The Spice Must Flow

First it was heavy rains, now it’s heat and I’m unable to do any serious assembly. I did manage to more or less finish Rhea queue but GDEMU is still lagging behind. The work has not stopped completly though, I hope to wrap it up within two weeks or so.

I will be reopening preorders for Rhea next week, probably as early as Monday. I have but a few PCBs left and the new ones haven’t even arrived yet so expect some waiting time. I will also take preorders for a small batch of Phoebe units – that is the 21-pin variant of Saturn ODE. As with every new offering consider it a higher risk item, so if you’re not comfortable with that just wait for the early bugs to be ironed out. That being said the device seems to work just fine.

Note that since there are several different variants of the 21-pin drive the ODE needs to be configured for the exact model you have. That in turn requires soldering 1 or 2 jumpers on the PCB. I might also offer to do it for you if you can provide all the necessary details but it remains to be seen if I can keep it up (and not confuse the orders for example). Plus on some units the flex cable will need to be twisted properly since SEGA changed the connector orientation – the original drives had the same problem. For the initial batch I will supply a spare cable though so it should make things easier.

On the PCE front things are less rosy, let’s just say I had another design scrapped. Might be for the better, I had some other ideas in the meantime and now I’m going to pursue those. ODE itself doesn’t look all that complicated but what I need now is a prototype unit with some extra functionality, a pass-through function if possible as well, and I have to get it right on the first try. I really don’t want to hunt down another set of connectors if I can’t unsolder these again.

46 thoughts on “The Spice Must Flow

  1. I got my Rhea a week or so ago and it is terrific!
    I wrongfully thought it would turn the system into a region-free machine. Eventually I found that changing the region of an image is piece of cake.

    Rhea (like gdemu) is a must-have for any fan of the Saturn.

    • You need to put the .ini file on the root of your card specifying what region your Saturn is. Then you can boot images from regions other than your own without editing them.

  2. Hi Deunan, I’m interested in a Phoebe unit. I just write you to your e-mail.

  3. So Deunan, In your professional opinion, should we wait on Phoebe? If basic soldering skills are the only recommended prerequisite, then definitely count me in. I do cap replacements on Game Gears and Nomads quite regularly. Trying to acquire a single 20 pin model, I have amassed a few 21 pin models, heh. I will for certain be watching for the preorders for that.

    Haven’t received my Rhea yet but man the anticipation is murder, heh. Thank you again for all of your hard work Deunan. It is greatly appreciated.

    • You need to be able to put a solder ball in one or two places, and that’s it. Same as with the 50/60Hz default setting, except this one was fully optional.

  4. Thank you for the update.
    I’ll be patiently awaiting the GDEMU queue.
    It’s really crazy to see all the kind of cool things you have been able to manage so far.

    As for the Saturn. I read that some guy is/was working on a solution that would allow you to use the Sega Saturn expansion slot as a way to load games from SD cards. According to him the Saturn exposes it’s hardware features through the expansion port and he even has a prototype PCB and a video to show it is possible to play games this way. News around this projects appears to have become silent for a long time now though. So i don’t think it will ever come out.

    Is this kind of approach something you might consider for the future of the Saturn emulation line as well?

  5. Also fairly interested in the Phoebe unit. How much different is it from how Rhea handles things? Once protos are made, do you think there will be as much design iteration/improvement as there was with Rhea?

  6. Good luck on the progress of a PCE ODE. Ever since I heard about your Rhea project for Saturn, I’ve been hoping and praying that you might have interest in PCE as well, and from your posts it seems that you do. I’m sure the folks over at the PCEFX forum would jump for joy if this is released as well. Between the new Turbo Everdrive 2.2 and and having a ODE as well, it would be like a dream come true, especially for fan-translation projects for Super CD-Roms.

    I’ll be honest, ever since I learned (very recently actually) that playing burned cds rather than pressed cds can shorten the life of the laser and the reasons for why it does this, I’ve started being more frugal about playing burned cds on it. I mean, I have several original games, but when you want to play an English patched version, really your only choice out there is to patch the rips yourself and play it off a burned image. Having an PCE ODE would eliminate all of that. : )

    Is there a section somewhere about progress updates for the PCE ODE or am I looking at it now with each Blog post? : )

    Thanks for reading.


    • And if I can piggyback on this, do you know if the PCE ODE will be designed for certain models? (Standalone add on or PC Engine Duo?) I will be going to Japan soon and want to pick up the right hardware.

      • Yes, PCE+IC+cdrom², I’ve bought this set-up an RGB modded even if I had a pcduo and pcduo RX just to be prepared for deunan’s pcecd ode xD

  7. Is there anyway to send custom cimmands to the GD-ROM drive with software? If you could do that, then someone could make a peicr of software that starts on boot to select a disk image.

  8. Could you send custom commands to the GD-ROM subsystem? If you could, someone could make some software on the Dreamcast to list and select from the disk images stored on the sd card.

  9. I can’t wait to get a Rhea or Phoebe for that matter. I’ve been waiting on the preorders to reopen. Haven’t seen it yet. I’ve also amassed quite a few 21 pin units looking for a 20 pin unit.

      • Well that sucks. Maybe someone won’t pay and youll have an extra unit…

      • Does this apply to the Phoebe as well? I put of ordering the Rhea since I have two 21-pin units.

      • Gonna have to visit every day now so I don’t miss the next batch.😦

  10. It’s amazing to see how fast these go. I thought this product was very niche. How many Rheas and GDEMUs have been sold so far?

      • You sign up for the site updates (Follow) and keep checking the news updates for ordering. It’s not hard to follow and do, if you read the instructions here.

        I have ordered a GDEMU, which I now have and a RHEA in the past two weeks

  11. So excited to see my son playing dream cast with a gdemu… Need to get one as soon as possible. Will literally pay any money for one.

    Your awesome dude!

    Janek from the UK

  12. I just found out about this been burning cds for some time now for the GC and have a lot on cd. Not to many SS games just a handful of the true copys and would love to get my hands on these…. good job coming up with this

  13. Well just my luck. Found out my dreamcast was a rev 0 so I had to buy a rev 1 today. Figured I might aswell check my saturn and guess what its a 21pin.

    • So far test has shown that yes, it will, but you need to remove both the drive and the smaller PCB. Phoebe connects directly to the Saturn motherboard.

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