Transfer Game-Saves Between Sega Saturn and PC
Bluetooth Design Now Available
This USB DataLink device performs the following functions:
Transfer of Sega Saturn Game-Saves between the Saturn and a Windows PC.
Transfer Sega Saturn Game-Saves created by emulators (SSF and Cassini) between the Saturn and a Windows PC.
Download Homebrew games to the Sega Saturn from a Windows PC.
Dump the Saturn's BIOS to a file on your PC harddrive.
Dump the Cartridge DataFlash (firmware / codes / gamesaves) to a file on your PC harddrive.
The following items are required to use the Saturn USB DataLink:
This DataLink device allows Sega Saturn Game-Saves to be transferred to/from a PC, using a PC's USB port. Once on the PC, Game-Saves may then be backed up to harddrive or CDROM for safe keeping. Also, the Game-Saves may be emailed or traded over the internet. In addition, homebrew games made by hobbyists may be downloaded to the Saturn. Whether you develop Saturn games, or just want to try out some of the homebrew games available on the web, the DataLink may be used to download the data without having to burn a CDR.
Custom Printed Circuit Board / Saturn DataLink Package / Software Example Screen
Originally, there was a device called a "Comms Card" which plugged into a PC's ISA bus, and used DOS-based software. Since modern PCs don't have ISA slots and generally have Windows operating systems, I decided to design a USB-based solution. The nice thing about the USB solution is that now homebrew development (or game-save transfer) may be done using a laptop. Also, since the DataLink device is very low power (<50mA), it can be powered from the USB port and does not require any external power supply.
The required Action Replay Plus Cartridge is a multifunction device which includes: A cheat device, 1M/4M RAM, Game-Save memory, and the ability to play imports. The ARP cartridges that are currently being manufactured do not have the 25-pin DSUB connector any longer, which is required for data transfer.
Eventually the original ARP cartridges (with 25-pin connector) will no longer be available, so I can provide a service which will add the 25-pin connector to your ARP cartridge. However, you need to open the cartridge to verify if it can be modified. IMPORTANT click here to see if your cartridge can be modified.
Original Action Replay Plus Cartridge / New version
The less expensive GameShark cartridge also has the 25-pin data connector and is compatible with the USB DataLink The GameShark cartridge has the same capabilities as the ARP cartridge, except that it does not have the 1M/4M RAM for games like Vampire Savior. I sell GameShark cartridges on Etsy, which I have tested to be compatible with the DataLink. So, if you can't track down one of the old ARP cartridges, this might be an option for you.
One end of the USB DataLink plugs into the 25-pin connector of the ARP cartridge. The other end of the Datalink plugs into a PC's USB port. Custom written, user friendly, Windows software allows the transfer of the battery-backed game-save files from/to the Sega Saturn. Once on the PC, the game-saves may be traded over the internet or backed up to CDROM for safe keeping.
The USB DataLink converts the 8-bit data of the cartridge to serial USB data. This conversion takes time, and thus the USB Datalink does not have the data-rate speed of the original Comms Card. However, since the 25-pin data cable length is now less than a foot, the USB Datalink is much more noise-immune and reliable than the original Comms Card. Also, there is error detection built into the software which verifies that each data packet is transferred correctly. If a corrupted data packet is detected, the software throws the corrupted packet away and automatically requests the data again. This means that if there is a data corruption towards the end of a large download, only the previous data packet needs to be re-sent, not the entire download. Downloading a 640Kbyte homebrew game takes under 60 seconds. Downloading all battery-backed game-saves (64Kbytes) takes approximately 8 seconds.
Homebrew games may be downloaded to the Saturn with the USB DataLink device. Homebrew games are created by individual hobbyists and are often times small enough to be downloaded directly to the Saturn main RAM (without having to burn a CDR). There are many of these types of games available on the internet (the file will be a "filename.bin"). Here are a few known-working homebrew games you can test out your DataLink with: Homebrews.
YouTube video showing the DataLink in operation
Currently, I am charging $55 (plus shipping) for the DataLink device. If you are located in the USA, shipping is $7. If you are located outside the USA, shipping is $25. Please email me to check availability or with any questions or comments.
I am now selling both the USB DataLink and Bluetooth DataLink through the website ETSY.com. This allows a low cost way of accepting credit card payment.
Designed, Programmed, Assembled, and Tested in the USA.