Blowing up the Dreamcast Controller Board.

This is a public service message to all the Dreamcast fans out there.

I have heard from many different sources that crappy third party controllers can easily blow out ports on your Dreamcast.

What I found out yesterday was that even an official Dreamcast controller can do this. A first party Dreamcast controller I had recently bought was faulty and blew out the F1 resistor in the controller board. That means that NONE of the controller ports will work.

Here is the culprit. I bought it from a thrift shop the other day.

I suppose it's live by thrift shops, die by the thrift shops. But there are two ways to look at buying Dreamcast stuff from pawn shops, Salvation army, "boot sales", garage sales...ect.

A. - Most people won't resell or donate electronics that they know are faulty.

B. - Most people are jerks or too stupid to know that the stuff they are selling is faulty.

For me it's a moot point. I only paid like $10 for the Dreamcast I blew up because I got it at a garage sale. I could have paid more for stuff from Ebay, but are electronics purchased like that really safer? It's debatable.

Anyways you can buy a new resistor to replace the one the faulty controller blew out. It takes a bit of time and RISK to your Dreamcast. Some people have had better luck than others.

Here is a nice little guide from the Devcast site:

And here is a little blurb from the Dreamcast Scene Site.

There is also a less safe but easier way

I do not suggest that anyone tries this. You can hurt/kill yourself if you don't know anything about electronics (I was supposed to unplug it?!!?!?) and you can easily damage your Dreamcast beyond all repair. It involves using a bit of wire to directly connect the legs of the busted F1 resistor.

I am mainly putting this up so people get a little better picture of what the F1 fuse looks like.

Basically the Dreamcast is very easy to crack open. You just need a regular Phillips head screwdriver.

Take out the 4 screws then flip it over to remove the top.

You then can see all the bits that make the Dreamcast magical!

Anyways there is the damn F1 resistor that blows out if you use a crap controller

(or an official controller that's faulty)

My crappy fix actually seemed to work. However, this Dreamcast might now be the largest fire hazard in my house. Plus if you ever use a faulty controller in that Dreamcast it might just blow out the whole thing...

So it's a bit hard to fix this if you are not used to it. Buying a new resistor isn't expensive but you will need a soldering iron to get the old one out and replace it.

It might be a better idea to simply buy a replacement controller board or even a new Dreamcast.

In conclusion beware of trying out new controllers! If you happen to have two Dreamcasts don't use the nicer one to test out controllers for the first time. And yes, even official Dreamcast controllers can ruin your controller ports.

All in all I suppose that it's a good lesson to learn. Even the Dreamcast can fail (though it's pretty damn simple to try and fix it).


NebachadnezzaR said...

Those pictures remind me of when I had to open my Dreamcast, twice to calibrate the laser and one time to fix the reset problem. She's alright now (at least I think so, haven't played for more than a month).

Caleb said...

Btw the correct 10 ohm resistor part number from Radio Shack is:


Glad to hear she's ok Neb.

(I always knew Dreamcasts were girls, they are just so cute)

Anonymous said...

Holy shit, and I wantedd to buy one of those in black colour!

Caleb said...

Do you mean a first party black controller?

Well most official Dreamcast controllers seem to have a VERY low risk of this happening.

Plus I got my from a crooked pawn shop not from an actual person.

If it's offical first party stuff you generally don't have to worry.

However, I guess there is always a small chance.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if something like a "faulty controller" really exists... I heard that it can happen with the arcade stick or the fishing rod because they're using more power. My F1 resistor died simply by plugging in a second official controller in my Dreamcast. I put a 10 ohm resistor instead of the +-5 ohm original one and everything has been fine for over a year now.

Caleb said...

I was unsure how to describe the controller that shorted my Dreamcast out. Since it shorted out a system that has used many other controllers (including the fishing rod) in the past I just called it faulty.

I plugged it in with no other controllers, with NO VMU, NO RUMBLE pack. And then the control ports which had just worked mere moments before did not work.

So yeah. I picked up some 10 ohm resisitors at Radio Shack and I am gonna replace it tommorow.

Animated AF said...

Darn, I've heard of this before, although it's never happened to me. Another reason why you would would never want to own an unofficial DC controller 9excluding the unofficial steering wheel with it's proper pedels and built in rumble): they're bloody ugly. Seriously, my gametstaion has a whole barrel of unofficial Dreamcast controllers and they all look like deformed mutants.

Caleb said...

"I'm not sure if something like a "faulty controller" really exists..."

I have actually read dozens of accounts of this happening because controllers have shorts in them.

Sure it might happen because a fishing rod or wheel takes too much power or someone unplugs and plugs a cord, but most of the incidents I have read about have dealt with a specific controller.

Most of these controllers that have a short in them are 3rd party, but a few people have reported that 1st party stuff can faulty and have a short.

Tom Charnock said...

yeah, that happened to me - i just tied a bit of speaker wire around the legs of the resistor to bypass it. It says it could present a fire hazard or some shit, but my DC hasn't blown up yet. And anyway - it's at my brother's flat so if it does, it won't be my living room engulfed in flames! He he!

Caleb said...

I don't think anyone's Dreamcast has burst into flames from the wire fix.

Anyways the engineer replaced the fuse with a high quality Sony one and did a profession solder job for me.

Now if I can only live with the shame of having a Sony part in my Sega Dreamcast...

fatherkrishna said...

Some good tech information there. I have a stack of official controllers and several backup Dreamcasts, and I've never encountered the problem.

Anonymous said...

will one of these work on the controller board ive been lookining for a few days i dont have a clue