Question A Wii U question for the gurus...

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Maybe it is my no-sleep addled brain but I've had a nagging question rattling around in my brain for the past week or so. I know that people have made what we refer to as "Laptops", (such as an XBox 360 or PS3 laptop) for portables that are out of reach size wise but what about a "tablet" Wii U?.

I was thinking something like the Windows Surface Pro's or the iPad Pro, something either using the OEM 6.2” screen or with a nice 7" or 10" display with a digitizer. It would be a lot to fab/reverse engineering, using an after market touch screen, maybe even an aftermarket disk drive, (if possible, or none at all if the Wii U ever gets a Homebrew).

The heat distribution and power consumption would be the two major hurdles from what I see to keep it thin but the GamePad is about the same size as the console itself so it just got me thinking, "could the GamePad and system be molded together if stripped thin enough..."

I rarely play my Wii U actually using an external TV, only the Game pad, which most games on Wii U are designed to do so in essence if I just created a battery pack for it, (or just plug it in next to me) I could literally take the console, set it anywhere within 6' to 10' around me and use the GamePad to play anywhere as is. Maybe even add a small 5"/7" standard Raspberry PI type HDMI screen in the console case if so inclined... but this would suck a lot of juice on batteries without custom regulators.

Don't know, might be a horrible idea, just thought it would be a cool. I don't have the tools or knowledge to do the backwards engineering myself so I figured I would I would throw the idea out and see what the Gurus of reverse engineering on BitBuilt would think and get opinions. :)
 

GingerOfOz

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There already is Homebrew for the Wii U, so cutting a disc drive out might be possible. You can run games off an SD card, but the loading times are atrocious, and some games are less than optimal. You can also use Homebrew to install your disc games onto a flash drive or the Wii U's system memory, and they can run natively off of the Wii U like a normal game. I don't think it would be worth the effort to turn it into something smaller though, when you can just carry around the power brick and the console and just play games off the gamepad.

I don't know anything about anything else, but the homebrew is out there. :D
 

cheese

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I've got my Wii U modded to do SD loading. It's not the best speeds, but not the worst either (Smash takes a bit to load up, kinda looks like the system froze for a minute or so). I'm concerned it will end up like the Wii where the disc drive is required for SD loading (unless replaced in software like PM does). If you're so inclined, you could get a second power brick and just lop off the brick (or put a charging connecter between) and add a brick with batteries in it (since the Wii U doesn't require a monitor to be attached to run properly).

Neat idea though, makes me want to make a battery for my Wii U so I can drop it into my backpack and play smash in class :P
 

BocuD

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I am already woking on something like this, but am struggling with the batteries since the Wii U uses around 30 - 40 watts so i don't know if a handheld will be possible. I did remove the disk drive tough and i can play games from an external hard drive (google wii u usb helper , and title keys wii u) so that issue has been fixed already. You could just take apart the gamepad and stick it on top of the console, since the disk drive isn't there and there is extra space because of this. This already gives you a touch screen. I don't know anything about trimming though, that is a step too far for now. I will try however to do at least a ground plane trim once my extra Wii U arrives, maybe i will make a worklog about this later. It would be really cool though to have a Wii U portable, i can say that for sure. Also, i'm not sure but i think there aren't any motherboard revisions since i have only been able to find revision code 01 online.
 
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BocuD

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Of course i do have the dd motherboard plugged in, because it would't launch any games without it. It did boot though.
 

Shank

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I have a done a bit of exploring for the wii u, but I don't really see any potential for trimming. There are BGA chips and important circuitry in all corners of the board. To trim the board down significantly would require custom PCBs, BGA soldering, and some pretty insane soldering and wiring. It has 2 wifi modules instead of just 1, and software isn't nearly as hackable and cracked open wide as the Wii is. The wii U also has a lot of voltage lines, and if you need it, I can send you some work-in-progress voltage information.

For me, when the DD is unplugged, the console will boot and a few seconds later return an error screen saying there is a problem with the disc drive.

For revisions, I have seen 01 and 30 in the battery trays, but have yet to take open a 30. Given nintendo's numbering in the past, it is likely there is a 20 and possibly a 10.
 

Stitches

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I have a done a bit of exploring for the wii u, but I don't really see any potential for trimming. There are BGA chips and important circuitry in all corners of the board. To trim the board down significantly would require custom PCBs, BGA soldering, and some pretty insane soldering and wiring. It has 2 wifi modules instead of just 1, and software isn't nearly as hackable and cracked open wide as the Wii is. The wii U also has a lot of voltage lines, and if you need it, I can send you some work-in-progress voltage information.

For me, when the DD is unplugged, the console will boot and a few seconds later return an error screen saying there is a problem with the disc drive.

For revisions, I have seen 01 and 30 in the battery trays, but have yet to take open a 30. Given nintendo's numbering in the past, it is likely there is a 20 and possibly a 10.
It also has a fuckoff massive heatsink that takes up something like 1/3 of the internal space, and according to Nintendo, REQUIRES that massive sink or it will melt into a puddle of bitter consumer resentment.
 

cheese

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It also has a fuckoff massive heatsink that takes up something like 1/3 of the internal space, and according to Nintendo, REQUIRES that massive sink or it will melt into a puddle of bitter consumer resentment.
They made the heatsink slightly larger than the wii one, mainly because they wanted the system to be nearly silent. If you up the fan speed, you can make the heatsink smaller.
 

Stitches

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They made the heatsink slightly larger than the wii one, mainly because they wanted the system to be nearly silent. If you up the fan speed, you can make the heatsink smaller.
That's way smaller than the teardown I saw..... welp I must be going mad.

Edit: Not going mad, but the angle of the photo made the aluminium frame that fits over the sink look way bigger than it is.
 
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BocuD

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From all of the testong i have done, i found out that the rev 30 wii u gets about as hot with a wii heatsink and fan as a rev 01 wii. That looks good to me, but ofcourse there is also size. I will measure power useage tommorow.
Edit: since i now have a 30, i dont know power usage on that one yet.
Edit 2: grammar
 

Wulf

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Does anybody know the acceptable voltage range for a Wii U?

Could I chop up the power cord, attach a barrel plug, and then swap between 14.8v batteries and the outlet as desired?
 

Shank

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Huh. Looking back at my notes, I actually haven't actually tested minimum boot voltage on stock regulators. Thats important information, so Ill go wire it up and then finish this post...

I just wired it up to my regulated power supply, and the lowest I could get it to boot was 13.5v under load. Unfortunately, a 14.8v and even an 18.5v battery drops below that when discharged. A 22.2v battery, which has a cutout at ~15v, would be the lowest nominal voltage that would stay above the level required to boot. Thats 6 cells in series, which have a voltage of ~25.2 when fully charged. Ive tested Wiis at higher voltages (because reasons) and they have been fine. The Wii U SHOULD be able to handle that voltage range, but I can't guarantee it. If you are worried, you could always use a big ass buck converter to regulate the voltage from the battery.
 

Wulf

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Interesting. Would you mind going into a bit more detail on that for my own education?

How do you predict the voltage drop from being under load? Could the voltage drop be reduced by hooking up more batteries in parallel?

even an 18.5v battery drops below that when discharged
I assume you don't mean discharged in the "ran out of juice" sense, but in the "doing work now" sense? Do NiMH / LiPo matter? Would a fully charged LiPo's uneven voltage/charge curve be more likely to temporarily power the WiiU than a NiMH's more even curve?

Have I expressed a lack of enough fundamental knowledge to make the very questions themselves meaningless?
 

cheese

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Uh, I dunno what you're talking about shank, a fully depleted 18.5v lipo pack would get down to 15v (since you should never discharge a lipo below 3v per cell, as it will permanently damage the cell and can cause other issues as well)... As for voltage under load, it shouldn't drop below 3v per cell unless you are pulling on the battery way too hard.

Have I expressed a lack of enough fundamental knowledge to make the very questions themselves meaningless?
Ayy, the whole point of questions is to gain more knowledge! Also, these are pretty legitimate questions coming from his post :P
 

Shank

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Uh, I dunno what you're talking about shank, a fully depleted 18.5v lipo pack would get down to 15v
You're right. I didn't run the math myself, and was referencing the cutoff voltages of the 5s cells on batteryspace. They all claim to have a cutoff of 12.5v, which would put the cells at 2.5v each. I wonder if that's a typo or if they are really stretching the cells that hard...
 

cheese

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You're right. I didn't run the math myself, and was referencing the cutoff voltages of the 5s cells on batteryspace. They all claim to have a cutoff of 12.5v, which would put the cells at 2.5v each. I wonder if that's a typo or if they are really stretching the cells that hard...
I would hope it's a typo :P
 
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