Introduction: Dreamcast Led Mod

Step 1: What You Will Need

Dreamcast (duh)
Philips screwdriver
Soldering Iron & solder
Led (any color, bright ones work best)
(Thats it!)

Step 2: Dissasemble

1. Make sure you remove any disk from the tray before beginning (it prevents the console from being opened)
2. Flip the System over and remove the modem (press down on the clip and pull it off)
3. Remove the 4 screws holding the case together (one in each corner, don't forget the one where the modem was)
4. Flip the console over and gently pull the top half of the case up

Step 3: Get the Controller Port Out

1. Unscrew the 4 screws holding the port down
2. GENTLY! pull the ribbon cable out of its socket and the power cable for the fan
3. Pull the board out (you might have to lean it back to get the plastic ports out of the case)

Step 4: Replace the LED

1. De-solder the led 
2. Solder in your new led
3. Plug it all the wires back in and hook it up to power and test the led (Don't touch the power supply for gods sake...)
4. Re-Assemble the console

Done, enjoy


rabidmouse (author)2014-06-09

I think the default LCD is boring. Thanks!

Nightsail (author)2011-04-13

I have a Dreamcast with a completely busted up LED, and I figure this is a good opportunity to replace its orange LED with a nice blue one. I know what size and shape of LED I need, but other than that, I don't have a clue -- I'm new to using LEDs.

I read somewhere that the DC gives its LED 3.3v, and that I need an LED that produces at least 1,000 mcd, but I'm not too familiar with LED specs or how bright 1k mcd is. I was thinking to order some LEDs online for really cheap, but I'm not sure what to get -- I see listings for 10k-18k mcd LEDs, and I don't want to turn on the DC to play at night and end up blinded by the bright blue light on the front of it that outshines the TV or something.

Any thoughts?

X920MikeyB (author)Nightsail2012-01-27

I guess this replies almost a year old but if you get to read this and haven't done your LED mod yet then I could give you some tips as I'm a complete newb to all of this and I totally suck at soldering! ^,^ however after a lot of great effort, time and mistakes (Including burning part of my controller board...) I've finally done the MOD! I've replaced the old boring orange LED with an awesome slow RGB led. It changes through the RGB colours slowly. Bloody EPIC! A job well done :]

First I'd recommend getting all the stuff needed such as the soldering iron etc and the LED(s).

Few things you need to know Nightsail, and anyone else reading this.

LED's are 3V and yes for any other LED mods such as controller ports, and the fan led mod etc you will need to use the 3.3v pin from the power supply. For this you will need the correct resistor aswell.

But before you de-solder your original LED off the controller circuit board. Make sure you have a solder sucker gun. TRUST ME!

Then make sure your LED goes the correct way around, yes, one sides + (Live) other sides - (Negative). I found this out the hard way as none of the tutorials out there state that it has to go a "Certain way" including this instructable... -,-"

As far as I'm aware (Correct me if I'm wrong) The "LONG" leg on the LED (one legs longer than the other) Is the Negative ( - ) and the short leg is the Positive ( + ). - To be 100% sure or to test this, get a 3V flat battery and stick the LED on either side. Only 1 way will work. The battery should be marked with a + on the positive side. Remember the + goes to - in a circuit so the leg touching the + side will be the Negative side, and the leg touching the opposide side (aka -) will be the Positive leg. (Should be the short one)

Now you need to make sure you wire the LED the correct way. The long LEG (Neutral) goes on the A (left) side of the A-( * * )-K * * = holes for the legs for the LED. and the Short leg (Positive) goes on the K side. However you can check this (BE VERY CAREFUL) you will need the Dreamcast powered, and with the controller board partly out so that you can access the bottom of the board however it needs to still be plugged in. (Not sure the fans too important but I make sure its plugged in aswell as the ribbon cable). Then put the led legs on the pins already there (soldered) for the original led. Remember which side is A and which side is K (This is marked on the top of the board) With ports facing towards you, and the fan socket on the right, A is on the Left, K is on the right near where it says LED1.

See where the "wires" or contacts go on the circuit board, you'll see from the left there's 2 going in and on the right there's only 1. Put 1 leg (short) on the left bit of solder / pin. And the right leg on the other pin. If it lights up, it's the way you solder it. To double check, keep the short leg on the left LED pin (A) and put the right leg on the soldered pin along the single line (the first one you come to) again this should light up. Your original LED may go out but don't worry about this.

So once you've found the correct way to wire it up. Make a note. But providing your LED legs are correct, the short one being N (A side) and the long being L (K side) then desolder your original LED becareful not to touch the board with the soldering iron. I torched parts of my board which made it harder to solder the LED in place because I had to apply extra solder to get past the burnt parts so that it worked.

IMPORTANT! - Learn how to solder, before soldering. It's not as "Easy" as people make out. Remember, something is only EASY if you know how to do it. - There's youtube videos and articles on google. You need to heat the component leg / pin with the iron and apply the solder to the component leg/pin not the soldering iron. This will ensure a neat solder point is done.

But practice first and do your research. It's only a LED mod, but trust me I learnt the hard way by diving in head first. I had to de-solder an LED throw it away and re-solder another one in. All this in-experienced soldering torched part of the board / connections which made it harder to then get the LED soldered and working.

I will be doing a youtube video on this so if anyone is interested then be sure to search me: MikeyB2k9 on youtube. I'll probably upload it within 1-2 weeks of this post.

Hope all my info's helped anyone out there... Just be careful guys, you don't want to screw your dreamcast up for the sake of 1 LED. However if you want to do further mods, I recommend doing this first to get the hang of things. Or practice soldering / de-soldering on something else, a scrap circuit board or something not so important and rare as a dreamcast.



Kirbsome! (author)2010-09-06

It's a nice and simple mod, gotta give you that.
Just one thing;
you're messing with original retro hardware, you heretic!

toogers (author)Kirbsome!2010-11-03

that's just what i was gonna say. i only mess with retro hardware if it's broken.

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