Sega Saturn Photographing Has Begun

Sophia is still out and about, today I dusted her off with a paintbrush to remove to top layer of smokey dust. Looks pretty clean after the de-dusting. You will not see that above though… that was before she was dusted.

I’ve also retaken some photos of the above Saturn, I had so many photos of chips taken from the side. Clearly the best way to photograph a microchip is from above. I managed to get my two Model 1 with VA0 mainboards photographed as well. They are below and there are many more in the photo gallery.

One thing I did notice is that the mainboard is huge and has the controller ports integrated onto it. However I also found that the VCD slot / CD interface is on a separate board – like the Sophia. I compared the two boards and they are almost identical. The Sophia obviously has earlier date stamps, but also has a serial number on the underside of the card.

6 thoughts on “Sega Saturn Photographing Has Begun”

  1. The board with the separate CD Block is a VA0 unit, it is the “launch model”, manufactured between 94 summer to 95 autumn. It was not as densely populated as later boards, and all major ICs were on one side only. It was pretty big and complex, typical of Sega at the time. The CD Block should be exchangeable between different board types as far as I know, though I never got to test it.

    PAL VA0 boards are relatively rare because the PAL market was tertiary to Sega and by the time they started making PAL models, a later board revision was already in preproduction (VA1 boards are the most common for model 1 PAL Saturns). But NTSC VA0 boards number in 1 million plus, seeing how every single HST-3200 japanese machine had these.

    See if you can find a VA0 PAL board with EPROM Bios! I’ve only seen one so far.

    As usual, I’d love to see these on my FTP, even if I have plenty of PAL units myself.

  2. Don’t worry, they’ll make it over there in due time. I’ve got six, possibly seven more to go through before I am done on the Saturn side. Sadly I am missing two power supplies, well one is dead and the other is 120V. Not much use to me here in 240V land (not a fan of transformers).

    I am actually surprised I found two VA0 units by chance. Usually (as with the Mega Drives) my luck isn’t that good and I end up with dozens of the same thing, over and over and over again.

  3. I only have spare psus that eventually do the rolling bars, sadly.

    If you do end up junking one of your Saturns, I’m in need of a 64pin cd drive. Drive board only, no laser, or even spindle motors.

  4. I am down one of those myself. Have lasers, have everything but the CD board. Stuck a dead PSU along with it, still has a good motherboard I suppose. Any ideas on how to adapt an SH-2 chip to the socketed type the Sophia unit uses? If only dreams could come true!

  5. I don’t think you can do that. Even assuming you know the exact pinout, you’d have to solder 144×2 wires on both ends, plus various other components.

  6. Sure it sounds like a lot of work, maybe I’ll just gut the Sophia and stick a Saturn in there. Ha ha! Just kidding! Geez!

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