Dreamcast Region Change

It’s possible to change the region of your Dreamcast console.  Not everyone wants to fit a modchip or a regionfree BIOS, sometimes a simple region change is all that’s needed.  You can also use this to change the colour of the Swirl on the boot screen!

Take the entire console apart, you have to remove the power board, controller ports, GD-ROM, sheilding and finally the motherboard.  Try and keep track of which type of screw came from where, make sure that you keep the 3 short screws with the GD-ROM, you DO NOT want to use the wrong screws for this, if you put longer ones back in later on they you can damage the motherboard.

Now you just need to solder a single wire into place!  You need to connect one side of resistor R512 to 12v, easy eh?  Here’s an overview showing you the locations (the 12v source is on one of the pins that attaches to the power board, that should make it easier to find).

Link Wire

Soldering to R512 is the trickiest part, it’s quite small – if you can use Kynar wire, if you can’t then you could use something like one of the wires that you’ve ripped out of a network cable (your work IT department will probably give you a broken one, you could even ask them for an old graphics card or similar to practice soldering on!  If necessary, bribe them with cake or biscuits).  See how long you want the wire, cut to length and strip the ends and of course TIN them by melting some solder on the exposed wire.  I also added some extra solder to the correct side of R512 to make it as easy as possible.  Then simply place the wire on the contact point, briefly touch it with your soldering iron and you should get a nice clean solder join!

That’s the difficult one done, simply do the same but on the 12 volt source, I used the solder pad that’s linked to the 12v pin.

Blimey, that was easy right?  All that remains is to re-assemble your console and the hardware side is complete.  You can now re-flash/re-configure the region information, video mode.

You need to download the region changing disc image, as with nearly all DC downloads they are in DiscJuggler CDI format, I found that Alcohol 120% worked better on my PC and I burned it using the demo version on the default settings.

As mentioned, I found this on Bordersdown, it was posted by Lyris – who found the info on DC Emulation.  Some people say it’s fine to leave this all connected up once completed, other people prefer to disconnect it – worried that some game might try and re-write the same chip that the downloaded disc does.  It’s up to you, for peace of mind it’ll only take a couple of minutes to remove the wire once completed.

UPDATE, I think I killed a modchip after I left the wire connected up, the chip got very hot, and then the console beeped and shut itself down – the next day the modchip refused to work.  I’ve since read that it is definitely best to remove the wire, or at least fit a switch, only have the wire in place if you are doing the flashing.

Summary of Components needed

  • Wire
  • Blank CD