Worklog Attempting to put a Wii in a Wii U Gamepad

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Quick update for everyone, after some delay I finally got a USB flash drive that works (the recommended SanDisk one which can be found here). After confirming that the USB drive worked, I disassembled my Wii, removed the WiFi card, and tested to make sure everything worked. Sure enough, everything worked as intended! This means I can proceed with trimming the board. Today I am going to read through the trimming guide, mark the area to be trimmed, and then tomorrow I will actually begin trimming the board. I'm going to be purchasing all the remaining components to finish the system soon so I can continue building the system soon after trimming the board.
 
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Since my last post I decided not to begin trimming the board yet as I didn't have all the components necessary to test it after the fact to make sure it works. I just purchased all the components I will need and updated the original post as I made a few changes. The most notable changes are a different screen and the U-AMP 2 over the Chinese amp. Those parts should be arriving soon in the next couple days, so i'll probably trim the board tomorrow so I will be able to begin testing it as soon as the parts arrive.

Additionally, I desoldered the joystick connectors from the Gamepad circuit board so that I can use them to easily wire up the joysticks to the GC+ 2.0. Here are some pictures for reference:
20230710_195000.jpg
20230710_194943.jpg
 

Stitches

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Nice. Btw if you end up damaging the FFC connectors, you can replace them with any generic 0.5mm pitch 10 pin FFC connectors.
 
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Welp, I did it. I trimmed the motherboard. This was honestly incredibly stressful as it was my first time trimming a Wii Motherboard as well as my first time using a dremel, but I think I did an okay job. The only part of the board that may be messed up is the bottom right section where the components for video out are, but it seems like they are all in tact. See the pictures below (I have not sanded the board down yet as I wanted to wait for confirmation that my trim looks good before doing that). If anyone is familiar with 6-layer board trims, please let me know if my trim looks acceptable. Hopefully I didn't wreck the board because If I have to start over i'll probably have to put the project on hold for a while.

View attachment P1080095.JPG
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I've been hard at work today sanding my Wii motherboard and wiring up all the components in order to get to a point where I could test everything. After getting everything wired up, however, the PMS-PD-LITE board powered on and the fan started spinning, but the Wii did not output any video. I could however feel that the Wii was doing something because the CPU and GPU were warm to the touch. My theory is that there is something wrong with my wiring of the 1.8v section of the Wii motherboard because when I tested for resistances the 1.8v chip would never stabilize and just keep decreasing. Here is a picture of the resistances of my Wii motherboard:
1689474273824.png


I'm also a little confused about what the RVL-NTC board is for. It is made specifically for 4-layer boards and doesn't fit my 6-layer board. Is it required?

Also, the RGB LED that came with the PMS-PD-LITE board shines blue when the board is turned off, flashing blue when charging, and does not turn on when the board is powered. Is this the expected result? It seems like the LED should be off when the board is off and on when the board is on. Here are some pictures of my wiring of all the boards so far:
View attachment P1080109.JPG
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The rvl ntc is used for temperature things. You can use a thermoster like the one in the g boy for safety if the console overheats as I doubt hooking up the rvl ntc to a 6 layer board is possible. For the led, it probably has something to do with the settings in RVLoader. You can also do all of the continuity checks and making sure your joints are good.
 

Stitches

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6 layer Wiis absolutely require 22AWG wire for voltage supply, and need a second ground wire to the regulators. Your wires look a little thin. Also, you have way too much exposed wire on nearly everything. You're going to short something out
 

CrazyGadget

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The PMS 2 / Lite cannot be used to power a 6-Layer, they are meant for 4-Layers only due to the current limit on the regulators.

On a similar note, why are you trying to use a 6-layer for a portable build? They draw twice as much power and generate twice the heat of a 4-layer board, all with less support for portablizing solutions... Your best bet would be to pick up a 4-layer off eBay for $20 and run with that.

As for this trim, looks like you never connected your 1v8 lines together. Even with that done, it still won't power on with a PMS, you'd need something like a set of PTH regs or a PSU / PSU-Plus.
 
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The PMS 2 / Lite cannot be used to power a 6-Layer, they are meant for 4-Layers only due to the current limit on the regulators.

On a similar note, why are you trying to use a 6-layer for a portable build? They draw twice as much power and generate twice the heat of a 4-layer board, all with less support for portablizing solutions... Your best bet would be to pick up a 4-layer off eBay for $20 and run with that.

As for this trim, looks like you never connected your 1v8 lines together. Even with that done, it still won't power on with a PMS, you'd need something like a set of PTH regs or a PSU / PSU-Plus.
I am using a 6-layer because that's what I happened to purchase. I didn't see anything anywhere that said the RVL-PMS boards didn't support 6-layer boards, so I didn't think it was a huge deal. There should definitely be something on the 4layer website that says the boards don't support 6-layer Wii's. Additionally, it seems like the Wii is being powered as the CPU and GPU get warm to the touch soon after powering on the PMS.

The rvl ntc is used for temperature things. You can use a thermoster like the one in the g boy for safety if the console overheats as I doubt hooking up the rvl ntc to a 6 layer board is possible. For the led, it probably has something to do with the settings in RVLoader. You can also do all of the continuity checks and making sure your joints are good.
I tested for continuity and everything checks out.

6 layer Wiis absolutely require 22AWG wire for voltage supply, and need a second ground wire to the regulators. Your wires look a little thin. Also, you have way too much exposed wire on nearly everything. You're going to short something out
Yeah, this was just for testing as I only had 28AWG wires on hand. I am being careful not to short anything, and once I get everything tested and running properly I will rewire all the components properly.

If there's really no way to use the 6-layer board with the PMS then i'll probably go and purchase a 4-layer board off Ebay, but there really should be more information available about the differences between the boards and warnings about incompatibility with the PMS.
 

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Crazygadget is correct that the RVL-PMS line does not officially support 6 layer boards. The "don't use a 6 layer for a portable" thing is pretty universally known and accepted. We didn't see the need to specify the incompatibility as we assumed anyone building a portable was following the guidance online, and didn't want a portable that ran way hotter and had like less than 2/3 the battery life. Not to mention that all of our diagrams use 4 Layer Wii. Regardless, I have gone ahead and added info clarifying incompatibility with 6 layer boards on the shop page to clear up any further misunderstandings.


Although the boards do not officially support 6 layer boards, that doesn't necessarily mean that they CAN'T work with them. We used various regulators in our revisions as we fought to keep inventory in stock, so your regs may be able to supply enough current to run the board. The maximum current by the BQ chip (handles battery management) may be an issue, but on the glowii, I was able to use a PMS board to power the wii portable, a raspberry pi zero, a vga to hdmi converter, a capture card, and 74 addressable RGB LEDs. If the voltage isnt dropping or cutting out, you may have issues elsewhere. Power up the wii off the 6 layer board, and check the voltages of each of the rails. If they are all present and at the desired voltage layer, then you aren't overdrawing the PMS. If your voltage isn't sagging and your power isn't cut off by the safety protections, the problem is not the PMS. But again, we cannot promise or guarantee it will work with a 6 layer. We can't promise it WON'T work though.

Edit:
Also, it looks like you are using solid core wire for some stuff. I would not advise doing that. It can break in the middle quite easily and start being intermitted, which is the worst to troubleshoot. Use stranded core for all wire except magnet wire.
 
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Stitches

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I am using a 6-layer because that's what I happened to purchase. I didn't see anything anywhere that said the RVL-PMS boards didn't support 6-layer boards, so I didn't think it was a huge deal. There should definitely be something on the 4layer website that says the boards don't support 6-layer Wii's. Additionally, it seems like the Wii is being powered as the CPU and GPU get warm to the touch soon after powering on the PMS.



I tested for continuity and everything checks out.



Yeah, this was just for testing as I only had 28AWG wires on hand. I am being careful not to short anything, and once I get everything tested and running properly I will rewire all the components properly.

If there's really no way to use the 6-layer board with the PMS then i'll probably go and purchase a 4-layer board off Ebay, but there really should be more information available about the differences between the boards and warnings about incompatibility with the PMS.
You misunderstand, smaller gauge wire with only the one ground return is not sufficient to power the Wii. It will not boot no matter how neat your 28AWG wiring is. Those wires simply are not thick enough to carry sufficient power
 
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Crazygadget is correct that the RVL-PMS line does not officially support 6 layer boards. The "don't use a 6 layer for a portable" thing is pretty universally known and accepted. We didn't see the need to specify the incompatibility as we assumed anyone building a portable was following the guidance online, and didn't want a portable that ran way hotter and had like less than 2/3 the battery life. Not to mention that all of our diagrams use 4 Layer Wii. Regardless, I have gone ahead and added info clarifying incompatibility with 6 layer boards on the shop page to clear up any further misunderstandings.


Although the boards do not officially support 6 layer boards, that doesn't necessarily mean that they CAN'T work with them. We used various regulators in our revisions as we fought to keep inventory in stock, so your regs may be able to supply enough current to run the board. The maximum current by the BQ chip (handles battery management) may be an issue, but on the glowii, I was able to use a PMS board to power the wii portable, a raspberry pi zero, a vga to hdmi converter, a capture card, and 74 addressable RGB LEDs. If the voltage isnt dropping or cutting out, you may have issues elsewhere. Power up the wii off the 6 layer board, and check the voltages of each of the rails. If they are all present and at the desired voltage layer, then you aren't overdrawing the PMS. If your voltage isn't sagging and your power isn't cut off by the safety protections, the problem is not the PMS. But again, we cannot promise or guarantee it will work with a 6 layer. We can't promise it WON'T work though.

Edit:
Also, it looks like you are using solid core wire for some stuff. I would not advise doing that. It can break in the middle quite easily and start being intermitted, which is the worst to troubleshoot. Use stranded core for all wire except magnet wire.
Gotcha, I appreciate you adding that to the website. I know I should have realized that a 6-layer Wii was a bad choice, but for beginners getting into this Wii portable community it can be very daunting and easy to miss something important. I have decided to purchase a 4-layer Wii off of Ebay and will go to the store to get some proper wires for my build before it arrives. Once I get the Wii and the wires, I think the build will go pretty quickly, although I am in a serious time crunch as I go back to college in less than a month. Hopefully I be able to get most of the work done within a week and then figure out how much space I have for batteries. As long as I can get something working before I get to college, even if I can't get it fully set up in the case, i'll be happy.
 
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The screen came in today! I did have to tear off the left, right, and bottom sides of the original screen barrier, but it was quite easy. I took some scissors to each corner and bent each side until it ripped right off. I do have a couple quick questions. First, what would be the best way to secure the screen in place? Second, I'm assuiming I will need to cover the back of the screen in some sort of capton or electrical tape to prevent shorts, is this correct?

There is a little bit of bezel showing on the top and bottom of the screen, and a little bit is cut off on the left and right, but I don't think it will be a huge issue.

Additionally, I am very glad to see that the controller board is small, but it is, unfortunately, pretty thick. I think i'll be able to work around this, but it will make things a little more difficult. On the flip side, the screen came with a wireless remote, which is great as there will be no room for the physical controller board.

Here are some pictures:

20230721_205426.jpg

20230721_205139.jpg
 
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Also, the boards I purchased to break out the small blue ribbon cables (for the controller buttons) on the left and right of the gamepad turned out to be way to big, so I'm at a difficult spot as to what to do. Does anyone have any suggestions on a breakout board I could purchase or what I could do to be able to wire up these ribbon cables to the GC+ 2.0?

UPDATE: Turns out Amazon just sent me the wrong part. I've ordered replacements and they will fit as long as Amazon sends me the right ones.
 
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Stitches

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I would put some tape on the back of the panel, yeah. I always insulate the back side of PCBs and anything metal with kapton tape for safety, and to prevent the little adhesive pads that I use from binding forever to the PCB. Having the tape there makes everything removable
 
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I have a lot to update you all on today! For starters, my new Wii arrived and I got it softmodded and made sure it was a 4-layer board. After that, I trimmed it. Here's a picture of the trim:
20230722_172201.jpg

20230722_172207.jpg


There's a pretty large mark on the bottom left corner in the second picture there, does anyone know if this will cause problems?

Next, I began working on the layout of the components in the case so that I could get the proper length of wire for each solder location. Here's a couple pictures of what I came up with:
20230723_201721.jpg

20230723_201733.jpg


Of course, i'll cover each component with electrical tape before everything is all done in order to prevent any shorts. You can see i've made quite a few cuts and modifications to the bottom board in order to fit all the components, but i'm pretty confident that it will be possible without affecting the shell of the case (other than a hole for a fan)

Also, I do have a question. I tried to start soldering the voltage and ground wires to the PMS-PD board, but i've found it incredibly difficult to get the solder to stick to the different 1v, 1.15v, etc. components on the Wii. Does anyone have any tips for how to get the solder to stick? I've tried flux, different iron tips, everything it seems like and nothing works.

Thanks for all your help!
 

Stitches

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Make sure your iron is set hot enough to melt the lead-free solder on the Wii. I use around 380C on mine, then I make a nice blob on the tip and press the blob against the tantalum capacitor pads. I find that the blob method is often more reliable than pressing the naked iron against the pad
 
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After a bit of patience and a lot of solder wasted, I think I have finally soldered all the power wires to the Wii. Here is a picture (i'll be adding electrical tape later on to prevent shorts ofc):
20230724_153704.jpg


I know my solder work isn't very good, but hopefully it is good enough to get everything working. Unfortunately, during this process I accidentally removed the solder pad from the RVL-NTC board. Here is a picture:
20230724_153757.jpg


Does anyone know if it is possible to get a replacement of this part? Or if it's even a requirement to get the Wii working? I know it is a temperature sensor to help with auto shutdown if the Wii gets too hot, but I wouldn't mind just leaving it out of my build entirely if it isn't required.
 
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