DreamPi is a community-designed and maintained project that allows one to use the Dreamcast's modem on a modern home network by employing a Raspberry Pi and USB modem.
Using DreamPi can be preferred to a Broadband adapter in many cases because the Broadband adapter, while a much faster, is not supported in a majority of commercial online games. The Broadband adapter is also a scarce peripheral that can cost over $100USD.
To build a DreamPi, you need the following hardware:
- A Raspberry Pi
- An SD card containing the DreamPi software image
- A Linux-compatible, USB dial-up voice modem (UK | US | DE)
- A telephone cable
- An ethernet cable
- Dreamcast browser software (e.g. Dreamkey 3.0)
Voltage Line Inducer
Chances are (regardless of region) you will also need to build a line voltage inducer. This is a simple circuit which sends an electric current down the telephone cable. For this you will need:
- A 0.47uf capacitor
- A 380 Ohm resistor
- A 9v battery connector (two if you have a PAL modem)
- A 9v battery (two if you have a PAL modem)
- A soldering iron, some solder, wire strippers, electrical tape, and patience
How to setup the DreamPi
Connect the Raspberry Pi to the USB modem, connect that to the phone cable, connect the phone cable to the Dreamcast. Then, connect the Raspberry Pi into your router.
Now, download the image, decompress with 7zip (or whatever) and follow the instructions here to flash the image to the SD card: https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentation/installation/installing-images/windows.md
Now, insert the SD card into the Pi, and switch it on!
Configuring DreamKey or PlanetWeb
For PlanetWeb, follow the instructions found here under "Configuring the Dreamcast".
For DreamKey 3.0. You need to set the ISP number to dial to 555.
So, what's the deal with PAL modems?
Right, it took me ages to figure this out. U.S modems come in two forms, model "A" modems, and model "B" modems. Model A modems don't draw their power from the telephone line itself, or at least, they don't require it (some USB modems do however!). Model B modems do, and so to do a direct modem-to-modem connection with one of those you need to somehow add power to the connecting phone wire. That's what a "Line Voltage Inducer" does. The best instructions I've found for this are here.
But, it gets even more complicated. Generally PAL modems are classed as Model B modems - they require a line voltage. However, I found that not many PAL users had had much luck getting connected, and when I tried, it didn't work for me either, even with a line voltage inducer!
Apparently it seems that U.S. Model B modems can suffice with only 9 volts added to the telephone line, but in europe our fussy PAL modems require 18 volts!
This is simple enough to do, just build the line voltage inducer as normal, but chain two 9 volt batteries together in series, rather than using just one.
It may be necessary to configure your firewall to allow games to properly connect through the DreamPi. Here is an example configuration for advanced users running BSD-based routers (e.g. OpenBSD, FreeBSD, pfSense, etc.) at home.
Pre made kits
Dreamcast Live is selling assembled DreamPi and Voltage Line Inducers.
It is possible with some creativity to create a completely internalized DreamPi adapter.
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