Genesis:32X Region Mod

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Despite having a very small library, the 32X did receive a number of titles which were only released in a particular region. In addition to region modding the host Genesis/Mega Drive console, the 32X itself must also be modified for full compatibility with all games.


Technically the 32X itself is a region-free system, as 32X games actually use the host console to determine what region console they are running on. Many 32X games are only region locked between NTSC and PAL systems, and do not make any distinction between US and Japanese systems like most region locked Genesis/Mega Drive games do; in fact, Japanese and US 32X units are completely identical aside from slight cosmetic differences. Performing a region switch mod on the host console will resolve this issue, but there is another issue to consider. Since the 32X has its own video output, it also has to conform to the video frequency of its respective region (50 Hz for PAL, 60 Hz for US and Japan), and this can lead to some issues if an NTSC 32X is used on a 50 Hz console and vice versa.

Thankfully, a simple modification can be performed which can set the 32X to either 50 Hz or 60 Hz. This is determined by pin 32 of the 315-5788 video encoder/mixer chip, which is held high (5V) for 60 Hz output or held low (ground) for 50 Hz. In an NTSC 32X, a zero ohm jumper is connected on R42 which connects the pin to 5V, and on a PAL 32X this jumper is on R43, connecting it to ground. Therefore, it is simply a matter of removing this jumper and connecting a switch in its place.

Materials and Tools

  • Components and materials
    • Leaded solder
    • Flux
    • Desoldering braid
    • SPDT switch (either slide or toggle is fine, this depends on personal preference)
    • Hookup wire, preferably 28 AWG
    • Isopropyl alcohol or flux remover
  • Tools
    • JIS/Phillips head screwdriver
    • Soldering iron
    • Flush cutters
    • Wire stripper
    • Cordless drill with step bit
    • File set (if using a slide switch)


  1. Flip over the 32X and unscrew the four screws securing the case. Remove the top case and set it aside.
  2. Remove the screws securing the RF shielding and set it aside. Removing the motherboard from the rest of the case is highly recommended but not totally necessary.
  3. Locate the 315-5788 chip, which is on the right-hand side of the board. Directly above the upper left corner of the chip are two sets of pads labeled R42 and R43.
    • If you have a US or Japanese 32X, R42 will be populated with a jumper. If you have a PAL 32X, R43 is populated.
  4. Apply flux to the jumper and load up the tip of your soldering iron with solder. Use the iron to heat both sides of the jumper at once and carefully "sweep" it off the board onto your tip.
  5. Clean the pads with desoldering braid and then clean the area with IPA or flux remover.
  6. Tin the pads for both R42 and R43.
  7. Prepare your switch by tinning the three points, then solder three wires to these points.
  8. Decide where you will locate the 50/60 Hz switch. It is preferable to place it at the rear of the top case where it will be largely out of sight, and in an area where it will not run afoul of the RF shielding or top case screw bosses.
  9. Drill a hole for the switch and mount it into place. If you are using a slide switch, drill a hole small enough for the throw and then file out the hole so the switch can be thrown freely in either direction.
  10. Cut the wires on the switch to length so that they can reach the jumper points without being under tension and so the top case can be easily removed for future repairs or modifications.
    • If the wires aren't already bundled together, braid them around together to make your wiring tidier.
  11. Solder the wire from the middle pin of the switch to either lower pad of R42 or R43. The outer pins of the switch can go to either the top pad of R42 or top pad of R43 depending on preference. Route the wires so they do not interfere with the shielding or top case screw bosses.
  12. Place the top case back onto the 32X and set it up for testing. Make sure to use a display which can accept either 50 or 60 Hz, or any upscaler such as a RetroTINK or OSSC will work fine. If the display can recognize either video mode, the modification is complete and the 32X can be fully reassembled.


SegaKore guide explaining the procedure