Sega Saturn Mod Chip Installation Guide

I’ve had a handful of people asking me for a good set of intstruction on how to install the Sega Saturn mod chips that I sell.

I’m not responsible for any damage you may do to your Saturn by performing this modification. There isn’t much to worry about, but I just don’t want anybody mad at me 🙂

Thanks to Jess Ragan for his help in creating this guide!

What You Need

  • A model 2 (32-pin – usually round-buttoned) Saturn
  • One Saturn mod chip
  • A soldering iron (here’s a new-to-soldering guide)
  • Possibly some extra wire (see step #2)
  • Transparent tape/Scotch tape
  • Scissors
  • Phillips head screwdriver with a long thin neck that can reach the Saturn’s case screws.
  • A copy of a Saturn game for testing purposes.
  • A nail file or something similar (may only need this if chip does not fit snugly)
Step 1 – Preparation
  • Keep your chip safe by leaving it in the anti-static bag that I ship them in.
  • Unplug your Saturn
  • Turn your Saturn upside down on a table
  • Remove the Saturn’s case screws
  • Put the screws in a safe place
  • Turn the Saturn right side up.

Step 2 – Install Chip and Hook-up Lens Cable

  • Look at the twisted white ribbon cable running from the center of the system to the shiny metal box on the right hand side.
  • Part of the ribbon will be taped to this metal box.
  • First peel the tape off the metal box, then gently unplug the right end of the ribbon cable.
  • Take this end of the cable and plug it into the connector on the modchip as pointed out below.
  • Plug the chip itself into the plug where the lens cable was.
  • If the chip does not plug in easily, you may need to file down the side edges of the plug in order to give it a better fit.

Step 3 – Getting Link Cables Layed Out

  • Below you can see the linking (soldering) points of the two cables from the IC chip towards the motherboad.
  • You can also see how the lens cable is to hooked up to the chip.
  • A close-up shot of both solder points follows in the next steps.
  • You may need to add some extra wire to extend the link cables’ reach across the machine.

Step 4 – Connect the Power Link Cable
  • The small wire soldered into the left side of the mod chip is called a jumper cable
  • Attach this jumper cable to the Saturn to power the chip
  • On the left side of the Saturn, there are four metal pins in a vertical row
  • Take the end of the jumper cable and plug it into the second pin from the top (on the back of the unit) even if you see 5 pins instead of 4. (It’s the one marked 5VA — if one does not work, try the other).
  • Below is a close-up of where to solder the power cable (red)
  • Please note the power wire MUST solder to the power socket directly!

Step 5 – Connect the Signal Link Cable
There are two ways to do this step:

  • The original way was to solder the signal (blue) wire to pin 14 of the 32-pin chip.
  • To make this easier, put 2 pieces of thin cardboard surrounding and isolated the 14th pin
  • Then you soldered to the 14th pin very easily, ignoring the other pins
  • Below is close-up of where to solder the Signal cable (blue)


OR

  • You can get rid of the signal cable altogether and link the signal point to point B with a bit of solder instead of linking to pin 14 of the 32-pin chip.
  • This experiment has been detailed at this thread at SegaXtreme

Step 6: Finishing Up

  • Take a few pieces of tape and lay them over the ribbon that’s hanging over the chip
  • Tape it down onto the shiny metal box so the ribbon and tape hold the chip in place.
  • Secure the ribbon with a few more pieces of tape, because you never can be too sure.
  • Before you put the case back onto the Saturn, make sure everything is ready to run.
  • Are the connections tight?
  • Is the mod chip taped down well?
  • Once everything looks good, re-assemble your Saturn case.

Testing

  • Set your Saturn back up, plug in the controllers
  • hook it up to your television set
  • Put a burned backup CD into the Saturn and turn the system on
  • The disc should play just like a real Saturn game.
  • If not, you’ll need to open the Saturn again and see what you did wrong.

Additional Links:
Saturn Modchip Troubleshooting Guide
Soldering Guide


105 Comments

dan says:

Racketboy,

i bought a mod chip a few months ago, and unfortunately couldn’t test it right away due to buying a Saturn that was shot. So i finally got one yesterday, and tested it out, and i can’t seem to get backups running. I’ve followed the tutorial to the letter and still am having trouble. Could the chip itself be bad? Can i ship it to you to test it?? Let me know. thanks,

dan

WyldRogue says:

Just wondering if I can still purchase a modchip for my Saturn. I actually own both Models so making sure this site and chip is still available.

Hope it is so that I can order a modchip for my Model 2. Will stop back frequently to see if I got a response.

Ian says:

Hey Racketboy,

Just bought a model 2 saturn and was interested in buying a mod chip for it. Thanks.

SupraGenius says:

Awesome, pure awesome! Racketboy is very quick and responsive, and his mod chip works wonderfully! I can now stash my originals away for safekeeping! Thanks racketboy, I will try to buy more from you, though I don’t do ebay at the moment.

Michael says:

Good to see the latest date from pleased people was just a few weeks ago. Im planning to buy one and install over Christmas break…

chris says:

i have a segs saturn and it will not turn on do you have any idea what the problem may be

chris says:

i have a sega saturn and it will not turn on do you have any idea what the problem may be

Chris says:

Thankyou for the chip just brilliant works perfect. Installation was very easy besides trying to fit the chip into the cd lens slot on mobo just ued the blade of the scissors to trim down the sides for a perfect fit.

Tim Duch says:

I dont know which Saturn version I have. On the outside, it has round BLACK buttons; does that make a difference? I noticed the circuit board below the lens is a bit different, the 32 pin chip appears to be below the plastic part of the lens. Also, how big is the mod chip? From the pictures and from looking at my saturn it appears too big. If anyone could help me that would be great.

Tim Duch says:

i just ordered this and i forgot one thing, do the backup games you burn have to be burnt at a certain speed like 4x or something? because i have a dreamcast and i couldent get burnt games to run unless i burnt the games at 4x speed. i have img burn and it was burning some games at 10.1x speed, is that too fast or does it not matter? if someone could help that would b great

racketboy says:

For the Saturn, I usually do 4X or 8X.
Best of luck!

jmooch says:

hey dawgs thanks racket for the mod.. i just have one question dudes, i burned a game using alcohol (sf3 US) and when i boot it up it plays only the music of the game in a cd player…

???

Thanks!

Kevin says:

Hi, can you tell me if this modchip will instal/work on a white *import* Saturn?

Kevin says:

Sorry by import I meant Japan…

racketboy says:

The region on the Saturn doesn’t matter — the main concern is what it looks like inside.

Paul says:

Hi got my chip today thanks but I can’t get it to work have hoked it up as shown in the guid and followed very carfully
I have a model 2 saturn and am not new to the mod sece hace moded plenty of system in past but for some reason this will not work! With the chip in the saturn will not even spin up a disk no matter whats in there the lens will not fire anything but take it out an put the ribbon back on its own and it will work fine any ideas??

Jason Briggs says:

Thanks for the chip, works perfectly, just definitely could’ve used a smaller soldering tip than the only one I had at home. Now I can finally put the saturn back onto my shelf and play more than Space Hulk….

Matthew Thorns says:

Excellent Mod chip!
Thank you so much for being one of the remainder USA Saturn mod chip venders. I appreciate the great response to my faulty chip problem, and the second chip worked flawlessly. It was a pleasure doing business with you and I hope you can satisfy Saturn fans for years to come.

Just a notation: When putting solder from point A to B it helps a lot if it is done on both sides. For one reason or another I did it on one side and had no response from the system, but when I applied it to the other side it worked fine. Does it matter which side you solder points A and B together or was it probably just a bad connection on the first try?

james kearns says:

hello i live in the uk can you guys ship out a mod chip for me ? thanks

racketboy says:

Yup — I ship to the UK all the time 🙂

Tim McKernan says:

Mod chip and Memory card came the other day. Memory card didn’t seem to work but then i recalled that the old memory card I had died assuming it was the card. I’m not convinced it is the Saturn. Also I have the 64 pin Saturn which means a lot of pain in the ass. If i cant extend the memory what is the point of getting to play a lot of games. I’m on the hunt for a model 2 Saturn now. Excellent service from Racket boy, some confusion with the payment but he was responsive and pleasent

Tim McKernan says:

Whoops I re-read what i typed. I should say I’m convinced it is the SATURN that is broken NOT the memory card from Racket boy.

mach_six says:

I have installed this on my Saturn w/ relative ease compared to Xbox, Wii, PSX and others and able to play those “games”. I have a question does a modchip exists that allows to play JAP games on a US saturn w/o the 4-1 in cart.

racketboy says:

Hi mach_six! Nope — there aren’t any chips to take care of regions, but you can patch the ISOs of your games before burning so you don’t need a 4-in-1.

Easy and free 🙂

Rhounin says:

Thanks Racketboy!

Installed within 15 minutes flat, so far works perfect for all the backups I have for my Model 2 Saturn. A way better solution to the swapping disc. I recommend this chip to anyone , and its really easy to install.

The shipping took about ten days, pretty good.

P.S. you are going to have to slightly file down the terminal of the modchip to get it to fit, but other then that, its all game playing.

Thank You

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