I received a pristine boxed model 1 Saturn (HST-3200) direct from Japan recently and it's having issues booting games. It's as though it's struggling to read the security ring on some of them, even though the discs are original and spotless!
I have a feeling it may have been bumped around a bit during transit as it was a fully tested and working system before it left Japan. A couple of the games it was tested with no longer boot and go straight to the CD player and are detected as an audio CD and not a game.
I was just going to swap out the drive from one of my faulty model 1 Saturns, but it turns out this one is using the hard to find Hitachi drive (MECHA PWB JA00292). I'm almost sure a complete JVC CD assembly from another Saturn would work, but thought I'd double check with any experts here first!
The JVC assembly fits fine physically and uses the same 20-pin ribbon cable along with the same power and access LED cables. Is it as simple as a strght swap and then power it up? The Saturn is using a VA0 board.
I did look at swapping just the laser itself with another Hitachi HOP-E1 type, but I'm guessing it will require calibrating? I don't have the tools for that.
What do you guys think? Any help or advice is appreciated. Cheers!
Perfect! Thanks for the reply and confirmation. I ended up ordering a complete JVC assy from a seller on ebay who has quite a few of them. I figured I'd just repair the other faulty Saturns I have instead of using them for parts.
One model 1 saturn I have just needs a replacement type A power supply (or I could try and fix the existing one). It's in pretty decent condition too. The other model 1 saturn I have works, but is a bit picky when it comes to outputting RGB. Could possibly be the cables or TVs I'm using though... But it's definitely not as "RGB compatible" as my model 2 Victor Saturn which works in RGB with all my TVs that have a SCART socket.
For the power supply, it depends what's the problem. If it's the "it gets hot, discs don't load, buzzes loud, and lines trace over the screen, sometimes it only happens after playing for a while and then turning the system off/on" problem, you can fix that by changing the TOP PWM chip. I forgot the exact IC numbers but it has been brought up so many times. That and replace the caps, maybe. But replacing the PWM chip is the most common problem.
Gonna need more info on that dodgy RGB thing. NTSC and PAL models have different A/V pinouts and some cables work with one but not the other. So you have to make sure your cable is compatible. The official PAL SCART cables only work right with PAL models, with NTSC ones they may turn RGB on/off or never turn it on, depending on how your TV handles it. Again, there's plenty of literature on this issue and ebay cables are often marked as specifically compatible with one model or another.
Oh by the way, calibrating the laser can be done with a multimeter and I guess you would need a soldering iron to place some wire extensions, for points the multimeter can't reach while the unit is running. Basically you measure a point on the CD board while it has no CD on and while it has a CD on and trying to read in either setups, and the pickup has to be calibrated until the difference between the two voltages reaches a specific value I can't recall from the top of my head (I don't want to say the wrong value). Again, there are guides on this, and youtube videos too.
The Saturn with suspected power failure doesn't power up. The power LED will flash very dimly every second and that's it. I've had this same issue before and it turned out to be the power board. Ive had a look at th power board and the caps look fine with no bulges or leaks and the TOP transisters look good and clean too with no obvious signs of blowing look... Eyeballing it is not really enough though.
The other PAL model 1 saturn works in RGB with my Toshiba CRT TV using the official SCART (the one with ferrite chokes/beads). It doesn't work in RGB using my newer flat panel TVs though. My model 2 V-Saturn works in RGB with all my TVs using a SCART cable that is PAL & NTSC compatible. I also tried that same cable with the model 1 and it only worked in RGB using my CRT TV... Very strange.
Using the model 1 on a newer TV shows up as PAL 50Hz, but shows up as RGB 60Hz with the V-saturn. I'm sure I remember reading somewhere that PAL model 1 and model 2 Saturns had slightly different SCART cables... Something to do with a resistor or capacitor in the cable that one uses. I can't recall.