Is my mod chip faulty?


Established Member
OK, I'm kinda in a rut here...

Just installed my new 21-pin modchip in my US Saturn... did everything correctly and things work fine. I can boot original game CDs just fine... so I went ahead and made a straight backup of Sega Rally to a TDK CD-R (74min) disc using Adaptec Easy CD Creator 4.02 (CD Copier) on Windows98SE and a HP CD-Writer 9100i.

My Saturn recognizes the backup CD and goes to the "start game" button in the boot menu... But when I do start the game, the Sega logo comes up, the screen goes black, and then nothing happens... the disc keeps spinning at 2x speed for about a minute, then it kicks me back to the boot menu...

I can play the audio tracks on the backup just fine so I know the Saturn is capable of reading the CDR... Is my mod chip faulty? Should I attempt adjusting the laser?

Does Adaptec's CD copier suck eggs?

(I only want to backup my original games and play the backups... not interested in burning downloaded images.)

If someone could help me out.... I'd be forever grateful...

I have difficulty believing that the problem is really with the mod chip since it doesn't prevent me from booting original game CDs.....
If those are really TDK discs (some "TDK" discs are actually made by Ritek, which historically hasn't been the greatest manufacturer in the world), the quality is probably at least decent. IIRC, the HP 9100i is supposed to be a decent drive also. I've heard that Adaptec/Roxio software is a mixed bag (never used it much myself), but Saturn isn't usually too picky about disc layout. Still, that sounds like it could be caused by an idiotic burning program, so you might want to try one of the following apps that are a bit more respected in terms of CD copying ability:

Nero - Burning Rom


BlindWrite Suite

CloneCD (though I've heard this isn't particularly great for Saturn; I don't have any idea why).

Hope this helps.
As I understand it, the "CD Copier" in Easy CD Creator is a simplistic file-by-file data CD copier, so it will not work for copying Saturn games. You need something that will read and write disc images, such as one of the packages that ExCyber mentioned.

I personally use CDRWin and have had no problems thus far. Use "cooked" mode (i.e. leave the RAW box unticked) if you can, this will help eliminate read and write errors.

CloneCD is complete overkill for Saturn games. It's a "raw" copier designed specifically for backing up copy protected PC CD-ROMs. It works on Saturn discs, but I wouldn't use it myself for this purpose.

By the way, I have come across those "rogue" Ritek TDKs before; these are the ones that are sold in the "CardFlex" packaging. It is very disappointing to find this out when you've paid a premium for "TDK quality".

you can use easy cd creator providing that the game is only one iso file...if it has any mp3s you won't be able to burn them along with the iso..some games only have one mp3 file and this is the file that usually says "the disc is only for use with sega saturn..." so you aren't missing anything really in this case..
Thanks for all your help, guys... I do have a few things to say in response:

The TDK CD-Rs came in a 10-pack with 10 normal-size jewel cases, each individually wrapped... sure looks like genuine TDK to me... the discs are white with "gloss" on them, says TDK 650MB/74 min, rated up to 12x writing speed (my HP does 8x), and there are little "polka dots" all over the label surface plus some sort of cool-looking streaks around the center that look like a tornado when the disk spins. Heh, you're probably thinking, "what the #### is he talking about now"...

Adaptec's CD Copier does copy entire CDs image-wise, you even have the option of burning the copy in TAO or DAO mode...HOWEVER....

Wasn't there mention of a little curiosity about Saturn CDs in that the ISO on the first track may not extract correctly into a file (with IsoBuster, I think) because the last few blocks kinda sorta overlap with the second track (audio)? I remember hearing this somewhere... I could imagine that Adaptec fouls up the ISO on the copy but isn't smart enough to actually detect an error.

I will try one of the other CD copiers the meantime, my Saturn is open again so I can see exactly what the laser lens is doing when I try to boot my backup game - and possibly play with the laser power to see if that helps.

The general consensus seems to be, though, that this has nothing to do with the modchip. Can I be reasonably certain of that?
Quick update!! HA!!!!

Ran IsoBuster... extracted Track 1 of the original Sega Rally disc as user data (*.tao) ... worked just fine. Curiously, the track is shown as 27,602,944 bytes in size but the actual copy on my harddisk is 27,303,936 bytes, about 300K short.

Next, I attempted extracting the same Track 1 from the backup disc. WHAMMO! Got up to 98%, then failed.

So...I was right!!! I'm rather happy now that I'm sure the mod chip works's just Adaptec. Ahwell, wasted one CDR I guess... play the audio a few times in my wife's car before pitching that coaster eh ;-)

Thanks again for all your suggestions!!!!!! :-D

you're exactly right. To think that it took my burning a coaster and worrying about the mod chip to realize this makes me wonder why this important bit of knowledge isn't more common...

I know all the ripping guides say to read the original CD in one fell swoop rather than track by track (bin/cue image), but I always assumed that was just in order to prep distributable images... someone actually told me anything worked fine to make a straight backup.

Well, I have CDRWin 3.8g installed now :)
>The general consensus seems to be, though, that this >has nothing to do with the modchip. Can I be >reasonably certain of that?

You got it. If the saturn recognises the disc and the button changes it means that the modchip worked