I'm trying to find out whether the Sega Saturn Backup Memory, the memory card for the Saturn, used the battery-requiring form of memory that Nintendo used for their Nintendo 64's Controller Pak, or the no-battery, permanent storage memory kind used by Sony for their PlayStation memory cards.

Among other sources, I have looked at https://obsoletemedia.org/sega-saturn-backup-memory/ as well as the Wikipedia page for the Sega Saturn. I also made image searches, but while some images do show a battery, that might actually be the memory card for the Sega CD rather than the Saturn, so it's ambiguous.

Furthermore, if it does use a battery, is it soldered on (like in the Controller Pak) or easily replaceable today by somebody without a soldering iron and the relevant skills?

I'm basically wondering if I can safely buy one today for my Sat or if it will have a dying/dead battery that has to be replaced.

1 Answer 1



By the looks of this site, it does make use of battery-backed up RAM.

One piece of advice to you would be don’t bother buying a backup cartridge, the internal memory does just a good enough job, however – if you are buying it on ebay, you may find that this greets you every time you boot up your machine.


This basically means your battery backup is screwed.

The battery isn't soldered directly to the board, but the connector is. It looks like a CMOS battery you'd find on a computer motherboard, and the specific battery type is a CR2032 3V which are commonly used for this application:

battery spot

It even looks like this battery is accessible without having to fully take apart the console (image from first link):

battery spot 2

So I think it's safe to buy one second hand, and replacing this battery is probably a common thing to have to do all these years later.

Back-up Memory Cartridge:

The official back-up memory cartridge did not have a battery by the looks of the motherboards seen in the link:

backup memory MB

You can also see in this teardown and cleaning video that no battery is present.

  • Pretty sure back in the late 90s/early 2000s, I remember seeing that "Set Language" screen on my Saturn upon booting it up. As a kid, I had no clue why it did that each time, but didn't care, probably because I also had the backup cartridge to save my progress, otherwise I probably would have whined to my parents that the thing was broken :)
    – Timmy Jim
    Aug 2, 2022 at 19:16
  • 1
    Sorry, but unless I completely misunderstand your answer, you are talking about the minimal internal save memory of the Saturn itself, whereas I'm talking about the cartridge (much larger) that you insert in top.
    – user291937
    Aug 3, 2022 at 8:44
  • @user291937 I added that information to my answer.
    – Timmy Jim
    Aug 3, 2022 at 12:22
  • I had (still have, currently in storage) a Saturn. Yes, it did take a CR2032 which gave you a small amount of memory. I don't think you got any warning that it was about to die, but the memory cartridge was great - the only problem was that some games didn't read it, instead only giving you the option of the internal memory. However you could save to the internal memory and backup to the cart.
    – user25730
    Jan 24, 2023 at 1:50

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