Sega Saturn Battery Mod with Panasonic Eneloops

I’ve been cleaning out old boxes of junk and stumbled on my forgotten Sega Saturn console. Sometime during high school I had taken the wires for the CD-ROM door switch and simply twisted them together to enable using the Swap Trick to play backup games. I decided to implement a better fix by soldering an actual on/off switch and also do a mod of the built-in battery. Unlike the Sega Dreamcast that came after, the Sega Saturn does not use a built-in rechargeable battery for memory saves; it uses a CR2032 lithium battery. According to this Sega Saturn Battery FAQ, the CR2032 has a capacity of 230mAh and will last 1-2 years in normal use or 19 days if the console is unplugged. This FAQ also discusses using other lithium batteries with higher capacities than the CR2032; I decided to try using Panasonic Eneloops instead. They are considered one of the best, if not the best, rechargeable AA batteries on the market; Eneloops have a minimum capacity of 1900mAh and can keep their charge while sitting unused for several years.

I went to my local Fry’s Electronics store to pick up a 2 AA battery holder, mini on/off switch, and some 3M mounting tape. The battery mod is straight forward; solder the positive sides of the battery holder and the Saturn’s battery contact together and do the same for the negative sides. If you get a 2 AA battery holder, make sure it’s wired in series so you’re getting 3V from the two AA batteries.

Since the Eneloops have a capacity of at least 1900mAh, it should theoretically last much longer than using a CR2032. I’ve had it running since yesterday July 29th; I will make an update in the future on how well it performs. You could also use AA Lithium batteries instead like these.

I lost the cover to the battery compartment so I just mounted the battery holder where you would normally see the model number of the Sega Saturn. You can also see the mini on/off switch mounted above the battery compartment area. Not the cleanest looking mods but it works.

P1010451

Kodibuntu and TL-WN822N v3 wireless fix

I have a Zotac MAG HD-ND01-U I bought almost 5 years ago that I use to play movies for the family. Even at the time I bought it, the Zotac was very low end; it ships with an Intel Atom N330 CPU, Nvidia ION GPU, 160GB 5400RPM HDD and 2GB of RAM. It has been since upgraded to a 500GB 7200rpm HDD and 4GB of RAM. Previously I was just running Win7 and using MPC-HC to play movies on the big screen. The Zotac was just barely capable of playing 1080p x264 mkvs with that combination; CPU usage was still very high despite using hardware acceleration in LAV Video Decoder. It was also really annoying waiting for Windows processes (TrustedInstaller.exe and svchost.exe) to stop eating CPU cycles after boot up. I decided it was time to take look at Kodi; a software media center formerly known as XBMC. I made a Live USB of Kodibuntu and spent a couple hours just trying to get it to find my movie library over the network; when I finally got a movie to play, it played perfectly with no jitter and very low CPU usage. If anyone out there is wondering if an Intel Atom and Nvidia ION are enough to play 1080p x264 mkvs, I can assure you it will play perfectly under Kodibuntu. However it will struggle with mkvs encoded in 10bit.

After the successful trial of the Live USB, I rebooted and performed the full installation thinking that maybe the network issue was just the Live USB environment. After the full install, I tried installing updates and the network would stop working after a few minutes. I did some searching online and apparently the driver that ships with Ubuntu based distributions doesn’t work properly with the TL-WN822N v3 USB wireless adapter I was using. I found the solution here via this page of the Ubuntu Community Help Wiki. I’ve included all the commands from the solution below; they will install a patched driver and remove the native one.