FIXING YOUR DC


Dreamcast Rebooting Problem

Many people have reported a problem with their Dreamcastís where the machine suddenly reboots at random and sometimes refuses to read discs. This can obviously get really annoying.

This seems to be a common issue with regards to the PAL version though it may also affect Dreamcastís from other regions. I personally have owned a Japanese machine for 5 years and it has never had this problem.

The following is a few solutions for making this problem go away. Luckily these are not too invasive to your DC. I have performed the routine on a number of machines and it appeared to cure the problem.

Before resorting to taking your machine apart try these 2 simple things. It is also assumed that you know how to take your Dreamcast apart.

Clean the Laser

When the DC can not read itís media properly and corrupted data gets into RAM a reboot can occur. First off make sure the disc you are using is not badly scratched or has grime on it. Sometimes if grime builds up too much the DC will refuse to boot the game. If it is one of the early games then itís possible you have a faulty GDROM as there was some in circulation at the time of the machines launch in the PAL territories.

If the disc looks good then clean the laser as dust builds up on it over time.

The easiest way would be with a cotton bud and to carefully rub the end over the lasers eye. This should remove any dust in there. Alternately you could use a CD lens cleaner CPC (Part No AV10577 £2.85) or and some cloth and then very gently rub over with your finger.

Operating Position

If youíre running your DC on the floor with a chunky carpet then try elevating it. The fan at the side of the unit may be struggling to ventilate the inside properly. Giving it enough height so the fan is not covered up will help.

Likewise if it is running next to a heat source.

Power Supply Clean

This likely the main cause of your problem. As it gets warm in your DC some of the plastic sockets on the PSU board which holds the contacts of the PSU to the motherboard get loose and results in bad connections. In this situation a power cut occurs and triggers the reset.

Solution

Remove all the cables and modem and take your DC apart.

Next you need to remove the PSU board. This is the light brown board located to the left.

There are 2 screws which hold it in place and a set of clips down the left hand side. There is also a wire which clips into a small socket to the top.

Once loose gently ease the board. It will still be connected to the mother board through 6 metal prongs in a white socket located to the front of the unit. Only a small amount of force is required.

Once the board is completely out you will see a thin piece of clear plastic. You should not have to remove it but if you do itís vital it goes back.

The white socket on the PSU board where the 6 prongs come through must be cleaned. The cleaner the better. Use something like WD40 for good results. Give the 6 prongs a clean too.

Reseat the PSU board and make sure there is good contact between the socket and the prongs. Screw, clip and attach the cable back in securing the PSU board. Give the whole area a blow out to remove any other dirt that has built up over time particularly the PSU board. If you have a can of air duster then this will do the job great.

Reassemble.

This should hopefully cure your rebooting problem. This is not a permanent fix but it should last you a good year or two depending on how much you use your DC. If the problem resurfaces then perform the same routine.

Power Supply Fuse

This Iíve been told by technical people in that this should not cause any problems. In this particular instance Iíve seen it do so.

Replace the fuse on the power supply board with another 2Amp fuse.

Loss of Control / Port Dead

Another problem that can occur with your DC is the sudden failure of a controller. This is generally down to the controller port itself. The solder on the 2 joints either side of the actual port connector that connects to the board with the other ports seems to be weak. Over time as pads are pushed in and out a dry joint breaks the contact to the board. This is a simple repair providing you have a good soldering iron are relatively good at soldering.

VMU ďScreamsĒ

If your VMU beeps for a second or so rather loud when you power up your machine it will mean that the batteries inside the VMU are dead.

These are 2x CR2032 coin cell batteries 3V (CMOS batteries) and are located underneath a small panel on the back of the unit. You need to replace these in pairs. They can be bought easily from any hardware shop or CPC.(Part No.BT00878 approx £2 for 5)