Possible permanent (?) fix for loosy cartridges detection

JayBww

New Member
Hey guys,

Maybe it's old news for many of you, but since I didn't find any post talking about it, I decided to share the piece of info here;

Like most people I got some detection issues for anything else than official save/ram cartridges with the Sega Saturn port.
So I looked into it and found various solutions, but none of them made real sense nor was reliable enough for daily use.
Most people seems to say that it's the port's fault, that's it's just old and rusty, and can't be fixed completely.
But in that case it doesn't make much sense that the best solution is to not insert the cartridge completely, since pcb contacts are flat.
And I tested those problematic cartridges on 4 different Saturn in different state, from old and rusty to mint, and all well cleaned. They all had the same issue.

It turns out there is an obvious reason for it; the cartridge slot pins aren't flat, but spread out when inserting the cartridge.
Meaning if the cartridge pcb edges are too flat and/or too far from the contacts, it will be too spread and won't make contact correctly!
For that reason, the official cartridges have quite a big bezel on the edges.

So I decided to add a bezels to my cartridges that didn't have any, or increase the ones that didn't have enough.
And no surprise, they now all works perfectly on all the Saturn I tested, every single time. No more detection issues.

Of course I'm not saying it will fix your Saturn if your port is indeed already in bad shape, but for the ones that have good port but issue with some cartridges, it might help.
 

Ardiloso

Member

around the 5:30 mark.. illustrates the issue pretty clearly.
I really don't buy this. This does not explain why my original Backup Ram, 4 MB and kof 95 Rom carts only work 4/10 times I try them, It was always like this from day one since 1995.
 

nando

New Member
I never had any problems with the backup or 4mb ram carts, but I never had a game shark or any clone carts.
 

JayBww

New Member
I really don't buy this. This does not explain why my original Backup Ram, 4 MB and kof 95 Rom carts only work 4/10 times I try them, It was always like this from day one since 1995.
That's exactly why I mentioned that this trick might not work for you depending of the state of your cartridge port.
If the original cartridge aren't working properly, you port has a different problem than the one I explained here. And this trick will obviously not work for you.
On my side, it fixed the issue for 3 different unofficial cartridge and tested successfully on 4 Saturn.
Note that those Saturn all have their port clean and in good shape, and work every time with every official cartridge I tested (those have been cleaned too).

I never had any problems with the backup or 4mb ram carts, but I never had a game shark or any clone carts.
Yeah if you never used unofficial cartridges there are obviously less chances of screwing the port, since official one all have the proper bevel.
 

rorirub

New Member
I'd like to see someone making some photos of the pins being actually deformed or damaged from those third party carts. Even the ones with slightly thicker PCBs or ones with non bevelled edges (the AR is neither of those iirc). Out of all my Saturns, only one had a permanently broken cart slot, and that one had one of the pins actually routed through the wrong end of the little plastic channel, it had to be pried back into position and eventually it broke off after a year.

But every other time, the problem was never with the cart slot, it was with the cartridges, which had too much gunk on the edges and needed to be cleaned. Since the connector pitch is so thin, even minimum amount of dirt or oxidation can screw up the connection.

However, the overwhelming majority of my units are PAL and JP, and look well taken care of - not the kind of junk like in that youtube video screenshot, that looks like someone vomited inside the connector.
 
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