Despite me being in this community for a while now, I have yet to make a worklog or cutting edge post for any of my projects yet. That changes today!
Since the build is already completed, this is to be considered a retroactive worklog. I did take a lot of pictures throughout the process, so hopefully they'll be enough to document my journey in building my very first completed Wii related project!
The conception of the build starts back in late February/early March, when a routine eBay listing post by CrazyGadget for a CPU-40 mobo lead to me purchasing my now 3rd Wii at this point. I had done one other trim successfully for a G-Wii that I never finished, so I figured I could probably pull off an LMAO-esc trim for something like a GC Micro and have something built in time for MGC by the end of the month. Eventually I got the board in, along with a 4Layer order of RVL-NAND Relocation flexes, and set out on prepping the board for trimming.
First thing's first, U10. Since I won't be using RVL-PMS2 or Lite here, I'll need to do this. I largely prefer U10 relocation to U10 emulation anyway, since it's one less wire that is floating around in the case, but I digress. I've already done this once before, so it went pretty smoothly.
Confirmed booting. Next step is NAND relocation. This was new territory for me, although I was pretty confident that I would be successful, since I've managed to desolder TSOP packages from boards plenty of times before. The key is to add lots of flux and to not sink too much heat into one area of the board with hot air. Adding fresh solder also helps. All in all, the NAND popped off without issue.
With that out of the way, next comes populating the NAND relocation flex. I started with the chip, which was super easy to do and went right on with a little bit of drag soldering. What ended up being really painful for me was relocating the 2 decoupling caps (C121 and C132) onto the flex. I was having an incredibly hard time keeping them on my tweezers, and ended up losing both. I guess it just wasn't my day, since normally I never have an issue with 0402 passives.
I figured I could just pull up Shank's Super Thread and find some additional 100nF caps on the board somewhere else, but I didn't want to take any chances with the Wii not booting before I trimmed it. While I have a decent understanding of the various parts of the Wii, I didn't have enough of an understanding at the time to know what I should and shouldn't be taking off in terms of passives. Instead, from another project, I had purchased a reel of 0805 100nF caps, and elected to use those instead. They were a bit painful to get onto the flex, but thankfully the footprint was large enough to where they could be soldered on. Decoupling caps aren't strictly required, but I wasn't going to take a chance on decreased stability.
All that was left now was to get the flex soldered to the wii. Thankfully that went off without a hitch.
Plugged her in, and she boots. Fantastic. One final thing, I needed to relocate the 1v8 filter capacitor from where it normally is, since that area of the board is going to be sliced off.
With that done, I was finally ready to trim! Went ahead and masked off the trim lines, taped the sides of the CPU, GPU, and RAM to prevent copper & FR4 dust from getting underneath, fired up my Dremel, aaaand...
This is why you use diamond cutting wheels folks.
Thankfully, this wasn't as bad as it seemed. I verified on the compendium that the area isn't crucial, mainly just ground plane on both the top and internal layers, and a traces that no longer actually go anywhere. RIP U10 though, so I threw U9 on instead lol.
All in all, the trim went ok. It could have been much worse, but next time I'll definitely make sure to get a couple diamond cutting wheels, since they're supposed to make this job an absolute breeze. Here's the trim pre-sanding:
And finally, a shot of the back of the board post-sanding:
She wasn't booting initially, but after reflowing the NAND and the flex itself, we have a (mostly) working LMAO trim! Unfortunately however, one of the USB lines died, and was a source of a massive troubleshooting nightmare later on in the build. I'll get into that more & the rest of the build another time. Stay tuned!