GameCube Region Switch

GameCube Region Switch

If you’ve got either an American or Japanese Game Cube then it’s quite simple to fit a switch to allow you to swap between either USA or JPN modes.  It will not allow you to play PAL games though (you’ll need a modchip or freeloader/action replay for that).

All you need is some very fine wire (Kynar wire is highly recommended, or use a piece cut from one of the high speed IDE cables if you have one spare), and a switch, a small slide switch is ideal, if you’re going to modify it so that the Power LED changes colour then a DPDT (Double Pole, Double Throw) switch is needed

I already had plenty of switches, but they are a bit too big, a quick bit of filing down of the width of the switch allows it to stick out of one of the air vent holes at the rear of the console (filed down switch on the left, original on the right), saving you having to cut holes into your Gamecube.  Keep filing and testing the fit, making sure the switch moves freely, then super glue it into place.   mmmonkey used this particular vent hole as it had the most clear space behind it.  Update from Saurian – switch part number FF77 from Maplins is a perfect fit!

Filed switch on the left, original on the right

Switch glued into place

Final location of switch

Carefully work your way around the Gamecube, take the 4 screws out from the right, the 2 screws on the left holding the fan and power button on, then take the fan off and remove the 3 revealed screws.  After you’ve taken the 4 screws out from the rear and the 4 small ones from the memory card you can lift the whole laser unit off.  You can now see the huge heat sink, remove the 6 screws from this and carefully remove it, mmmonkey gently slide it from side to side before being able to pull it off, some people heat it with a hair dryer to loosen the thermal paste which is sticking it to the chips.  Look for the area pictured below, it is just above the ATI Flipper chip.

Region select pads

If your machine is currently Japanese then R6 will be empty, if it’s American then R5 will be empty instead.   I’m working on a Japanese Cube.  Prepare the wire by striping the ends and tinning it by melting a small amount of solder, you do not want a huge amount of bare wire, so if necessary trim it very short.  Solder a piece of wire to each side of the R5 or R6 pads, these pads are very small, hold the wire onto the solder pad and quickly touch it with your soldering iron, do not hold it there for a long time, and do not tug the wire to see if it’s stuck.

Now route the wires along the side of the analogue port and solder it to your switch as shown (one wire to the a middle contact, the other to a contact either above or below it) and you’re finished!  Re-assemble your console and test it out (when putting the top of the case back on, open the lid up then slide the top into place – this way the lid switch doesn’t make it difficult.

Wire route, taped to rear port

USA Menu Screen

JPN Menu Screen

Notes

This only works on NTSC Game Cube consoles, allowing you to switch between USA and JPN modes, if you want to play PAL games then you’ll need either a suitable boot disc (Freeloader/Action Reply) or fit a suitable mod chip/bios replacement.

Game Cube memory cards can only be formatted for either English or Japanese, you will need two memory cards, one for when you’re playing USA games – another for saving JPN games.  (You can have PAL and USA saves on the same card with no problems).

There are other solder pads or components that you could solder onto, but they are known to cause problems with some setups, the solder points covered in this guide are the best to use.

If you disconnect the controller ports from the motherboard, then you will have to set the time again.

I first performed this mod using this guide, and recommends that you read it – it’s got a very good explanation of the different methods and some clear photo’s.

Summary of Components

  • 1 x Small SPDT (Single Pole, Double Throw) switch (use a DPDT – Double Pole, Double Throw, switch if you want to do the LED mod as well)
  • Very fine wire – Kynar is the best