Dreamcast CDRW tutorial
Updated 2005-01-21 : Added some pictures
First version 2005-01-19
modification could shorten the lif of your dreamcast.
I tried to set my dreamcast up to be able
to read cdrw using some tutorials on the Internet, but it wouldn't
work, in fact the 450 ohms resistor I used was too low (300 Ohms in
parallel), I hooked up a trimmer in parallel with the optical unit's
trimmer and made some tests (the values I give are for parallel
530 ohms : CDR
works CDRW does not
507 ohms : CDR
works CDRW does not
475 ohms : CDR
seems to start having trouble reading CDRW works !
430 ohms : CDR
makes ugly sounds CDRW works
395 ohms : CDR
more noise still works CDRW works
342 ohms : CDR
does not work CDRW works
320 ohms : neither
I tried two different brands of CDRW, both
worked (but I made all the tests with only one). I had to use a boot
disc, autoselfboot CDRW never worked.
So I must use a resistor in between 475
and 342 ohms, that's for parallel value, as the optical unit's trimmer
is set to about 900ohms it gives me 1005ohms and 550ohms for extreme
If you want to try by yourself make some
experimentations with a 10K trimmer.
Warning it may be dangerous for the
laser diode to use values too low, don't go under 200 ohms in parallel.
Here's how I soldered my wires :
First you'll have to open your dreamcast,
I assume you're able to do so (and you can solder without messing the
Remove the optical unit, only 3 screws and
here you go.
Open the optical unit, there's 5 screws,
two of them are hidden under the black pad (where I put red dots on the
image below) if you manage to
make the solders without disconnecting the wires, fine, because they're
hard to reconnect.
have to solder two wires to the two
leftmost pins of the ribbon cable connector (in fact those two pins
lead directly to the two pins of the optical unit trimmer on which
other cdrw tutorials said to solder wires)
not to melt the ribbon if soldering like this.
A good place for the wires through the shield is the hole for the
screw (see picture 1 too)
Then close the optical unit
Solder a resistor (or a trimmer for testing) and a switch at the end of
the dreamcast body and here you are.
course I don't take responsability if you burn anything trying to
follow this tutorial, this come with hope that it can be useful, but
without any warranty.