11/04/2021 - Sega Saturn Model 1 Replacement PSU

The last time I was in Tokyo in 2018, I decided I wanted a grey model 1 Japanese Sega Saturn. I already had the white, or should I say discoloured creamy white, Japanese model 2, but I'd always had a bit of an obsession with the grey JPN model 1 after playing a lot of Shenmue*. I'd bought a Fenrir optical drive emulator (ODE), but it wouldn't work with the type of main board revision I had. It needed a VA0, and my grey model 1 was a VA1, and the white one was a VA2. I foolishly presumed that all model 1 (oval button models) were VA0's, but that isn't always the case. After returning it, I finally got hold of a Phoebe v2.4 and all was well in Saturn world for me... until the other week when my grey model 1 kept resetting itself randomly every 10-15 mins on average, making play through of any sort of game pretty much impossible.

I decided to do some research into it, and the most common issue coming up was a faulty power supply. I thought that was probably my best bet - after all, these units were built in 1994. So I decided to look into replacing the 27 year old PSU and went with "SaturnPSU" from Bitfunx

First up was removing the old PSU, seen below:










This was relatively simple: a few screws hold the PSU board in place to the back plate, then there's a single screw at the front, near the power switch. Once unscrewed, there's a cable that goes from the front of the unit, from the power switch, all the way to the back. This needs unplugging and then you gently lift up the board from the 5 prongs it connects to the main board with. Once removed, the new smaller board slots on top of the 5 prongs and it's time to get it connected.

The SaturnPSU comes with a voltage select switch. VA0 and VA1 use 3.3v and VA2 onward use 5v. Once this was set, the cables need plugging back in, including the new power cable which screws in to the back plate using a 3d printed part.










...and that's it. All done. The new board uses a 12V 3amp external power supply brick to power it. Once reassembled, I booted up the machine and loaded up some Panzer Dragoon Zwei and had zero issues in over a few hours of gameplay. Problem solved, and my beloved Saturn has a new lease of life.

* there's a grey model 1 Saturn in Ryo's bedroom in the first Shenmue :)

18/02/2021 - Gameboy Advance IPS v2 Replacement Screen

I've decided to start writing a blog of sorts about gaming. I figure since not everyone who visits the blog is in to gaming, then I'll keep it as a separate page, rather than making posts that update to the front page. I just finished bringing an original Gameboy Advance back to life today. I installed an IPS V2 display, a new pre-cut shell to house the screen, and a rechargeable USB-C battery pack. The whole process wasn't too hard to complete, albeit a little fiddly due to the size of the unit and cables. There's a small bit of soldering, where 3 wires need soldering from the IPS ribbon cable to the L, R, and Select contact points on the main board. This is entirely optional, but gives a 10 step increase/decrease option to the brightness settings by holding Select + L (decrease) and Select + R (increase). The original GBA screen wasn't backlit, and was one of the reasons mine was sat in a drawer gathering dust for the last 10+ years. I'd been meaning to do this mod for some time, and I'm happy that I did, as I now have a very usable Gameboy Advance.

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