Sega Saturn Teardown
This is a guide which explains how to completely disassemble a Sega Saturn, with the exception of the CD drive itself. The Sega Saturn in the pictures is a model 2 with a VA SD board manufactured in June, 1996 with serial # 065025382.
- Phillips-head screwdrivers (a few sizes)
- A tiny flat-head screwdriver (for prying)
Step 1 - Setup
Unplug all cables and make sure there is no disc in the drive. Push the power switch on for a few seconds and then off again to drain some of the stored electricity. Go ahead and remove the battery cover on the back now and set it aside.
Step 2 - Remove the top cover
Flip the console over and remove the five screws on the bottom. Turn it back over and lift off the top.
Step 3 - Remove the power board
Start by removing the plastic LED cover to get it out of the way. It's snugly in place but will slide out if pulled firmly straight up. Next we have the option of removing the power board or the CD drive first. I prefer to start with the power board, so that's how I'll proceed.
First remove the two screws on the back of the console near the AC port. Then unplug the gray wires which connect the power switch to the board (indicated by the green arrow). The power board is held down by only one screw located towards the front of the case (blue arrow), so remove that. The power board connect to the motherboard via five tall, thick pins which stick straight up and skewer the plastic connector on the power board close to the read arrow in the picture. The connection here is tight, so what you need to do is reach undereath the edge of the board closest to the connector (indicated by the red arrow) and pull the board straight up and off, being careful not to bend the pins.
Step 4 - Detach the power switch
Remove the plastic protector that was located under the power board. Then remove the two screws as indicated by the red arrows. This will allow you to take the power switch out of the case.
Step 5 - Remove the CD drive
The CD drive sits loosely atop four plastic pegs and is only attached to the motherboard by a gray set of wires, a ribbon cable, and grounding strip. Start by removing the screw and washer that's holding down the grounding strip; be careful not to lose the washer! Proceed by unplugging the ribbon cable, the ends of which can be gently rocked free. To detach the other cord, you could just pull it straight off, but I would recommend first taking a tiny flat screwdriver and using it carefully as a prying tool to create space between the plug and the socket and then pulling the cord out. This may be unnecessary for you, but mine was tightly connected.
Once both cords and the grounding strip are detached, you should be able to lift the drive off the pegs effortlessly. Put the CD drive aside; this guide does not (yet) cover disassembling it.
Step 6 - Expose the motherboard
Start by disconnecting the ribbon cable which connect the mainboard to the controller board. Remove the screw holding down the grounding strip (yellow arrow) and set it and the grounding strip aside. Then remove the remaining screws, but take note that the two screws closest to the cartridge slot (blue arrows) have slightly longer screws than the others (red arrows). After you've removed the screws and ribbon cable, you should be able to easily lift off the RF shield.
Step 7 - Remove the motherboard and controller board
The two screws indicated by the red arrows secure only the controller board. The motherboard can be freely lifted from the case. Once the screws are removed, the controller board can also be taken out of the case without effort. If you need to access the controller board, you can just slide the RF shield off.
If you wish to remove the bottom RF shield, you'll find it's no problem at all; it lifts right out.
Tips for Reassembly
Just follow the previous steps in reverse order to put everything back together. Some tips:
- Remember that the RF shield screws near the cartridge slot are longer than the rest
- Don't forget the plastic protector that goes between the RF shield and the power board. Also, reattach the power switch first because its wire runs underneath the plastic protector (see step 3).
- Use the picture in step 4 to correctly orient the ribbon cable that connects the CD drive to the motherboard
- Use step 5 to identify the screwhole when reconnecting the grounding strip to the CD drive. Don't forget that the screw has a washer!