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SNES Cart region-free modification (Replacing CIC lockout-chip with SuperCIC)

SNES Cart region-free modification (Replacing CIC lockout-chip with SuperCIC)

The Super Nintendo used a lockout-chip system similar to the one found on the NES. Nintendo not only used that lock-out chip system to try and prevent unnauthorized software from booting on their console but also to make importing game more difficult. I will be showing how you can replace a cart's lockout chip (CIC) with a multi-region replacement (SuperCIC). Japanese (Super Famicom) and North American (Super Nintendo) carts use the same lockout chip but two plastic parst inside the North American SNES cart slot will prevent you of inserting Japanese cart inside the North American SNES. Breaking those is all that is needed to play them but other region use different lockout-chip and trying to load them will only give you a blackscreen. Now, there is way to simply disable the SNES CIC completly but it is not adviseable as it would create problem with later game like Super Mario RPG or Street Fighter Alpha 2 which will refuse to boot if no lockout-chip is present to complete the security hand-shake. The very best way would be to mod your console with a SuperCIC but this mod can be tricky to install for people not used to soldering and it might not be worth it for only one or two games. Replacing the CIC chip with the SuperCIC will allow your cart to boot on Super Nintendo/Super Famicom of any region. It could also be useful for reproduction cart to make them region-free or if you want to use a donor cart from a different region. Keep in mind that certains games have extra regionnal protection built into the game code and, while this mod will still allow you to boot those cart (as opposed of getting a black screen), it won't do anything for those additionnal protection. The way it work is that they detect the video frequency used and compare it to the video format used in the region where the game was intended to be played. Since the NTSC format use 60mhz and PAL use 50mhz, it is easy for a NTSC game to figure out that it is running in a different region than where it was sold and blocking the user from playing them by displaying an error screen. Game like Donkey Kong Country, Earthbound (along with a buttload of clever copy protection mechanism), Tetris Attack and Megaman X are example of games using that kind of region detection technique. There might be a way of bypassing that using a Game Genie but in the case of a reproduction cart, you could always crack the region protection using uCon64 and then play them on any SNES console once the lockout-chip has been replaced. First, you need a Universal Programmer/PIC programmer and a PIC12F629 microcontroller. Program your PIC with the latest version of SuperCIC available at http://sd2snes.de/blog/cool-stuff/supercic. Be sure to program your chip using the file labeled supercic-key.hex as the file named supercic-lock.hex is meant to be programmed to a PIC16F630 and installed inside the console to make it region free as discussed earlier. Once your chip is done flashing and the data has been verified by your software, you need to desolder the old CIC from your cart's PCB. If de-soldering it is proving to be too tricky or time consuming (DIP chip package can be frustrating to properly de-solder), you can take a wire cutter and cut through all the pins. De-soldering them one by one after should be much easier and straightforward. Once the CIC has been removed, connect your PIC12F629 according to this connection diagram. The LED is completly optionnal and is used as an indicator for the chip status. You can leave pin #3 of the 12F629 disconnected if you do not need this feature and I do not really see why you would want it considering it will be hidden inside the cart shell. If you are using the DIP version of the PIC12F629, you should flatten all the pins so it take less space. You can also cut them leaving enough surface to solder your wire. It is also a good idea to secure it to the motherboard with a piece of electric tape or a dab of hot glue so that it doesn't move around and make the cart rattle.   That's it! You can now try your carts in your console. It might not boot on the first try but keep resetting and it will automaticly cycle through the different region until it match the one of your SNES. You can thank Ikari_01 for developping the SuperCIC and making it available for free to anyone as these things take a huge ammount of time to develop. Twitter (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) {return;} js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_GB/all.js#xfbml=1"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));{lang: 'en-GB'}
The Super Nintendo used a lockout-chip system similar to the one found on the NES. Nintendo not only used that lock-out chip system to try and prevent unnauthorized software from booting on their console but also to make importing game more difficult. I will be showing how you can replace a cart's lockout chip (CIC) with a multi-region replacement (SuperCIC). Japanese (Super Famicom) and North American (Super Nintendo) carts use the same lockout chip but two plastic parst inside the North American SNES cart slot will prevent you of inserting Japanese cart inside the North American SNES. Breaking those is all that is needed to play them but other region use different lockout-chip and trying to load them will only give you a blackscreen. Now, there is way to simply disable the SNES CIC completly but it is not adviseable as it would create problem with later game like Super Mario RPG or Street Fighter Alpha 2 which will refuse to boot if no lockout-chip is present to complete the security hand-shake. The very best way would be to mod your console with a SuperCIC but this mod can be tricky to install for people not used to soldering and it might not be worth it for only one or two games. Replacing the CIC chip with the SuperCIC will allow your cart to boot on Super Nintendo/Super Famicom of any region. It could also be useful for reproduction cart to make them region-free or if you want to use a donor cart from a different region. Keep in mind that certains games have extra regionnal protection built into the game code and, while this mod will still allow you to boot those cart (as opposed of getting a black screen), it won't do anything for those additionnal protection. The way it work is that they detect the video frequency used and compare it to the video format used in the region where the game was intended to be played. Since the NTSC format use 60mhz and PAL use 50mhz, it is easy for a NTSC game to figure out that it is running in a different region than where it was sold and blocking the user from playing them by displaying an error screen. Game like Donkey Kong Country, Earthbound (along with a buttload of clever copy protection mechanism), Tetris Attack and Megaman X are example of games using that kind of region detection technique. There might be a way of bypassing that using a Game Genie but in the case of a reproduction cart, you could always crack the region protection using uCon64 and then play them on any SNES console once the lockout-chip has been replaced. First, you need a Universal Programmer/PIC programmer and a PIC12F629 microcontroller. Program your PIC with the latest version of SuperCIC available at http://sd2snes.de/blog/cool-stuff/supercic. Be sure to program your chip using the file labeled supercic-key.hex as the file named supercic-lock.hex is meant to be programmed to a PIC16F630 and installed inside the console to make it region free as discussed earlier. Once your chip is done flashing and the data has been verified by your software, you need to desolder the old CIC from your cart's PCB. If de-soldering it is proving to be too tricky or time consuming (DIP chip package can be frustrating to properly de-solder), you can take a wire cutter and cut through all the pins. De-soldering them one by one after should be much easier and straightforward. Once the CIC has been removed, connect your PIC12F629 according to this connection diagram. The LED is completly optionnal and is used as an indicator for the chip status. You can leave pin #3 of the 12F629 disconnected if you do not need this feature and I do not really see why you would want it considering it will be hidden inside the cart shell. If you are using the DIP version of the PIC12F629, you should flatten all the pins so it take less space. You can also cut them leaving enough surface to solder your wire. It is also a good idea to secure it to the motherboard with a piece of electric tape or a dab of hot glue so that it doesn't move around and make the cart rattle.   That's it! You can now try your carts in your console. It might not boot on the first try but keep resetting and it will automaticly cycle through the different region until it match the one of your SNES. You can thank Ikari_01 for developping the SuperCIC and making it available for free to anyone as these things take a huge ammount of time to develop. Twitter (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) {return;} js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_GB/all.js#xfbml=1"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));{lang: 'en-GB'}
60 out of 100 with 1 ratings

The Super Nintendo used a lockout-chip system similar to the one found on the NES. Nintendo not only used that lock-out chip system to try and prevent unnauthorized software from booting on their console but also to make importing game more difficult. I will be showing how you can replace a cart's lockout chip (CIC) with a multi-region replacement (SuperCIC). Japanese (Super Famicom) and North American (Super Nintendo) carts use the same lockout chip but two plastic parst inside the North American SNES cart slot will prevent you of inserting Japanese cart inside the North American SNES. Breaking those is all that is needed to play them but other region use different lockout-chip and trying to load them will only give you a blackscreen. Now, there is way to simply disable the SNES CIC completly but it is not adviseable as it would create problem with later game like Super Mario RPG or Street Fighter Alpha 2 which will refuse to boot if no lockout-chip is present to complete the security hand-shake. The very best way would be to mod your console with a SuperCIC but this mod can be tricky to install for people not used to soldering and it might not be worth it for only one or two games. Replacing the CIC chip with the SuperCIC will allow your cart to boot on Super Nintendo/Super Famicom of any region. It could also be useful for reproduction cart to make them region-free or if you want to use a donor cart from a different region. Keep in mind that certains games have extra regionnal protection built into the game code and, while this mod will still allow you to boot those cart (as opposed of getting a black screen), it won't do anything for those additionnal protection. The way it work is that they detect the video frequency used and compare it to the video format used in the region where the game was intended to be played. Since the NTSC format use 60mhz and PAL use 50mhz, it is easy for a NTSC game to figure out that it is running in a different region than where it was sold and blocking the user from playing them by displaying an error screen. Game like Donkey Kong Country, Earthbound (along with a buttload of clever copy protection mechanism), Tetris Attack and Megaman X are example of games using that kind of region detection technique. There might be a way of bypassing that using a Game Genie but in the case of a reproduction cart, you could always crack the region protection using uCon64 and then play them on any SNES console once the lockout-chip has been replaced.

First, you need a Universal Programmer/PIC programmer and a PIC12F629 microcontroller. Program your PIC with the latest version of SuperCIC available at http://sd2snes.de/blog/cool-stuff/supercic. Be sure to program your chip using the file labeled supercic-key.hex as the file named supercic-lock.hex is meant to be programmed to a PIC16F630 and installed inside the console to make it region free as discussed earlier. Once your chip is done flashing and the data has been verified by your software, you need to desolder the old CIC from your cart's PCB. If de-soldering it is proving to be too tricky or time consuming (DIP chip package can be frustrating to properly de-solder), you can take a wire cutter and cut through all the pins. De-soldering them one by one after should be much easier and straightforward.

Once the CIC has been removed, connect your PIC12F629 according to this connection diagram. The LED is completly optionnal and is used as an indicator for the chip status. You can leave pin #3 of the 12F629 disconnected if you do not need this feature and I do not really see why you would want it considering it will be hidden inside the cart shell.

snescicmod

If you are using the DIP version of the PIC12F629, you should flatten all the pins so it take less space. You can also cut them leaving enough surface to solder your wire. It is also a good idea to secure it to the motherboard with a piece of electric tape or a dab of hot glue so that it doesn't move around and make the cart rattle.

SNESCIC PCB

 

That's it! You can now try your carts in your console. It might not boot on the first try but keep resetting and it will automaticly cycle through the different region until it match the one of your SNES.

You can thank Ikari_01 for developping the SuperCIC and making it available for free to anyone as these things take a huge ammount of time to develop.

Comments  
#5 George 2017-04-21 18:28
Quoting dbwbp:

I just found an article that might help you with Yoshi's Island (Or any Super FX based SNES game). It is an article on modding the Super GameBoy to be region free and it use the same SMD lockout chip as YI.

http://consolingmyself.co.uk/post/24142363511/multi-region-super-game-boy

Like mentioned before ,the procedure is the same but the lockout chip is different in those cart and they use F413A smd lockout chip.


Thank you, I'll check it out!
Quote
#4 dbwbp 2017-04-21 12:42
Quoting George:
For SM RPG I followed the guide here
http://www.mmmonkey.co.uk/super-mario-rpg-on-a-pal-snes/
And for YI I read here http://nfggames.com/forum2/index.php?topic=3507.msg24458#msg24458
that is a similar procedure.
For Metroid, swapping CIC is not an issue, I have a broken ISS pal cart, and the idea is for Metroid to work on an unmodified PAL SNES.(mine has switches, I will experiment with supercic probably next month!)
Thanks for all the info though, I discovered the SNES mod scene really late but I am glad that is still active!


I just found an article that might help you with Yoshi's Island (Or any Super FX based SNES game). It is an article on modding the Super GameBoy to be region free and it use the same SMD lockout chip as YI.

http://consolingmyself.co.uk/post/24142363511/multi-region-super-game-boy

Like mentioned before ,the procedure is the same but the lockout chip is different in those cart and they use F413A smd lockout chip.
Quote
#3 George 2017-04-20 22:03
For SM RPG I followed the guide here
http://www.mmmonkey.co.uk/super-mario-rpg-on-a-pal-snes/
And for YI I read here http://nfggames.com/forum2/index.php?topic=3507.msg24458#msg24458
that is a similar procedure.
For Metroid, swapping CIC is not an issue, I have a broken ISS pal cart, and the idea is for Metroid to work on an unmodified PAL SNES.(mine has switches, I will experiment with supercic probably next month!)
Thanks for all the info though, I discovered the SNES mod scene really late but I am glad that is still active!
Quote
#2 dbwbp 2017-04-20 20:48
Quoting George:
I recently converted a Japanese Mario RPG cart (strangely in English) to PAL and I am looking for something similar for Yoshis Island and Metroid (because PAL versions are ridiculously expensive).


The mod would be the same for Metroid and Yoshi's Island. The only difference would be with Yoshi's Island as the CIC chip in this cart would be a smd (surface mounted) version like the one found in the SNES console. It would only be a matter of looking at the pinout and soldering the Super CIC at the appropriate point. Replacing the Cic with a PAL CIC in your Metroid cart would work too but you would be wasting a game for this.
Quote
#1 George 2017-04-20 20:17
I recently converted a Japanese Mario RPG cart (strangely in English) to PAL and I am looking for something similar for Yoshis Island and Metroid (because PAL versions are ridiculously expensive).
I read that YI is similar to SM RPG, 5v to a lifted pin, but for Metroid I thought to replace the JAP CIC with a PAL one from a donor cart.
What do you think?
Quote
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