Mega Drive / Genesis hardware revisions

Discussion in 'General Sega Discussion' started by ICEknight, Apr 21, 2012.

  1. Meat Miracle

    Meat Miracle

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    It would be nice if someone with many Megadrives could do lightbox back/front pictures of each motherboard. Frankly, I'm surprised no one did a gallery like that before, given how popular the MD is.
     
  2. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    I think there needs to be a push to inspire better photography in general - the best video game hardware photographs come from this one bloke on Wikipedia.

    Motherboard shots are useful but in some cases, just clear photographs of the complete console are needed
     
  3. Meat Miracle

    Meat Miracle

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    Well photography is not that simple as one would think. I ended up building a lightbox and buying extra lamps just for my own projects.

    I disagree. If you want to properly document the evolution of the hardware, proper back/front motherboard shots are needed. The current "hardware pics" section in the wiki is completely worthless and half-assed.
    Especially since they only include front pics, sometimes unreadable ones. The 171-x serials (which is THE board identification id) are not visible in any of them, for example.
     
  4. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    I didn't mean it like that - it's hard to convey a tone of voice through text

    I mean in some cases the immediate priority should be to actually photograph some of these consoles and accessories from the outside, rather than just the internals. External shots are the ones most people are likely to care about.

    We don't actually have a clear photograph of the first Brazillian Mega Drive model for example. I hadn't even seen a photo of it until today.
     
  5. TmEE

    TmEE

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    T-04YBSC-A !
    I finally got a scanner worth something, I should scan all the mobo versions I got around.
     
  6. Meat Miracle

    Meat Miracle

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    While I suppose that would be a lot more than nothing, scanning alone would get terrible out-of-focus images from the back due to the protruding cart slot.
     
  7. Flygon

    Flygon

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    It's not entirely impossible to desolder the cart slot.
     
  8. TmEE

    TmEE

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    There's different kind of scanners out there, the one I got can take shots of stuff even half a meter away, though it will be quite dark at that point. I just have to make sure the board is level, otherwise it will get some trapezoidal distortion
    Some previous ones I have had blur the hell out of anything not touching the glass.
     
  9. Spindash54

    Spindash54

    Did you ever wonder how he spins in place? Member
    Minor bump as I'd like to get an opinion on the matter.

    I've been planning on replacing/upgrading my Genesis hardware and I think I've worked out the "optimal" combination.

    Any HD Model 1 Genesis (VA2-6) + a 32X + a CD Model 2 (for reliability).

    Combine that with a:
    32X/Genesis 2 SCART Cable: http://www.ebay.com/itm/US-seller-Sega-Genesis-2-32X-RGB-SCART-cable-lead-RCA-stereo-out-cord-Multimega-/160652364231
    SCART->Component Adapter: http://www.amazon.com/SCART-Component-Video-Converter-Genesis/dp/B004XSSDPO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1341695414&sr=8-1
    With the Sega CD outputting audio.

    These hardware combinations "should" give optimal video and audio quality with American hardware & TV. Anyone care to agree/disagree?
     
  10. ICEknight

    ICEknight

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    Don't take my word for it, but it might be possible that 32X units work better on Mega Drive 2 systems.

    I remember when I had to return one because the picture started looking worse and worse until you couldn't see a thing, after leaving it running for 20 minutes or so... then the same happened with the next one I got. And yes, those metal things were correctly put on my MD1.
     
  11. Spindash54

    Spindash54

    Did you ever wonder how he spins in place? Member
    Well my 32X has worked fine on my Genesis 1 and 2's for years, metal prongs and all. I had gotten it new for 30 bucks years ago. And Chaotix is still the only game I ever used with it.
     
  12. Meat Miracle

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    The way I understand it the 32x is just a finicky piece of shit that decides if it works or not based on how the stars align at that moment.

    Anyway to stay on topic: is there a chance we could collect all the serial numbers for different MD motherboards here?
    What I have is:

    Megadrive 1
    - 171-5872-20, no 837-x number, PAL VA4, found in MK-1600-03, MK-1600-05, MK-1601-15, MK-1600-18
    - 171-5963-10, no 837-x number, USA VA6
    - 171-5963-21, no 837-x number, PAL VA6, found in MK-1601-07
    - 171-5963-30, no 837-x number, PAL VA6, found in MK-1601-03, MK-1601-05, MK-1601-18
    - 171-5963-40, no 837-x number, PAL VA6.8
    - (171-x unknown), 837-6656, presumably JPN VA0
    - (171-x unknown), 837-6832, ntsc (unknown) VA1 (presumably jpn)
    - (171-x unknown), 837-6992, USA VA2
    - (171-x unknown), 837-7071, USA VA3
    - (171-x unknown), 837-7138, ntsc (unknown) VA4
    - unknown, VA5
    - unknown, USA VA6
    - unknown, USA VA7

    Megadrive 2
    - unknown, PAL VA0
    - 171-6534A-21, no 837-x number, PAL VA1, found in MK-1631-50
    - 171-6534B-20, no 837-x number, PAL VA1.8
    - 171-6534B-21, no 837-x number, PAL VA1.8, found in MK-1631-50
    - 171-6534B-21, no 837-x number, PAL VA1.8 (the -21 one seems to have less pcb holes around the power input, that's the only difference I noticed)
    - unknown, JPN VA1
    - unknown, USA VA0
    - unknown, USA VA1.8
    - unknown, USA VA3
    - unknown, ASIA VA1.8
    - unknown, VA4. This one uses a 315-5960 with an integrated 68k.

    Genesis 3
    - 171-7545C, 837-x unknown, VA1(?)
    - 171-7652D, 837-x unknown, VA2(?)
    (the motherboard revision is not printed anywhere, but based on the serials it should go up at least to VA2)

    I have picture proof for all of these numbers. It looks like many models have no 837-x serial at all. Since most pictures I found only have the front of the board, the 171-x number is missing.

    Also, it seems the earliest PAL model for Megadrive 1 was VA4.
     
  13. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    There are many different types of PAL - a French Mega Drive is likely to be slightly different from a UK one. There could be dozens of minor variations to take into account slightly different TV setups.

    I don't think it's as clear-cut as the internet likes to think it is. The stickers on the underside can vary between country so I imagine the boards can too.
     
  14. Meat Miracle

    Meat Miracle

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    The motherboard is still the same in them regardless if they are UK or French, or even on some ASIA PAL model. There is NOTHING region specific on the motherboard, other than PAL or NTSC, and they likely reused a lot of them to save costs. Even the underside stickers have little variation. Only the actual box / manuals have some, if any, variation.

    For example, the Samsung Saturn used the exact same motherboard as a japanese saturn - the only difference were a few components on the board (jumpers and bios rom). Power supply, packaging, etc, were all different, but the motherboard itself was the same.
     
  15. MooMoo

    MooMoo

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    Sorry to be so noobish, I don't know much about the differences in hardware bar the obvious visual properties, but I recently bought a replacement MD1 so my old MD1 could retire, and though its cosmetically and regionally identical, the new one has "made in Thailand" and the patents stamped into the plastic, whereas the old one had "made in China" and a patents sticker. My old one had a date stamp inside also, but the new one does not. Is it possible to determine which would be the older or newer Mega Drive? Is there likely to be any differences between the two? I was just curious with them having different areas of manufacture and a different shell with the patent stamping on one.
     
  16. Meat Miracle

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    Best bet is opening them up since no one figured out how the serial codes correspond to manufacturing/internal hardware.

    They could very well have the same hardware, with just the shell being manufactured elsewhere/elsewhen, though.
     
  17. SpeedStarTMQ

    SpeedStarTMQ

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    I think newer versions are made in China. Older versions seem to be made elsewhere. My uncle no longer has his Mega Drive but I did nab the controller before he lost it/got rid of it when moving, and it's made in Taiwan. My Mega Drive I (which does not have the HD Graphics sign on it) is made in China, as are the controllers, as is everything to do with my Sonic 2 bundle Mega Drive II.

    Serial numbers are no help because no one knows what the heck is going on with them.

    Interesting also to note that the official blue start buttoned Mega Drive controller I bought in Cash Converters a few years ago has "made in Taiwan". According the the wiki page, these controllers were the original Japanese, though I have no idea how one got over here in the UK:
    [​IMG]

    So everything seems to point out that "Made in China" means it's a newer model though I really need confirmation on this.

    Lastly, another factor I've found is that the two "Made in Taiwan" controllers have a smooth finish, whereas the other controllers have a tiny little bumped surface like there's some sort of slight grip on the controllers, whereas the old ones are totally smooth. No one's pointed this out either.
     
  18. Meat Miracle

    Meat Miracle

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    "Made in xyz" is not a clear indication of whether a model is newer or later, because they very probably had manufacturing/assembly plants at several location, active at the same time. The Saturn at its peak was made in 10 different plants in 7 different countries, at the same time. And the Megadrive was a hell of a lot more popular than the Saturn.

    Also, the PCBs and the plastic cases were probably made at different locations too.

    Like I said, your best bet is opening it up and checking the actual dates on the board and the case.
     
  19. MooMoo

    MooMoo

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    Yeah, only my Chinese one appears to have a datestamp though, I wouldnt know how to go about dating the Thai one. :/
     
  20. Meat Miracle

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    It should have some form of datestamp on the inside. Either on the plastic case, or on the motherboard. Or if neither is present, you can still approximate from the manufacturing dates on each ICs (which is grossly inaccurate because IC stock may have been way older than the actual manufacturing, but it's still a date).