On this page we will take a look inside the Dreamcast, and changes CMOS battery and doing some cleaning. I bought a presumed broken unit (PAL) on Swedish eBay, that did not spin discs and had no video or sound. The troubleshooting became easier than expected. Follow the steps below to disassembly your Dreamcast. You only new one or a couple of Philips screwdrivers.
Step 1: Remove the modem and unscrew the four marked screws on the bottom of the unit. Lift off the top.
Step 2: This is the inside of the Dreamcast. The power unit is to the left. To the right of it is the laser unit. At the bottom the joystick ports reside, and to the right is the fan. Below everything is the mother board, which we will acess. Remove the power unit first, then the joystick ports. If you want to remove the fan you can remove that one as well. Finally, remove the laser unit. Screws that are hidden in the image are marked with arrows. Do you find anything missing in the below image? The CMOS-battery that is supposed to reside above the joystick ports were missing for some reason! This was the major fault with this unit!
Step 3: Remove these eight screws to access the mother board. Notice the white metal sticks rising down to the left! A common error is that the Dreamcast reboots randomly, due to these metal sticks being dirty or oxidized. Clean them with alkohol and that problem is solved!
Step 4: Since I did not know the battery was missing, I found no better solution at home than some tape to attach a new battery (CR2032). I will make sure to replace the tape with a proper battery holder like the one inserted in the below image. It requires a little soldering, but no fancy stuff. If your Dreamcast asks for a new data and time every time you turn it on, this battery is running out of steam.
Step 5: Done! This is the motherboard of the Dreamcast. The text to the left reveal that it is a model VA1, which is quite common. I sprayed some electronic cleaning solvent in all contact surfaces. This unit was very clean, unlike the Gamecube I worked on the other day. Assemble your Dreamcast in reverse order!