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Rhea ODE

Rhea ODE

Postby Nightbreed » Wed Dec 17, 2014 1:07 pm

In the post today my Rhea arrived :D
Rhea is an ODE for the Sega Saturn and is currently only compatible with 20 pin CD-Drives found in Model 1 Sega Saturns with either a VA0 or VA1 motherboard

This is the kit - a Rhea main board, 2 plastic spacers and a 20 pin cable.

Rhea01.jpg


It's a very simple install, first remove the CD drive then solder 2 wires from the Saturn main board to the Rhea board. (+5V and GND)
The Rhea board sits on 2 of the original CD drive mounts and the plastic spacers make everything level. (May hot glue the spacers at some point if I feel it's necessary)
The new 20 pin cable was a nice addition as I can keep my original cable with the removed CD drive - just a couple of bends to get the cable aligned correctly and that's it - Rhea installed :)

Rhea02.jpg


Reassemble the Saturn - and this is what it looks like with the lid open. I thought it was going to be difficult to put a SD card in and out but there's surprisingly a lot of room.

Rhea03.jpg


Operation

It is very similar to the GDEmu in terms of operation. Prepare the SD card first - and use folders for each game. The folder need to be numbered and in succession (So 01, 02, 03 ... etc)
The game image needs to be titled disc (So disc.cdi, disc.mdf & disc.mds, disc.ccd disc.img disc.sub)
***Edit***
Since firmware 3.3.0 you no longer need to rename to 'disc' Rhea now finds the games by extension.
**********

DK's preferred format is CDI - but there is support for MDF/MDS and CCD/IMG/SUB. He did state on his blog that he does not intend to have BIN/CUE support though - so for my first test I mounted any BIN/CUE images I had and just made them into a CDI.

  • 01 - Radiant SIlvergun - CDI ~ Ran perfectly
  • 02 - Steam Hearts - CDI ~ Ran perfectly
  • 03 - Twinklestar Sprites - CCD/IMG/SUB - Ran perfectly
  • 04 - Twinklestar Sprites Omake CD - CCD/IMG/SUB - Did not run (However after mounting image in my PC and changing to CDI it ran perfectly lol)
  • 05 - Wangan Deadheat - MDF/MDS - Ran Perfectly
  • 06 - Wangan Deadheat VideoCD (RealArrange) - MDF/MDS - Ran perfectly (Wanted to test it with the videocd card installed)
  • 07 - Sega Rally Championship - CCD/IMG/SUB - Ran perfectly
  • 08 - Nights into Dreams - CCD/IMG/SUB - Ran perfectly
  • 09 - Vampire Hunter Darkstalkers Revenge - CDI (Changed from BIN/CUE) - Ran perfectly

Overall a good first test so far, i'll update this post when or if any bugs/issues are found.
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Last edited by Nightbreed on Wed Mar 11, 2015 1:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Rhea Prototype Arrived

Postby Laforga » Wed Dec 17, 2014 1:45 pm

Thanks for the update Nightbreed, those are excellent news!
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Re: Rhea Prototype Arrived

Postby NoMention » Wed Dec 17, 2014 1:57 pm

That's awesome. I read the news over at the GDEMU blog site and can't wait for the orders to open up. This will certainly make it easier to access my game collection and keep my kid's destructive hands off my CDs.

Does this have the same folder limit like the GDEMU one? Since the games are smaller I was hoping to store more of them instead of having to need multiple SD cards.
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Re: Rhea Prototype Arrived

Postby Nightbreed » Wed Dec 17, 2014 2:07 pm

NoMention wrote:Does this have the same folder limit like the GDEMU one? Since the games are smaller I was hoping to store more of them instead of having to need multiple SD cards.


Can't say on the folder limit as I've not filled up a card yet. The 9 discs I tested only came to 3.8GB.
As you manually cycle to the next disc by pressing the on board button - I probably will use 4 & 8GB cards for this (As a 64GB card could hold 150+ discs lol and imagine the time it would take to get to disc 150 by pressing the button!)
Also with people wanting bigger microSD cards for their phones - 4 & 8GB cards can be bought extremely cheaply.
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Re: Rhea Prototype Arrived

Postby shubiduba » Wed Dec 17, 2014 6:13 pm

That's incredible, it's great to see such things coming up. Maybe we won't have to worry about our consoles biting the dust some day!
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Re: Rhea Prototype Arrived

Postby Nightbreed » Fri Dec 19, 2014 1:01 am

Had a good day of testing today - so here is an update for any who are interested :)

Tested another 68 titles - a few of the CCD/IMG/SUB images failed to load but after mounting them on the PC and making CDI images then all titles ran perfectly.
I tried many types of games from puzzle, fighters, shmups, racing etc - even a few multimedia titles to check audio/video sync and a video CD too!
I was expecting a few bugs but so far Rhea has ran everything I've tried :D

DK has updated his blog too with some more info. Rhea will region patch games on loading and also there is a solder point for auto switching of 50/60hz.

Deunan wrote:Go-Go-Gadget

Several Rheas have already been delivered and these are very common questions:

◾50/60 Hz auto-switch

There is a solder point on the PCB marked “Hz“, and a solder jumper marked “Select“. You need to route a wire between the Saturn’s chip lifted pin and the Hz point, plus solder the jumper to select the default setting. This however is not yet working (the current FW doesn’t even support it) so leave it be for now. It’s coming soon, I need to test this first to make sure it works as expected.

◾Region patcher

Rhea is region free as is GDEMU – in the sense that it doesn’t care about regions at all. The lockout is enforced by BIOS, not the drive. You can however either patch the images yourself (there are tools for that) or have Rhea do it for you during game detection/loading. To enable that you need to tell it what region your console is – create ASCII text file named “Rhea.ini” in the root folder of the card, then place the following entry in it:

auto_region = N

where N is the code for your console region, or -1 to disable the patcher (the default setting). The codes are:

0: JAPAN, 1: TAIWAN and PHILIPINES, 2: USA and CANADA, 3: BRAZIL, 4: KOREA, 5: ASIA PAL area, 6: EUROPE, 7: LATIN AMERICA

Email me if you find a game that’s not working when patched.
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Re: Rhea Prototype Arrived

Postby VoN » Tue Dec 23, 2014 6:40 pm

How much faster is the load times? 3x?
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My consoles
Spoiler:
Genesis CDX: Working, but need pot adjustment.
Sega Saturn Model 2 (Skeleton): Working.
Sega Saturn Model 2 White: Working.
Sega Dreamcast VA0 JP [98]: Working.
Sega Dreamcast VA1 JP (Hello Kitty Blue) [99]: Working.
Sega Dreamcast VA2 US [OCT/00]: Working.
Playstation 2 50.001: Working, but needs adjustments.
Playstation 2 50.001: Dead BA.
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Re: Rhea Prototype Arrived

Postby Nightbreed » Tue Dec 23, 2014 10:30 pm

VoN wrote:How much faster is the load times? 3x?
Deunan wrote:Rhea is not going to be faster than original Saturn drive. Maybe a bit due to almost instantaneous media seeking but that’s it. Unlike Dreamcast where data bus is faster than drive, Saturn is limited by its serial protocol – which is set to exactly 2x speed and that can’t be changed.


Had a good weekend of testing - tried 58 shmups which now makes 133 games tested so far.

Out of these 5 had audio issues and 2 games froze. Deunan mailed me a new firmware which I have only tested on one of the games with audio issues (Batsugun - which now works great) but ive yet to try the others due to lack of time.
Considering it's a prototype and not ready for general sale yet - I'm really pleased with the results so far :)

***Edit***

Have now tested the new firmware on the 5 games with audio issues and the ones which froze too - all now boot and play perfectly. So far that means every game I've tried now works (though I do now convert all the disc images to CDI as Rhea really seems to like that format)
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Re: Rhea Prototype Arrived

Postby tweet » Tue Dec 30, 2014 3:52 pm

Looks pretty cool. I still prefer to play with cds but it's very nice to have some backup in case if the drive fails.

In fact I remember now that my first saturn went to trash because I broke the cd drive when I was little, this would bring it back to life. :)
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Re: Rhea Prototype Arrived

Postby spinksy777 » Thu Jan 01, 2015 1:09 pm

New to the forum and I also have Rhea v3.

I installed it yesterday but have only ever burned BIN files to discs to use in my modded Sega Saturn.

In your post you said you changed your BIN files to cdi - How do you do this please as I didn't know this could be done and I've yet to actually play a game on my Rhea :-(

EDIT::

I got in contact with Deunan and he pointed me to an easy way of doing it.

I have converted a few games to cdi but when I put them in numbered folders (01,02, and named them 'disc.cdi' etc as I do with my GDemu) the Saturn just says 'drive empty' - I've tried pushing the button on the board a few times but every time it says the same :(

worth noting that it pops up saying 'checking disc format' (very briefly) after I press the button/insert the SD card but it always just says 'drive empty'

EDIT EDIT

Managed to get it working, bit of a silly problem I was having - I simply re named each disc file to 'disc' rather than 'disc.cdi' and every game I have tried has worked perfectly!
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Re: Rhea Prototype Arrived

Postby Nightbreed » Sun Feb 22, 2015 7:28 pm

Been a while since I updated this post so thought I would add the rest of the info.

Had Rhea around 2 months now - and happy to say that the testing phase is over, I tried around 200-250 titles (Mainly Japanese) and all have played perfectly.

The mounting spacers that came with Rhea - I have now screwed these into the motherboard shield for a solid install (Will add pics next time I pull the console apart)

Rhea really seems to like CDI files - so by default I convert to CDI before making up a SD card. Though new firmware 3.3.0 may have improved some other formats.

Firmware 3.3.0

◾Images are recognized and loaded based on the file extension
◾Support for automatic vertical refresh frequency switching
◾Improved handling of Clone CD images with glitches in the subcode data
◾Region patching now works on scrambled data tracks

The region patching feature works great - and have had no trouble loading any game using it.

I haven't tried the auto 50/60hz switching as it means I would have to disconnect my switchless mod - though to be honest I would rather have this function changeable in the Rhea.ini file - something like
auto_hz=50 - for forcing the console into 50hz
auto_hz=60 - for forcing the console into 60hz
auto_hz=auto - for automatic switching depending on the game

I know I will be in the minority wanting it to function this way - but my scaler really does not like 50hz (I get artifacts on the screen) so obviously having it auto switch is not something I would like. So until then I will still have the need for Seb's switchless mod.

The new Rhea 3.1 board is a solderless install (unless you want the auto 50/60hz feature) which is great - and has the mounting holes repositioned for better compatibility with VA1 motherboards.

Lastly neuroacid (the guy who made the menu for GDEMU) has been working on a menu for Rhea. It may still need the hardware button on Rhea to change the disc image though - if there is no workaround and the hardware button has to be used then I will probably extend the button and mount it externally.
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Re: Rhea Prototype Arrived

Postby MateriaMind » Mon Mar 09, 2015 9:25 pm

As I have the DarkWater games from here- How do I convert these to CDI images?
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Re: Rhea Prototype Arrived

Postby Nightbreed » Mon Mar 09, 2015 11:59 pm

MateriaMind wrote:As I have the DarkWater games from here- How do I convert these to CDI images?


For Darkwater images (Or any other bin/cue)
Mount the image in Daemon Tools (I use Daemon Tools Pro Advanced 5.2)
In Diskjuggler use these settings:

  • Scan Gaps/Indexes
  • RAW Read
If you get any errors when making the CDI then look for another version of the ISO.

For the worst of the bunch (ISO+MP3, ISO+APE, ISO+WAV)
Delete the cue sheet (if it comes with one)
Convert the APE files or MP3 files to WAV then delete the APE or MP3 files.
Use the Sega Cue Sheet maker to make a new cue sheet.
Mount the new cue sheet in Daemon Tools and then follow the same settings as for Darkwater images.

Since firmware 3.3.0 - CloneCD images are much more compatible - so for most Trurip releases
you can use the ccd/img/sub.
If you do encounter a problem then again mount the ccd in Daemon Tools and in Diskjuggler use these settings:

  • Scan Gaps/Indexes
  • RAW Read
  • PQ
  • R-W
(These are the settings to use if making a copy from original disc too)

If you get an error on converting a Trurip image - then untick R-W
(Though I've not had an error on any Trurip image yet)

***Edit***
When mounting an image in Daemon Tools - mount it to a DT virtual drive (rather than SCSI or IDE) as I have had better results this way.

****Note****

Some Rhea users have had varied results due to different versions of Daemon Tools - so if you are having no luck with any disc image then try a different version of Daemon Tools :)
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Last edited by Nightbreed on Wed Mar 18, 2015 6:53 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Rhea Prototype Arrived

Postby demon » Wed Mar 11, 2015 11:58 am

Any games which are not compatible so far? So there's no using bin/cue, just cdi or did I get that the wrong way in the first post. What's your region by the way?
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Re: Rhea Prototype Arrived

Postby Nightbreed » Wed Mar 11, 2015 12:46 pm

demon wrote:Any games which are not compatible so far? So there's no using bin/cue, just cdi or did I get that the wrong way in the first post. What's your region by the way?
Nightbreed wrote:DK's preferred format is CDI - but there is support for MDF/MDS and CCD/IMG/SUB


CDI is the preferred format, but Rhea does work with CCD/IMG/SUB and MDF/MDS images too.
(Any titles that didn't run from the above I converted to CDI and they were fine)
There is no BIN/CUE support - and likely never will be.

My console is PAL - but has the switchless mod for region selecting and 50/60 hz. Though this is not really needed as Rhea has an option in the ini file which will patch games 'on the fly' to your consoles region, and there is a solder point on Rhea to do automatic 50/60hz switching depending on the game.

It has played everything I've tried so far - last count was over 250 titles running perfectly, but the Saturn has a library of over 1800 titles and I haven't checked them all lol.

If you're just starting getting Sega Saturn images I would recommend sourcing the Trurip set for PAL-E titles, Darkwater USA set for NTSC-U titles and then pick and choose NTSC-J titles from all releases (they all have many missing Japanese titles)
**Edited with better info on PAL and NTSC-U sets**
Hope that helps :)
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Last edited by Nightbreed on Mon Mar 16, 2015 8:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Rhea ODE

Postby MateriaMind » Wed Mar 11, 2015 2:40 pm

Thank you kindly for the tutorial!!!
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Re: Rhea ODE

Postby demon » Wed Mar 11, 2015 9:50 pm

Thank you Nightbreed for this wonderful explanation! From what I saw Rhea is so far only plug and play, no soldering required, right? Also wondering if I need to worry about the 50/60Hz solder point since my Saturn is a PAL as well but a no-modifications model 1.

Also, which SD cards are supported? Couldn't find that information on the gdemu website.

And I would highly appreciate if you could explain how switching between games works because the description on the website doesn't help me much understanding how it works :(
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Re: Rhea ODE

Postby Nightbreed » Thu Mar 12, 2015 12:13 am

demon wrote:From what I saw Rhea is so far only plug and play, no soldering required, right?

Rhea v3.1 has a power connector that is the same as the one on the CD drive, so requires no soldering to power up :)

demon wrote:Also wondering if I need to worry about the 50/60Hz solder point since my Saturn is a PAL as well but a no-modifications model 1


That depends... If you are planning to only play PAL titles then you will not need to worry about the 50/60hz modification. However if you want to play NTSC-U & NTSC-J titles then you would need to get it done for them to work properly.

If you have a PAL VA0 motherboard it is a simple mod - all it requires is soldering a wire from the SW2 pad (near the battery) to the 50/60hz solder point on the Rhea.
If you have a PAL VA1 motherboard it is much more difficult - you would need to desolder and lift pin 79 of the VDP2, then solder a wire from the lifted pin to the 50/60hz solder point on the Rhea. (If you are new to soldering I would suggest taking it to someone with better knowledge)


demon wrote:Also, which SD cards are supported? Couldn't find that information on the gdemu website


Rhea uses the FAT32 filesystem - so SD & SDHC up to 32 GB. SDXC cards may work if formatted to FAT32 but they are not supported.
Use cards that have low random access latency (before buying a card check to see if someone has done a benchmark with one)
Some people have had problems with Transcend cards so stay away from them - personally I use SanDisk 8GB & 16GB cards as they are extremely cheap just now (though watch for fake cards if you are buying second hand)

demon wrote:And I would highly appreciate if you could explain how switching between games works because the description on the website doesn't help me much understanding how it works


First you have to make folders on the SD card for each game, they have to be numerical and start at 01:

Folder .. Game
01 ....... Game1.cdi
02 ....... Game2.cdi
03 ....... Game3.cdi
etc

Spoiler:
One of my SD Cards

01 Radiant Silvergun
02 Battle Garegga
03 Batsugun
04 DoDonPachi
05 DonPachi
06 Steam Hearts
07 Soukyuu Gurentai
08 Strikers 1945
09 Strikers 1945 II
10 Twinkle Star Sprites
11 Twinkle Star Sprites Omake CD
12 Sexy Parodius
13 Layer Section
14 Layer Section II
15 Thunder Force V
16 Thunder Force V (Bonus CD)
17 Magical Night Dreams - Cotton 2
18 Magical Night Dreams - Cotton Boomerang
19 Gunbird
20 Sengoku Blade (Disc 1 of 2)
21 Sengoku Blade (Disc 2 of 2)
22 Game Tengoku - The Game Paradise
23 Gokujou Parodius Da! Deluxe Pack
24 Jikkyou Oshaberi Parodius ~Forever With Me~
25 Gradius Deluxe Pack
26 Detana Twinbee Yahho ! Deluxe Pack
27 Hyper Duel
28 Blast Wind
29 Bokan to Ippatsu! Doronbo Kanpekihen
30 Capcom Generations Volume 1
31 Capcom Generations Volume 3
32 Darius Gaiden
33 Darius Gaiden II
34 Dezaemon 2


When you turn on the Saturn - Rhea automatically loads the file in folder '01'
(If you leave folder '01' blank it boots straight to the Sega Saturn dashboard)
When you press the Rhea button, it goes back to the Saturn dashboard and loads the file from the next folder. Once loaded you just press the 'Start Application' button in the Saturn dashboard to play it.
So if you have 15 games on a card and you want to play no.11 - when you turn on the Saturn just press the button 10 times quickly - if you've done that before the boot animation has finished it will go straight into the game.

Hope the info helps :)
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Last edited by Nightbreed on Thu Mar 12, 2015 8:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Rhea ODE

Postby demon » Thu Mar 12, 2015 8:27 am

Oh yes, that helped a lot Nightbreed! Thanks a lot :) The Website seemed to skip the part about getting back to the dashboard once the button is pressed and that it also goes to dashboard first if 01 folder is left empty. no wonder I got confused, mystery now solved, thanks :)

Yes, I do own a PAL console and I dont know if I want to play NTSC and JAP titles but let me put it like this: Sooner or later probably yes because I'd definately take a closer look with a RHEA in my Saturn - but, on the other hand, I dont have a soldering iron and back then when I tried to solder in the Wiikey I almost unsoldered 2 solder points on the Wii mainboard which still frightens me using a soldering iron up to this day :/

But uhm, noob question coming in, what would happen if I load up a non-PAL game with Rhea and the freq switch not soldered? On the website it says the .ini file handles all that automatically... and I'm a bit confused since I played all kinds of non-PAL Dreamcast titles and never felt like experiencing an issue. Probably Saturn and Dreamcast differentiate here, dont know...
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Re: Rhea ODE

Postby Nightbreed » Thu Mar 12, 2015 8:58 am

demon wrote:But uhm, noob question coming in, what would happen if I load up a non-PAL game with Rhea and the freq switch not soldered?


Rhea would patch the game so it would run, but it would run at 50hz as the frequency point is not soldered to the motherboard.
(What the auto frequency option on Rhea does is send either +5VDC or GND to the 'Hz' solder point on the Rhea board. If the solder point is not connected to the relative point on the motherboard then the frequency will not change and will stay at 50hz)

Anyway running a 60hz game at 50hz would give you black borders on the game and it would run approximately 17% slower than intended, so you could expect a few glitches as well.
Also if you are not using a RGB Scart cable you may get some colour issues too :(
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