Ages Three and Up

This is a short explanation on how to install Rhea V3 properly – I’ll try to make it into a permanent page later on but for now this will have to do. Note: This is meant for people getting their Rheas soon, comments will most likely be ignored.

Installation is easy but not as trivial as with GDEMU. You’ll need some wit and technical skills (nothing fancy though) and a soldering iron. Disconnect your Saturn, unscrew and remove the upper cover. Disconnect and remove the drive. It can be lifted a bit, I found it makes it easier to remove the flat cable that way, but be aware there might a thick wire or piece of copper foil screwed on top to provide better ground connection. Carefully disconnect that first (you’ll need a fine Philips head screwdriver).

You will need to locate +5V power supply spot on the motherboard and solder a wire there to provide power for Rhea. Unfortunately the connector is difficult to source and the original power cable is tad bit short anyway. Better yet route 2 wires, 5V and ground, but GND is somewhat optional as there are a few connections through the flat cable and that should be enough. I’m not providing any pictures as to where to tap into 5V on the motherboard – this is on purpose. I don’t have good photos of all possible motherboard variants, and I want you to check that yourself using a volt meter. Best solder the wire on the opposite side of the PSU connector (or even PSU itself) but be aware it’s harder to do as there is plenty of copper to take the heat away and that makes soldering a bit more difficult. Rhea doesn’t draw much, maybe 250mA with the card, so it’s not all that critical.

Rhea V3 PCB is clearly marked with what goes where when it comes to power supply, you have 4 holes: 2 upper ones are 5V, 2 lower ones are ground. You just need to solder to one of each. You can also install pins and make a connector if you wish for easier removal. See the bottom left corner of this photo:

RheaV3 - installed

I need to point out that Rhea can also be powered from external PSU (like wall cube or something), just make sure it’s got clean 5V output. Obviously that will need 2 wires. The nice thing about this setup is you can swap Rhea much easier and there’s no need to solder to the Saturn motherboard. It’s up to you though. In case of external PSU it needs to be plugged in first before you power on Saturn, and you can safely switch Saturn on/off for short durations while keeping Rhea powered. You can for example add/remove the 4MB cart during that time. Rhea, as long as it’s powered, will keep the selected image.

If you have a copper GND foil (or a wire), as seen on the photo, remove it. It’s held down by a single screw. There is a risk it will come into contact with the voltage regulator on the back of Rhea’s PCB and cause a short. I keep it in my unit but then again I understand the risks of being careless🙂

The photo above also shows how to connect the attached flat cable. Note it goes into Rhea conductor-side down. This is the reverse of most drives and it’s also on purpuse. The connector is much closer to front now and you can user either the cable provided, or the original one:

Saturn 20-pin flat cable

Just bend it in the middle (but don’t flatten it, no need for that, there’s plenty of room inside Saturn). Note that the original cable has clear ends, unlike the one I’ve attached. The connector on Rhea is a ZIF, it needs to be opened by pulling the latch, the cable inserted, and then secured by pushing the latch back (which actually does require some force but not much). Make sure the cable is all the way in. Same for the motherboard side.

In case your Saturn model has the motherboard connection near the right side (rather than near the front) the procedure is the same, just twist the cable to make it fit. The plastic supports are optional but highly recommended, I’ve included 2 and you can mount one (especially near the button) or both.

The FW is being worked on, the one in the units is already outdated and has known issues with some games (missing or cut short CDDA). You’ll get upgrades once I’m satisfied with the results.

Lastly, if there is anything unclear, ask me first. By email.

29 thoughts on “Ages Three and Up

  1. hmm,i like it,love to solder and after it works make you feel more happy.
    did in my snes cic mod and all that stuff,after you turn it on and everything works you are satisfied.
    rhea seams be very simple to install.
    i have for now modchip installed on my saturn,so 5v wire is already soldered,just loose it on the modchip.
    ground is on the connector of where you put the 5 pins connector in the psuboard,so simple.

    • That would be the best, but since the flat cable also provides a few GND pins it’s less critical due to small power draw of Rhea.
      In general however it’s best to have the power wires routed as close to PSU as possible.

    • That model(model 1) V-Saturn is indeed is 20pin I know, I have one:). Personally I think it’s the best Saturn.

  2. I’m pretty impatient too🙂
    I can remember, when i soldered the modchip in my saturn, that there are pins going from motherboard through the PSU holes. For my chip, i soldered pins to the end of the power cables, so i could “plug & unplug” the power cable of the chip into the PSU slot.
    I hope you understood me🙂

    • Yes it is, although some images might fail to load due to limiations of my parser and glitches in the dumped subcode data. In that case convert to CDI.

  3. Thank you DK – mine arrived today, installation was simple too.
    Awesome piece of kit – let the testing begin😀

  4. Yes! mine arrived too. gonna collect it from the post tommorow.
    What kind of sd card is recommend for the rhea?

  5. ok,first game working here,ripped radiant silvergun in cdi file,rename the file to disc.cdi and same as dc,folders 01-02-03- ect,drop image in the 01 folder as disc.cdi or other extension if you rip with other program,for cdi its disc.cdi.
    have fun

  6. make an ini in root off sdcard name Rhea.ini
    i set it auto_region = 0
    thats because i have a jap console.
    rhea is region free,but sega saturn bios not.
    so set in your ini the region you saturn is.
    i had many programs disc unsuitable,its because the image region doesnt match
    the sega saturn bios region.
    think its something like that.
    tryed after that with action replay,and all games booted fine.
    with the ini file they also boot fine.

    • Well, ideally you wouldn’t need a switch at all. If you still want it, it would have to be a 3-way one: 0, 1, and “Rhea”. This way you can have both automatic and manual setting.

  7. Is it possible to mod this to connect directly to a computer USB, instead of separate SD card, to read images from computer HDD?

  8. Damn, just tried to install this, found 5v from a hole near where the psu connects, now my Saturn powers on but with no picture or sound😦 Have I killed it?

  9. Hmm, ok, it works when I put the CD drive back in. So the Saturn is not dead. Why would the Rhea be causing no picture or sound?

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