Question Calling all noobs (noob question thread)

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Shank

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If you have any question(s) you feel were not answered by google or searching the forums, or you had trouble understanding, this is the place to ask! I want all your basic nooby questions, no matter how dumb (as long as they are genuine.) Whether it's something basic that everybody should know, or something you googled endlessly and couldn't figure out, fire away! The questions you have will help us know what needs explaining better.

If you feel embarrassed asking any question about the Wii publicly, shoot me a PM and I'll help you out.
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Gman

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How do you load/format the Wii iso for SD/USB loading?
 

ShockSlayer

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@Shank No, like what tools are necessary and what things not to do. Like for the folks who have never done anything like this. ;D
 

ShockSlayer

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As someone who's actually trimmed a motherboard, I can tell you the best way to do it is with a rotary tool, most commonly referred to as a dremel. Use a metal cutting wheel bit with it and be careful. Draw out the lines of the trim first with a marker so you have something to reference. Also, dremels work based on speed, not force, so don't force it and it won't slip out of control and Nike swoosh your board.

Last but most important, after you've trimmed your shape, sand the edges down A LOT using 220 and then 600 grit sandpaper, to remove scale and anything that might be bridging on the sides. Visually check the sides a lot so you can see if anything's still touching.

And don't forget to clean it by wetting and scrubbing it with a toothbrush or something.
 
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Alright so I have loads of questions that I don't expect to really get answered here, I'm just doing this for the sake of the thread here. I think it could help a lot of people if these were compiled into a FAQ like mentioned. I'm sure I will regret this in years to come, but here it is.
  • Can you split a board into modules so as to relocate different functions to different parts of a case for better access to certain ports?
  • Does every connection require its own dedicated power cable or does it draw from one place on the board?
  • Extending on the last one, how do you modify the Wii's default power input jack? Can it be removed and the pad its connected to be used?
  • Does the OMGWTF trim require you to go all the way to the shown guidlines or can you modify the shape as long as you don't go passed the lines
  • With power buttons, what kind of connection is used, and how would one connect a third party button?
  • How can you tell what part of the board does what, is there a diagram somewhere everyone is referencing?
  • I notice most of the portables people make now are battery powered, how would you set up a power system that allows you to recharge the batteries
  • Heatsinks, and how 3rd party versions can be used effectively
  • Splitting signal to both a screen and optional auxiliary output
  • headphone jack?
  • For portables with built in controllers, how?
 

Shank

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These are GREAT questions!

I'll answer as much as I can. Feel free to correct me if something I say is wrong.

1- Absolutely! That's what portablizing is all about: rewiring and relocating. The only limitation of what can be moved where is what you are capable of.

2: Nope! They can all be wired to the same source of the desired voltage. In most if not all circumstances, you need only one source for every voltage line (1v, 3.3v, 12v, etc.) you need. For example, the Wii actually has two 3.3v lines, and they can be merged and powered by the same 3.3v source when running custom voltage regulators.

3: Yes! You can remove ports and solder to where they were, or even follow the electrical path on the board back to wire it into a new location. The Wii's stock voltage regulators can handle anything above 10.2v DC, so a power source that equal or higher than that should work, so long as it can supply 2 amps. Ideally though, try to keep it as close to 12v as you can if you are running stock regulators.

4: Those cuts are the highly recommended ones, but not mandatory. Gman uses many other cuts for his boards. @ShockSlayer can answer this one better than I can.

5: most buttons, including the face buttons, are simple normally open switches. When you push the button it connects a data line to ground, a voltage line, or other data lines, depending on the switch.

6: The Definitive Trimming guide is your go to source. It also links to my super thread, which tells you everything you could ever want to know about the Wii hardware. Its a little broken right now, but I'm working on it.

7: @ShockSlayer can explain better than I can.

8: That's a tricky one. Go look ups some other portables people have done for inspiration. The more surface area and airflow you have, the better off you are. Improvise and try some stuff for yourself to see what works. For the most part, have a fan bring air into the case, through the heatsink, and out the case.

9: If you are using analog (Red White Yellow, or Red Blue Green plugs) You can run it directly to both the screen and jack, and it should run, but it may have issues because the signal will be weakened when split. An alternative method is to wire a switch so you can pick where the source goes.

10: You can buy what are called "Switching headphone jacks" that will intercept the audio signal before it reaches the speakers and reroute it to your earbuds instead when you plug it in. Those are what you want to use. Keep in mind you can't just run the audio lines straight into speakers, they need to be amplified by an audio amp first.

11: Casemaking is where you have the most creativity. You can use whatever you want. Most people use a process called "frankencasing" which is where you cut up chunks of different parts, glue them together, sand, and paint. This can process yields both some of the most beautiful and some of the most hideous cases come from this process. @Bacteria 3.0 even used tupperware and wood, if that's what you are into. Some people drill or CNC holes in a case to place buttons. An original controller circuit board is wired in and the buttons are wired to it.
 

cheese

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lmao I didn't finish typing mine out before Shank posted. It may be a repeat.

Can you split a board into modules so as to relocate different functions to different parts of a case for better access to certain ports?
Yes for most things, just rewire all the data lines, power, and ground.

Does every connection require its own dedicated power cable or does it draw from one place on the board?
It depends on if you've cut beyond the recommended trim. If you stay outside or at the bounds of the OMGWTF cut, all power points are connected together inside the board, so putting power into any one point should power everything on that board. You'll need to have separate power wires for the daughterboards, but they can be powered off of the same power module.

how do you modify the Wii's default power input jack? Can it be removed and the pad its connected to be used?
If you'd like to keep the original regulators, you can simply apply around 11-18v to the pads where you removed the power jack. Otherwise, you can use the guide in the OMGWTF to see where to connect custom regulators.

Does the OMGWTF trim require you to go all the way to the shown guidlines or can you modify the shape as long as you don't go passed the lines
You can cut outside of the lines, just make sure to not go inside the lines. If you draw up a rough image of what you want on your board before you cut it, you can ensure you don't cut anything important off.

With power buttons, what kind of connection is used, and how would one connect a third party button?
It is a normally open spst (single pole, single throw) tact switch. If you just get a regular tact switch, most all of them are that kind. Connect one side to 3.3v and the other to pin 1 on the MX chip (if you use the original regulators). If you are using different regulators, you will need to either make a separate power button circuit or use a switch instead.

How can you tell what part of the board does what, is there a diagram somewhere everyone is referencing?
Most of us have been working one the wii for months or years, so we recognize most every part and their function, and sometimes we forget other people don't know what we do :P Most all names (eg MX, Hollywood, Broadway) are printed on the chips themselves.
If you can't find what you're looking for, we could make an image that identifies said part.
As for their use, we will probably make a diagram in the future, thanks for bringing it up.

I notice most of the portables people make now are battery powered, how would you set up a power system that allows you to recharge the batteries
If you have LiPo batteries (the flat packs, they look like the first image below), you will put power from the charger onto the battery protection circuit. If you have any other kind, usually the round cells, you can just put power onto the output to charge them up.

Heatsinks, and how 3rd party versions can be used effectively
Make sure to either use the thermal pads that were on the original heatsink, or use thermal paste. Besides that, just make sure that there isn't too much pressure (not much more than it had when you took it apart).

Splitting signal to both a screen and optional auxiliary output
Easiest one, just connect a wire that goes to both.

headphone jack?
Take the output of an audio amp and connect it to the jack. I believe someone may have been working on something for that, but I'm not sure where I saw/heard about it.

For portables with built in controllers, how?
The controller ports have a data line, power, and ground. For gamecube, just connect those together from the controller's board to the wii's board. For wii remotes, I believe someone was working on a way to wire those in, but I'm not entirely sure about that.
 

Noah

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Yeah, both work well. Whichever is designed for plastics (can't remember) would probably work best. Also, I believe the Krylon makes sandable primer as well. Not a dumb question at all, everyone starts somewhere!
 

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This may not be the right place to ask, but where would I start with any modding at all? I'm someone who has no experience at all, and has no idea where to start. I understand the dedication and time needed, and I am willing to put lots of work into it. However, I have no skills in soldering or anything of that nature. Sorry if this is not the right place to ask.
 

Shank

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I have a question regarding VGA output from the Wii.

Supposedly, the Wii occasionally spits out frames in 480i and some games are solely displayed at this resolution even when the Wii is set to 480p. I'm afraid this will cause issues when using VGA to output video as reviewers of Wii VGA cables have noted that 480i does not display at all.

The obvious solution would be to use HDMI, but my LCD only accepts composite and VGA. Is there a way I can have VGA output on a Wii? Does it depend on what resolution my LCD accepts or is it a limitation of VGA technology as a whole?
 

cheese

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Does it depend on what resolution my LCD accepts or is it a limitation of VGA technology as a whole?
It's a limitation of these particular cables, as the Wii doesn't normally output VGA, they have converters in them, and some don't support those particular video signals (480i).

If I'm not mistaken, GCVideo does have VGA output, and it may be possible to connect to the Wii, with some work. This may not be the best option at this time though, since they're kinda scarce for just purchasing, and the Wii's pinout for the GCVideo isn't confirmed as of yet.
Alternatively, you could build yourself a component to vga converter and hook it up directly, just make sure it supports 480i.
 
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Is there any other relocation pins on the WiFi module for the Wii i ruined some of them and I dont want to have to buy another wii/module
 

ShockSlayer

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Thanks for the help SS, but I have one more question: On the Definitive Wii Trimming Guide, the red path that shows where to trim goes through a lot of components that seem important, like through a capacitor and ribbon cable connectors. Do I really need to cut through connectors? Or am I supposed to go around them / remove the components and continue along the path?
You can remove those components first if you want to, otherwise follow the guide exactly.

@GarageFactory On the wifi module, none have been documented unfortunately, because apparently some of them go directly to a BGA chip or something like that.
 

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What kind of wire is used for the following and what gauges?

1. Bluetooth Module
2. Custom Regulators
3. Audio/video
4. SD/USB
 

cheese

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Bluetooth: The smallest wire you can get, as you will have to wire to thin traces. 32-38 gauge wire would be recommended, as it is incredibly thin.
Regulators: Relatively thick wire is good for regulators since they need to pass a lot of power to the parts (up to a few amps!), I use 24 gauge.
Audio/video: This is special, as the gauge is not as important since it's not high current, but rather you want to make sure to get shielded wire (all the others don't need to be shielded). I mentioned this here, in another conversation about wire gauges.
SD/USB: Something like IDE wire (which can be salvaged from old computers) works great. That's usually 28 gauge (it may say something like AWM 2678, it looks something like this).
 

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How do you test custom regulators? do you test them with your motherboard or can you test them after the trimming, which is recommended/easiest?
 

cheese

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How do you test custom regulators? do you test them with your motherboard or can you test them after the trimming, which is recommended/easiest?
I always do some quick tests with a multimeter to make sure that it is outputting the correct voltage before hooking it up to my actual Wii board. Then I would connect it to a board that is untrimmed, but has the regulator components removed (easiest with a hot-air gun of some kind), then trim it and test again to make sure nothing broke. It's a good idea to test your parts as you go so that if something stops working right, you only have a few possibilities as to what went wrong.
 
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