How to fix a Dreamcast controller port not working

In this post I will cover how to fix a Dreamcast controller port not working. Essentially, it involves replacing a broken fuse at the controller port board. While you are doing this, you can also replace the Dreamcast cmos battery. I will not describe how to disassembly the Dreamcast, since it is quite trivial (see, Dreamcast disassembly).

What you need for this fix is the following items:

  • Philips screwdriver
  • Soldering iron
  • A resettable fuse (I am using a PTC-fuse, 72V, 0.4A)

If you also want to replace the cmos battery, you need an appropriate CR2032 battery holder + a 1N4007 diode or similar.

So, after you have disassembled the Dreamcast, and disattached the controller ports, you should see something like this (in the image below I have replaced the cmos battery):

Dreamcast cmos battery

The component you want to replace is the little blue item marked “F1” on the board. People often mistake this for a resistor, so please take notice: THE F1 IS NOT A RESISTOR, IT IS A FUSE. Hence, DO NOT REPLACE F1 WITH A RESISTOR (see this link for more information). When F1 blows, your controller port may stop working (in my case, controller port 1 did not work properly). One simple way of “fixing” the fuse without soldering is simply to twist the legs of the component together. This may of course cause damage to your Dreamcast, since the fuse exists for a reason. So, what you want to do is to desolder the F1 fuse, and replace it with the new, resettable fuse. While you are doing this you may also want to replace the capacitor (47uf, 10v) on the controller board. When you are done, your controller board should look like this, and hopefully your controller ports are now fully working!

Finally, if you want to replace the Dreamcast with a CR2032, you should desolder the old battery, and replace it with a proper holder. Note that the Dreamcast battery is rechargeable, so you have to stop the console from trying to charge the CR2032 battery! To do so, solder a 1N4007 diode (or similar) to the resistor as seen in the image below. This will prevent any current going to the battery.

Dreamcast controller ports repaired.

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