Sega Saturn





I've been planning a region mod on the Saturn since the day I got it. There are sooooo many games that made it in Japan und in Europe that never made it to the US, that it's kind of a shame. Anyway, I ran across this page, which documents the process quite well. He makes use of vero board, which I'm not particularly fond of. I prefer to do point to point wiring on wafer-board or use a PCB. There's too high of a chance of short circuiting for my taste.It's really just personal preference though. 

He gives this nice diagram:

He linked a page to the schematic diagram of this, but the page seems to be offline for good. so I decided, since I would be redesigning this to work on wafer-board, why not draw up a schematic myself. Here's what I came up with:

Here's a cleaner version I made on the iPad from that horrible sketch:
So this is a brilliant little circuit that automatically changes all 3 of the jumpers to the correct setting based off the position of a single switch.

This guy has a phenomenal breakout of what all of these jumpers do and what position they should be 

in for any given condition, so I'm not going to go into any more details on that here. 


So now for the fun part, putting all this theory and design into action. Here's what we're working with:
All it takes is a couple of 1K resistors, a switch, and a 7404 inverter. .

Here's some disassembly photos, enjoy:
Pulling the mod chip back out

This little guy right here caught me off guard:


There weren't very obvious and I nearly missed them: 

This one below the power supply and plastic insulater almost got me too:

I'm not sure if I showed you guys my magnifier or not, but it's so cool!

Here are the jumpers I was talking about earlier in their pre-modded state:

I needed to run 3 wires down to the bottom side and I wanted it to be a little neater than just looping them underneath. 
So I used these awesome locking pliers and a little summer camp reminiscent crafting and I've got a nicely braided cable.   


Here's the jumper end with the wires in place:
Note that the factory jumpers for 6/7, 10/11, and 12/13 need to be removed entirely. Do NOT remove the jumper from 8/9!!!! it needs to be pulled high for any of these regions (on J9) 

Here's the completed waferboard, Sorry, I didn't take any building pics, but it only took like 5 mins to put together and it is exactly as described above. 

Here's the majority of the wiring in place, just waiting to get the switch in place.

Here's where I put my switch: 
Most everyone I've seen sticks their region switches on the back sides of their consoles. I like them in the front for 2 reasons. 
1: I'm already hacking apart the system, what difference does punching a hole in the front make? 
2: I'm lazy and my systems are in a cabinet. I'm not pulling these things off the shelf every time I wanna play a different region game...

Here's a closer shot:
Were I to do this again, I would probably put it on the top, rather than the front. I like the way it looks here a lot better, but I had to cut off a section of the metal shielding, bend the pins on the switch, and squeeeze it all under the power button, without shorting anything out. I had to put a few layers of electrical tape over the pins to keep them from grounding out... I didn't take any pictures of this, because it was horribly frustrating and I was fighting it thoroughly lol

Here's everything all wired up and ready to go back together:

With the lid back in place:

Here's a close up of the switch, what do you guys think of it?

And the inevitable test to make sure it works:

That's it for now, I may make a video of this in action, and I'll add it if I do.
Thanks for reading!



I know this should be on the Game system modifications, but I have a few things planned for the Saturn, so it gets it's own page.

So I got myself a Sega Saturn a while back and I decided it would be a good candidate for a mod chip. The Saturn Games tend to be very expensive and, like any 20 year old disc format, they can wear out quite quickly, so backing up my games and playing them from cheap CD-R's seems well worth it.

I do want to put in a disclaimer here that this is not a detailed guide, nor a walk-through of this procedure. I will not take responsibility for you messing up your system if you don't know what you're doing. There are guides out there, but this isn't one of them. This is merely documenting my own experience, nothing more, nothing less. Also, I do not condone pirating games, this is to be used for archival backups of games that I own. 

Now that that's out of the way, lets get to the fun part. 
  
Hello foot! I didn't see you there!


So there's a few different models of Saturn motherboards and the process is slightly different for each, but the currently available mod chip will work with all of them. Mine is a 32 pin Model 2, which is detailed in this guide

The chip is grounded through the ribbon cable, but you need to supply power to it. It's got a pad on the top corner that is super-easy to solder to.

On the back side, there is a jumper to solder over to tell the mod chip which version my system is. 
(I took this through my magnifying dome, how does it look?)

Here's a few shots hooking up the ribbon cable:


Be careful when you plug the original ribbon cable, the last pin on mine bent back a bit and had to be straightened out before it would actually read discs...


The power wire needs to go to +5V, which is very clearly labelled on the power supply. 

So I was debating a few different ideas in my head, of how exactly I wanted to insulate the mod-chip from the metal shielding inside. Most people I've seen just cover it in cardboard and just go nuts with electrical tape, but I wanted to do better. I found these things at the dollar store the other day and figured I'd give them a shot.
They're essentially little rubber cement circles, like you see on magazine inserts or on things in the mail.

I cut a small piece of a box-top the size of the card and used a few dots to hold it in place.

Then I used a few more dots to hold the cardboard down. 

It actually seemed quite secure, but I figured a little tape wouldn't hurt, just to be safe.
I actually ended up re-taping this using quite a bit less in the end. It didn't want to read discs initially, official or burned, which is when I discovered the bent pin on the ribbon cable I mentioned earlier. 
All in all, this was a very easy modification and it is working extremely well. 

I will be region-modding this later on, but I'm waiting on parts to come in for that. I've ordered them, but they haven't arrived yet... When they do, I'll update this page accordingly, I may even do a video of this thing in action when I get it all buttoned up for good. So check back or add me on Google+, as I post all of my updates there.