weird sega saturn issue

Discussion in 'Other Consoles & Oldies' started by Clairjoe, Apr 15, 2014.

  1. Clairjoe
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    Clairjoe GBAtemp Regular

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    My sega saturn only works with 2 games of mine and the rest don't work at all. I thought it may be a laser issue, since the discs work in my PC with a saturn emulator and they work on both my friend's saturns. I bought a new Saturn laser and swapped out the old one and i get the same issue. the two games that work are Bug and Space Hulk. I have tried panzer dragoon, nights into dreams, and x-men. All are read by the saturn and the logo comes up, but after that it goes to a black screen, when i hit reset the console doesn't respond at all, whereas when i hit reset when its running the other 2 games fine, it resets like normal. Whats wrong? can anybody tell me what the problem is and if there is a fix for it? is this common?
     


  2. Foxi4

    Foxi4 On the hunt...

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    That's very odd indeed. It would seem that the system detects that there's a disc, tries to load the bootloader (shows up as a SEGA logo right after the Saturn jingle) and then freeze. Do the games kick you to the main GUI after a while or is the black screen there no matter what you do? You could try kickstarting the games with a swap trick (yes, I know your copies are original, but the bootloader is acting up, so it's worth a try). It's relatively easy to perform one, especially on a Model 1 Saturn.
     
  3. Clairjoe
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    Clairjoe GBAtemp Regular

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    The saturn never takes me back to the main GUI it just stays on the black screen until i turn it off. I always forget model 1 vs model 2 (mine has the round buttons) and how do i perform the swap trick? also do you have any idea why Bug and Space hulk work 100% of the time? this doesn't sound like boot loader to me
     
  4. Foxi4

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    Essentially the Saturn game disc is comprised of four main parts.
    • First, the system reads the Table of Contents - this is the part of the disc that tells the system what's the structure of the disc and where to look for the binary. If this part is misread, the system may not boot the game or may boot it in a glitchy fashion.
    • The second part it reads is the Saturn security ring. If you're not immediately thrown back to the GUI and/or the system doesn't read the game disc as a CD Audio disc, that read works fine.
    • Then there's the Audio Tracks, but those don't concern us during loading.
    • Finally there's the Data track in which you can find the binary. If it's located successfuly, the system shows you the SEGA splash screen during which game data is loaded.
    As you can probably tell, your Saturn has problems locating the last part which may be caused by a faulty ToC read or a faulty binary load. This can be caused by a number of factors, usually a dirty or worn out lens, but it could also be a misaligned spindle etc.

    Have you tried cleaning the laser lens? The best way to do it is to dip a q-tip in some isopropyl alcohol with no additives and gently (gently!) rub the surface of the lens, then dry it off with the dry end. Be sure not to leave any lint on it! You can also use some microfibre if you're a 100% sure that it won't scratch the delicate lens.

    The swap trick is relatively simple, but it requires you to open the system and disable the lid state button, so we'll leave that for last.
     
  5. Clairjoe
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    Clairjoe GBAtemp Regular

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    Thanks I will go clean the laser right now and report back. I don't see why it would be dirty though becaude it is a BRAND NEW laser that i ordered as a replacement part thinking that my old laser was the issue
     
  6. Foxi4

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    It's a "brand new" laser for an incredibly old system - chances are that it's been removed from another Saturn, so you never really know. :P
     
  7. Clairjoe
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    Clairjoe GBAtemp Regular

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    cleaning the laser lense made no difference it still boots up space hulk fine but nights into dreams does nothing but take me to sega logo and then black screen
     
  8. Foxi4

    Foxi4 On the hunt...

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    That's interesting. I assume that the same thing happens if you fully power off the console, insert the disc and power it on, yes?
     
  9. Clairjoe
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    Clairjoe GBAtemp Regular

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    Yes i have tried launching the games both ways before and after cleaning the laser with no luck
     
  10. Foxi4

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    Well, if you are positively sure that the discs are not damaged in any way and that the laser lens is calibrated correctly (it is if it loads other games just fine), something really weird is goin' on. You have a Model 2 Saturn (round buttons), so a swap trick might be more difficult for you than for Model 1 users, but nothing that you can't handle. Essentially you have to locate the open/close button of the lid - seeing that your Saturn has already been opened, you should have no problems in locating it. Tape it down with some duct tape and try out some of the swaps as presented here:



    The first swap method loads a ToC from a different disc - the Data track is normally more or less at the same spot, so it might allow you to load the discs. Worst-case scenario, you can always burn fresh copies of the discs (I mean, you own them, so why not?) and try booting that with any available method.

    You could also try adjusting the laser using the provided POT (there's one for strength, one for motor speed and a couple others that I can't remember the function of - you're interested in the orange one, make 1 degree turns and test, don't go any further than that, beam strength increases clockwise), but you have to be really careful with that not to burn out the lens - giving the laser a bit more force often times helps with reading really old discs.
     
  11. Clairjoe
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    Clairjoe GBAtemp Regular

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    Alright time to try this and go and open it up again. well thanks for the help i will report back with if it works or not. hopefully this is only temporary and i can find a working saturn for a decent price.
     
  12. Foxi4

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    This is really just a matter of finding out what the exact problem with your system is. It could be a variety of things, so it's good to narrow down. I *think* some calibrating should do the trick, but it's worth to try swapping to see if it'll even be necessary.
     
  13. Clairjoe
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    Clairjoe GBAtemp Regular

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    when i try doing the swap it goes to black screen then back to the BIOS
     
  14. Foxi4

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    I see. Try this then - insert a game that does work and let the laser lens perform the first two reads (the first is the ToC, the second is the security ring), then swap to the game to the one try to boot. If that fails, try the other game that's working.
     
  15. Clairjoe
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    Clairjoe GBAtemp Regular

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    ok i just got it to go to the black screen without going to the bios after swapping
     
  16. Clairjoe
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    Clairjoe GBAtemp Regular

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    i'm now burning a copy of my nights into dreams disc in order to test out a backup copy. will let you know how that goes
     
  17. Foxi4

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    Alrighty then... I'm really beginning to think that the problem is the disc - it must be particularily difficult to read for whatever reason. Perhaps your friend's Saturn and your PC have stronger lenses and you were unlucky enough to come across two faulty ones. Technically the problem could also be the cache, but you'd see some form of glitching and no games would work if that were the case. Saturn disc drives appear to be pretty selective with what they read over the years. You can counteract this by calibrating the laser, but you have to be careful if you don't have the necessary gear to do so.



    Skip to 16:40 for a (very obvious) instructions - all you might need is a tiny, tiny twist.

    Nights will require a different swap. Start with the copy inside, let the system read the ToC, swap to an original, let it read the Security Ring, then swap back to the backup
    (Method 2).


    EDIT: My brain derped for some reason (it is 6AM here and I haven't slept yet...), the Saturn actually reads the ToC first, then the Security Ring and then it jumps to the Data track. I've adjusted my earlier responses for posterity in case someone else encounters a similar problem or just wants to find out how to swap.
     
  18. Clairjoe
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    Clairjoe GBAtemp Regular

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    with the swap method i still get a black screen with burned and regular saturn disc
     
  19. Clairjoe
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    Clairjoe GBAtemp Regular

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    and i have tried this with the old laser and was told the new one was calibrated all i had to do was install it and remove the solder that joins 2 circuits in the laser which i did
     
  20. Clairjoe
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    Clairjoe GBAtemp Regular

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    i have been fiddling with it anyway...with no luck :( does this mean this saturn has no hope? i don't come across them cheap often.