Tuesday 21 February 2012


As I think I mentioned in my last post, I was super pumped to get de-soldering and re-wiring the Neptune with the Gigibit Ethernet wiring.

During last week I had a bit of a cold and managed to trap a nerve in my back and bottom of my neck by sneezing. Sneezing! It always happens doing something stupid hey! haha. Well come friday night my neck felt like it was pretty much back to normal and all was super good. On track for the Saturday Soldering.

Come 4am Saturday morning and I wake up in excruciating pain!! Somehow I must have moved or rolled in my sleep and completely tweaked out my back/neck. Its the region pretty much in-between my shoulder blades. I couldn't hardly get out of bed, move my head at all or pretty much move without it sending shooting pains all over the place. Not the nicest thing to happen at all to say the least.

So not being able to move my head left, right, up or down pretty much put play to me hunching over a soldering iron working on the Neptune cus it would have completely killed me off.

So I ended up spending the weekend pretty much chilling out with my girlfriend watching films and Big Bang Theory. One really cool thing about being forced to just chill out was my girlfriend who doesn't like consoles and games asked me if I wanted to carry on our Co-Op mission on Castle Crashers. Hell Yeah!!! :-D We haven't played it for about a year I think.

We started at 8:30pm and didn't turn it off till 2am saturday night. It was great fun!

Roll on Sunday and I'm still walking around like Robo-cop, stiff as a board! No soldering for me but I managed to get a little bit of filling done on the case and then got the first couple of layers of primer on so I can start sanding and filling properly.

Last night my neck eased off quite a lot so I hit my Neptune case with a load of large grit sand paper to start smoothing the sucker out. And also got to de-soldering the crappy IDE wires from the 32x - Megadrive.

I learned something that soldering Noobies like me really should know about. Always, ALWAYS look at where your soldering iron is and never reach for it without looking!! That's an important lesson to learn ;-) otherwise you will do what I did and just reach and attempt to pick it up by the heating element right after the handle!! Hot soldering irons buuuurnn!!! doh! You will get a tingly index finger fo-sho-yo!

Anyway. I've got the 32x to Megadrive all de-soldered but have to repair the megadrive as i managed to pull a trace on it like a noob! If I can get this thing working its going to be a real Frankenstein!! haha.

The photo above and below show my Neptune case in a very rough form with the de-soldered 32X and the new ethernet wires cut to length. It's a bit hard to see the case shape in the photo cus its a mix of white primer and white and green Milliput. But I'm well pleased with how the shape is coming. :-) Doesn't look much like the original Megadrive 2 case anymore.

I'm sure when I post up more photos of the progress of my replica case people will wonder why I haven't tried to make a case from scratch. I would ideally make a scratch built case as from what I can see the Neptune is slightly wider than the Megadrive 2, well it looks it in some photos anyway. BUT I didn't want to have to try and line up all the pegs and holes for the mounting of the Megadrive PCB to the case. I know I would have a nightmare trying to get them all lined up.

Also I get to use all the cool embossed and stamped text that's on the Megadrive case such as "Controller 1" "Controller 2" and "Catridge Input" which will make it look more "legit" to me. Also the rear of the console will look better as the A/V and power holes are already there too. I wanted the Neptune to still be compatible with the Sega CD2 as well, and the prototype photos I've seen have a CD expansion port on the side, and If I scratch built the case I'm sure I wouldn't be able to get it all to line up properly.

Enough of this rambling post now haha.

I will be hopefully preparing all the ethernet wires next and fixing the damaged trace on the Megadrive.

Catch you later


Thursday 16 February 2012


Last night I was doing my daily google search on Sega Neptune discussions and came across a really interesting thread on digitalpress which spoke about the Neptune mod I've been attempting.

The information in the thread caught my interest for 4 reasons :

• 1 : It had the guy who originally successfully made a Neptune and wrote the guide I've been following posting info in there. So the information had weight to it.

• 2 : A person in the thread was attempting the mod and on completetion got very very similar results to me. No games booting (megadrive or 32x) but the TV picking up a signal from the Neptune but only showing a black screen.

• 3 : The above person, the Longhorn Enginneer ( • 1) and another knowledgeable guy mentioned that standard HDD IDE ribbon cable is too thin to carry the 32x / Megadrive signals across them which could be resulting in the lack of boot and the black screen


• 4 :  The guy who on completion of his Neptune got my problems made a 2nd Neptune using Ethernet wiring instead of IDE and got it to work perfectly.

Admittedly he used a different Megadrive 2 and 32x when making the Ethernet wiring version which cancels out the fact his 32x could be faulty. But it shows that the wiring used is better for the 32x to Megadrive 2 connection.

I've now gotten hold of some nice Gigabit speed ethernet cable and stripped the inner 8 wires out and I'm going to be de-soldering all 64 wires on my Neptune and re-soldering with the new thicker gauge wires.

I'm keeping very level headed about it that this still might not fix the Neptune but I'm excited to try it out.

I've also figured out why the power wiring has a joint soldered to a seemingly blank area of the Megadrive's main board. If anyone else is attempting to follow the walk-through and wondered why the power wiring is placed in such a way, as there is no explination. Its to move the wiring off to the side of the actual power supply input point. Otherwise the wires tend to get in the way of the port and you cant plug the power adapter in. Rather than doing the solder joint I will just hot glue gun the wire I think as this will be a bit easier to do than soldering to the board and stronger possibly.

Anyway, enough of my train of consciousness haha.

I'm going to start de-soldering this weekend and re-connection. Also I've been adding more milliput to my replica Neptune case. Its still a long way from completion but the shape is definetly there now :D

More updates soon


Sunday 12 February 2012


But unfortunetly It doesn't work :-(

I completed the rest of the tutorial on Saturday. Soldering in all 64 wires from the 32x cartridge points to the de-soldered cartridge area of the Megadrive 2. Its a lot more fiddly than I was expecting it to be! Using the IDE cables made it easier to keep track of which wires went where etc but it still put you in awkward positions to solder. I'm very glad I didn't go the individual wires route, that's for sure!

With all the wires soldered to their new locations it looks pretty neat and tidy and it all fits into the Megadrive 2's lower case without the wires pulling away from their joints. That's a big improvement from the original wiring attempts haha.

When you plug the power and A/V cables in and switch the sucker on though, nothing. Its pumping out a signal of sorts. The screen flicks and goes black and there is a low buzz but that seems to be all. Actually that's not completely true, there is a funny barcode looking block on the bottom of the screen with an empty area next to it. Weird.

My earlier attempts at soldering the Megadrive 2 and 32x link wires in for initial testings pulled a trace away from the 32x which I've fixed with a bridging wire so it shouldn't be that I don't think. It's only on the linking area of the PCB so shouldn't be a critical point from my research on the internet.

I have the feeling that the 32x didn't really work when I got it as it came without cables and untested from ebay. I've done the usual 'repair' technique of removing and cleaning the white ribbon cables and re-seating them but, nadda!

So the next step has me back on the hunt for a 32x to get the Neptune to live! I'm not giving up on the project that's for sure! :-D

I'm going to post up on some forums my problems I'm having with the 32x in a hope that some guru's who've successfully completed Neptune's in the past will know how to fix it or wether the 32x is dead after all.

We will see, the Neptune will live!

Check below for some of my progress photos so far. Click the thumbnail images to see the fullsize versions.


Monday 6 February 2012


Hi everyone,

I've spent some of the evening tinning some of my trimmed IDE cables which will be used to attach the 32X to the now desoldered Cartridge slot on the Megadrive 2 mainboard. I was quite surprised how long it took to tin 75 wires. 64 for the cart link, 10 for the 32X to Megadrive link cabling and 1 to fix a pulled trace on the 32x board.

I'll be carrying on with soldering more on the Neptune during the week if I get chance. Next step is to use some cleaning alcohol to get the boards ready to solder them together.

You may have noticed above this post that there is a new Tab which links to a new page. I've spent some time poking around blogger to get new tabs going and activate a Mobile version of the site.

So now, if you think you might want to buy a painting, toy, print or custom console I've painted then you can quickly scoot on over and check the store out. :-)

Currently there is 1 Ozzel left in the store and my Monkey Loves Oranges Gocco prints.

Some more updates on my Neptune to follow.


Saturday 4 February 2012


Its been about a week since I did any more work on my Sega Neptune mod. I'd become a little dishearted with my progress. I couldn't get a proper connection test done with the 32x plugged into the Megadrive 2 with the power and A/V's wired up. It seems that the wires I bought from Maplins are too stiff. Everytime I placed the Megadrive 32x combo into the lower part of the megadrive case wires kept coming away from the solder joints. Rather annoying to say the least!

So I decided to completely re-wire all the work I'd done so far. I've seen a completed Neptune project on photobucket and he'd used IDE Ribbon wire instead of the type of wire I'd bought and it looked really nice.

 Today I got on the desoldering work and have gotten a lot of practice now with my Solder Sucker. I'm getting pretty good with it now which is great as I couldn't really get it to work before. After desoldering 2 A/V outs and a Power Input I decided to tackle the desoldering of the cartridge slot on the megadrive 2. All 64 points! The board looks very clean without the cart slot on it.

I then re-wired the A/V out on the 32x with IDE cable and its a lot neater now and easier to solder up than individual wires.

After that its tinning the cartridge slot on the 32x so It can be wired to the Megadrive 2. Its a bit of a no return step when you get solder onto the cartridge points so I was a little apprehensive with attempting it but it went okay. Oh and I also noticed that the prototype name for the 32x is printed on the board, Mars. Pretty nifty in a geeky way.

So all in all I'm pretty pleased with how my soldering skills have progressed. Hopefully it will all work once its completed.

More updates to follow :)