Power to the tower of power 

So we have established that cables are the bain of my gadget life, but through this process I have a wide knowledge of cable types, adaptors and lots of other mostly useless information when it comes to console connectivity. I have splitters for splitters and a bag full of cables that should seem me through any re-wiring eventuality that might occur when I am rewiring my games/pc/TV/AV setup. So, when it came to connecting my megadrive tower of power to my TV I felt that with a few adaptors, that I probably had we should be able to get the old girl hooked up to the OLED TV.

Well, I was wrong – what ensued was an ever more complicated rabbit hole on frames, power adaptors, sockets, upscaling and latency which is still mostly a mystery to me – but I will try and explain here the journey I have been on.

The Megadrive (Genesis for our American cousins) that i have is a Mark 1, in addition to this I invested in a Mk 1 Mega CD (I paid £175 for this in the UK on eBay and carried it home with a very tatty box) and of course, the 32x. So the Megadrive slots beautifully into the Mega CD and makes a funky stack which looks very sleek and perfectly coordinated. Due to the Mega CD (or Sega CD in the USA) being connected by a dedicated slot to the machine, there is no need for messy cables. This is a good thing. However the 32x has to do some video processing and I am not sure they really ever planned for this when the console was born – so this needs an external cable to daisy chain to the Megadrive using the the AV ports.

My tower of power

Why? Well I think SegaRetro describe it best so I will let them explain:

“The 32X is reliant on many of the Mega Drive’s internal components, of which it interfaces with via the cartridge slot. However, the major advantage of the 32X is its improved graphics rendering capabilities. The 32X creates its own audio/video output, taking advantage of features such as higher colour counts and QSound technology, but there is no method of giving this information back to the Mega Drive console. The Mega Drive can output an A/V signal, but it can’t receive one, so it is the Mega Drive which passes its audio/video information to the 32X, and the 32X which is then linked to a television.

To achieve this the user requires a connector cable, which links the Mega Drive’s “A/V out” port to the 32X’s “A/V in”. The Mega Drive’s “A/V out” port is usually used to communicate with the television – this lead is moved to the 32X’s “A/V out” instead.”

So easy, plug it in and lets figure out the way to get it connected to the TV!!!!!!!

…but the cable does not seem to fit? Researching further I read that the 32x cable is only good for the Megadrive Mk2 – and the Mk1 needs another cable type to accommodate the different connector. Well the good news is that the cable is available cheaply, the bad news is that it is from AliExpress so I will need to wait.

About €4 including shipping that will take a few weeks

While I patiently wait for my cable I also looked at powering the unit up to make sure everything worked. The units came with a power adaptor, but each device has its own power adaptor. When I say power adaptor, I mean a power brick. Not one of those annoying bricks that sit in between one cable and another cable, this is an early 90’s chonker of a power adaptor which weighs as much as the console and goes straight into the plug. Three. Of. These. Also, to make matters more complicated, now I am living in Spain these all need an adaptor. Given this is going into a games room with other devices, the tax of three sockets which will also block out other plugs on an adaptor is a huge price to pay, when the number of available plug sockets is already a premium. This was not going to do, so after some research I discovered a modern miracle. Some genius at Retrogame supply had developed a 3-in-1 cable for this exact problem. Only one plug needed and using what I must assume is much more modern power technology, a much lighter and smaller profile plug with an EU adaptor. At €22 (plus delivery) this is not cheap, but when plug real estate is at an all time high –  it is worth it!

Behold the slimline, lightweight, plug saving glory of this modern masterpiece

With all of these cables ordered we can look forward to the moment that we plug the tower of power together and then hook it up to the TV. This is almost too exciting.

More next time. 

Keep Playing!

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