections and they seem tight.. Besides cleaning and reseating can you think of anything else? Could the modchip be bad? What would cause a modchip to go bad?
    Last edited by BreakmanX; 06-25-2008 at 12:31 PM.

  9. #9
    Banana (Level 7) SkiDragon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BreakmanX View Post
    I have a similar problem with my model 2 modded Saturn (also with the A&B method) where it worked great for several months and just yesterday it started reading games (both burned and actual retail) as Audio CDs. I'd assume the laser is good since it will play the audio off the CD, it just thinks the games ARE audio CDs only. I checked all the connections and they seem tight.. Besides cleaning and reseating can you think of anything else? Could the modchip be bad? What would cause a modchip to go bad?
    That's exactly what happened to mine. Try removing the chip. If your problem is the same as mine, then you should be able to play normal games. I was in a situation where I had almost completed a game, so I was able to do the "swap trick" to finish the game, but I hear that may hurt the Saturn in the long term. I only had to to the trick 3 times.

    The problem has to be either the mod chip or possibly the ribbon cable, since it has to be so bent out of shape when the chip is installed. I have a new chip in my possession now, but I haven't got around to installing it.
    Rarest games in collection: (R8) Chavez II for SNES / (R7) Star Gunner (Telesys) for Atari 2600
    Game Collection -- Game Commercials -- Favorite Game: Secret of Mana
    Wii code: 2572 7867 9177 9866 Smash: 0259-0110-4026

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