How to mod a 21 pin Saturn

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mal

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I got my new mod from lan kwei today (thanks again Curtis! ) and couldn't help but have a play with it.

I did a bit of track tracing on the CD board and made a pretty amazing discovery.

You know how you have to solder to the 14th pin of the 32 pin IC or pin 8 of the 64 pin IC? I worked out that they trace back to pin 1 of the ribbon cable. All this time people have cursed and swore about soldering to small IC legs (myself included) when there is a perfectly good solder pad to attach to. I'm guessing the mod manufacturer considered soldering to the top of the CD board a better option. That way you don't have to remove the CD board. Its so much easier that way.


Anyway, after hooking that up and testing it OK, I thought, 'do you even need to solder it to the CD board?' Why not just to the mod? Would you guess what happened next?

It works. Simple as that. Mind you this has only been tested on a Saturn with a 32 pin IC with the 0014 solder bridge. My 64 pin IC Saturn has been hacked to death, but I was able to confirm the trace back to pin 1 of the ribbon cable. It may even work with Saturns with the Sanyo CD board.


I've scanned my mod and will now attempt to upload a pic.

[edit] Heh, after looking more closely at my scan (and then the mod) it becomes even more simple. Just connect points 'A' and 'B'. A short link is probably best.
 

ExCyber

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So perhaps this means that the CD-mainboard interface is synchronous?
 

mal

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Its much too far past my bed time to talk about syncronisation now.


It's 3AM and I've got to go to bed.

Can anyone test my theory on a different Saturn; 64 pin or Sanyo? Tomorrow I'll be keen to find out more.
 

Mike G

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Well, this is very intriguing! I'll try it on my Sanyo boarded Saturn shortly...

Mike
 

Mike G

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Yes - just tried it in my model 2 Saturn with Sanyo CD board, and it works perfectly!
This is with A and B bridged as you suggested, and the jumper set to 0014.

Looks like Mal has just rewritten the Saturn mod board rule book...


Mike
 

mal

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I've tested a few games so far using this mod method, but I need more feed back. Could anyone who tries this and gets it to work post some details? It should work for all 21 pin Saturns now that Mike G has reported success with a Sanyo type Saturn, but I want to find out about 64 pin Saturns too. Especially about which solder bridge it uses.

This type of mod installation isn't radically different from the instructions on the 'net. Your are still connecting to the same 'line', just further along. There is continuity between point 'B' on the modboard and the 14th pin of the 32 pin IC and the 8th pin of the 64 pin IC.
 

Curtis

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Success! Took me a few seconds to do - too easy. Booted Guardian Heros without a fuss.

Incedentally, here is the pic of mal's mod (it's his photo, I'm just hosting it)

You'll notice that the blue wire is folded back on itself, leaving from point 'B', connecting at point 'A'. Thats all there is to it
 

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mal

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Sorry about the size of the pic, I didn't realise it would end up that big.

Come on all you frustrated 64 pin Saturn owners, give it a go!

I haven't got a working one at the moment so I can't test it myself. I do, however, have every reason to believe that it will work.

Remember that the component side of the mod needs to face away from the CD unit. The only variable I'm not sure about is the 0014/0019 bridge. That's something you'll have to tell me.
 

Xai

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Well, I do have a 64 pin saturn, and one of those modchips from lik-sang. Unfortunately I just shelved the chip after I read up on all the posts on 64 pin saturns and modding them and during that time the 2 wires (red and blue) got bent and broke off. I'm assuming I can just bridge points A and B with some solder and won't need a blue wire for it. For the red wire, I'm going to try use the copper wiring you find in CAT-5 cable, I was told that it would probably work. By the way, what exactly do you mean by "the component side of the mod has to face away from the cd unit"? All the install pictures I've seen show all the components pointing toward the saturn's cd unit. I'll give it a go in the morning (3:30 am here... need to buy tips for my iron... most stores not open for atleast 5 more hours...). Anyway if it doesn't work it's probably because of the wire, or some human error on my part, so it'd probably be more helpful if you could get a couple more guys with 64 pin saturns to try this.
 

mal

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A solder bridge to join 'A' and 'B' should be fine. I just used the blue wire because it was still connected.

By the way, what exactly do you mean by "the component side of the mod has to face away from the cd unit"? All the install pictures I've seen show all the components pointing toward the saturn's cd unit.
True, all of the pictures online show the mod with the component side facing the CD board. But how many people have successfully modded a 64 pin Saturn?

On your Saturn the ribbon cable has a twist in it doesn't it? On my 32 pin Saturns it doesn't, which to me says the main board socket is reversed. I've got a dead 64 pin Saturn, but not here, so I can't be sure.

If you look at the socket on the main board that the mod goes into, I think there are only metal contacts on the side away from the CD board. As the mod only has contacts on the component's side there is only one way to insert it and have it make contact. And that is with the component side of the mod facing away from the CD board.
 

Xai

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Yep, see that now. Well tried 0014, got red blobs, tried 0019, got green spheres, backups and originals do the same thing. My ribbon is fine, I can reattach it and play originals. I've tried using different pins on the power supply, and they've just led to different colors/shapes on the cd player screen (red or yellow blobs, or green cubes). Note that I have a model 1 saturn with a 64 pin IC and 21 pin ribbon. Hopefully it's just something wrong with my soldering (still rather new at this), I'll keep trying it for a bit.
 

BloodyKnuckles

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I just tried it with my Sanyo-board Saturn (no IC chip and PC trap board between cd assembly and motherboard) and it didn't work. It works as a CD-player and nothing else. I also noticed like someone else did that it didn't even bother checking the security track on the disc. Does this for both originals and copies.
 

Xai

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Originally posted by BloodyKnuckles@June 04 2002,14:34

I just tried it with my Sanyo-board Saturn (no IC chip and PC trap board between cd assembly and motherboard) and it didn't work. It works as a CD-player and nothing else. I also noticed like someone else did that it didn't even bother checking the security track on the disc. Does this for both originals and copies.
Well, since people have already gotten the Sanyo board to work I'm gonna say that I (and the other two guys who can't get this to work) probably screwed up somewhere and now the board is broken (I most likely attached it to 9V without paying attention I suppose) or we're just not attaching certain components right. So if anyone else has one out there try this, it definately sounds feasible.
 

mal

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Sorry Xai and Xiphias, I really thought that it would work with 64 pin Saturns as well. It should do, I'm just not sure what's going wrong.


BloodyKnuckles, I'm not sure what's gone wrong with your install either. Mike G managed to get it to work on his Sanyo board Saturn. Is the solder bridge on your mod on 0014 or 0019?
 

Xai

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Question: Is the CD supposed to spin and is the saturn supposed to start up like normal, or does it just go directly to a black sega screen? (Referring to when the chip is properly installed)
 

Mike G

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As I said before, I got it to work on a Sanyo boarded Saturn with 0014 bridged. No need to change it to 0019.

Having said that, the presence of the PC Trap board makes it a pretty tight squeeze to get the mod board in there - so make sure the ribbon cable is not excessively kinked and that the board isn't shorting out to the metal bracket. It could also be caused by a bad connection, so try unplugging the mod from the motherboard and cleaning the connector, then reseating it.

The Saturn should start up as normal once the mod is properly installed, there's no change in its behaviour (apart from the fact it can now boot CD-Rs).

Mike
 

Xiphias

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Ummmm yeah I've tryed both bridges now and have become very fustrated


None the less I fell it may be time for me to get hold of a second hand saturn.

Is there any way to tell other than opening up the unit wether the IC chip will be 32 or 64 pin ???
 

Curtis

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To the people who are altering the solder bridge (ie 0014 to 0019), you are certain that there is no reminant of the old join aren't you? I don't mean to state the bleeding obvious, but I feel that there is something simple being over looked in your cases.

Currently there are three different models confirmed working - and like mal says, I can see absolutely no reason why it would not work on others...

I will hopefully be getting another Saturn soon, maybe with a 64 pin chip to test this out.

Is there any way to tell other than opening up the unit wether the IC chip will be 32 or 64 pin
There is no known way of determining this. It was originally thought that MK80200A-30 Saturns were all 64 pin versions but I have one (as do a few others) that proves this theory wrong.
 

mal

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I was hoping to come back to better news.

I've been testing deliberate installation faults to see if they will help anyone troubleshoot their own installations.

These are still on a 32 pin Saturn that works with the 0014 bridge.

I am going to hunt down a 64 pin Saturn to test on because I damn well want to get to the bottom of this.

Here goes...

if the ribbon cable isn't properly inserted (either bridge):

-no boot up animation

-two large red spheres at the CD player screen

-no CD rotation

-displays "checking disc format"

no power to mod (either bridge):

-no boot up animation

-two green cubes at the CD player screen

-no CD rotation

-displays "checking disc format"

signal wire not attached (0014 bridge):

-no boot up animation

-two green cubes at the CD player screen

-no CD rotation

-displays "checking disc format"

signal wire not attached (0019 bridge):

-boot up animation

-long pause (15secs) at 'Sega Saturn' screen

-two green cubes at the CD player screen

-no CD rotation

-displays "checking disc format"

wrong solder bridge (0019 bridge):

-when all else is correct, no problems. (very interesting)

no solder bridge:

-boot up animation

-two green cubes at the CD player screen

-CD rotates

-displays "checking disc format"

-will then only play audio tracks of CDRs and originals

Does this help anyone?
 

BloodyKnuckles

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mal, what do you mean by "no solder bridge"? those are the same symptoms i'm experiencing and so I'm thinking that that may be the case. my mod is still set with the original setting it came with (0014). thanks for any help ???

Derrick
 
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