The Snow Queen

Sorry everyone still waiting for their GDEMU, the delay I wrote about earlier got even worse now. I’m doing what I can to catch up but short of a small miracle most of the orders that were supposed to ship by now will be some 3 weeks late. I understand you aren’t happy with this, trust me, neither am I.

On the plus side so far every GDEMU got safely to its destination, though some took a rather scenic route. That’s out of my hands though – I did say that December is not a good time to be shipping stuff. Now you know why.

Some of you are waiting for Rhea sales to start and I feel I should explain few things first:

  • The 20-pin model is already out there, I think enough people have tested it without having any serious issues to call it stable. I might start selling that soon. For now I have some 20 PCBs left (since I ordered more just in case), but not the parts to assemble them, but I can have those in few days if there is enough interest.
  • The 21-pin model is not ready yet and there is already a problem. I couldn’t find a connector and a cable with 21 pins. Keep in mind I need a stable source of parts, preferably cheap, not an ebay listing with a couple of items. The popular and available ones are 20 and 22 pins and I think the best option would be to go with 22 pin, it’s possible to insert a 21-pin cable into it properly without too much trouble (so the original Saturn cable can be reused). I can also include a spare 22-pin cable which would require some cutting on one end but would allow people with damaged original to use Rhea at all.
  • Right now it seems that full support for all 21-pin drive models might require some final configuration via jumpers. If so I’m probably going to opt for solder jumpers since it’s usually one-time deal for given console, and can be changed still (just not frequently). I will probably offer to pre-configure the Rhea if you can show me your drive photos, but I can also leave that to the buyer. And before you ask, auto-detection seems unlikely.
  • The power connector, and the fact that there were several kinds of it, is another problem, so v3 models will require soldering 1 or 2 wires until I can think of something else. This makes Rhea install more difficult but it’s not that hard really. Much easier than doing the region switch mod for example. I am thinking of some sort of pin header though, if I can find one that fits the plug on Saturn side.
  • Fitting two FFC connectors on Rhea is not easy, layout is different and some signals are present only on one of those. It would be difficult to place them in such a way that the cable would not have to be bent quite a lot. That and some minor other problems made me rethink the whole “universal” Rhea idea and the end result is: it’s not coming anytime soon, if at all. So if you’re waiting for one you’d better be very patient.
  • Seems like various versions of Saturn have a bit different height at which the metal PCB cover is. That makes it difficult to ship Rhea with correct support pegs. I could maybe ask for photos in advance, or ship both sizes (it affects the price but not much). Well, assuming there are only two that can fit all units.

UPDATE: If only VA0 Saturns have the metal cover at different height then it’s not much of an issue. You can tell VA0 apart from other models quite easily, it has the PSU attached to the upper cover. I should be able to find a support that fits later models, in fact I already have my eyes on a good candidate. Please check your exact Saturn model before you order Rhea.

92 thoughts on “The Snow Queen

  1. Just a quick note that I?have tested over 20 games on my Rhea, and all have run faultlessly.

  2. Hi Deunan.Which is the pitch of the 21 pin FFC/cable?I want to check my suppliers (as I work as hardware/assembler along with an electronic engineer friend of mine)

  3. Seems like Rhea is proving quite complicated 🙂

    Thanks for the update on the GDEmu though!

  4. No problem on the delay, any idea on when mine will be ready? – don’t bother checking if your busy though 🙂

  5. im quite happy i own a rhea and gdemu,its so fun to play games from an sd and know that-
    your gdrom drive cant be broken anymore + and its stable too.
    here and there will be a game that not working 100%,but that can be the firmware-source-conversion fault,so nothing then good about those 2 products,they work great.
    now busy with other stuff,imj ust buyed atari ste,gona upgrade it and buy ultrasatan.
    the stuff keeps coming,keep up the goodwork,and deunan,will keep an eye on sites if a find
    fcc 21pin 1mm connector

  6. One idea for the ribbon situation: ship with 22pin connectors and a 22pin ribbon cable, but have ONE pin cut off on ONE side of the ribbon. That would make installation that much simpler.

    Regarding the different type of saturns, there are only 2 different metal plates. One is a “soft” metal used in the VA0 units, the other is a “hard” metal used in everything else. VA1 units have 20pin drive and hard metal plate.

    For the power supply, 4th pin counting from the pad connector side is always +5v on all power supplies. (or for that matter, so is the 2nd pin counting from the power connector side)

    The ribbon connector on the Saturn motherboard is inverted on earlier models by the way (they are parallel to the drive connector), the ribbons even come with a twist on them. I can send pictures of different units if you need any.

    • I’d rather deliver the cable not cut. It’s difficult and time consuming and most people would just reuse the existing cable. Maybe I can develop a tool to make nice, clean cut. As for the power, I’d still prefer a proper connector as pins are easy to connect in reverse but I’ll take what I can.

  7. Im interested in the 21 pin RHEA, what email do i need to contact please?

  8. 21pin not finished,only 20 pin rhea for now.
    its in the post at the top

  9. on my grey japanese console,this is a 20pin connector?
    thank you ^^

    • If it is a HST-3200, then it is 20pin for sure. HST-3210s may be either. You can break down the machines serial number to identify the hardware, though the best solution is to open them up.

  10. I’ll be keeping my eye out for orders to open on the 20-pin Rhea! I’ve heard very good things from someone who already has one and I’m eager to try it out myself.

  11. I have set my Rhea as i described in the previous thread.
    By the way, it’s a model HST-3210 (so it’s a 20 pins marshalld12 😉
    The height of the plastic pins that support the CD-ROM player is a bit too long for the little plastic support; I just realise that i could set two little screw to trim the height (the better would be some plastic screw, i’ll have to check for this).

    If i can add something about what was complicated for the setup, it was the “bending” of the FCC cable. My saturn has its connector on the right of the CD-ROM, but with the pins on the opposite side of the one on Rhea. So we have to bend the FCC cable on 180° to connect it. That was almost more difficult than the soldering job ^^ (i didn’t want to damage the FCC).

    And about soldering job, i used this kind of pin header
    By pulling out some pins, you can have about the exact lenght you need (between the pins) to connect both 5V and GND. If it can help.

    On last thing, @Deunan, do you have in mind a menu for Rhea ?
    Once again, congratulation for your work !

    • je suis aussi francais mockylock ^^ quand j’aurais recu rhea,ce serait possible,moyennant finances,de me l’installer stp?
      car autant le gdemu c’est du plug and play,autant la j’aurais peur de faire une betise…^^

      • Boah tu sais c’est plutot facile.
        Au fait, tu as lu mon post à propos de l’installation de Rhea (voir le sujet précédent, vers la fin)?. Tu peux aussi remplacer l’alimentation de ta Saturn jap’ avec celle d’une Saturn européenne (modèle MK-80200-50), du coup tu n’as pas besoin d’un convertisseur 110-220.
        Sinon, tu es d’où en France ?

        For non french speaker :
        Boah, you know, it’s rather easy.
        By the way, did you read my post about Rhea set up (see the previous thread, at the end) ? You can swap the PSU board of your Jap’ Saturn with an European one (model MK-80200-50, so you don’t need a power stepdown 110-220.
        Else, where do you live in France ?Boah tu sais c’est plutot facile.
        Au fait, tu as lu mon post à propos de l’installation de Rhea (voir le sujet précédent). Tu paux aussi remplacer l’alimentation de ta Saturn jap’ avec celle d’une Saturn européenne

    • Actually not all HST-3210’s have a 20 pin drive, some HST-3210’s have a 21 pin drive.
      You could work out what drive you have from the serial number – but really the only sure way is to open up the unit and personally check.
      Zyrobs (who has posted here btw) has collected a huge amount of extremely helpful info on Saturn motherboard revisions and associated drives and it’s worth checking his posts at sega-16 🙂

  12. Well, aslong as we can understand you 🙂
    So you need help to set up your Rhea ? Really, it’s not that hard to do.
    First, you’ll have to check if you reall have a 20pins CD-ROM drive.

  13. I just found this site by accident and could not believe that someone is making an emulated drive for both of these systems!

    I just checked my Saturn and I have a 21 pin. I was thinking of buying a 20 pin Saturn and getting a Rhea, but I may just wait till the 21 pin comes out and get a GDEMU too. Do you think they’ll be ready around the same time? If not I’ll purchase them separately.

      • I just stumbled across your site too, can’t wait until orders open up again for both. I have both a 20 and 21pin saturn and va1 DC. Do I just keep checking on the site for when a pre-order opens?


  14. Love the Rhea. First impression is good. I had to convert the disc images to CDI to get the games to work. Tried converting to mds/mdf from Daemon Tools Lite version first and I did not have success. Also, I managed to be unlucky and need taller stand offs/support pegs. Not sure if the taller ones will work for me because it appears that the orientation falls in a bad spot that does not look safe. One side would hit the flat flex that connects the controller board to the main board. The other side falls near the recess where the grounding strap was screwed to. For 5v and Ground I utilized an old radio harness. Removed the crimped female pins with wire still attached and lucked out that the receiving size was perfect for the male header pins that protrude on past the power connector at the Saturn’s power supply. Soldered the wires to the Rhea and can still remove the wires from the power supply pins if needed.

    • A lot of mds/mdf Saturn scene releases are nothing but corrupted or poorly dumped. I also have very little success in using Daemon Tools to mount and redump games. My advice is to burn them on CD-RW using Alcohol 120% and test them using emulators. Make sure everything works before redumping them using DiscJuggler. Just skip virtual drive like Daemon Tools.

      Of course if you have the disc dump it yourself rather than using online scene release.

      • I had reports that DT Ultimate 3.x doesn’t work, whereas the Lite 4.6x works for me (and other people).
        But in general I agree that older dumps are often just plain broken, either completly or have issues like shifted audio due to CUE format not storing pregap length info.

  15. Just a quick question, I don’t mind a delay just wanted to check as ordering has closed now if those who ordered them but haven’t received payment requests yet are still on the list to get one eventually? as I said time frame doesn’t overly bother me, just wanted to check if they will still be made?

  16. i asked youtbe for Rhea got answer quick from zolwikw
    i forgot to mention what i have. i read that jap models use cable 20pin i am wrong right was.
    this is a model 2 saturn that you have, a HST-3220

    the modchip inside is called the EMSIC7-1, it is compatible with saturn 1.3, 2.1 and 2.2

    that means your model and also older ones with oval buttons instead of round

    I have seen this drive emulator thing but I did not test.

    The ribbon cable in the saturn I sold you is a 21pin cable

    please leave me a good ebay evaluation when you have time, thanks


  17. I’m willing to run test and have the ability to modify rhea should a revision in circuit take place. Please contact me.

    • There shouldn’t be any need for users to mess with their Rhea anymore. Seems pretty stable. I’m going to try and make it solder-less though.

  18. I seem to have totally missed these developments (GDEmu and Rhea) after being on a bit of a Retro Hiatus.
    Would it be possible to find my way onto a list of very interested future purchasers?
    I don’t see your (Mr gdemus) email address anywhere obvious and presume you don’t publish it until you are ready to release a new batch.
    Fingers toes and eyes crossed hoping that you are in a position to open up orders again soon!

  19. Looking to see if I can purchase a Rhea guys, want to see what I need to do to get one. Please let me know. Thanks.

  20. I still haven’t installed my Rhea yet, been busy.
    I’m also not sure where I’m going to pull 5v from. I have a Japanese HST-3200, I’ll use a multimeter to make sure it’s 5v, but it would be nice to have some possible starting points. I guess I’ll look for some modchip install guides or something, might point me to the right place.

  21. I remember reading about the GDemu years ago. Can’t believe this is really available, and on top of that — Rhea! I plan to buy both whenever a new order round starts.

  22. Please, open the ordering section, I want to buy one GDEMU!!! That thing is really great!!!

  23. Hello! Are orders available for Rhea yet? I have a 20pin V-Saturn with an iffy CD-ROM drive that would be perfect for Rhea. Has it been tested on V-Saturns? I won’t touch my original Japanese baby from early 1995, but I do have a couple of “spare” systems I could use. The V-Saturn being the only one with the bad cd drive.

  24. I can’t wait to order a gdemu for my little DC !
    New orders are planned ? Il am VERY interested in !

  25. Hello Deunan GdEmu. I am interested in a one gdemu device for my dreamcast. Please consider me, if you make a new lote of gdemus.

    I have a question. The pay methods include a credit card? And can perform shipping to Venezuela?

    Thanks a lot.

    • I can ship pretty much anywhere there is a postal service, but the only payment I accept outside EU is PayPal.

  26. I have encountered a weird problem with Rhea and the game Elevator Action Returns. I don’t know if it because of the image that i have used but it the only game so far that exhibited this weird behavior.

    If i start the game from the saturn cd dashboard or from my action replay i get no music in the game . Everything works perfectly except there is no music in the game and the music test in the option menu give no sound. But if i play a few track from the cd dashboard before starting the game then the ingame music and the music test works perfectly. Anyone else got this problem ?

    • I’ve encountered the first part (no music in the game) but I didn’t know if you play a few tracks from the dash, music will then play in-game! My copy also locks during the loading screen, after you select your player, but before the level starts. 😦

  27. Hello,

    I notice the ordering page on the GDEmu site now has two red links at the bottom to order either a Rhea or DCemu board. When I click for the latter (man I want one!) I get an oops type message. I assume that this is because it is a work in progress, but if possible can this be confirmed? Also I notice that ordering is to be placed by email, only I can’t find anywhere to make this contact. I’ll keep looking though!


  28. Owww, I just discovered your website. This looks awesome. Unfortunately i didn’t make any pre-order. Will you open pre-orders again on a later time when the rush goes down?

      • This is great news!! I am very interested in both products and have been watching this page like a hawk haha.

      • Good, to know, as I am interested in a GDemu. Is there a mailing list or something similar, or will I just have to keep an close eye on the order page?

        Thanks In advance!

  29. What gauge wire do you use for 5 volts and ground when installing Rhea?

  30. hope neuroacid makes a menu if possible for rhea.
    on assemblergames said that there will be more updates for gdmenu if deunan finish firmware changes.

  31. yes ^^ the only thing miss is a menu ^^
    i have preorder my “solder less” unit of rhea ^^ i am very hurry ^^

  32. Help! The saturn recognizes the image as a music cd, I can play the music and its from the game but how can I get it to boot as a game?converted with discjuggler advanced:scan gaps/indexes – r-w (cd+g) – pq – raw read.
    All games I get to cdi format are recognized as a music cd,shows the number of music tracks and I can play the music and its from the game but how can I get it to boot?

    mds/mdf work without any problems

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