Reviving an unresponsive Mega CD Model 1

2012-04-27 15:04

SEGA’s Mega Drive CD-ROM add-on comes in a few flavours: the fat model 1 tray-loader, the slim model 2 top-loader, the beastly LaserActive, and a small variety of MD+CD combination consoles from SEGA and JVC. The model 2 Mega CD is cheap, plentiful, and fairly reliable, but I prefer the model 1 to pair with my modded model 1 Mega Drive. My recently-purchased $6 eBay Mega CD 1 refused to power on, but it was a very simple repair.

First of all, remember the Mega CD won’t boot without the Mega Drive attached. If you see the front power LED on the Mega CD but no picture, check the console-to-console connection. If you see no power LED at all, continue.

The Mega CD model 1, like the model 1 Mega Drive, uses a center-negative DC power supply. If prodded to guess, I imagine my unit was killed by powering it with a more common center-positive supply. Either way, the fix is very simple: open it up and replace the fuse!

Radio Shack fuse holder and bag of fuses.

To prevent an annoying repeat, pick up an automotive fuse holder and use socketed 1.5A fuses. Your local Radio Shack should have you covered with #270-1281 and #270-1006.

The fuse is accessible as soon as the top case is removed, but I suggest disassembling the console and freeing the power/AV board for ease of repair. Look for the existing fuse marked F1 on the board, and test it with a continuity tester if you have one. Mine was a small green axial package, but yours may vary. If it’s dead, remove it by de-soldering its leads from the board and gently pulling it free on both ends.

Sega CD board with socketed fuse installed.

Strip the new fuse holder’s wires and pare them down to a few strands each, trimming the excess. The large automotive wire won’t fit through the circuit board’s small holes otherwise. Solder in both sides of the holder, fit it with a new fuse, and gently attach the Mega Drive. Power your repaired unit with an official MK-1602 or any 9V-12V center-positive 1.2A power supply. Connect power to both consoles and AV to the Mega Drive, and get ready to test.

Sega CD Model 1 booted up displaying the attract mode.

Success, and lookin’ beautiful over S-Video!