Sabriena’s SNES Lives!
As I wrote a while ago, powering a US SNES outside of the USA isn’t entirely trivial, but last Friday I arranged to purchase the power supply of an Aussie MegaDrive II from a seller, and it came today. I ducked into Jaycar hoping to purchase a panel-mount 4mm barrel socket to fit it: as it turned out they didn’t have any, so I bought a socket and plug pair in 5.5mm.
I came home, cut the plug off the adaptor and started soldering things up. I decided to wire the plug for positive tip, in case this one ever dies and I find another, and because I can just swap the polarity inside the box. I soldered it to the back side of the stock barrel plug, and tried it out without the lid on. I had a power light, but no picture. After a couple of times cycling the cart however, I got something, and after a few more times the game worked properly. Success!
But how to close the lid up? With the exception of the controller port faceplate, which has a fair bit of yellowing, this SNES is rather pristine. Drilling a hole in it for an extra socket seemed a damn shame. Running wires out the vents seemed rough as well. I started pondering on the idea of removing the RF modulator, and putting the barrel socket where its coaxial socket lives. This idea certainly had it’s charms - the SNES will operate just fine without it’s RF modulator if you’re using the multi-AV plug. It’s completely reversible, I just need to solder the four pins to put the RFU back in.
So I went ahead and did it. Removed the mainboard from the bottom of the case one more time, removed the heatsink, removed the extra screw from the RF mod, then started desoldering. I went pretty carefully so as not to burn out the pads, but it came off pretty easily. Put the barrel socket through the hole and tighten it up, then reassemble the whole thing.
I’m pretty happy with the result. It’d have been nice to find a 4mm socket so I could have kept the MD PSU stock, but I don’t actually care that much. I don’t have a MegaDrive, and hopefully if I get one it’ll be complete. My Game Gear is essentially non-functional at the moment, so the SNES is the only thing it’ll be used for.
Unless something breaks, I can put the SNES back completely to stock with nothing but a soldering iron and a security driver. And after I cleaned up the connectors, all the games function perfectly. We have three US SNES pads (one is an aftermarket turbopad), and one Aussie one. The Aussie one works fine on the US one, but the reverse is not true, however it turns out an Aussie SNES is trivially moddable to support US pads, so that may be next on the list.
One other thing I need to do is look into replacing the save batteries in the games. Duncan and I played about an hour of Super Mario World before bed tonight, and had a really good time - it would suck to have our savegame go missing because a 20 year old 2032 cell died. So I’ve started researching sockets, to save the hassle of soldering them next time… but thus far haven’t made any purchases.