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Thread: Japanese MD with RF mod... Why!

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    Default Japanese MD with RF mod... Why!

    Just bought another Mega Drive off ebay to mess around with. Unfortunately someone has bastardised it by adding an RF output and dropping it to 50Hz.

    It's an original Japanese model (HAA-2510) and I plan in restoring it back to it's former glory and hope it'll be relatively easy. I've never come across an RF mod before, especially where the cable is connected internally and comes out through the screw hole used for the master system converter.

    I've not opened it up yet as it only arrived this morning and I'm now just leaving for work. I'm hoping it's not a mess inside! At least it's working as I took a gamble with it being sold as untested.

    I was thinking about modding my other PAL model 1 HDG Mega Drive (VA4 board I think)... But It's in great condition and boxed, so I might just leave it alone and work on this Japanese unit instead.

    Is the RF mod usually easily reversible on a Japanese MD?

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    I am not sure if that is a mod or not. I've seen a bunch of japanese looking mega drives with RF cables sticking out of them. I think they might be mega drives meant for asian countries that use PAL.

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    It definitely sounds like an early Asian PAL machine.

    A lot of these were full Japanese Models converted to PAL and as you say the RF unit attached. Unless it is one someone for some bizarre reason made to look like an Asian machine you should find it mods back to 60Hz easily. As for RF you can easily detach the cable and leave the module inside after opening it. This is what I did with my original one bought way back when I still had hair... which is a looooonng time ago

    When modding back to 60hz it should be true 60hz and not the 'fake' one that can sometimes cause problems with modern TV's.

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    I would love to see some pictures of this thing as I'm curious if someone actually did mod the thing like that.
    05/05/15

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    Quote Originally Posted by PowerPie5000 View Post
    Just bought another Mega Drive off ebay to mess around with. Unfortunately someone has bastardised it by adding an RF output and dropping it to 50Hz.

    It's an original Japanese model (HAA-2510) and I plan in restoring it back to it's former glory and hope it'll be relatively easy. I've never come across an RF mod before, especially where the cable is connected internally and comes out through the screw hole used for the master system converter.

    I've not opened it up yet as it only arrived this morning and I'm now just leaving for work. I'm hoping it's not a mess inside! At least it's working as I took a gamble with it being sold as untested.

    I was thinking about modding my other PAL model 1 HDG Mega Drive (VA4 board I think)... But It's in great condition and boxed, so I might just leave it alone and work on this Japanese unit instead.

    Is the RF mod usually easily reversible on a Japanese MD?
    Crazy coincidence as I came on here to look up VA5/VA6 PCB information as I have precisely the same situation with a Japanese Mega Drive modified with an RF modulator that's been hanging around for a while and I came across your thread.

    If you are in the UK (or that Mega Drive found it's way to you via the UK) then I can explain what is going on. Back in the late 80's and early 90's, most people in the UK did not have a television that was capable of displaying a 60hz signal - hell many of those TV's did not even have Composite imputs, let alone SCART! I would say that as you went from a TV bought in the mid 80's to early 90's, this would be the case. As you got into the early 90's and by the mid 90's, more TV's were 60hz and had Composite inputs or a SCART socket. Also worth bearing in mind that even if a TV did have more than an RF socket, chances are that anything you plugged in with an NTSC signal would give a rolling and/or black and white image! You might have been lucky if your parents paid out more for a top end Sony, but in many cases the only way you would get 60hz or RGB input was with a monitor, like the ones from Commodore or Phillips that were used with Amiga's and Atari ST's.

    When the PC Engine exploded in Japan, magazines in the UK like Computer and Video Games started reporting and ultimately reviewing these systems and games. This lead to huge interest from inpatient gamers who wanted these near perfect arcade conversions and other titles that blew away even what the Amiga was capable of. As we all know, NEC never bothered to come to Europe and it took Sega a good two years to officially release the Mega Drive in the UK, so to satiate these eager gamers, lots of grey importers started to spring up in the adverts of the same magazines that were reviewing these incredible titles that were not available in the high street.

    I would love to know which company figured it out, but these small traders started to convert the 60hz NTSC signal to 50hz PAL by adding a modulator internally and in the case of the Mega Drive, running the lead out the back of the console precisely as you describe. My very first Mega Drive was one such unit, bought from a place called CES in Barnes, London which traded out the back of a newsagent for around 190 in early 1990 (I had ordered it with Ghouls'n Ghosts, but they sent it with DJ Boy and refunded me 10!)

    I remember that Mega Drive wasn't even converted internally to run games in English... I saw a similar Japanese console at a show that was running games with English title screens and text and eventually phoned one of these places up who explained that if I cut the relevent jumper, it would convert it (I guess that counts as my first mod!) This is before the time of hz and language switches, those were a couple of years later. My original Japanese copy of Ghouls'n Ghosts (which I had finally got) still displayed Japanese text even with the jumper cut, although my UK Revenge of Shinobi (that had previously displayed Super Shinobi on the title screen) did work. I had to swap that Ghouls'n Ghosts for what is obviously a newer revision to get a cart with the English text on it.

    So anyone asking why somebody would do that... It's because back in the very early 90's, it's the only way most of us could play these increcible systems in our own home, before they were officially released.

    As for the modulator in mine, it looks like the NTSC crystal is still present, so I will fire it up and see what it does through both the internal modification, and also through the RGB port on the back. I plan to try and take it back to stock Japanese as well, as I already have a couple of consoles with switches, so it would be nice to have this one as it was originally intended.

    Thus concludes my grey import history lesson for today!

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    Quote Originally Posted by cawley1 View Post
    Crazy coincidence as I came on here to look up VA5/VA6 PCB information as I have precisely the same situation with a Japanese Mega Drive modified with an RF modulator that's been hanging around for a while and I came across your thread.

    Haha. I still have my Hong Kong unit even after all these years, much like you



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    Quote Originally Posted by Team Andromeda View Post
    Haha. I still have my Hong Kong unit even after all these years, much like you
    Well look at that. That's pretty neat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Team Andromeda View Post
    Haha. I still have my Hong Kong unit even after all these years, much like you
    I'm the same, got it long before official release and it was PAL speed. I got the shop to mod it later once i heard about the mods. Used it with a scart cable pretty much from the off.

    Only years later when I got the unit out again and stuck it on an OSSC did i notice it was running at real NTSC speeds and not PAL converted to NTSC.

    I've still got the unit but I tend to use a true Japanese unit

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    Quote Originally Posted by Narenek View Post
    I'm the same, got it long before official release and it was PAL speed. I got the shop to mod it later once i heard about the mods. Used it with a scart cable pretty much from the off.

    Only years later when I got the unit out again and stuck it on an OSSC did i notice it was running at real NTSC speeds and not PAL converted to NTSC.

    I've still got the unit but I tend to use a true Japanese unit
    Mine is Pal speed and I also got an Asian/Hong Kong Mega Drive 2 that also runs only at 50 Hz (my import shop was selling it cheap)
    I got mine on import from a Scottish import shop that use to use total rip off's of the Simpsons in advertisements (can't remember its name now) before the official Pal launch (it came with Super Thunderblade lol) but mine developed a fault with the power supply and they wouldn't refund or replace it and my mum looked to never use/buy from an import shop again (back in my school days) and so my Mum ended up getting me the official Mega Drive on its Pal launch for Christmas 1990, which was one of the best Christmas ever for me.

    The perfect Christmas day in mums house. Just Me and my old Staffstaffordshire bull terrier up at 5AM Christmas morning with the old coal Parkray fire on full blast and playing the Mega Drive, while the others slept. It's because of that that I actually started to keep and look after game system boxes (usually a few months the boxes would be thrown out). My Staff's footprints are still in the Polystyrene box that held the Mega Drive; like most Dogs, my Staff had to sniff and check anything new in the house, to make sure it was safe LOL.
    To this day I will never part with it because his footprints are still in it
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    Mine was just in the local games store and I grabbed it. Only one there. It ran at 50hz until modded.. the day I flipped that switch and sonic 1 played at correct speeds was just so much of a good memory.

    Eventually i bought an import of super street fighter, cost me 90 at the time but so worth it. Playing that on the modded machine then going to a friends house with it to play on a model 2 PAL machine everything seemed in slow motion. I kicked their butt constantly just because the game seemed slow to me

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    Quote Originally Posted by Narenek View Post
    Mine was just in the local games store and I grabbed it. Only one there. It ran at 50hz until modded.. the day I flipped that switch and sonic 1 played at correct speeds was just so much of a good memory.

    Eventually i bought an import of super street fighter, cost me 90 at the time but so worth it. Playing that on the modded machine then going to a friends house with it to play on a model 2 PAL machine everything seemed in slow motion. I kicked their butt constantly just because the game seemed slow to me
    I was much the same. I didn't get to play and see the wonders of 60 Hz until the Mega-CD came out and I needed a Japanese Mega Drive. It was like a night and difference. I couldn't believe how much better games like Ghouls N Ghosts and Strider run and a full screen display was like magic. Love those days and memories
    Panzer Dragoon Zwei is
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