The SNES Mini (or SNES 2 or SNES Junior – whatever you want to call it, also the Super Famicom Jnr) is a smaller variant of the 1Chip SNES Consoles – which are more difficult to mod than the regular SNES. I’ve never had an opportunity to attempt to mod one, let alone try out the SuperCIC switchless mod on it. After buying a SNES Mini cheaply on eBay and tidying it up, I thought I would take the opportunity to try out Bad_Ad84’s Ultimate SuperCIC/uIGR Kit.
I had one problem installing it, but that was my own fault and I’ll point it out further down the page!
I don’t know if this is necessary on the SNES Mini/Super Famicom Jnr, but as a habit I always switch on a SNES after I’ve removed the power lead to discharge it, otherwise you risk blowing a fuse (again – Bad_Ad84 sells replacements!).
You’ll need to completely dismantle the console, the inside of my SNES Mini will probably look different to yours, I replaced the 7805 Voltage Regulator with an alternative that doesn’t need a heatsink (I later replaced with a regular 7805 due to interference with the video output).
I’ve also partly completed an RGB mod that was supplied by Bob at RetroRGB, Bob isn’t selling them anymore but there’s plenty of info out there – including using the basic 7314 Amp (I think people are now using a 7374 Amp – I need to play around with that one!).
After you’ve taken your console apart and you’ve removed the motherboard, temporarily remove the heatsink from the 7805 Voltage Regulator.
Rather than trying to solder onto the points of the old CIC lockout chip, Bad_Ad84 supplied some photos with alternative points to make it a lot easier and tidier to install.
Prepping the Console
I’m sure I read that this one was optional and only needed it you want the correct PAL/NTSC Colour option when not using RGB. Anyway, whilst you’re doing all this, you may as well do it anyway.
Like I mentioned earlier – this is where my console may look different to yours – I replaced the 7805 Voltage Regulator (and then later put a normal regulator back in!). The White wire is to restore C-Sync for an RGB mod.
Anyway, you need to lift up leg 9 of the S-RGB chip – leg 12 is labelled so it’s easy to find 9. To make life simpler for you bend your Voltage Regulator away from the chip.
I wedged a pin in-between legs 8 and 9, with the point of the pin just poking under leg 9 where it comes out of the chip.
Now it’s easy, just touch the tip of the soldering iron on the solder pad that is holding leg 9 onto the motherboard and hold it there whilst you push the pin down – this should lift leg 9 up easily for you.
Now the old CIC chip. On my Mini, it’s located right behind the cart slot. You can either remove it completely, or lift legs 1, 2, 8, 10 and 11.
I usually start with Leg 1, heat up the solder and then use a scalpel blade to lift the leg up and bend it back on itself. Once leg 1 is done, it gives you easier access to Leg 2. Repeat for 10 and 11.
Don’t forget leg 8, you can either do leg 9 and then 8 or simply skip straight to it!
Of course, it doesn’t really matter if you break the legs off!
Okay, you’ve practiced lifting some legs on the CIC and S-RGB, now it’s a good time to concentrate on leg 111 of the CPU. Leg 120 is clearly labelled on the motherboard, so you can count the legs back to find 111 (also – the white dots are 5 legs apart).
I usually heat the leg near where it comes out of the chip, and then use a scalpel blade to lift the leg by pressing it in-between the leg and the board at the other end of the leg, and pulling it up. Or, heat the pad where the leg joins the board, and then with a scalpel blade pushed in-between leg 111 and an adjacent leg, I push the leg sideways and twist the blade to lift the leg slightly.
Practice on something else first if you are unsure about this at all!
Hmmmm – now that I look at that photograph I see that I actually damaged the trace on the motherboard that leg 111 attached onto. The mod works perfectly for me, which makes me think that lifting leg 111 may not be necessary – it might be easier to simply cut through the thicker part of the trace leading up to leg 111 and then scratch away some of the coating and soldering the wire to that?
You’re removing this completely, the mod replaces it and switches between two different crystals depending on which video mode is selected.
I tend to add extra solder to each solder point on the underside of the motherboard, and then use my solder sucker/desoldering pump to remove the solder. Of course you can use desoldering wick or whatever fancy tool you might have :-)
Prepping the Mod Board
It’s obvious looking at the board which points you’ll be soldering onto – all the points are labelled (PAD, LED, CIC etc). At the time of me performing this mod the D4 point is unused.
You should be able to see that I’ve melted a drop of solder onto each of the points.
The first two wires we’re working with are TC+ (Timing Crystal Positive) and CIC 8. I’ve stripped the ends of two pieces of Kynar wire (I prefer to use Kynar for most of this mod).
Then just soldered them to the relevant points on the Mod Board.
Fold the wires the back of the board, turn it back over and work out the correct placement for it on the SNES motherboard.
This is roughly the area where I would recommend mounting the board, take note of where the Solder Points are for TC+ and CIC8.
Check that it doesn’t going to interfere with the casing (looking at the following photo, you’ll notice that the mod board is inside of the plastic dividers that run from the front to the back of the inside of the console case)
Bend the wires so that they will then line up roughly with the Solder Points you need
At this stage, I realised that that CIC10 solder point on the motherboard is under where the mod board will be placed. So I skipped prepping the mod board and instead prepped this solder point.
It looks fiddly, but I didn’t rush it and it went fine. At first glance, there isn’t anything to solder the wire onto, we need to scratch away at the solder point to reveal the metal that we can solder onto.
Very gently, using my scalpel I scratched around the relevant hole (VIA – it links one layer/side of the circuit board to another) until I exposed the metal via.
If you didn’t want to do this, you can of course try soldering onto the pad that leg 10 of the original CIC chip was connected to.
Now it’s easy, simple melt a small blob of solder onto the exposed point.
Here I’ve stripped my wire, ready to solder onto the board.
I’ve cut the wire slightly longer than I need
Back to TC+ and CIC8 now that I’m back on track! I popped the mod board back in place and then cut, stripped and soldered the wires to the relevant points. I find it helps to add extra solder to the points before attaching the wire.
Then because I was trying to keep it tidy and because I wanted to keep the wire as short as possible, I cut and stripped the CIC10 wire (yellow in my photos).
I’ve not stuck the mod board down yet, so it’s easy to move it out the way to strip the wire and solder it in place.
I decided to use double sided foam tape to hold the mod board to the motherboard – I ended up using two layers.
Now you’ve got it stuck in place, it’s going to be easy to solder the rest of the points :-)
The next few photos hopefully speak for themselves, I solder the wire to the mod board, and then cut it to length and solder to the relevant point on the motherboard.
CIC11 goes to Cartridge pin 25, which is labelled for you (I actually ended up counting back from Pin 31 because I wasn’t 100% sure which pin the label was referring to!).
For all of these points, I added extra solder to the point before attaching the solder to it.
CIC2 goes to Cart Pin 24, CIC1 to Cart Pin 55. Then I had to prep CIC7 solder point similar to CIC10 earlier on.
Again, this photo should speak for itself (if you’re doing this on a Mini/Junior, if you’re doing this on a full size console, refer o the labelling photos at the top).
Not much left now, I’m going to do the wires that attach to chips on the other side of the motherboard now. Using Kynar wire is great because you can route the wire through the VIA holes on the motherboard.
I started with S-RGB and soldered the wire to the chip (after adding some extra solder to the leg, but not too much!), poked it through the board and then soldered to the mod board.
And the same for the CPU wire.
It’s probably a good idea to add a blob of glue or some tape over the cable to act as a sort of strain relief.
The main part of this mod is complete now, we just need to wire up the LED and Power.
IF you’re doing this on a full size 1 Chip console, then check this out for the LED, if you’re doing this on a Mini/Jnr console, what follows is the method I chose to go with.
I really liked the idea of using the indented dots by the power button. Having the Power LED in the dot next to the word ON makes perfect sense.
Remove the power button so that you don’t accidentally damage it (just squeeze the two tabs on the inside of the button).
I used a 1.5mm drill bit to drill the hole. Starting by putting the drill bit into the indented hole and then very slowly drilling all the way through.
The hole comes out just to the side of the piece of plastic that guides and holds the power button in place.
Whilst waiting for the hot glue gun to heat up, I decided to place some tape over the newly drilled hole, just in case the glue came through.
Also, before glueing the LED in, work out which leg is Red and which is Green. The easy one is the middle leg – that’s GND. I usually use a CR2032 battery between two of the legs to work it out. Mark a leg so you remember which is which, or remember it by which leg is the shortest (Green when I was doing it).
I decided to start by putting a blob of glue over the drilled hole, and then popping the LED into it. After holding it in place whilst the glue sets, add some more glue, covering the LED but not so much that it gets in the way of the sliding mechanism.
Give the glue time to cool down and set, then snip the LED legs and add some solder to them. I grabbed three pieces of wire about 10cm long, stripped the ends and tinned them by adding a small amount of solder.
I asked Mrs Mmmonkey to plat them for me, it looks quite tidy doesn’t it!
There’s already a couple of cutouts in the case to choose from to route the LED wires – very handy!
It’s straight forward to see where to solder the other end of the wires :-) The following photo shows the LED wires soldered to the mod board, and also my power wires. You don’t have to use the same points as me, there’s lots of places to get 5v and GND from. I decided to get GND from one of the cart slot pins, and 5v from the output leg of the Voltage Regulator.
When I put it together and tested it, I noticed that the LED light was escaping from air vents etc around the case. I just covered the LED and glue up with some insulation tape to stop this happening.
Thank you Bad_Ad84 for supplying his mod board and for answering my questions whilst I was getting back into the swing of performing mods like this! And of course Ikari for the development of SuperCIC and IGR and borti4398 for the improved uIGR.