Megadrive 1 50/60hz switch - page 1

Megadrive 1 50/60hz switch - page 1

The Pal Megadrive (model 1 and 2) has two disadvantages over it's Ntsc US and Japanese counterparts:

1) it runs and displays Megadrive games at a 17% slower speed than Ntsc US or JAP machines

2) a lot of Pal games have big black borders at the bottom and the top of the screen

Basically this means that if you own a basic, unmodified Sega Megadrive, you simply own a crippled machine and what's worse, you've not been playing your games at the comfort that you paid for. And no, this isn't just a 'Sega thing', all brands crippled their Pal systems for the European market. It's just that... hardly anybody does anything about it :0

Anyway, this 'Megadrive problem' is very easy to fix by adding a 50/60 hz switch and soldering 3 wires, enabling you to switch between a 50 and a 60hz signal, making your Megadrive and the game run at it's original (!) full-speed and full-screen settings. This involves some basic soldering and some basic soldering skills. Nothing more, nothing less...

About 80-90% of Pal games are crippled versions, running 17% slower than their Ntsc counterparts. That means that only about 10-20% of Pal games do run at full speed. Be mindful also that a handful of games (and this is important!) cannot run in 60hz mode making the game crash or running really slow when switching your Megadrive to 60hz mode. A well known example of a game like this is the Pal version of Streets of Rage 2. But don't worry about that handful of games, just switch back to Pal 50hz mode to play these games.

Anyway, just relax, have some nice coffee or tea and let's do this thing together shall we?

Step by step 50/60hz switch guide:

What you need:

- a single pole, double throw switch (= a simple on/off switch, just look at the photo's to see one)
- a small screwdriver to unscrew the screws of the Megadrive
- a sharp pocket or cutter knife
- a drill to make a small diameter hole
- a soldering iron
- wire solder
- 3 lengths of electrical wire, preferably with different colors

You can easily find all this stuff at your local do-it-yourself shop or any electronics shop.


You need an RGB SCART lead to display a colour image on your TV when you switch your Megadrive to 60hz mode. Using the basic RF lead will display a black&white image.

If your Megadrive (1 or 2) didn't come with an RGB SCART lead you'll need to buy one online (not hard) or make one yourself.

STEP 1: opening up your Sega Megadrive model 1

This one's real simple, just unscrew the six screws on the back of your Megadrive to open up your machine. To avoid scratching the surface of the console, just put it on a piece of cloth or a towel. Don't loose any of the screws, just put them in a little box or somewhere safe ;)

STEP 2: removing the "heat shield" and exposing the motherboard or "PCB"

Nothing to it, just unscrew all the screw that keep the metal shielding fixed on the motherboard of the Megadrive. Again, don't loose any of the screws. The screws are shorter than the previous ones so it's easy to distinguish them from the black screws that you unscrewed earlier.

STEP 3: locating the "jumper" pairs on the motherboard or "PCB"

Without getting into much technical detail, you need to locate the correct pairs of jumpers to give the Megadrive the correct signal so it switches to a 50 or 60hz signal. These "jumper pairs" are easy to find, just look for little solder pads that have the letters "JP1 - JP2 - JP3 - JP4" next to them. This picture will make it even easier for you:

I've modified and fitted 50/60hz swiches to about a dozen or so Pal Megadrive 1 machines and all of them had a blue colored "capacitator" on the JP1 jumper pair. For this instruction set, this is of no importance, this capacitator will just make it easier for you to locate the jumper pairs we need :)

STEP 4: cutting the "trace" on the JP3 jumper pair

No need to be nervous here :) Using a sharp pocket or cutter knife, cut the little white line, the "trace", between the solder pads of JP3. Once you have cut it, dig a little deeper at the point where you cut with the tip of your knife to make sure the trace is cut for sure. Don't worry about it, just dig a little. You have to make sure the copper line beneath the white trace line is completely severed. Take a look at the following picture to see what I mean:




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