Welcome to my
troubleshoot & repair guide for Dreamcast game consoles. I have
assembled much needed information about how to fix some common
Dreamcast problems. This guide was created
the information is somewhat obsolete so I am giving it away for
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The topics this guide covers are
Frequently Asked Questions/Problems and Fixes
Controller Port Troubleshooting
Controller Port Repair
Disk Reading Errors
Power Supply & No Power On
Intermediate Turn Off and Shut Downs
Care of Your Dreamcast
A can of compressed air is your best
friend when it comes to maintenance on your Dreamcast. Whenever you
can (maybe once a month or so) you should pop the flip top
up and spray out the laser with some compressed air. If you
have the time, open the system up fully, and blow out the
entire mainboard. You'd be surprised how much dust, dirt and
pet hair can accumulate in one month.
Turn your game console off after each use.
Running your Dreamcast for prolonged periods of time can add to the
wear and tear of your system, and the systems's internal
components. Overheating and freezing up and no turn on can
sometimes be attributed to leaving a console on idle over
Keep your disks clean. Put your game disks
back in their cases after each use. Dust and dirt can
accumulate on the game disk when it is left out. When you
put that same game back into your Dreamcast and turn it on- all
that dust and grime becomes property of your Dreamcast and can gum
up the innards or the console.
If at all possible, do not enclose your
console inside an entertainment center unless it has an open
back and can provide good air circulation. Keeping your
console enclosed without good circulation can lead to the mainboard overheating, and can render your power supply unit
or mainboard inoperable. The same goes for leaving your
console on the floor- if at all possible do not back the
unit up against the wall and block the fan.
Trying to play copied games? Shouldn't be
an immediate problem, but pressed CD's from the factory and
copied CD's are read differently by the laser. Over time,
playing copied CD's can wear down your laser from strain.
Lay off the CD-R's if you value your game console.
Dreamcast Problems and Fixes/FAQ
We suggest that you always take proper care of
your Dreamcast. This means powering it off when its not being used,
and storing it in a safe place. Do not leave it out in the open, or
up on a shelf or piece of furniture with the cords hanging low.
Tripping on the cords and causing the Dreamcast to come crashing
down is probably the most common reported cause for broken systems.
Remember to replace your games back in their jewel cases/holders to
prevent dust and scratches on the CD's from hindering your
Dreamcast's performance. Also, it is common for dust to transfer
from the CD to the Dreamcast, through playing dusty games. A can of
pressurized air is very useful when the Dreamcast tray is carrying
more dust then you are comfortable allowing. Feel free to blow it
out once or twice a month. If you are comfortable with opening the
Dreamcast enclosure then it also can be "air dusted" once every 6
Remember, you open your Dreamcast at your own
risk. Opening the Dreamcast will void your warranty every time!
My Dreamcast makes awful sounds while reading
1. The CD may have some scratches and the CD laser
on the Dreamcast is having problems reading it.
2. You're using a copy of the CD you want to play.
3. The position of the Dreamcast console is not
level and is not allowing the Dreamcast to spin properly and in a
1. Dirty disks are quite common. Remember to put
your CD back in its holder/case after use. AND NEVER PLACE A CD
DOWN- INFORMATION SIDE DOWN! This causes scratches that will cause
the laser to have problems reading your disk.
2. Donít play with copied CD's!! You will burn
your motor out by trying to read these disks! Once and a while you
might get away with it, but if its causing your Dreamcast to go
haywire- then trash the copied CD!
3. Dreamcast was designed for one position.
Horizontal. Dont try the upside down or sideways technique on this
My Dreamcast unit isnít turning on! (I push the
button, but the red light doesnít light!) and the CD doesnít
spin.... Itís just DEAD!)
1. The cord isnít properly plugged-in to your
2. Your Dreamcastís power supply is damaged
3. You plugged it into the wrong outlet
4. Thereís no electricity
5. Somehow, itís just not getting power!
1. Make sure that the plug of the Dreamcast is
firmly and exactly plugged into your outlet.
2. This is a common mistake among many. First of
all, before plugging in your Dreamcast into an outlet, check the
voltage of your Dreamcast. Most Dreamcast are for 110/120 volts. If
you mistakenly plugged it into a voltage higher than that (i.e.
220), the Dreamcast will take in excessive electricity and thus burn
out. Most likely, the power supply is damaged.
3. Sometimes you get frustrated, but itís just
because thereís no electricity coming out of the outlet. Itís either
thereís a blackout in your area that you now know of, or the fuse
for that outlet is broken (your other appliances in that particular
part of your house isnít working too). Call your Electricity
provider if thereís a blackout. If not, call an electrician to fix
your fuse. Unplug the Dreamcast during this process.
4. Be clever, look around. Is the on/off switch on
your wall set to "off"? Simple problems call for simple solutions.
My Dreamcast is on, thelight is lit. I have a
CD inside and its spinging as normal, but I donít see anything
happening on my TV.
1. Youíve made the wrong connection to your TV
2. You didnít make a connection to your TV
3. At worst, your TV isnít compatible with your
Dreamcast (PAL/NTSC issue)
1. Check your connection with your TV. If you have
a S-Video cable Connection for your TV and your Dreamcast, check it
properly so that Video cable from your Dreamcast is at the Video-in
port in your TV. If this doesnít work. Go to #3.
2. You probably just overlooked something small.
Connect your TV to your Dreamcast by following the instructions in
3. OK, TV/VCR/AUX/. The most common setting is to
plug directly into your S-Video connection at the back of your TV.
Depending on how you have your cable and VCR hooked up, you may need
to get into your TV options and set it to "AUX" or "VCR" whatever or
however you have it configured. Be sure to check run through
AUX/VCR/TV/VCR, you should be able to get the game to show on at
least 1 of those settings.
4. You bought a European Dreamcast?! (PAL
standard, Whereas U.S. is NTSC) Not compatible. The only option to
fix this (I've heard but not been able to replicate) is to "MOD" the
Games using a Dreamcast emulator, on your computer. Then burning the
MODded game back to CD. Do a search on the WEB for "PAL NTSC
The sound is quite scratchy or has no sound at
1. Bad audio connection or no audio connection to
2. TV sound system settings
3. Dreamcast sound system settings
4. Damaged TV or Dreamcast audio system
1. Check to see if your Dreamcastís audio cable is
properly connected to the audio-in port of your TV.
2. Check your TV audio settings. If there is sound
on your normal channels.
3. Check your Dreamcast if the game/DVDís audio
options are properly set.
4. Check your TV's sound system.
5. Ask Sega (always ask Sega, whenever possible)
The buttons suddenly stopped responding. But
just before it happened they work perfectly.
1. The Controller cord is loose
1. Unplug the controller from the controller port
and then plug it in again. Make sure that the controller port
connector is firmly inserted into the controller port slot. This
should fix the problem. If not try and plugging a different
controller (that you know works) into the same slot. If the problem
goes away, then you know the wiring in the first controller may be
faulty/loose. (due to winding and pulling on the cord). If the
problem does not stop, then your Dreamcast port connection piece may
be faulty/not soldered/broken. -either pull it apart and have a look
(for seasoned elec techs only) OR call Sega and arrange for them to
fix it for you.
Dreamcast Game freezes during play.
Overheating (easy fix)
1. *Could need a powersupply unit.
2. *Fan could not be working properly, causing the
chips to overheat.
I have a modified Dreamcast and all seems to
work fine then suddenly, every game in my collection crashes. And
that includes all of my original games.
1. You Modded your Dreamcast!!!
1. Whoops. You now own a completely worthless
piece of Sega memorabilia! (Sell it on ebay and get $10 for it)
Seriously, though. If it never worked once you modified it, then you
could have modified it incorrectly, or there could be a solder
short. However, if it once played, but now it does not.. then the
"modification" could have slowly fried a chip in your Dreamcast
rendering it useless now. I'd still open it up and check for the
I dont support MODs. I wont, I cant. I dont have
the time to help troubleshoot for hours on a game console that has
been MODded and internally fried. "Uh.. my Dreamcast wont power on",
so I try ripping my hair out trying to help some poor kid, only to
find out he modded it, destroyed the insides, and wasted 3 hours of
my time. Nope. I dont do MODs.
In here, youíll find troubleshooting tips about
games. This includes CD's and Dreamcast games.
My game for Dreamcast isnít working!
1. The CD has a lot of scratches
2. The Dreamcast is worn out due to extensive use
3. Youíre using bootleg CD's
4. You boofed and forgot to insert a game! (or
itís upside down!)
1. Take good care of your CD's. I suggest a
cleaning kit. I also suggest that you never place a CD down
information-side-down! EVER! Always put them back in their holders
when finished. Likely, you probably have some scratches and dust on
your game. Remove it and clean it if it is dusty. If itís extremely
scratched, try cleaning it, and if it still donít work then trash
2. This often happens if you use your Dreamcast
for 12-15 hours straight per day. That only means that you have to
get a life. Ahem. Anyway, let a Sony representative check it for you
if thereís something needed to be repaired. Then, do what he/she
3. Buy original games. Its illegal to copy games
and "trade" them about.
4. Make sure a game is inside! Doh!
I played a game and it worked fine. Then, when
I put in a new game, it suddenly hangs. (other games too!)
1. Memory CACHE Problem
2. The Lens is damaged
1. Oftentimes, data on the memory called "cache"
are left intact inside. It should be re-set with you turn off your
Dreamcast and then turn it on again. Sometimes, it corrupts new data
and the game can't put graphic (or even program files) data on the
memory and thus, you can't play the game. A couple of resets might
do the trick. But again, don't forget to ask a Sony representative.
2. Unplug it from the power source. Let it sit for
10-30 seconds (to allow the electronic components to fully
discharge) Now reboot!
3. OK, if your still having problems there may be
a serious problem with the Dreamcast. Either the processor or one of
the supporting RAM,ROM or BIAS chips has been internally shorted or
fried out over time.
Here, Iíll help you troubleshoot some problems
concerning the different ports in the system. Memory Card Slot,
Controller, USB port, and Ilink IEEE port.
Memory Card, Controller, USB/Ilink peripheral
canít be inserted into the Dreamcast/Dreamcast Controller.
1. Your peripheral isnít intended for the
2. The port is physically damage or the plug of
1. Dreamcast peripherals will most definitely fit
in the slots. Example would be the controller. Even if Sega didnít
make the controller, but it is intended for the Dreamcast, it must
fit in. (Its not healthy to use 2nd party controllers or memory
cards! You can burn out your controller port!)
2. Something is preventing the plug from fully
connecting with the port pins. Take a dry clean toothbrush and try
to go over the contacts to free anything that might be stuck in
there/ preventing the plug from securely connecting.
My peripheral isnít working but itís plugged in
1. Your peripheral isnít compatible with the
2. Your peripheral is damaged
3. The port it plugs into is damaged
1. Check your peripheralís documentation first if
it do work for your Dreamcast. Some are said to be compatible but
not working. Itís supposed to work. But it doesnít. If it isnít ask
your retailer what they can do To help you. Most of the time, they
gladly change the merchandise As long as you come back within just a
day or 2 from purchase.
2. If your peripheral is used quite long already,
it might be damaged and thus, canít be used for the Dreamcast
anymore. Ask the manufacturer of your peripheral for advice. Or, do
3. Clean the port first with a dry and clean cloth
or dry clean toothbrush. If it still doesnít work, try to check it
on another console. If it works on another console, then your
Dreamcastís port is damaged. If the doesnít work on the other
system, your peripheral is damaged.
1. You modded your Playstation!!! Doh!
1. Whoops. You now own a completely
worthless piece of Sony memorabilia! (Sell it on ebay and
get $10 for it) Seriously, though. If it never worked once
you modified it, then you could have modified it
incorrectly, or there could be a solder short. However, if
it once played, but now it does not.. then the
"modification" could have slowly fried a chip in your
Playstation rendering it useless now. I'd still open it up
and check for the obvious.
I dont support MODs. I wont, I cant. I
dont have the time to help troubleshoot for hours on a game
console that has been MODded and internally fried. "Uh.. my
Playstation wont power on", so I try ripping my hair out
trying to help some poor kid, only to find out he illegally
modded it, destroyed the insides, and wasted 3 hours of my
time. Nope. I dont do MODs.
to the next section.....
Sega, Sega Dreamcast and their
accessories are registered trademarks of Sega. This
informational list is copyrighted Aug 15, 2002 by William
Schott and may not be replicated, altered, sold or
distributed without written permission from the author.
Please note that attempting to open
your Dreamcast game console will void the warranty. Use
this guide to work on a Dreamcast at your own risk. The
author is not responsible for damage you may have occurred
by following this manual. Nor do we guarantee that by
following this manual that your Dreamcast be fixed.
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