32X connector cable
From Sega Retro
|32X connector cable|
|Made for: Sega 32X|
32X connector cables are the rarest and most important part of a 32X setup aside from the console itself. It is a common misconception that a 32X will behave similarly to a Power Base Converter or similar device, which merely acts as a glorified Mega Drive cartridge, but this is not the case. The 32X is instead more like an entirely new system (or about three quarters of one) - an almost entirely independent machine that just needs to talk to the Mega Drive once in a while to function correctly.
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.
With a Mega Drive model 1, an extra connector is required as the Mega Drive's "A/V Out" port differs between the two models. This is an even rarer and more expensive cable to find. The multitude of cables and wires is one of the many reasons the 32X is cited as being a poorly designed console - though many third party manufacturers created replacement cables, Sega did not sell these things separately.
Theoretically it is possible to play 32X games without the connector cable - if it is missing, the 32X will still function, but it will not display the sprite layer so 2D graphics may be nonexistent.