Worklog [Nintendo WiicUbe] Portablized Wii in Wii U Gamepad

Discussion in 'Wii' started by gnarlynick, Jul 5, 2018.

  1. gnarlynick .

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    Hello all,

    After crawling through these forums researching other member's builds and best practices, I plan on building a portable Wii, primarily for GameCube purposes. As an avid video game and horror fan, my all-time favorite game series is Resident Evil and my best memories playing those games was on the GameCube with the Resident Evil remake and the original Resident Evil Zero release, as well as the ports of Resident Evils 2 and 3 and the eventual release of Resident Evil 4. I was holding out hope this E3 for Nintendo to either announce ports of the Resident Evil HD remasters or some sort of GameCube Virtual Console for the Nintendo Switch; both were no-shows. This has given me the resolve to take what knowledge I have in creating Raspberry Pi portables and venture into my first Wii portable.

    Update: I'm aware Capcom has since announced Resident Evil 0, Resident Evil, and Resident Evil 4 to be released on the Switch in 2019. I still plan on completing this build and using it to enjoy the many great titles from my favorite system, the Nintendo GameCube.


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    Display I already have a Wii U gamepad (and numerous gamepad spare parts) from a shelved Raspberry Pi 3 handheld project I was planning ~two years ago and a 6.2" screen. The display board supports both VGA and composite input, I plan on utilizing @Aurelio's VGA patch to get the best resolution output to the screen. I've purchased a new digitizer to protect the screen, but have no intentions of utilizing the touch capabilities of it. I will be using shielded cable between the Wii and the display driver for the R, G, & B signals to reduce interference.
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    Controls I plan to reuse the existing button layout on the system for the D-Pad, ABXY, L (not used?), ZL, R (Z), ZR, Start, & Select (not used?) buttons as well as the OEM 5v rumble motor housed within the gamepad. @Madmorda graciously made me some custom, resin-cast Wii U gamepad buttons in a GameCube theme that I will use to pull the whole GameCube theme together.
    To convert the 0.5mm pitch ribbon cables in the gamepad to solderable points, I am using these 0.5mm pitch connectors and 0.5mm pitch breakout boards which will make it easier to solder the button inputs directly from the FPC cables within the Wii U gamepad to the GC+.
    I purchased GameCube joystick caps from eBay and they fit without any modifications atop the existing joysticks within the gamepad and have an unrestricted range of motion when the shell is closed up. I also purchased an Xbox Elite controller D-Pad and with some slight modifications, got it to fit into the gamepad's D-Pad area.
    A member on another forum (source) also created this board on OSH Park for the power/home/TV buttons on the Wii U to be utilized with push-button tactile switches to emulate how the stock buttons feel. I'm thinking of using the existing TV button on the gamepad to turn the display on/off to conserve power if the system needs to be set down for some reason. The Home button may serve as the reset button, and I can use the Sync button on the back of the gamepad to sync Wii remotes via the BT module. The existing IR LEDs situated on either side of the camera of the stock gamepad will be used for Wiimote sensing so Wii games can be played with an external controller.
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    Power I plan on using ABS cement or bondo to frankencase a 2.5" external HDD enclosure to the rear of the shell which will externally house a 7.4v 10,000mAh (74wh) flat pack battery, with the charging circuit being wired inside the gamepad as space inside is not really forgiving. I'll relocate a 2.1mm barrel jack charging port atop the gamepad where the proprietary charging port once was alongside the 3.5mm headphone jack. I'll use a 12v power supply to externally charge/power the system.
    I plan on utilizing @Noah's PowerMii Lite for the system's 1v, 1.15v, & 3.3v regulators based on it's smaller form-factor and overall advantages to the PTH08080s.
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    Cooling I plan on using a 5mm thin sheet of copper cut to the size of the OMFWTF trim which will cover both the CPU & GPU lids, heatsink paste being used between the two to increase the thermal transfer from the two processors to the cooler. Atop of the copper plate will be a 45x45x10mm aluminum heatsink adhered to the copper plate with double-sided thermal adhesive with a built-in 5v fan designed to both suck cool air into the heatsink while blowing the heated air away from it.
    I will modify the rear case by way of minor frankencasing to allow for rear air intake as well as hot air exhaust (likely through the bottom of the gamepad). This cooling system will be mounted to the OMGWTF trimmed Wii via nylon screws and nuts to the 4 existing (remaining) mounts available on the trimmed board.
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    Audio I will be using a 5v stereo PAM8403 audio amplifier and will wire it up to the OEM stereo speakers inside the gamepad as well as wire up the OEM SMD 10k Ohm slide potentiometer atop the gamepad. I will utilize the OEM 3.5mm headphone jack atop the gamepad as well. I will be using shielded cable for audio connections between the Wii, potentiometer, headphone jack, amplifier, and speakers to reduce interference.
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    I will continue to post updates as I make more progress on this build and hopefully will be playing GameCube games on the go in the near future.
     

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    Last edited: Jan 22, 2019
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  2. gnarlynick .

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    I'm posting this here so it may help others with similar projects as well as reference for myself in the future. A member on another forum (source) did some continuity readings and found the pinout for the FPC cables for the buttons on the gamepad.

    This thread (source) also provides some good insight into wiring up a Wii U gamepad.
     

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    Last edited: Jul 6, 2018
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  3. DeoNaught .

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    That's interestingly pretty nice, Good luck on your Endeavors.

    Btw that amp won't protect your headphones, as in, it can blow them if you go up to high.

    On the Vga patch, I very much recommend Flux and de-Soldering braid, I've bridged the pins thrice, and Flux and braid are my only savior. And Practice a bit before you attempt imo.
     
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  4. gnarlynick .

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    Do you have a recommendation for one that would be sufficient?

    Thanks! I have a dead board I had for another purpose, I'll practice soldering on its AVE to see how well I think my soldering skills are.
     
  5. Paul3854 .

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    You don't really need to wire the charge and play functionality as your CMB red board can already do that.
     
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  6. gnarlynick .

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    Thanks for the clarification, in reading up on batteries, charging, and the like I came across an image of the red board I had ordered and must have confused the play-and-charge setups with that board. That makes things slightly easier.

    Update: I'm no longer using this charging circuit, see the first post for an updated BOM.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2019
  7. DeoNaught .

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    Well for amps, there's this one https://bitbuilt.net/forums/index.php?threads/custom-headphone-speaker-amp.1851/
    Only downside is that you need to put it together yourself, and has small parts.

    There's Aurelio's amp, which is wired directly to the wii, and has onscreen volume, and is turned up and down through button combos. Only downside is that he isn't making any right now, which is a major feelsbadman, because they really are top notch.

    And then there's the Pam amp(one you linked), and it's a good amp, served the community several years. There's no issue with using it, but be forewarned, the way we get headphones from it, is sketchy, and if you put the volume on the highest, it's gonna blow your headphones, cause they aren't rated for that. So aslong as you use common sense, and don't turn it up all the way, you'll be fine.
     
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  8. Paul3854 .

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    I would recommend getting the lm4863 amplifier it has a switching headphone jack and are headphone safe. And they have 3w left and right output for speakers. The one problem is that you would have to sacrifice volume control and find some other way to do it yourself. Either a potentiometer/rheostat or a digital potentiometer to use push buttons.
     
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  9. gnarlynick .

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    Here are some progress shots, still waiting on many parts to arrive from all around the world so I was looking at the Wii U gamepad shell and thought it looked kind of bland. Since I'm building this with primarily GameCube in mind, I decided to paint it a two-tone GameCube Indigo/Black color scheme. I bought some nice "Nintendo GameCube" decals on eBay that I will affix to the front of the shell where the NFC contact point used to be below the D-Pad; that area looks naked otherwise.

    The back of the gamepad has the external battery shell attached via plastic epoxy and some Sugru to contour the points of contact with the gamepad (it's not going anywhere). I'm debating on either cutting a via hole to feed the battery wires into the gamepad or cutting out the entire inside of the external battery shell so the batteries can be removed in the future (once this is all said and done the batteries will not be accessible without ripping apart the external shell). Still have to paint it all a flat black but I need to cut ventilation holes in it yet so I'm holding off on painting it for now.

    Update: I'm no longer using this battery option, see the first post for an updated BOM.
     

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    Last edited: Jan 16, 2019
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  10. DeoNaught .

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    Yo, nice find on that Gamecube decal, Pretty Sweet.

    Love the pruple, AND the progress,
     
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  11. gnarlynick .

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    The seller has other similar system decals as well. The dimensions are pretty small (the GameCube one is 1.33" x .23") which lend well to portables. I plan on sticking it to my base coat and then clear coating over everything so it won't go anywhere.

    Thank you, it took a lot of sanding and coats to get it nice and smooth looking; not bad for my first attempt at spray painting anything (YouTube helps). I strongly recommend extra fine sand papers like 2,000-3,000 grit to get a nice finish without losing your coats of paint. I have this set.
     
  12. gnarlynick .

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    So I have a question: The Anker battery power bank I'm using only uses two wires, B+ & B-. I'm not using the original charging circuit, just the battery cells, because Anker, in their infinite knowledge, covers the whole thing in glue and makes their cases near impossible to open without damaging everything. As stated previously, I'm using the red 2S CMB to charge the batteries.

    Do I only have to connect the B+ (red wire) and B- (black wire) for the batteries to the CMB with this setup or should I undo the wiring on the batteries and wire an additional BM wire?


    Update: I'm no longer using this battery option, see the first post for an updated BOM.
     

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    Last edited: Jan 16, 2019
  13. Shank Certified Wiitard Staff Member . .

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    If the battery pack only has a B+ and B-, its very likely that its in a 1S6P configuration. In other words, all the batteries are wired in parallel. This is how most (but not all) Anker packs I have opened up are wired up. I would recommend splitting the batteries up so it is 2S3P (so 2 in series by 3 in parallel)
    [​IMG]
     
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  14. gnarlynick .

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    Thanks Shank, that makes sense. I'll separate them and get a 2s3p setup.

    Update: I'm no longer using this battery option, see the first post for an updated BOM.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2019
  15. gnarlynick .

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    I am almost cripplingly a perfectionist but I believe I have finally finished the paint job on the front of the shell -- complete with Nintendo Gamecube decal in the bottom left. I'm not completely sold on the white ABXY buttons, I may leave the X/Y buttons white and use black ones for the A/B buttons.

    Edit: In true perfectionist fashion, I was unhappy with how non-uniform the gloss finish was with this. I've since sprayed over it with a matte clear coat finish and it looks 1,000x better. I'll try and post updated photos.
     

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    Last edited: Aug 17, 2018
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  16. Ibprofen98 .

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    Nice work on that paint job, it looks great!
     
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  17. Stitches 2 and a Half Dollarydoos Staff Member . .

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    Very slick, nice work dude. Just a warning, though: That GC decal you've used can be a pain in the ass from my experience. If your hand touches that spot too much, the skin oil it will rub the silver bits off. You can put some clear coat over it to stop it doing that if you want.
     
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  18. Shank Certified Wiitard Staff Member . .

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    Looks great! How'd you do the gamecube decal?
     
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  19. DeoNaught .

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  20. Shank Certified Wiitard Staff Member . .

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    Why can't I read?
    109d297381892f1c009d5058e3c890ea.png
     
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