Sega Saturn Keeps Freezing Up

Discussion in 'Repair, Restoration, Conservation and Preservation' started by steocullen91, Apr 25, 2018.

  1. steocullen91

    steocullen91 Rising Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2018
    Messages:
    61
    Likes Received:
    16
    Hi. I got a Sega Saturn on ebay not too long ago as untested. It powers on but keeps freezing intermittently. I got Rayman for it today and left it paused for a bit on 2 occasions ant it just froze while paused. I noticed skipping between track one and the last track on a CD repeatedly makes it freeze up very often.

    What's most likely the issue? I have a multimeter if I need to test points etc.

    Thanks.
     
  2. luna128

    luna128 Console Girl

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2017
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    13
    You'll probably need to pot tweak it, though this means that its (probably) on its last legs.



    ...If it dies, look into replacing the laser assembly altogether or just purchase a new unit.
     
  3. steocullen91

    steocullen91 Rising Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2018
    Messages:
    61
    Likes Received:
    16
    Alright thanks. Is that all it is, that it completely freezes up when it can't read a disc?

    It has been working all day after I opened it and cleaned it out (I actually found a hair in the drive so maybe that was all) but if it act's up again I'll try the POT tweak.
     
  4. Taijigamer2

    Taijigamer2 Gutsy Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2015
    Messages:
    477
    Likes Received:
    167
    Make sure u clean the laser lens with IPA before trying a pot tweak. Most of the time it's just dust/ grease on the lens. A pot tweak is a last resort to get a little more life out of the laser but without an oscilloscope it's of little use. If none of that works then just replace the laser.
     
  5. MottZilla

    MottZilla Champion of the Forum

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2006
    Messages:
    5,062
    Likes Received:
    102
    After retrying a certain number of times it probably gives up and the software "freezes" waiting for the drive. I think on some systems where they don't reset when the lid is open if you open and close the lid it will retry reading data again. But as Taijigamer said you should try cleaning the lens before messing with any pots. After so many years who knows what might have gotten on the lens.
     
    Taijigamer2 likes this.
  6. Droid III

    Droid III Rising Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2017
    Messages:
    68
    Likes Received:
    41
    Being unable to load from the CD usually makes the games drop back to the BIOS, not freeze up.
     
  7. supersega

    supersega I have 7 and a half PS1s in my room alone.

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2014
    Messages:
    491
    Likes Received:
    145
    Depends on situation. I've had Saturns freeze at some parts, and at other parts go back to BIOS.
     
  8. steocullen91

    steocullen91 Rising Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2018
    Messages:
    61
    Likes Received:
    16
    It seems a bit intermittent whatever it is. I cleaned the laser and made sure the PSU pins etc. were clean, but I think there's still something not right about it. Whenever it happens, it seems like a car engine where it needs to warm up then it starts working properly. I've also seen graphical glitch here and there with a quick 1 frame artifact flash of garbage / pixelation but then it goes back to normal. Last time it done this though it didn't freeze. I'm not entirely sure how they work but I have heard people saying the CD drive seeking sometimes causes some video interference.

    I'll test it out again in a bit and get back to you guys about what it does. I haven't used it in a few days as of now.
     
  9. Taijigamer2

    Taijigamer2 Gutsy Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2015
    Messages:
    477
    Likes Received:
    167
    Those symptoms point more towards bad capacitors. It might be worth looking into a recap. I'm not sure if this common with the Saturn but it is getting on for 25 years old.
     
  10. steocullen91

    steocullen91 Rising Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2018
    Messages:
    61
    Likes Received:
    16
    I was actually thinking that. The PSU caps all look fine so I guess I'll disassemble it further and see if there's any bad ones on the mainboard.

    EDIT: Why are these wires here, previous owner messing about?

    20180504_150530.jpg
    Also does this one here CE55 look bad?
    20180504_152129.jpg
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2018
  11. Droid III

    Droid III Rising Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2017
    Messages:
    68
    Likes Received:
    41
    I've seen that in half the model 2s I come across. Recap the console, it will help.
    The PSU is most likely fine, the fault is most likely in the caps around the PLL chip (ic20 from memory).
     
  12. steocullen91

    steocullen91 Rising Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2018
    Messages:
    61
    Likes Received:
    16
    OK I'll order some caps and try that out. It hasn't been freezing anymore lately but I still get that one garbage flash for a split second just once about 5 minutes after turning it on. It seems very consistent as it takes about the same amount of time and always does it.

    I've been playing Rayman on it and I usually get 2 or 3 parts into a level (depending on which level) then I get the flicker for a split second and it's perfectly fine for hours then. The same thing will happen the next day a few minutes after powering it on.

    I'll look into the value of those caps and give it a try anyway. No harm I guess.

    EDIT: After running the system today for about 10 minutes, I got a very quick flash of black lines. It'll be fine now for the rest of the day as long as I leave it on.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2018
  13. steocullen91

    steocullen91 Rising Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2018
    Messages:
    61
    Likes Received:
    16
    I never got around to this yet and I've managed to get the GameBuster cart flashed with Pseudo, so I have been messing around with the Saturn again. Basically it seems to be freezing whenever it can't read the disc and the display seems to flicker while the lens is moving around. Sometimes if I just power cycle the console a few times I can get it to stay on and play a game but then sometimes it will just freeze and the screen will be frozen or turn black.

    Is it normal for a Saturn to have this type of behaviour when it can't read the disc?

    I'm assuming that there must be something else causing the screen issues, but it looks a bit wavy and exhibits that interference as the lens is seeking at times.
     

Share This Page