Model 2 Sega Saturn Access LED

One of the nice features of the Model 1 Sega Saturn is the CD Drive Access LED.  Most Model 2 Saturns have room to retrofit the LED, it just needs an LED (the original is a 5mm, Red or Orange?) and resistor – 100 ohm, it doesn’t have to be an SMD resistor like the existing ones on the motherboard, you’ll see it’s possible to squeeze a regular size one in there.

Which the console in pieces you should see the space where the LED fits near the controller ports.  Sega have labelled it quite clealy, including which side is the Anode (positive) and Kathode (negative) leg.  Simply heat the solder points up and push the LED through, probably have to do swap from one leg to the other to get it in fully.

That was the easy part.  Next up is trying to find where you need to solder the resistor.  There should be 2 small contact points labelled R48 on the motherboard.  Depending on the model of the console, it could be on the upper or lower side.  It might not necessarily be labelled that close to where the points are.

Here’s where I found the label, with a line to follow to find the solder points.

And then you can see I’ve soldered the 100 ohm resistor in place.  I added a small bit of solder to each contact point, then bent the LED legs, cut them to length and soldered it in place.

Re-assemble the console apart from the lid and test it out.  The LED should flash when no disc is in the drive.

Of course you have to modify the case to be able to see the LED now.  And you need one of those plastic bits to get the light to the console case.  Here’s where I found this mod originally.  You can see the original author fabricated a plastic tube, you can try the same, or if you pickup a cheap, faulty, model 2 Saturn, you can use the LED tube from that unit.  OR, you can transplant your fully modded Model 2 innards into a Model 1 case (don’t wreck a Model 1 though, only do it to a faulty unit that is beyond repair!)

And when it comes to making a hole in the case, if you can, practice on something else first unless you’re very confident you can make the countersunk hole perfect straight away (if you’ve bought a faulty Saturn for the LED tube, you can practice on that).  The original guide author produced the brilliant diagram below, you can put a piece of masking tape over the area you are working with to help measure and mark where you are drilling.

Using masking tape so that I can mark where to drill.
Handy little hand-held drill bit, by pure luck it matches the hole size of the power LED!

A counter sink drill bit, used to mimic the look of the Power LED hole

Summary of Components

  • 1 x 3 or 5mm LED
  • 1 x 100 ohm resistor