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Pseudo Saturn FAQ, May 2017 edition

Written by cafealpha 8 comments
Here is a small FAQ about Pseudo Saturn, so that it may help people experiencing troubles when installing or using Pseudo Saturn, and also ... reduce the number of inquiries in my mailbox

Pseudo Saturn 0.832 "Booting CD ... Error 1" message when trying to load a game.

The "Booting CD ... Error 1" message.
Special Thanks to C.L. for reporting the problem and sending the picture

This problem happens with Pseudo Saturn 0.832, both "no logo" initial build and final release with classy logo.

It concerns :
 - A specific hardware revision of Saturn : Japanese grey model 1 (95% sure), with power supply connector screwed to Saturn top case (not so sure).
 - Any game or application on burned on CD-R

So if you have Pseudo Saturn 0.832 and the "wrong" (incompatible) hardware revision of Saturn, it's not possible to play any CD-R copy of your games, and consequently can't upgrade your cartridge to other version of Pseudo Saturn, since it requires to boot a CD-R

Annoying isn't it ? The countermeasure is to either :
 1. Install latest Pseudo Saturn Kai on your Saturn cartridge
 2. Use another Saturn, compatible with Pseudo Saturn 0.832 :
      - Model 2 Saturns are 99% safe : I didn't received any "Boot Error 1" report with model 2 Saturn.
      - Please try on another model 1 Saturn only if you were lucky that day, else please be sure that this other Saturn won't be compatible too

Owning a spare and compatible Saturn -or being friend with somebody owning one- is the best solution, since it allows to both upgrade to Pseudo Saturn Kai, and to play games compatible with "JHL (PS 0.832)" game loader.

Owning only 0.832 incompatible Saturn(s) will bring you to "install Pseudo Saturn Kai on a bare Saturn" step, so basically requires to open your Saturn, watch swap trick tutorials on youtube, fail several times in trying that ('%)=(&$ swap trick, finally success in installing Pseudo Saturn Kai , look for one missing screw in order to put back Saturn top cover, re-open the Saturn in order to remove the tape on CD-ROM lid open switch, and finally put back the Saturn in its original condition

Long install steps ? Yes, but at the end the problem will be fixed (if not, please contact me)
However, there's a limitation when using Pseudo Saturn Kai on model 1 incompatible Saturns : the few games not compatible with Pseudo Saturn 0.831 won't be playable
Incompatible games are the ones marked as requiring Pseudo Saturn patcher utility, in Pseudo Saturn Kai compatibility list. Notable examples are Panzer Dragoon Saga, Batman Forever and Alien Trilogy.

You sold a kidney in order to buy original discs of Panzer Dragoon Saga, and really want to play their CD-R copies on your model 1 Japanese Saturn so that original discs won't be damaged ?

Except selling the remaining kidney in order to buy a Rhea/Phoebe (), the only solution is to wait until a new version of Pseudo Saturn Kai is released, and hope I find a fix to this problem.
While waiting for new version of Pseudo Saturn Kai, how about trying games that Pseudo Saturn Kai can play with its good old "CWX (PS 0.831)" game loader ? I would for example recommend NiGHTS into dreams, Shining Force 3 series, and also Virtua Fighter Kids

"Firmware file read error !" message when trying to install Pseudo Saturn Kai

"Firmware file read error !" message (hard to read, sorry).
Grabbed from reddit, special thanks to yoqu for reporting the problem

First, I fixed error text display in Pseudo Saturn Kai's latest release (v6.074) : it is now displayed with white background color. Readability varies from a TV monitor to another, so please contact me if that's still not readable on your TV

This problem is generally caused by incorrect timing when performing swap trick, which makes Saturn booting Save Data Manager and Flasher utility from CD-R, but not being able to read files from CD-R after that.
Another causes may be Saturn's laser incorrect calibration, or affinity problem between Saturn CD block and CD-R brand, or burn settings.

The countermeasure is simple : please use Pseudo Saturn Kai alternate flasher utility, located in Pseudo Saturn Kai latest archive → pskai_alternate_flasher.iso. This requires another CD-R, but this will work
And, burning Pseudo Saturn Kai Save Data Manager and Flasher utility (pskai_sdm_flasher.iso) wasn't a waste, since it will boot correctly after flashing your cartridge to Pseudo Saturn Kai. Save Data Manager contains many save data to import to your Saturn, so you probably want to use them in order to start playing your favorite game elsewhere than level 1

So, what's the magic behind Pseudo Saturn Kai alternate flasher utility ? nothing really special in fact : both flasher executable and Pseudo Saturn Kai firmware data are packed in a single Saturn executable file. So as firmware data is loaded just after performing swap trick, file read error won't happen

Definitely not a smart way to counter a problem,
but it works, which is the most important

This "alternate" flasher utility was developed before Pseudo Saturn Kai, and used in Pseudo Saturn 0.83x flasher utilities. I then developed an "all in one" Save Data Manager & Flasher utility on a single CD-ROM which allows to flash cartridge, manage save data, etc.

I though this would make the "alternate" initial flasher utility obsolete, so that it was dropped in Pseudo Saturn Kai 6.036 and 6.037 releases ... unfortunately I was reported about that "Firmware file read error !" problem after that
So as a countermeasure, I restored this utility from Pseudo Saturn 6.074. Sorry for the troubles caused

Additionally, some more informations about this problem are displayed in current (W.I.P.) Pseudo Saturn Kai version.

Updated error message in flasher utility.

Pseudo Saturn Kai development continues ! Stay tuned


#1  - George said :

Hi there.

Regarding the 'Error 1', I was facing the same issue on a Model 2 with a Sanyo drive. No backups would load with 0.832.

Switching to Kai version, of course, fixed my issue. Just a heads up!

Thx for your work!

#2  - cafealpha said :

I'm glad it did the job, and thank you for the feedback ! Please have fun in playing Saturn :)

#3  - Eric said :

I recently got an error -8 while attempting to load up a CD. Any idea what this means? Thanks a ton!

#4  - cafealpha said :

Hi, thank you for your interest in Pseudo Saturn !
Error code -8 means "file not found", and may happen when trying to read game's main executable.
There are many possible causes, such as scratches on disc, game incorrectly dumped, Saturn laser too weak, etc. So please give me more details about your problem :
- If you are trying to load install Pseudo Saturn Kai (with swap trick), or load a game
- If you are trying to load a game, the version of Pseudo Saturn, and which loader (CWX or JHL) used
- If problem can be reproduced with an original game CDROM
- If problem can be reproduced with other game burned on CD-R from same spindle
My intuition is that this can be fixed by changing CD-R brand, or changing burn settings ? BTW, please note that default (fastest) burning speed usually do the job better than slowest speed.
Please keep me informed :)

#5  - Jake said :

Hey! I have been into using pseudosaturn to play burned games for about 2 months now with... Varying levels of success. I managed to successfully burn and play nights into dreams, duke nukem 3d and die hard trilogy on a model 1 saturn with .832 version of pseodosaturn flashed to an interact memory card plus. These three burned cdr games worked perfectly each time until last night; i noticed the saturn battery died (took only two months!?), then suddenly pseudosturn has been throwing an error -8 message each time ive tried to play them. Even did that with a legitamate game i have until i removed the memory card.

Do i just need to reperform the swap trick and reinstall pseudo onto my memory card plus?

(An aside; with all the well documented hate for the memory card plus, i was very pleasantly surprised to see it work at all lol)

#6  - cafealpha said :

It seems that -8 error code is returned when disc region doesn't matches with Saturn's : https://github.com/cyberwarriorx/pseudosaturn/blob/master/src/jhloader.c#L169
And since original game CD-ROM still plays correctly without Pseudo Saturn cartridge inserted (which eliminates the potential case of a weak CD drive laser), I would recommend to give a try with latest Pseudo Saturn Kai.
Additionally, as it features game loader from both Pseudo Saturn 0.831 and 0.832, it would give you more chances to get it working correctly since loader from version 0.832 may be a bit picky sometimes.

#7  - nights said :

Hi friend, can you help me? My Saturn is a Grey japanese one, and its seems incompatible with JHL. Well, I purchased my AR long ago, in 2015, and the seller didnt informed anything. I was dying to play Panzer Saga, and found out my AR was flashed with 0.831 only. So I learned how to update my AR and installed the most updated pseudo kai, it worked, but 0.832 for Panzer 2 and Panzer Saga wasnt there, or it wasnt but It didnt boot because my Gray Saturn is incompatible. Well, I saw 0.832 in the Pseudo Kai and thought it needed to be installed, so I boot the pseudo disc again and did just that...then I fucked my cart because now my Saturn doesnt read any backups...lol... well theres any way to revert this? I dont own another saturn compatible with 0.832 and I dont know anybody who owns. Thanks in advance.

#8  - cafealpha said :

Pseudo Saturn 0.832 is outdated but available from Save Data Manager for curious people wanting to try it.
Among all the flavors of Pseudo Saturn and Kai, this is the most dangerous one because it not compatible at all with some Saturn hardware revisions, but available anyway, at the user's own responsibility.
And, it now doesn't makes a lot of sense to use it for playing : the first thing I added in Pseudo Saturn Kai was selection between Pseudo Saturn 0.831 loader ("CWX loader") and 0.832 ("JHL loader") specifically because of this complete incompatibility with some Saturns.

So, if you're lost in the desert with a bricked Action Replay cart and nobody physically around to help, then the last solution is to install Pseudo Saturn Kai with swap trick method :
1. Burn pskai_alternate_flasher.iso to CD-R
-> This version contains only latest version of Pseudo Saturn Kai, but it is easier to use with swap trick.
2. Turn off Saturn, remove cartridge and boot flasher utility with swap trick
-> Please verify how to do that on your favorite video streaming site with (for example) "Saturn swap trick" search keywords.
-> This requires a screwdriver, a bit of tape, and an original Saturn game.
3. When flasher main menu is displayed, insert your Action Replay cartridge and flash Pseudo Saturn Kai (lite version) to it
-> This is *NOT* a recommended way of installing Pseudo Saturn Kai, because inserting a cartridge while Saturn is powered on may brick either the Saturn, or the cartridge, or both. But if you don't have any other solution then it's worth the try.

In the case it's not clear, please do this AT YOUR OWN RISKS. I'm not responsible of what may happen to your Saturn, your cartridge, your dog or anything else !

The little story about the loader from Pseudo Saturn 0.832 : around the time you bought your Action Replay, I did asked jhl (who coded this loader) about help to get it working on all revisions of Saturn, but this ended in nothing.
I don't have enough technical skill to fix anything related with Pseudo Saturn exploit so rather than adventuring in such kind of problem, I added a way to use loader from Pseudo Saturn 0.831 (working on all Saturns, but not able to play PDS), which is the reason why Pseudo Saturn Kai allows to select between two kind of game loaders.
jhl is also know as Professor Abrasive and animating a crowdfunding page, so if you want this loader working on all Saturn revisions, you may want to try asking there ... or consider buying another Saturn (anything other than Japanese grey models should work) if you want a quick and effective solution to your issue.


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