Sega Saturn Console Mods

After many years of not owning a Saturn I‘ve decided to get one again - specifically a JP white or This is Cool model. However being in the EU I know (having seen it happen in the past) plugging it in the wall directly is a bad move and I’m also trying to avoid using a step down converter like I did in the past. I've seen a few options out there, mostly that call for replacing the internal power supply with a PCB and in turn gives the machine a USB power supply, which is perfect for what I want.

Have any dear users here actually tried doing this and if so, what are the results? Did it work like a dream or do you have a very large paperweight now?

I do plan, eventually fully upgrading everything including the video output and adding an ODE/Fenrir but before all that I want to make sure I can get the thing running first.

Thanks all for any input on this one... so I can fix my input!

One of my many Saturns is modded this way and so far it works like a charm. It also has the FRAM mod.

@chazumaru Thanks for that - glad to know it does work well! I hadn’t considered FRAM changes as I plan on getting the ODE, but could be fun to try out.
Out of interest, how many machines do you have?

@TomoftheFog Saturns? Errmmm I’d say around seven or eight right now if you don’t count the ST-V board and the Switch dock using a Saturn shell.

[edit] I am about 500km from home right now but upon further consideration, I think I can safely say six. I cannot remember for sure if I still have the V-Saturn MarkII somewhere or if I ended up selling/trading it.

I like the SegaSaturn.

I put one of these SaturnPSUs into my Japanese model 1 and it works fine (it had a bad PSU and needed replaced):

It's a drop in replacement with no soldering. I also have a Fenrir ODE in it and they work together.

Put a similar one into my Dreamcast (DreamPSU) and they can use the same 12v 3a AC adapter. They are prone video interference if you don't use a regulated AC adapter, but the one it comes with is good.

@chazumaru That’s quite a few Saturns! I’m taking it that you have more than enough experience to say with conviction it works, thank you =)

@copySave That looks equally as appealing as USB and judging by the brackets looks like a very nice fit too. Not heard of that one, but will dig around and see what’s to do.
Thanks for letting me know that it works fine with the Fenrir, as I’m still considering what option to go with as I have a spare 2TB SSD laying around.

I have the same PSU as @copySave in mine but I didn't install it myself. In terms of image I use a RAD2X cable for mine; essentially a Retrotink in a plug / cable only form and it works a charm and makes games look great on my flat panel.

I have the same PSU as copysave. Apparently because bitfunx is a clone company, the original creator of that board claims they use counterfeit parts that can damage your system, but he also just seems upset his stuff got cloned and usually that’s a 5% chance with anything bought on aliexpress either way.

I also have a MODE, which is fine if it’s more economically feasible, like if you want to use it across Saturn and Dreamcast… but not ideal or the best, because terraonion is disappointing.

@treefroggy Sounds like a possible issue there, but you’re right about AliExpress and taking a chance.

The reason I got into this idea, is that I saw a video of someone who had actually built a USB version that worked amazingly and they seem to do a lot of other mods, so reputation is something quite important here.

I’m a bit shocked the price of the This is Cool model right now though - it’s not that far away from the original import price back in the late 90s!</p

That said I don’t want it to blow up!

I have three DC-DC PSU‘s, one for dreamcast, one for playstation, and one for saturn. The only one I use is the dreamcast one at the moment.

It can be especially cool since I live on solar, so my power already is coming from DC from a 12V battery.

The reason it’s not in my PSX is because I have nostalgia for that original gray power cord haha. And the PSU still functions well.

I was also having some signal noise issues like copysave mentioned. in the case of the dreamcast, that seemed to have been fixed when I rewired my dc circuits recently.

The USB power you're thinking of is USB C Power delivery, and yeah it's cool. Both PD and the Bitfunx/picoPSU are DC-DC PSU's. the pico/bitfunx ones are 12v (maybe one of them is 9v) and PD is probably one of those too. You can actually just splice the same cables for any of them.

The most neat use for a DC-DC modded console, imo is that you can now use it with a portable battery bank in conjunction with one of the portable CRTs that also take DC input, making the ultimate consumer portable CRT gaming setup.

@treefroggy The reason I need a different power delivery method is to not have to use a step down for original hardware.
Back in my collecting days, I had a JP PS1, Saturn and PC Engine Duo, and the brick I had doing all the conversion was not great and got too hot, so I couldn’t really do more than two hours at the most.

As I will be at home playing and not on the move I just need something to allow me to pump 240 volts into it and not fry the console.

Your set up does sound amazing, especially having them all ready to at a moments notice!

@“TomoftheFog”#p138566 the plus side is all of the consoles mentioned have modular power supplies which are simply dropped in. So any of the dc-dc options out there will be fine for you and I would go the aliexpress bitfunx route personally.

As mentioned My Saturn is Japanese, but I figure the 10v difference would only damage the power supply itself not the console?
If I’m mistaken then it’s time to try dc-dc again.

@treefroggy The voltage is doubled here in the EU, we run on 220 where as the US and JP machines all run on 110. The problem is when you plug a 110 volt electrical device into that it nukes the thing. I’ve seen a US PS1 spark, make a huge bang and then smoke a bit when plugged directly into a UK socket. Using a JP machine in the US is fine as its a 10 volt difference and the power supplies are designed to take a small fluctuation in voltage, but not double.

What I’m assuming is that for people who’ve done the mod is to replace a faulty power system or ease of one plug to rule them all.

I was just looking at USB C as I have enough power supplies for that and was trying to use what I had, but it seems the bitfunx has worked well.

So glad I asked knowledgeable people about it before I bought everything!

Keep an eye out for cart based iso loader Saroo. It‘s much cheaper than Satiator right now on AliExpress and around 90% compatibility rate supposedly. I won’t buy it now since it's still in development but pretty high potential I think.

Oh I see, you’re in the UK or whatever where they use even higher voltage for some reason lmao.

Well, as someone who lives on a 12v low voltage system, uses one 9v ac adapter for family computer, pc engine, mega drive, super famicom, and until recently virtual boy too, I think using a universal low voltage is a great lifestyle choice.

If you have any questions, I’m kind of a low voltage contractor so I’m all ears!

My bad @TomoftheFog I completely forgot the 220/230V component of your question. Might be more dangerous in Euro zones. I remember witnessing more stories of (USB-powered) PC Engine Minis getting fried by inconsistent voltage in the Euro zone, so going USB with an old console might be playing with fire. I agree @copySave ’s solution might be the best. I don’t have this kind of PSU-powered Saturn but I do have a similar mod on a Dreamcast and it has been pretty great (it even went through a power cut fine).

@KennyL Thanks for the heads up - I’d heard about the being around but not too great, I’ll certainly keep my eyes out when I consider the options for playing games on it =)

France, but I grew up in England. I guess I'm in the bucket of *rest of world* haha

The main reason I got into importing was because the games ran faster, EU tvs supported a 50hz ish refresh rate when using normal connections and as US/JP had 60hz it meant no horrible borders and faster games. And of course a much bigger library. But due to the power issues we had step downs that halved the voltage going on - which were great but got very hot so play time was limited.

I love your way of having everything running on minimal voltage which is exactly what Im after, mainly for convenience but also so I don’t burn my house down!

@chazumaru Not a problem - it was an issue we had to deal with that people in the US never had to worry about!

I think @copySave really hit the nail on the head and it looks consistent and exactly what I need. The biggest issue before was having to halve the voltage before it went into the machine but that'll do it with the adapter which is perfect. That and I am not a competent solderer.

Thanks everyone for the advice on this, really appreciate the comments and ideas =)