Monday, 18 May 2015


I came across an NTSCJ saturn on Trademe recently and it was a local pickup. So I proceeded to ask some more questions about it before it was removed due to Trademe's non-NZ power plug condition. Luckily the seller was able to contact me about the console set and decided to settle on a fair price.

As you can see, the console I got (on the left) is less white compared to my other one. It does not bother me as its the machines' performance not look that I am looking for. In the Q and A the seller did mention a smokey smell when he first power it on. As a precaution, I decided to open up the console to check the capacitors as they are often the first to emit smokey smell should they start to fail.

And what do we have here? Yes, it is a modded console. The mod chip is the suspended PCB you see there that intercepts the signal between the motherboard and the CD-ROM. The brown wire from the other PCB supplies the 5V needed for the mod chip to work.

I clean the machine out as it had a significant amount of hair and dust as you would imagine for its age. And 5 minutes later the inside looks brand new.

This is the power board that is present in all models of the SEGA SATURN. Different regions will have different power rating and they are specific to different AC voltages. The good news is that you can fit a different power board to any of the model 2 series (and likewise for model 1) should you want to bypass the need for a stepdown converter. But I like to keep stuff as OG as possible so I start to study each of the capacitors looking for tell tale sign of failure.

Horrah! None of the capacitor showed sign of bulging or leakages. So I concluded the smokey smell is due to burnt dust/hair/skin that has deposited in the console. Onto the power endurance test...

I decided to use a game that demands A LOT of loading, God I nearly forgotten how long it took while playing the game! Another tell tale sign of capacitor problems is fluctuation in the image brightness when the CD-ROM is reading the disk. All is well here, so I am off playing as cheap cheap Balrog...yodal like a lady!

Friday, 1 May 2015

HORI Fighting Commander 3 PRO

Just like HORI previous line of "PRO" accessories (e.g. HORI Real Arcade PRO) you know you are getting something special.

In this case, the rotating and adjustable D-Pad.

I recently got this controller in a second hand condition and notice the rotating lock mechanism is jammed somewhat.

So I went ahead and open her up.

 It is nice to see that HORI went the extra mile and made the D-Pad module a seperate component instead of a all in one PCB we are all use to seeing. But that is probably to overcome the rotating mechanism and the adjustability of the D-Pad.

This is the D-Pad component, it was branded with HORI as well. The rotating mechanism is a simple one as it uses friction to keep the D-Pad locked. The rotation is not a biggy in my books but the D-Pad tension is. There are 3 settings: S setting makes the diagonals register more  ( good for shotos ) and there is vanilla and then there is L which is more akin to puzzle games where you want to minimise diagonal registery.

The tension dial is pretty tricky with just your fingernails so always keep a nickle or 10 cents piece handy. Everything was easily reassembled and now I do not have to put up with a heavier rumbling pad that has more buttons than I need and also a D-Pad that belongs on a DVD remote. Peace!