SEGA Saturn SOPHIA - CUSTOM Build of rare MDR50 "VCD" cable

Discussion in 'Sega Saturn Programming and Development' started by Gerry_MAN, Sep 17, 2017.

  1. Shane Battye

    Shane Battye Spirited Member

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    Happy to lend you this one, send me a DM. Here's another pic with end plate removed.
    Cheers, Shane
     

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  2. Gerry_MAN

    Gerry_MAN N64 Hardware Fanatic

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    Hi Shane,

    WOW! Fantastic.

    Right away this shows that the cable does not use internal STP. (Shielded Twisted Pairs).
    Looks like a custom pinout with direct wiring. This is a Huge help on its own!!
    But the fact that you are willing to lend me the cable is MASSIVE!!

    I'll send you a DM. Thanks so much for helping the community out with this.
    Finally we can make some progress!!

    Everyone should give Shane a round of applause!!
    Hear Hear!!!

    Thanks again Shane.
    I'll contact you momentarily.

    Cheers!
    -Gerry
     
  3. antilosa

    antilosa Rising Member

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    Hi all,

    Great news! Thanks to you Shane and Gerry, maybe my Sophia will reborn soon!

    Thank you very much for your involving to help the community!
     
  4. Shane Battye

    Shane Battye Spirited Member

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    Glad to help. Here's some photos of my delivery box for the JVC PC-IF3. Sending it to Gerry tomorrow. Best of luck with it
     

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  5. Gerry_MAN

    Gerry_MAN N64 Hardware Fanatic

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    Fantastic Shane!!

    I hope others will follow your example for future Preservation projects!
    So Awesome! Thanks for stepping forward.

    I'll keep everyone updated with all the developments.
    Cheers!
    -Gerry
     
  6. Gerry_MAN

    Gerry_MAN N64 Hardware Fanatic

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    Hi Folks,

    Just following up here since I received the official SOPHIA interface cable and also the JVC PC-IF3 interfacing card in the mail..... from fellow AssemblerGames user "Shane Battye".

    So I have yet to Map the connector/wiring Pinout for the official SOPHIA interface cable, as I wanted to first work on tracking down the correct connector.

    So with that said, as you all know I've been continuing to test different connectors...as many have done in the past. I had a couple of potentials, but they turned out to be incompatible. One was a connector from the company "KEL". I ordered some of these from the company, as I knew I could use them even if they didn't work out for this project.

    I decided to go over the datasheets from some of the failed connectors I had already Tested; like the 3M Brand, and the KEL Brand. I noticed that the issues was in the receptacle cable connectors height dimension. All those tested to this point have had a connector height dimension greater than or equal to >= 5.6mm.
    As shown in the Datasheet captions below:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I was still convinced that this was not a CUSTOM connector as this would not be cost effective for SEGA to implement for low production Development units.

    In the past I have repaired all sorts of industrial and commercial electronics, from sound Studio recording hardware, to industrial motion-control systems. A common practice that occurs with hi-end electronics, is that company collaborations or partnerships are formed, to complete a design project or for a specific product release.

    Looking at the SOPHIA programming Box mainboard PCBA, I noticed that the SCSI interface port is driven by a FUJITSU brand "MB86603" SCSI-2 protocol controller chip. As shown below:

    [​IMG]


    I decide to see if SEGA specifically.... had ever partnered with other companies in the past.
    This is what I found:

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Fujitsu Limited:
    Sega Enterprises & Fujitsu Limited to Collaborate for Sega Saturn Network Services

    http://pr.fujitsu.com/jp/news/1995/Oct/30-e.html

    This was also posted on SEGARETRO .org
    https://segaretro.org/Press_release...to_Collaborate_in_Multimedia_Network_Services


    Right away I knew I was onto something here...as FUJITSU also manufactures cable connectors.
    I investigated further and was finally able to positively identify the connectors used on the SOPHIA interface cable
    as the FUJITSU "FCN-247J050" series connector. :cool: As shown below:

    [​IMG]
    FUJITSU DATASHEET: http://www.fujitsu.com/downloads/MICRO/fcai/connectors/fcn237-247j.pdf

    I noticed right away that the connector height dimensions measured 5.5mm.
    Hurray!! right? ..........well no.

    I found out that Fujitsu discontinued these connectors back in 2012.:eek::eek:
    However no need to panic, HONDA Electronics in JAPAN (HONDA Tsushin) took over the design and released their own compatible version of these 5.5mm height 240 series Fujitsu connectors.

    [​IMG]



    Lo & Behold.....the HONDA "PCR-E50FB+" cable connector!!

    [​IMG]


    I also found a Supplier for these connectors...links are posted further below. The connector Back-shell's are also available which is nice. I have already ordered some of these myself to test here in my Lab, as I wanted to be sure they were in fact a perfect match before posting anything.

    The great news is....THEY ARE!!! :D:D
    (See the Video posted further below where I DEMO the connection to the JVC card.)

    So this is a fantastic discovery for SEGA SOPHIA dev system owners.....and this cable also works for the MIRAGE!! :D:D

    The next step if for me to gather the wiring pinouts for the SOPHIA Cable. Once I have collected this info I will post a wiring diagram or PDF of the cable diagram.



    For those of you that are interested the Datasheets for these connectors are posted below, along with links to the supplier "onlinecomponents.com".

    HONDA PCR-S50FS CONNECTORS DATASHEET:
    https://www.onlinecomponents.com/datasheet/pcrs50fs.aspx?p=42855520&resource=1

    SUPPLIER: onlinecomponents.com Links:
    HONDA PCR-S50FS+ Connector:
    https://www.onlinecomponents.com/honda-connectors-pcrs50fs.html?p=42855520

    HONDA PCR-LS50LA Connector Back-shell:
    https://www.onlinecomponents.com/honda-connectors-pcrls50la.html?p=42857018

    More to follow.....
    Cheers! Folks,
    Gerry_MAN

    See the video below:
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2018
  7. Shane Battye

    Shane Battye Spirited Member

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    Fantastic news! Amazing detective work!
     
  8. retro

    retro Resigned from mod duty 15 March 2018

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    The actual connector was definitely custom. I spoke to the manufacturer years ago and they confirmed the part number was custom and they would not make it for anyone else. If you found a fit, you got lucky.

    Shame they won't sell you less than 8 connectors and 12 shells, though! $106.88 plus shipping (and maybe tax and customs fee if you're in another country) is a lot to pay for one cable and some spares, not including the actual cable. Unless there are enough of us to make a group buy worthwhile.
     
  9. Shane Battye

    Shane Battye Spirited Member

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    Count me in
     
  10. Gerry_MAN

    Gerry_MAN N64 Hardware Fanatic

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    I'm going to try and see if I can perform the pinout of the official cable this weekend.

    Hopefully I'll have time.

    -Gerry
     
  11. Gerry_MAN

    Gerry_MAN N64 Hardware Fanatic

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    I have some connectors here, so once I get things all layed out,
    I'll wire up a couple of clone cables and then send them out to Shane and Antiosa for testing and to
    confirm they work Ok.

    Moving forward.

    -Gerry
     
  12. retro

    retro Resigned from mod duty 15 March 2018

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    You've already got one! lol
     
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  13. retro

    retro Resigned from mod duty 15 March 2018

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  14. jollyroger

    jollyroger Peppy Member

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    I will purchase one as well...
     
  15. Shane Battye

    Shane Battye Spirited Member

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    Doesn't hurt to have a spare or two :)
     
  16. retro

    retro Resigned from mod duty 15 March 2018

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    Very true!

    If it works, I'll probably be after 4 connectors. Maybe 6 :p
     
  17. jollyroger

    jollyroger Peppy Member

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    Same here... :)
     
  18. Gerry_MAN

    Gerry_MAN N64 Hardware Fanatic

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    Hi Retro,
    Who was it you spoke with at Delvin Electronics? regarding the Custom connector?
    I'm assuming you called the Telephone number that was indicated on the cable connector?

    Label indicates:
    "Manufactured by Devlin Electronics LTD Basingstoke Hants Tel No. 01256 467367"

    As shown in the image that Jollyroger posted of the official cable:

    [​IMG]


    Cheers!
    -Gerry
     

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