Dreamcast Gets A Plug-n-Play Hard Drive Mod

The Dreamcast was a proud moment for Sega, at least initially, being the first console to launch of a new generation. Unfortunately this didn’t translate into massive sales, and the plug was pulled far earlier than expected. The console retains a dedicated fanbase to this day however, who continue to tinker with the hardware. [DreamcastChannel] is one of them, and put together a nifty plug-and-play hard drive mod.

The mod is based on earlier work, which consisted of manually soldering the 44 lines of an IDE cable on to the main Dreamcast motherboard. This allowed an IDE hard drive to be neatly mounted inside the shell, but [DreamcastChannel] knew it was possible to do better.

Starting from scratch, the GDROM optical drive assembly is gutted, leaving just its metal case and PCB. The IDE cable for the hard disk is then soldered to the pads on the PCB. A 3D printed mount is used to fix the hard drive to the metal case. This allows the entire assembly to slot neatly into the Dreamcast, using the GDROM’s original connector.

It’s a hack that makes putting a hard drive into the Dreamcast neat and tidy. Combined with a hacked BIOS and Dreamshell, it makes playing backup games a breeze. We’ve seen plenty of Dreamcast hacks before, too – the VMU is often a key candidate for attention. Video after the break.

[Thanks to Dale Gribble for the tip!]

22 thoughts on “Dreamcast Gets A Plug-n-Play Hard Drive Mod

    1. Why? If you want it for a speed up then I doubt you’ll see it. It’s IDE and IIRC not a full speed one. You also need to use IDE style jumpers.

      If it’s for power you’ll need to put a load on the original DC supply as voltage regulation is worse at lower loads.

      In this case I think platters will be best until SSDs have a cost advantage.

    1. I grok that you mean I-Opener, for I once looked into converting one of those pests into a special purpose gadget… It didn’t work out obtaining one. But perhaps you do mean the Virgin Webplayer? Now there was an interesting kludge. For me the less said the better.

  1. I have a Dreamcast here, I’d rather figure out how to add secondary storage to it without removing the Optical widget. Now if someone could track down a BBA that’s cheap, then that’d be candy.

  2. s/DreamcastChannel/DreamcasticChannel/pcwzrd13

    This man is pretty famous in the dreamcast scene. 85% compatibility, or that it bumps up against issues when facing audio tracks are other facts you could pull from the original source.

  3. I wonder if the flex cable technique from the other article about adding a link port to the Super Gameboy would be a good thing to try here to make the IDE soldering easier. Then throw in an IDE to SATA bridge chip to allow it to use modern HDs.

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