Monday, 16 April 2012


Howdy Y'all,

I thought I'd post a little update on the Neptune case. I've been doing a little bit of work on it over the weekend. Getting the buttons mounted into the case as they have obviously been relocated further up the body compared to there original positions on the Megadrive 2. I still need to make the little extension parts to make the buttons meet the switches that are on the 'Drives PCB.

I also noticed that the groove around the cartridge slot wasn't quite right. I don't really know why I made it a smoother / curvier shape rather than the more angular one on the original prototype case. I milliputted in the old groove I made and carved a newer, more true groove around the cartridge slot area. I also carved and sanded a bit of a slope into the lower area of the groove. Again to match the prototype more.

 I'm a lot happier with the look of the case now. The buttons still need work to make them fill the holes better which I will be sorting out next along with some sanding around the new groove area. I gave the whole case another blast of grey primer to see how its all looking in a more flat overall colour. Looking good I think :)

I'll be updating again soon, hopefully this week with another little project when I get a little components delivery I placed this morning. Woop!

See you soon


Sunday, 8 April 2012


I had a bit of spare time this evening and decided to get the pliers out on the old Dreamcast and see if I could get my arcade stick working again on it.

I've been reading a few bits of info on why and how the controller ports can tweak out on them. There is a capacitor on the controller board and a fuse that looks very much like a capacitor as well. Its a common problem apparently that using non-Sega controllers can cause a spike in the current through the board which blows the little fuse. The thing I don't understand is that none of my controllers are 3rd party so I shouldn't have gotten the unwanted spike.

Oh well, it might just have been down to the Dreamcast being old.

Anyway, I got the pliers on the fuse and gave it a few twists and the Arcade stick is now being recognised by the Dreamcast. :-D Woop!

Built the Dreamcast back up and gave King of Fighters 2002 a blast. Damn that Rugel though!!!! I got all the way through using Kim but the difficulty just ramps up a bit much for me when you hit Rugel.

Catch you soon


Arcade stick, dreamcast and KOF 2002

Tuesday, 3 April 2012


While I was at work and taking one of my "eyeball breaks" out of the window to give my eyes a little bit of a rest I looked down and noticed my photo of mine and my dad's first study at our old house. It bought back a massive rush of memories, nostalgia and a huge smile! :D

I cant exactly remember when this photo was taken, im pretty sure it was when I was a teenager in school which will easily be around 20 years ago. Flippin egg!! 20 years!! Man that makes me feel sooo old!

Anyway haha whats in the photo then? At front on the right is my dad's and my first IBM PC. It had no harddrive if I remember right, but it had 1 whole 3.5" disk drive. Oh and it was an 086, a real beast! It ran on that TV to the left of it which is in that position because its hooked up to my Commadore 64. When I look closely I think the game next to the tape drive is Turrican. An awesome game!

Up on the shelf are our 2 PC joysticks which were a must when we played Elite. Next to those on the shelf is a game called "Neverworld", our 2 PC manuals, 1 which is a GW Basic manual which I messed about with. Some games I cant make out, then Conquests of Camelot (which I finally completed while doing my English Literature revision haha), a game I cant make out then "Their Finest Hour" which was a brilliant WW2 aircraft game. :)

A real blast from the past for me that photo is. Its now next to my PC at home now rather than at work.

This evening I fancied a go on my good old dreamcast. Play a little Streetfighter Alpha 3, Metropolis Street Racer and Sonic Adventure. I set the machine up, power it on and get the Date and Time screen but I cant change the settings because the controller doesn't seem to be working. Wierd! I tried my arcade stick and still nothing.

A quick look on the internet and it seems to be a common problem with the dreamcast. 1 or 2 of the capacitors on the controller port PCB can go. The way to test which one is to get some needle nose pliers and twist the capacitor round until the legs touch and cause a circuit. Then when you test the console you can see if the controller is working again.

I twisted the main middle capacitor around and tested it and the controller worked! Woop! Rebuilt the case and tried to set the time and date and it didnt work again. So I opened the case again and gave the capacitor another twist, rebuilt and it worked again. But my arcade stick isnt being recognised. I'll have to change out the capacitor at the weekend so I can get it all working again. But I'm glad its still working after all this time. :)

Also Its the first time I've seen the multi-region mod I had done to it a few months after I bought it when they were first released. A very small brown taped parcel. Very neat.

Anyway. This was 'ment to be a really quick update but I've ended up typing loads again.

Catch you soon


The Capacitor twisted round
The insides of my Dreamcast.

The offending capacitor pre-twist

Street fighter Alpha 3. Ryu is the dude!

The Dreamcast up and running.

Sunday, 1 April 2012


Hi all,

Throughout March I've had to take 9 1/2 days off to use up my statutory holidays and I've been hoping to get a load of work done on my geeky Megadrive projects. Well with the weather being so hot and sunny nearly everyday I've been off work I did a bit more work outside. Helping in the garden, sorting out the patio we're going to be making at home and helping a mate out digging and laying a new path at his house I didn't get as much done as I was hoping.

What you can see on my work area is the Neptune case in the centre with yet more filler on it awaiting a coating of grey primer. A "lost cause" Megadrive 2 awaiting some resurrection on the right. On the left is the starts of a Jamma SuperGun. This arrangement shows the comparison of the new Neptune case next to the original MD2 case which is where it started from. :-)

Last sunday I picked up 2 Megadrive's and 15 games. The night before I got a message from the guy saying that one of the 'drives had stopped working so I got the lot at a more reduced price. I thought I'd give it a go at fixing the 1 megadrive as a learning exercise.

I opened up the case and low and behold its a VA0 board which is the first edition of the Megadrive 2. The first thing I noticed after that was man it was grotty in there! and also that the LED looked like it had exploded! That appeared to be the main contributing factor that the thing wouldn't turn on. I also noticed that the solder around the power socket had come away and the main pin was partially exposed. I changed out the LED and resoldered the power socket and the thing fired up!! HOT DOG!

I went up to our hobby room and plugged it in and got no picture. A little wiggle of the A/V cable and the TMSS screen (trademark security screen) buzzed into view then went again. It also had a damaged A/V port. This thing was really used to death it seems and not very well looked after. I just so happened to have a spare port from my 32x so I desoldered the damaged port and replaced it. Went back upstairs and a stable TMSS screen but then Sonic 2 wouldn't boot. :-( Poo sticks!

I then set about cleaning the cartridge slot as this is a well known problem with them not booting up. There was a heck of a lot of fluff coming out of there. Gave it a sand and then a clean with some cleaning alcohol. Still no boot! Dang it! The next step was me tickling around the underside of the board checking continuaity of all the capacitors and found 2 that didn't show a circuit on my multi-meter. I desoldered the 2 offending cap's and resoldered them to the board. The multimeter showed a circuit for both of them. Woop! This could be it!

A quick check and still no boot but still showing the TMSS screen! I was ready to give up on the thing and call it quits.

This morning I remembered that I had a spare Megadrive 2 cartridge edge connector from the Neptune and set about desoldering the old slot from the "lost cause" and replacing it with the VA2 one. It being a newer version slot would have a better chance of working as It worked on the Neptune Megadrive before it was removed. After a bit of to-ing and fro-ing of the desoldering and replacement it still didn't boot. Game Over!

I can pretty much conclude now that the thing must have been surged somehow which blew the LED and probably blew one of the more delicate components of the board. Oh well, my "restoration" of the "lost cause" didn't work. But, Man! I gave it a blumin good go. Check it out with its VA2 cartridge slot, 32x A/V port and Pimped yellow LED. I got it back from the dead so much that it would turn on and show TMSS but couldn't get it that little extra step to boot.

I gave it a real good college try but it wasn't to be. I was kinda hoping that I would get it up and running and have a machine to experiment with. Oh well. I still have the other MD2 as my next Neptune candidate though. :-)

As this is a long post I'll post up a progress report on my Neptune case which is in its final stages I think. :-)