Sega Saturn Modchip Troubleshooting

Sometimes there are a few things that can be overlooked when installing a Saturn Mod chip that can cause problems.
If there is something wrong with the installation you may find that your games boot to a Audio CD Player.
If your Saturn modchip installation seems to be giving your problem go through this check list:

  • Make sure you are using the correct set of instructions. Since there are a few different types of Saturn models, you need to make sure you are installing the correct way for your Saturn.
  • Make sure all the neccessary connections are clean. Make sure there is not any stray solder that could cause an electrical short.
  • You may want to look over the Soldering Guide to look for tips you might find helpful
  • Ensure that your system cannot play original games in addition to backups. If your Saturn can play originals with the chip in, it is most likely an issue with the burned CDs themselves.
  • Ensure that the chip is in the slot all the way. Sometimes a chip may have a hard time going into the slot and feels like it needs extra force to cram it in there. If this is the case, you may need to file down the edges of the slot plug.
  • If you are attempting the A+B method, try soldering to the chip on the mainboard instead. The A+B method is supposedly not a 100% sure thing.
  • If you are worried that your Sega Saturn console may be dead, you can take the chip out and see if it still plays regular games.

If you still need help, just post comments below or in the technical help forums and I’ll try to help you out. The forums will be your best bet as I will probably respond sooner and you will have many other knowledgable members at your service as well.


88 Comments

glyphic says:

hi, i ordered a chip from you about a month and a half to two months ago, and installed it the day it arrived, it has worked fine up untill today. i turned it on to check a disk i burned and it didnt work, so i tried another burn and that didnt work either, so i popped in an older disk that i knew worked and still it would only go to the cd audio screen. i put in an original saturn disk and it came to the same audio screen. i opened up the saturn and everything appears good, but i removed the chip (leaving the soldered wires alone, and just connected the cd wire directly to the saturn, and the original game booted just fine. i then tried soldering the blue wire directly to pin 14 (i had previously used the a-b method) and still nothing, backups nor original would play, this leads me to believe that there is something wrong with the mod chip. is there a high failure rate with these chips or is mine just a fluke, or is there something im missing? thanks

Anonymous says:

Tried doing the A to B but it would just go to the cd player screen on my Type 2 Japanese Saturn when inserting original disc or backup. So I tried soldering the A to the 3rd pin from the right but I got a little solder on the 4th pin from the right. If I turn on my console now it will be fried right?

racketboy says:

It’s not necessarily fried.
Just do your best ot try to clean up the extra solder…

Xavier says:

Well I have exactly the same problem than Outrider.

I have a PAL Saturn, 21-pin cable, 64-pin chip with nationality switch, no matter I try original or copy It only lauch Audio CD player.

I confirm pin 8 of the 64-pin chip is directly connected on pin 1 of CD drive flat cable and pin B of the modchip.

Maybe a problem with this particular Saturn batch?

Anonymous says:

I ordered on Monday and received on Thursday!
only 3 days for delivery cross the ocean!!!

Very easy installation, runs perfectly!!

THX! 😉

Anonymous says:

I have a similar problem to what someone else posted. I have a model 2, 32 pin saturn and bought your chip a week or two ago. I got it and installed it easily. When I boot up the saturn it doesn’t show the fragment formation animation saturn logo, insted it goes straight to the silver saturn logo screen. Then it goes to the Bios menu and says “checking disc format” but never loads. I tried an official saturn game and it does the same thing. the chip was hard to insert where the ribbon went but I think it is fully in. what should I do?

Anonymous says:

Hi racketboy;
I hope you can help me or explain me why my SAT do this: I’ve installed the modchip (following your instructions) and when I PWR-ON the SAT the MIP153 component explode…
What’s wrong???

P.S. Sorry for my bad eng! 😉

danholo says:

Hi! So my white Saturn seems to be the model as the pictures in the guide are. I soldered the blue signal wire on the B hole which seemed to be easier. However, the chip doesn’t seem to fit into the slot very well… Do I really have to jam it? Seems risky, not to mention I’m modding a console for the first time. The red wire just barely reaches the power link. How deep does it have to go? Is there any other way to connect the power or is soldering the only way? Thanks!

racketboy says:

don’t jam it hard — you may break it.
Instead, try to find a file and carefully file down the side edges of the plug that go into the system.
As for the power wire, some people have gotten it connected without solder — it may be a good way to test it, but I would suggest soldering for the long-run.
If the cable is too short — you may need to connect an extra piece of wire.

Anonymous says:

I’ve got a model 3 Saturn, will this chip work for me? Is there anything special I should know?

danholo says:

I must say. An amateur shouldn’t attempt something like this. Simply because this looks to be a very easy procedure, and I can’t get it to work. I didn’t solder the power cable onto the machine but I could feel the chip heating up so there must be something wrong with the bridging of the signal wire to the B-slot. This is my first time soldering since school, so it was to be expected. I did file a bit on the other side of the chip and it fits in nicely though. When I put the chip in, connect the proper wires, put in an official disk, it only recognizes the disk as a CD. So I have no idea what might be wrong. I’d like to play backups, but I don’t want to ruin the console. 😀

danholo says:

To continue, it also might be that the chip isn’t powering up… Who knows. My sense of touch could be deceiving me. However, after I solder it, there’s not going back.

racketboy says:

Do you have a Model 2?
If so, it shouldn’t been too hard.
Please email me at racketboynick AT hotmail DOT com and we can discuss it in more detail.

If we find that the chip is faulty, I can replace it for you.

ThePhased says:

Bought this mod before christmas. Fast shipping. Well packaged. Thank you

Unfortunately my luck has been rather grim, I’ve gone through 3 systems. My first system (model 2: 21pin/32bit IC) my filer broke in the pin socket of the motherboard.

The second system I bought was also a Model2/21pin/32bit IC, but its motherboard was DOA and would not even boot originals.

The third system I bought turned out to be a Model2/21pin 64bit IC (cd-rom connector faces away from the drive). I am having the same problems as others who have posted on here. The system was manufactured in July 1996. It is a Model2 (round buttons).

When I boot the system with the mod, it goes straight to the audio menu. Sound out of the system is delayed. For example: when moving around in the interface the ‘blup’ sounds more like a ‘blooop’. The mod-board has no problem fitting in the motherboard.

I also tried switching CD-ROM drives and putting a 21pin/32bit IC drive in, but the issues are the same. However, with the 32bit IC drive, the system at least attempts to spin the drive by shortly pulsing.

I looked at the 21pin mod to 20pin Saturn thread, but my system has a 21pin board. I have checked multiple times and made sure the connector on the motherboard is the same as the pins from the modboard.

I am going to try and get help for my latest issue on Sega Extreme..but maybe someone can enlighten me on here.

Anonymous says:

ok i have the sanyo version saturn and i believe i got the chip in because it powers on and it can still play my original games, i burned one of my og’s to check if it worked and it just played the audio tracks. so i was thinking that i would have to do the alternative to the a+b method correct? If yes can you link or describe me on how to do it.

racketboy says:

that’s the only way that I am aware of on the Sanyo model.

I don’t usually deal with them much.

But you must be on the right track if originals are playing correctly.

Are you sure your discs are burned correctly?

Frankie says:

Hello! I just got my mod chip today and I had the same problems that the people had witht he 64 pinned ones…you have to put the mod chip in with the strips facing away from the cd drive…and you need to have the cd wire strip in at the right direction.

This is where people got stuck…their games ..being CDR games or official games just ended up going straight to the cd player screen. I found out on my system just now that all you have to do is upen the cd cover and close it again. And hit load game…and it voila! it works! Hope this helps anyone!

Anonymous says:

Hi,

I have modded lots of saturns and the chips that are available have only worked on (model 2s):

Model 2 32pin chip any region console
Model 2 64 pin jap console

and not model 2 64 pin pal version

These are my findings after 10+ consoles..hope this helps

Anonymous says:

The chips arrived in Australia extremely quick, but I have yet to get them working.

I have a Model 2 (32 Pin IC), and initially did the A+B trick, but after it didn’t work, I found ( http://www.angelfire.com/pa/Raluminat/model232.html ), which told me that doesn’t work for Japanese models. So I attached the blue wire to the chip directly.

Still plays original JP games, but not backups nor original PAL games. I’ve filed the chip and aligned it so all connectors are visually touching, and both the red & blue wires are soldered correctly… I assume.

Is there any way to troubleshoot things individually? Can I tell if the power cable is working somehow, other than touching it with my finger and seeing if it’s warm?

racketboy says:

For playing imports (backup or original) check out this link:
http://www.racketboy.com/retro/2005/01/mod-your-sega-saturn-to-play-imports.html

That may be most if not all of your problems there.

If you need futher assitance, I would recommend posting your issues in the forums

JC says:

I was about to order a Saturn Modchip from you, but wanted some advice before doing so. I just got a Japanese White Model 2 (round buttons) Saturn. Will the modchip you supply, work on this Saturn?

racketboy says:

Sounds like it should.
The region of the Saturn doesn’t matter, so assuming it is a Model 2 (which most round-button ones are), you should be ok.

Zachism says:

I need help. Would two connecting pins ruin the saturn completely, because it goes straight to the CD menu. The laser doesn’t move and the CD doesnt spin, but it says “Checking Disc Format” constantly. Do I have a dead Saturn?

zachism says:

sorry, forgot to post this, I tried unplugging the mod chip, but it still didn’t work.

racketboy says:

Go ahead an post your question in here, and we’ll get you helped out much quicker:
Technical Support

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