NB: No soldering required
There are 3 PSU form factors that Sega Saturn’s use. The service manuals call them Type A, B, C.
The PSU type the console has depends on the motherboard revision it uses.
You can swap PSU’s between Sega Saturn consoles if they use the same PSU type.
This includes swapping a PAL 220v PSU into a NTSC 110v console and vice versa, EXCEPT with Type C PSU’s where the swap only works PAL psu into NTSC console.
TYPE A PSU:
Type A PSU is only used in VA0 motherboards, its held onto the top of the case and connects with a molex type adaptor.
Pinouts are :
gnd, gnd, 3.3v, 5v, (not connected), 9v.
Type B PSU:
Type B PSU Is used in VA1 to 5 motherboards, it is the “longer” power supply, ALWAYS 5 pin in both NTSC & PAL .
gnd, gnd, 3.3v, 5v, 9v.
TYPE C PSU:
Type C PSU is used from VA6 to VA15, it is the “shorter” power supply. Its number of pins varies between NTSC and PAL. (This doesn’t affect the swap of a PAL PSU into a NTSC console though, keep reading)
NTSC Type C PSU consoles have 4 pins: gnd, gnd, 5v, 5v.
PAL Type C PSU consoles use 5 pins: gnd, gnd, 5v, 5v, 9/12v.
(9v pin is sometimes 12v)
The extra pin is for scart channel auto switching.
Checking what motherboard revision a Saturn has (without opening the console):
You can check which motherboard a Sega Saturn console has from the serial number on the back of the console.
It uses a syntax of (manufacturer code), (year), (VA#), and 6 number for a serial (sometimes, rarely, just 5).
Manufacturer code can be 1 number, 1 letter, or 2 letters. Year is always the least number of the full year. VA# is the motherboard version.
Eg: B40004930 is manufacturer B, made in 1994, VA0 board, unit #004930.
Or: AD69147854 is manufacturer AD, made in 1996, VA9 board, unit #147854.’
Database of Saturn Serial numbers and board revisions can be found here: http://evilboris.sonic-cult.net/saturn/
Type C PSU Swap Extra info:
-When you swap a Type C PAL PSU into a NTSC ‘Type C PSU console’ , you will have an extra spare hole/socket in the PAL PSU that wont be connected to a pin when its in the NTSC ‘Model C Psu’ Saturn.
Luckily that hole/socket is for the 9 (sometimes 12, always fifth pin) volt pin only found in Pal ‘Type C Psu’ Saturn’s .
That extra pin is only used for Scart auto switching and auto aspect ratio . So basically you just have to select the Scart/av/ext channel manually, and use the 4:3 button to select 4:3 if using a 16:9 Tv. That’s it, no other effects.
Personally i know it works, because in my NTSC-J Model 2 ‘Type C PSU’ console i have a PAL Type C PSU (from a UK Model 2) running fine right now 🙂
Here’s a video of the swap with some details about it (not mine):
HOWEVER you should never try to put a Type C PSU into a Type B console because of the different voltages on the pins. The later boards use 5v pins whilst the earlier use one 3.3v. This puts higher voltage into the sdram if using type C psu.
ALSO remember PAL and NTSC-J Saturns use different Scart types. I’ve seen people complaining ‘its not working’ or ‘just a black screen’ after PSU Swap as they are not realising the Scart types are different.