This guide was originally on SegaXtreme, but now I am hosting it due to future server cutbacks. It was writen by RadSil a while back.
Below is instructions on how to adjust the laser in the Saturn to read CD-RW Games. It can be handy for testing out games and home development.
Disclaimer: If you screw something up don’t blame me. If you have any reservation at all about doing this, then don’t do it. Note that this technique will shorten the life of the laser–not much, but it will. Thank you.
Tinkering around with my Saturn one day, I discovered a particularly strange orange screw mounted on the laser unit. Logically, being a tinkerer and part time techie, my first reaction was that the screw controlled the power or intensity of the laser beam. I was struggling in my head to find a use for this (why would it be there?) and was enlightened. I had remembered that CD-RWs required a stronger laser intensity than a typical pressed disc or CD-R.
Naturally, I whipped out a Philips-head and gave it a 3/4 turn. Now, I needed a game to test… so I burned a copy of the first disc of ‘D’. It was close by, so I burnt it. Also, if you are unfamiliar with ‘D’, it is an FMV game. I also figured that maybe it would be more of a test for the laser because of the data streaming.
Lo and behold, it worked! Of course, I was excited to say the least. I tried it with different games, and they worked as well.
So to sum up, here is a nice ordered list of instructions in case you aren’t perceptive enough to pick them out of the above text:
- Open your Saturn
- Turn the unit so that the back is facing you
- Locate an *orange* (how could you miss it?) screw on the back of the laser unit
- Give it a slight turn (25-30 degrees should do it)
- Test with a Saturn game written on CD-RW
- Turn the screw left a little and try the disc again
- Repeat steps 5 and 6 until you have the minimum amount of power to use a CD-RW
And there you have it. This mod will come in handy if you want to make Saturn demos/games and don’t have a PAR cart and PC card. Maybe in the future I’ll write a doc on how to make a proper Saturn ISO, if you’re interested in that sort of thing.