This is a follow-up to the modifications I did to a NTSC VA15 Saturn. In this article, I will implement the following Sega Saturn (PAL VA3) modifications: Region-free BIOS, FRAM, and a 50/60 Hz switch (SW4).
After finishing the last article, I took three broken PAL Saturns that I had lying around apart to see what I could repair and modify next: A Model 1 with VA1 mainboard, a Model 1 with VA3 (aka “PAL VA SD”) mainboard and an almost identical Model 2 (VA5, also “PAL VA SD”). I had only one working Type-B power supply, so I had to make a choice. I went with the VA3 Model 1 because the mainboard was in the best condition and only needed a working disc drive and power cable, reset button stick, power suppy and some cleaning. This is how is looked before:
Right now, it seems to have a bug when used in combination with a SuperCIC. As soon as the SuperCIC is enabled in the configuration, there is no picture and sync is lost (also, weird readings on the OSSC display). Upon switching the frequency, the LED of the console turns red and is stuck in that status. According to this thread, a firmware update is needed for one of the SuperCIC chips. I’m looking forward to see if this can be resolved through a SD2SNES firmware update. Otherwise, I’ll have to desolder and flash one of the SuperCIC chips.
In 2014, I bought two top-loading CD-i players, the Philips CDI550 and CDI450. While the Magnavox CDI550 pops up every now and then in the U.S., the Philips CDI550 is quite rare in Europe and I’ve only seen a single one in all these years.
It’s been a while since I opened my first Philips CDI350 portable CD-i player and published a repair guide with capacitor list. I have already received some positive feedback that this was helpful for others fixing their players. However, part 2 of the article ended with a big question mark because some topics remained unsolved. Let’s have a look at the status of these topics and see if I can resolve them today in Philips CDI350 Repair Part 3.
1. S-Video output is not working
This turned out to be my fault. After carefully following the traces to and from the video encoder and comparing every component with the service manual, I noticed that I had soldered two electrolytic capacitors with the wrong polarity: C938 and C991. I can only assume that this happened because I used the + marks as indicators and not the white dots. Just look at the vast amount of plusses:
The Bandai Pippin Atmark Floppy Unit PA-82002 is an expansion dock for the Pippin consoles that made it past the prototype stage. It was released on the Japanese market together with the Pippin Atmark in 1996. It is still incredible rare and it took me while to get a hold of one of these units. The functionality is the same that the replica floppy adapter provides and the main reason why I bought it is really the casing. The floppy adapter setup was too unpractical and fragile and I was looking for something sturdier that could stay attached to the console at all times.
This article is mainly about photos and taking it apart. There will be a small section with explanations at the end.
This is the second part of the follow-up to my article from 2013 and explains in detail how to back up and restore NVRAM data with CD-interlink. The other option, CD-i Link, and how to connect a Philips CD-i player to a modern Windows PC is covered in the first part. Make sure to follow the guide to set up the connection and the terminal program Tera Term.
CD-interlink (alternate spelling: CD-i’nterlink, CD-Interlink and CD-InterLink) is a program developed by Novaré International (and human interaction inc.) in 1994. It is dubbed The Complete CD-i File Manager and has some useful functions to view and manipulate single/multiple files in the NVRAM. Some functions require the connection to a terminal. At first sight, it seems to be easier to use for beginners because it has a graphical user interface that can be operated with a CD-i controller. Don’t get fooled by this though, because file transfers are actually more complicated to set up than with cdilink.
This article is a follow-up to my article from 2013 and explains how connect a Philips CD-i player to a modern Windows PC and how to back up and restore NVRAM data with CD-i Link. I will cover the other option CD-interlink in the next article.
Back then, I built a null-modem cable which I still use today. Over the years, I’ve used it to connect all my CD-i players with PCs and portable devices to transfer data and for debugging purposes. The cable was built according to the CD-i Nullmodem Cable Specification with a Mini-DIN-8 and a DE-9F connector and works with most of the CD-i players. Some players require additional adapters and/or different connectors: Top-loading players with only one port (e.g. CDI450) require a port splitter; professional CDI60x players require a cable with DE-9F connectors on both ends while LG/DVS players require a cable with a DE-9F and a DB-25F connector. You can find most of the usage scenarios and additional cable and adapters that I’ve built in the CD-i Archives.
Last weekend, marqs has released a new firmware for the CPS2 Digital AV Interface. The new firmware enables changing the output resolution with the Volume – and + buttons. The current functions of these buttons (scanlines and vertical offset adjustment) have been removed.
When I installed the AV interface last year, I wasn’t very happy about the 8 missing lines in the default 1920×1080 resolution. I was hoping to have a 1920×1200 Line5x format one day, similar to the OSSC. This is now reality: By pressing Volume +, I can change this video output to this format.
Update (2020-10-23): A new firmware with an OSD and more settings and features has been released.
The Puhui T-962 is a cheap IR reflow oven that has been around for many years (the earliest occurrence that I’ve found is from 2007). It has some serious and not so serious flaws that many blogs have already addressed. Known modifications include: Proper grounding, replacing the insulation tape, custom firmware and additional temperature sensors. Some people go even further and replace the system fan and controller board, add more powerful infrared heating elements or an additional fan for better heat distribution. I have included links to all of these modifications at the end of the article.
I bought the T-962 last November to have some support when soldering SMD components. But before I could use it for the first time, I had to take care of the most critical flaws.