2021 Contest Entry: The Tomii

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(moving my worklog post over here for the contest, mods don't kill me.)
Hello! My name is BardRights AKA CakeB0ss AKA Thomas and I've begun working on my first portable build. After years of passing research and a couple of half-assed attempts, I'm finally ready to begin working on portablizing a Wii. I hope this will be a really fun project to learn a lot from and enjoy building, pick up the hobby of electronics work, and have a nice, polished portable to play on. Named after my Mii from my childhood Wii, and just generally fitting portable naming conventions, the current working name for it is the Tomii.
At the moment, I have a PMS-2, PD-2, and UAMP from 4layer, and the screen, cooling kit, and GB+ v2 from the BitBuilt store. I have a couple scrapped 3DS's that I plan to use parts from, such as the volume slider, maybe a couple button+caps, the slider-sticks, and the speakers if I can, as well as an original Gamecube controller to gut for maybe the triggers, face buttons, and c-stick.
After I get most of the innards planned or wired up, and have a better idea of what the case will look like specification-wise, I'll be modeling it in Fusion 360 and printing it with a friend's help (unless that gets me DQ'd :rothink:).
I'm very new to electronics work in general and might've already made a mistake or two with the iron, but I hope I'll pick it up enough to get this project going! I threw my hat in the ring for the contest because I figured it'd be a fun way to challenge myself and dig into the community while I work on the project, I'm sure that you'll all be much more experienced. :D
I'm super looking forward to this, if you have any tips, pointers, comments, questions, or concerns, please feel free to reach out to me on the forums or Discord! (Bard Rights on there, same pfp)

here's some screenshots of my first VERY ROUGH draft of the case, just to familiarize myself with F360. Dw, it's gonna be rebuilt from the ground up when I'm ready for it.
Shell1.png
Shell2.png


Aaaaaand my current status on the build, I'm currently at the "hook the PD, PMS, and Wii up and troubleshoot why it's not working" phase. My current theory is that I somehow broke the PMS-2, since the board resistances look fine and a couple PMS components warm up when it's powered.... :facepalm: which would omega suck, but I have a PMS1 on hand so that will be plan B if I can't get this working.... again, tips and comments more than appreciated :D
Tomii1.jpg
 

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cheese

the tallest memer in town
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Try disconnecting everything from the pms and test voltages to see if it is working properly, then slowly connect everything back to it until it stops working
 

Nold

real emulation, no hardware
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I would recommend getting stranded wire for power & cleaning up those solderjoints e.g. using flux.
Remove all components you cut through [not sure if there are any on the top right except the big golden one]
And hopefully the cuts at the LDO don't short anything. Did you check all resistances? https://bitbuilt.net/forums/index.php?threads/wii-trim-resistances.2602/
 
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I would recommend getting stranded wire for power & cleaning up those solderjoints e.g. using flux.
Remove all components you cut through [not sure if there are any on the top right except the big golden one]
And hopefully the cuts at the LDO don't short anything. Did you check all resistances? https://bitbuilt.net/forums/index.php?threads/wii-trim-resistances.2602/
Ahhh I based my wire purchases off of the G-Boy list and didn't notice it uses stranded. What's the reason for that preference? As for the resistances and LDO cuts, I troubleshot through those extensively at first and it all looks fine. The Wii seemed to boot fine off of the spare PMS-1 I had but I couldn't get video to post, and then.... I kinda broke the BTN soldering pad on it :facepalm: so I think I've successfully botched two separate PMS's...
Try disconnecting everything from the pms and test voltages to see if it is working properly, then slowly connect everything back to it until it stops working
I'll try this, but I was so confident I broke it that I ordered another. I did it like 5 minutes after I got paid so I didn't feel too bad about it :blush: but I can try triple testing the current one to see if it's salvageable. Worth checking.

Thanks, you two! Current plan is to very, very carefully hook up the new PMS-2 to the Wii and aim for it to boot properly, then hook up the PD-2 and troubleshoot from there if I need to. I've also been picking at the case a bit more after getting a better visualization of how the parts hook up together. Also might pick up stranded wire before I hook anything up if y'all strongly recommend that :rothink: .
 

Senor Avocado

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Stranded is usually better because solid core can fatigue and cause breaks in the line that are really hard to trouble shoot, since it might be touching enough for continuity, but might not be able to deliver the current it needs to. Often in this testing phase you are constantly moving things, so the stranded wire is ajust a lot more durable.
 
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Alright, I'm beginning to frustrate myself...
I wired up the new PMS-2 to everything, after plenty of cleaning the board and preparing. Initially, it delivered power fine, the screen turned on, but the Wii didn't seem to boot. But before I could troubleshoot that, the PMS stopped delivering power, it just... turned off after a few seconds of being on. Hitting the power button again made it turn back on, then off it went after a few seconds. I thought the issue might be the batteries being too low, so I hooked up the PD-2 I used before to charge them, hopefully, which might've been a fatal error. Now, the PMS won't turn on at all, and I'm not sure if it's because it was the PD I broke in my first attempt and now it broke the new PMS? or the batteries are just dead? I have no idea how to test if the parts are still in working order, or even where to begin troubleshooting at this point...
 

Stitches

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Alright, I'm beginning to frustrate myself...
I wired up the new PMS-2 to everything, after plenty of cleaning the board and preparing. Initially, it delivered power fine, the screen turned on, but the Wii didn't seem to boot. But before I could troubleshoot that, the PMS stopped delivering power, it just... turned off after a few seconds of being on. Hitting the power button again made it turn back on, then off it went after a few seconds. I thought the issue might be the batteries being too low, so I hooked up the PD-2 I used before to charge them, hopefully, which might've been a fatal error. Now, the PMS won't turn on at all, and I'm not sure if it's because it was the PD I broke in my first attempt and now it broke the new PMS? or the batteries are just dead? I have no idea how to test if the parts are still in working order, or even where to begin troubleshooting at this point...
You can test if it's the batteries being dead by hooking up a 12v dumb power supply to the CHARGE pad and just leaving it for an hour or so

Also more wiring pics pls
 
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You can test if it's the batteries being dead by hooking up a 12v dumb power supply to the CHARGE pad and just leaving it for an hour or so

Also more wiring pics pls
Alright, sorry for the lack of pics, but I spent the day troubleshooting my problems in the Discord. It's almost certain that I managed break not one, not two, but THREE pms boards :facepalm:.
The most recent one, the one that frustrated me the night I made the previous post, is simply constantly outputting to the voltage regulators- it won't turn off. It also turns on the instant power is connected.... So, Gunnar has offered to take a look at the two PMS-2's I ordered and broke, and see if he can locate and replace the components that are fried (big thanks to this man, he and everyone else in this community are so immensely helpful). I'm gonna try and ship those out tomorrow so I can get back on this horse ASAP. My current theory is that the PD was fried in such a way that it damaged the first and second PMS's once they were hooked up to it -_-. made all the more frustrating since I tried to take great care and caution while working on setting this one up.
Oh, and as for charging the battery, I opened up a stock Wii PSU and soldered the PMS's charge pads to it :D worked like a charm!Wiipsu.jpg

So, aside from all the troubleshooting, let me show you what else I've been up to- case designing! Once I began soldering parts together, I realized I'd be more comfortable doing so if I had a rough idea of where everything will be in relation to each other once the assembled, so I imported all the major parts of the build into Fusion and got to work.
Tomiiv1.png

This was the "original idea" for the case, though it was really just a test run of Fusion. I tried fitting all the parts in here just to get an idea of how everything will fit together and be constructed, and it eventually landed me on this.
Tomiiv2.png

The second version of the case looks much nicer, imho. :D I traced over the shape of the front face of a GBA, since I really really love the look of it. I used measurements off the G-Wii for references on things like wall thickness, button size, cell size, etc. I intend to use the D-pad and Joystick slider from my scrapped 3D, so the measurements are for those, and I'm still deciding what face buttons and C-stick to use, but I have half a mind to use both from a spare GameCube controller I have. I'm almost certainly going to use the triggers from a Gamecube controller, because they're the triggers from a Gamecube controller. I modeled those prongs sticking up out of the battery compartment to accommodate the battery clips from a wiimote, because I'd really like the cells in the final build not to be soldered in. I'm gonna print a bracket with just those soon so I can make sure they fit fine, and adjust if need be. However, this version of the case proved too ambitiously small to comfortably hold all the components in any reasonable arrangement. That, combined with the fact that it got a bit... messy to work with (evidenced partially by the weird angled corner on the left), I opted to start from scratch with the idea.
Tomiiv3.png

And so, applying everything I've learned thus far, the slightly-larger-but-still-smaller-than-the-G-Wii Tomiiv3. I think it has plenty of wiggle room for wiring, and the larger size should make it able to comfortably accommodate the Gamecube face buttons without squishing their arrangement too much. Gonna consult with my friend who 3D prints soon to see how viable this'd be for us to make, I'll keep y'all posted
 
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Alright, Gunnar generously received, poked, prodded, and tested the components that were giving me trouble. The PD and one of the PMS's were shot, which I had figured, but it was a relief to hear it from someone more capable of deciding that. He replaced one of the components on the second PMS and it is now working fine, cleared by him. He didn't even charge me for the time and components, I could never thank the man enough ;). So, in the meantime while the parts shipped to and fro and were subject to experimentation, I took my downtime to continue chipping at the Wii case, which I've actually had a lot of fun working on and planning out for countless hours this past month and change. So, here's the current revision:
Tomii32.png

(and underside)Tomii3.png
I plan on using the GCN face buttons and layout, though I have half a mind to swap out the GCN A button for the A button from a Wiimote, just a preference of size and aesthetic. I also moved the B button a bit, so the buttons kinda make a slanted T :p. I'm still deciding if I want to use a proper C-stick or another 3DS slider for the right stick, since I have both on hand and they're both simple enough to work with. I'm also definitely going to use the gamecube triggers, but I have yet to carve out the shapes for them in the case since I can't find any convenient references, and they're hard to work out by eye....
So, with the case well underway and the part layout more or less decided, it's time I get into the nitty-gritty.
I have button caps, but few actual physical mechanical buttons. Could just Alli-Express or Amazon, but the planet's already dying enough. Couldn't hurt to recycle. So, I found an old broken flightstick my dad had from God know's when and gutted it for its precious, precious buttons.SaitekSurgery.jpg
And voila, some buttons.
ButtonHaul.jpg
Going to have to desolder those three on the right, but between these and the 4 dual-action switches I got from the BitBuilt store (may it rest in peace), I should have everything I need to get the controls of the build working. The trigger, on the topright, is actually really satisfying, I don't know why I like it so much, and it's 100% going to be the Z button which just sucks in the defauly GCN controller. As for the weird pseudo-D-pad on the left.... I have plans for it. Should work pretty fine as-is as a D-Pad, but it's gonna need some finagling, keep ya posted.
Probably gonna design and print some brackets to screw into the case and position/hold everything. Speaking of printing brackets...
Bracket.jpg

Designed this bad boy myself :D First thing I modeled and printed, and it WORKS (gonna revise it juuuust a little, though). Holds an 18650 cell, and it's designed to house the battery clips I ripped out of a Wiimote. This definitely beats soldering/unsoldering a battery a thousand times. So, now that I got the parts back from Gunnar (including a new PD because i hate my bank account), and this cool bracket for testing, lets.... well, test.
[Insert tirade explaining my afternoon of troubleshooting here. APPARENTLY I have no clue where to solder component, AND my screen's board mislabeled the composite in. :facepalm:]
Aaaaaaaaaand it's that easy, folks.
HolyFuckingShit.jpg

Now that I have a booting trimmed wii, it's time to properly plan and execute the rest of this portable. I think my next step will be to finish and print the case, so that I can rest all of these components in it and work on integrating everything else from there. And, as always, major thanks to this awesome and helpful community!
 
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