Rhea installation

To install Rhea you will need PH#2 screwdriver and possibly PH#1 one as well.

[Early v3 models only] IMPORTANT: Rhea v3 require at least one (preferably two) wires to be soldered to provide power to the device. You will need a soldering iron and some good quality solder, as well as a short piece of insulated wire. A volt meter to confirm the voltage and polarity is highly recommended as well.

Before you start:

Make sure your Saturn is a 20-pin drive model. Use the Saturn details page to identify what type of console you have.

Installation instructions:

Please follow the steps outlined below. Do not use force – especially when plugging in the flat cable – to avoid any damage. The photos are of Japanese region “gray” Saturn, though keep in mind there are also 21-pin models that look exactly the same from the outside.

  • Disconnect all cables from the console

Rhea inst 1

  • Remove disc from drive and close the lid
  • Place the console upside-down on a firm surface

NOTE: Saturn’s upper cover is not flat so some folded cloth might help to keep it more stable and prevent scratches.

  • Remove 5 screws located in/near the corners using a Phillips PH#2 screwdriver

Rhea inst 2

  • Hold the console by sides with both hands and carefully rotate it to upright position

IMPORTANT: Make sure the now unscrewed upper cover does not fall down. It holds down the CD-ROM drive assembly, which might became loose and pull/damage the ribbon cable.

  • Lift Saturn’s upper cover and place it aside
  • Gently disconnect the CD-ROM drive cables

Rhea inst 3

  • Gently pull the drive up to separate it from the mainboard, then store it away

IMPORTANT: The drive might be connected to chassis by a cable or piece of copper foil. Unscrew and remove the cable/foil completly – use PH#1 screwdriver for that. Remember to put the screw back in.

Rhea inst 4

[Early v3 models only] On some models it’s possible to unplug the CD-ROM power supply and lid sensor wires from the motherboard – but not on this one. This is a good idea since Rhea doesn’t use them – although the power supply wires can be soldered to Rhea if your drive is dead anyway and you don’t mind cutting the plug off.

  • Insert Rhea in place of the drive, using two original pegs closest to the front of console. To keep it from rocking install support pegs, one near the button and the other one (if possible) near the bottom of the board.

Rhea inst 7

  • Connect power and signal cable. You can also connect the optional 50/60 Hz frequency control wire.

Power supply:

Rhea v3.1

Early v3 models (left) require soldering wires, whereas newer ones (right) have a connector to plug in the original drive power cable. You can still solder the wires on newer models if you want to (see notes below on powering from external source).

[Early v3 models only] You will need to locate +5V spot on the power supply unit (PSU) or the motherboard and solder a wire there to provide power for Rhea. The best way is to 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.

Rhea inst 5

Rhea inst 6
Rhea PCB is clearly marked with what goes where when it comes to power supply, there are 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 your own connector for easier removal.

Alternatively Rhea can also be powered from external PSU (like wall cube) but make sure it’s got clean, stable 5V output. Obviously that will require 2 wires to be soldered. The nice thing about this setup is you can swap Rhea much easier and there’s no need to solder anything to the Saturn. 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.

IMPORTANT: Confirm the voltage and polarity before you solder the wires. Connecting 9V or reversing the polarity will damage Rhea and possibly the console mainboard as well.

Flexible flat cable (FFC):

One of the photos above shows how to connect the flat cable. Note it goes into Rhea conductor-side down. This is on purpose – 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). The connector on Rhea is a ZIF – zero insertion force – it needs to be opened first by pulling the latch. The cable is then inserted, and finally secured by pushing the latch back (which actually does require some force but not much). Make sure the cable is all the way in before you latch it. Same goes for the motherboard side.

Frequency selector:

Rhea can automatically switch Saturn vertical refresh frequency to 50 or 60 Hz based on the region of the selected game.

IMPORTANT: This is completly optional and requires soldering both on Rhea and inside console.

In order to use this feature you must first make a connection on the back of Rhea PCB to select the default frequency for your console. The preferred way to do it is to put a small ball of solder on 2 out of 3 pads – connect left and middle for 50Hz or right and middle for 60Hz:

Rhea f-select

Next, lift pin #79 of the VDP2 chip to isolate it from Saturn PCB, solder a wire to it and connect that wire to the solder point designated “Hz” on Rhea. This operation requires some skills but is not terribly difficult – the important thing is not to rush and have proper tools for the job. I suggest lifting pin #80 first a bit, then #79, then soldering #80 back.

This is an advanced mod and as such falls outside the scope of this document. There are various tutorials on the net on how to do it (and possible alternatives, though I must warn you that lifting the pin is the only method that always works on all consoles). Here’s a few photos showing how I did it:

VDP2 pin 79 #1

VDP2 pin 79 #2

VDP2 pin 79 #3