Guide The Exhaustive Wii Trimming and Troubleshooting FAQ

Discussion in 'Wii' started by GingerOfOz, Oct 10, 2018.

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  1. GingerOfOz no wario Staff Member . .

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    Trimming a motherboard is generally the most daunting part of any portable. It's scary, there's no way around that. The goals of this long list are to help people feel more comfortable with the idea of trimming, preemptively answer a lot of questions people may have about trimming, and help people who have already trimmed go through some potential solutions to issues that may have occurred. This thread is a work in progress, and will be added to as time goes on.

    General

    Is there an easier trim out there?
    As odd as it may seem, the OMGWTF trim is the easiest trim to pull off beyond the golden grounding plates on the edges. Trying to cut out less means that there are more parts of the Wii motherboard that could throw errors if they’re only half connected, and relocations wouldn’t be any easier since most of them are on the far edges of the motherboard, away from all of the critical components like the CPU and GPU.

    Is it OK if I change the trim a little bit?
    Do NOT try to cut inside of the lines explicitly laid out in the OMGWTF and OM6 trims! Many a Wii has been killed by someone who thought that they could cut inside of the lines and be OK. Just because you can’t see anything important on the top of the board is not an indication that it is safe to lop that part of the board off. Stick with the basic trim until you have enough of an understanding of the Wii to branch out into smaller trims.

    What's the best way to cut the motherboard?
    A dremel is the most common method due to the fairly clean cuts and ease of use. Some people trim motherboards with CNC technology, but this isn’t recommended unless you have a very good understanding of how to use it. A dremel’s cutting power is based on speed, not torque, so when using a dremel, be sure to apply very light pressure. Excessive pressure will cause the cutting wheel to spin out and potentially slice through critical traces. If your dremel isn’t cutting well, you should increase the speed to get easier cuts. Also be mindful of the size of your bit, a smaller cutting bit introduces the risk of the textured connector bumping and damaging the motherboard.

    The cut appears to slice through some components. Do I need to relocate these?
    Anything the cut line goes through is unnecessary and should be removed. We highly recommend removing components that may be on the cut line before trimming your board.

    What kind of wire should I get?
    Thicker wires are necessary for power connections. 26 gauge wire will work for all Wii voltages, but you will want 22 gauge for ground. Stranded wire is recommended for power lines as solid core is prone to breaking and this issue is difficult to troubleshoot Thin magnet wire is especially handy because the thinner kinds (34-38 gauge) can slide into the Wii vias, making it considerably easier to solder wires to vias. Magnet wire can be used on all data lines.

    I bought some magnet wire, how do I use it?
    Form a blob of solder on the tip of your iron, and slowly poke your wire through it. This will tin the wire, and burn off the coating. Wipe that solder blob off onto a sponge or wire mesh, and use new solder to finish the connection. If you strip off too much, just cut off the excess stripped wire to help avoid potential shorts in the wiring.

    Which Wiis are the best ones to use?
    Check the revision identification guide to find which Wiis are best. Good places to find Wiis are anywhere you can get second hand stuff, Craigslist, flea markets, eBay, etc. Depending on where you live different sources will give you different deals, so be sure to scout around a bit.

    What’s a good way to keep the Wii cooled?
    The Wii needs some form of active cooling, meaning that you will need to include a fan in your build. There are a variety of different methods for keeping the Wii from overheating, look through other people’s worklogs to see some different ideas. Keep in mind that the CPU (the smaller chip underneath the GPU) is going to be generating the most heat. For brief testing intervals (5 minutes or less) four layer Wiis will be ok without any sort of cooling system, but it is not recommended that you do this often.

    Can I use Wiis that are not from NTSC region?
    Yes, the hardware across different regions remains the same, just be sure to install the correct PortablizeMii version for your region when softmodding your Wii.

    When I try to boot up my Wii I get a black screen…
    A black screen can mean a variety of things:
    • No USB is wired up, just wait 10-20 seconds for a no USB screen to show up.
    • There is an issue with your U10 wiring
    • The Bluetooth module or the WiFi module is not properly in place and you have yet to install PortablizeMii correctly or at all.
    • Potentially something else: if none of these issues apply then open a thread in the Wii forum.
    When I try to boot up my Wii I don’t get any signal on my screen...
    No signal at all is a difficult issue to troubleshoot. The issue could be with your voltage regulators, your cut, your video wiring, or several other things. Triple check everything, read through everything in here, and then ask for help with detailed pictures of your work in the Wii forum.

    Bluetooth

    What’s the best way to scratch the traces?
    There are a variety of methods. One easy way is to use a fibreglass pencil to lightly rub at the solder mask, which will give you a nicely uncovered place to solder to. Methods that use tools that you are more likely to have immediate access to include using an Exacto knife to very lightly scratch over the trace until the copper is revealed. Sharp multi-meter leads will also do the trick, but whichever method you choose you should be sure to practice on other boards/ non critical areas to make sure you have the technique down.

    Where along the line should I scratch?
    Start as close to the edge of the trim as possible, so that if you mess up you can sever the trace and move a little bit down the line and try again. If you mess up the traces right next to where they go under the GPU, it will not be possible to successfully relocate Bluetooth.

    Can I relocate Bluetooth before performing the trim?
    Yes, and this is a good idea for beginners, because it allows you to verify continuity between your relocated Bluetooth module and the other end of the trace you scratched. You can perform this relocation normally, no need for any additional steps for it work on an untrimmed Wii.

    How can I test that Bluetooth works?
    Try going the normal Wii menu or booting up a Wii game. If it loads normally without going to a black screen, then your relocation was successful! Any Wiimotes that were previously synced should sync right back up, but it is possible that they may need to be resynced.

    I can’t sync my Wiimotes after relocating!
    Wiimotes cannot be synced in the PortablizeMii menu or the Homebrew channel. All remotes must be synced in the Wii’s home menu initially. After this, they will connect in the PortablizeMii menu without issues.

    I’ve synced up my Wiimote, but it doesn’t work in Wii games!
    Go into the “Wiiware” subcategory in the main PortablizeMii menu. Press Start on your GameCube controller or Home on your Wii remote and choose “Copy sysconf from sysnand to emunand”. This should fix the issue.

    Can I still play Wii games that use GameCube controllers like Smash Bros. Brawl if I don’t relocate Bluetooth?
    All Wii games will blackscreen on boot regardless of the possible controller options if the bluetooth module is not relocated.

    U10

    Can I relocate U10 before trimming?

    Yes, relocating U10 beforehand is the same as doing it after the trim. Follow the guide normally. However, if you mess up U10 and have to use U9 instead, you will need to bridge the two 3.3v pads together from where you took it off, not the U9 chip itself. Bridge pads 4 and 5 with a small solder blob or a bit of magnet wire.

    [​IMG]

    What’s the best way to remove U10?
    A hot air station is the best way if you have access to one. If you don’t, then the easiest and safest way to do it is to blob the three ground pins together on one side, and use another blob on the other side for the other two pins. Bounce back and forth between the two blobs with your soldering iron while gently pushing from a side without solder with a pair of tweezers. More force will not make it come off faster, it will break the U10. You should apply no more force with the tweezers than what it would take to push a piece of paper. After a little while, the U10 chip will slide right off. The ground pins can remain blobbed together, but be sure to remove the bridge between the two pins on the other side. The U5 chip and the other components around it can be removed any way you like since they are going in the trash anyways.

    What’s the best way to cut the trace?
    An exacto knife or a box cutter will do the trick. You only need to cut across the trace lightly with a few swipes, you do not need to violently dig into the board! If you are relocating U10 before trimming, you can make sure there is no continuity between the pin the trace is severed and the component that line comes from.

    One of the pins fell off… Is this OK?
    No, all 5 pins must remain intact for the U10 to function correctly. If a pin breaks off, this means you were forcing the U10 too hard. Try again with U9.

    Am I allowed to short pins 1,2, and 3 together?
    Yes, this is fine because all three of those pins are ground.

    Voltage

    What are these custom regulators that you speak of?

    Can I use regulators other than the PTHs?
    Short answer is no. Cheaper regulators will not work! Please use the PTHs, we recommend them because they work consistently and actually have the specs they claim to. If you want a cleaner option, the BitBuilt store sells PowerMii Lites, a reg board that is smaller and easier to use than PTHs. Gman's Wii PMS board is also a great option, as it also contains the necessary charging and battery protection built in alongside the regulators.

    PTHs cost more than I'm willing to spend. Are you sure that this 6 pack of convertors for $10 won't work?
    They are cheaper for a reason! The voltages on the Wii require almost 2 amps in some cases, and these cheap regulators aren't made for that kind of stress. Not a single Wii portable has ever been successfully completed using those kinds of regulators. Sometimes those regulators straight up don't work, other times they overheat and melt. There is no cheaper option.

    Can I wire up my custom regs before trimming?
    The Wii tends to panic if it sense that something is different with it’s regulation circuitry, so if you try to just wire up your regs without any modifications to the original regulators then the Wii won’t boot. If you have a hot air station, then you can remove all the original regulation components if you’d like to test your regs on the Wii before cutting, but it isn’t necessary. Just be sure to verify that the outputs of your regs are good before hooking them up to a trimmed Wii and you should be fine. If you want to hook up regs before trimming, you will need to remove all the components outlined in blue. Keep in mind that from now on your board will require custom regs to boot, so don’t do this unless you’re certain that your reg setup is good.

    [​IMG][​IMG]


    I’ve hooked up my custom regs but the Wii isn’t booting…
    Be sure to check for continuity between each voltage and ground with your multimeter. If you find continuity then check the places you’ve soldered to for shorts and keep sanding down the board. Note that the 1.15v line and the 1.8v line tend to have fairly low impedances to ground, generally between 20 and 40 ohms, so your multimeter may still detect continuity when there actually isn’t. (On 6 layer boards it is common for the 1v line to have a very low resistance, around 7-10 ohms, and for 1.15v to still be 20-40)

    Audio and Video

    What are my video options on the Wii?
    The two video sources that can be pulled out the Wii natively are composite video and component video (S-video and RGB can also be pulled depending on region, but not enough screens support these formats for these to be practical options). Component is the easiest way to get 480p, the nicest video that a Wii can natively output, but fewer screens support it and those screens tend to be more expensive. Thanks to Aurelio though, VGA video is now a valid option for Wii portables. Aurelio’s VGA patches will you give you 480p video, and the advantage to VGA is that far more TFT screens accept it. The one downside to VGA is that it requires soldering directly to the AVE, which can be daunting to soldering beginners. If video quality isn’t of much importance to you, then composite video only requires a single wire and is compatible with virtually all TFT monitors, but isn’t as crisp as component or VGA.

    Are those 6 silver filter caps important or can I take them off?
    We recommend not removing them unless you have to, but in general your video won't suffer a noticeable amount if they get taken off.

    Can I use a Wii2HMDI convertor?
    For a portable, Wii2HDMI and similar adapters are not recommended. These adapters are bulky, consume a lot of power, and often have high latency while producing inferior video to straight component.

    But I want HDMI!
    Then the best option is to snag a GCVideo-DVI pluto board. They’re expensive, and keep in mind the OSD isn’t compatible with GC+, so you won’t be able to change any settings.

    My Wii isn't outputting video...
    Obviously,a lot of things could cause the Wii to not output video after trimming due to other issues, but if you've exhausted most of your troubleshooting options on the other various hardware parts of the Wii, then make sure you have a common ground line between your Wii and your screen!

    My video looks really fuzzy/weird
    Once again, make sure you have a common ground line between your screen and the Wii. In your final build, you will want to use shielded wire on your video lines to keep out as much interference as possible.

    USB

    Can I reuse the ports that were on the Wii?
    You can, but try to remove the port from the circuit board of the Wii. It’s difficult to sand the board around it properly when you cut it off, which tends to cause issues.

    Which port is which?
    Lines 6 and 7 correlate to port zero while 2 and 3 correlate to port one. Either port will work as desired.

    What’s a good tool to use to format the drive?
    GUIFormatter is the way to go.

    My USB relocation isn’t working…
    • Make sure your USB data wires are twisted together(like licorice.) This drastically reduces the impact that interference has on USB. Twist them as tight as possible! The best way to twist them is to put the two wires into a drill, and soon until it looks like a single wire at a glance. You must use thin gauge magnet wire for this, preferably 34-38awg.
    • Keep your wires fairly short, generally around 6 inches or less.
    • If you soldered to the safe spots, double check the solder connection.
    • Make sure your USB drive is formatted to FAT32 with 32kb clusters.

    Wii games aren’t working!
    Before you trim a Wii, try everything out in PortablizeMii to make sure your drive is compatible with everything. Some drives don’t work at all while others only work on some things. This drive is the only flash drive confirmed to always work for everything. If 128 gigs is more than you need then any of the smaller sizes will work as well. Make sure whatever drive you use is formatted correctly. Also double check your Bluetooth relocation if applicable. If the Wii's home menu won't load, then you more than likely have Bluetooth issues.


    GameCube/ emulators/ etc. isn’t working!
    • Make sure your USB drive is formatted to FAT32 with 32kb clusters.
    • Make sure your file types are correct (ex. WBFS for Wii games, ISO for GC games, etc.). Make sure your games aren’t still in .zip format....
    • Make sure the pathways to the files are correct.
    • Make sure you’ve used the appropriate naming patterns outlined in the PortablizeMii guides.
    • Make sure that the ROMs you are trying to use are good by testing in Dolphin or other mainstream emulators.
    GameCube Controllers & Wiimotes

    What’s the best controller to use?
    The smallest GameCube controller for portablizing is Aurelio’s custom GC+ board. This board emulates a GameCube controller and is considerably more hassle free than a normal GameCube controller would be. It’s small, easy to set up, easy to solder to, and is updatable through Homebrew software. More information on it can be found in the GC+ documentation, and a board can be purchased through the BitBuilt store or by assembling your own through the open source information.

    I want to build a Wii controller into my project too!

    Wii remotes and the accompanying accessories do not have any sort of guides or details on how to incorporate these into a portable. The complexity of switching power and the accompanying data signals, along with the sheer number of Wiimote revisions means that this sort of feature is far beyond what a standard modder can do. Custom software is in the works for emulating a Wiimote with a GameCube controller, but in the meantime you should plan to use normal Wiimotes outside of your portable to play Wii games.

    How do I use sensor bar functions on a portable?
    Two IR LEDs will emulate the sensor bar on a traditional Wii. Ideally, the LEDs should be placed on roughly the 1/4 and 3/4 points above or below the screen.

    SD Card Slot

    Can I use an SD card slot instead of USB?
    Wii games must be loaded from USB, so you will not have full functionality if you try to use only a SD card. SD is also considerably less stable than USB in these circumstances.

    Should I relocate SD?
    The answer is no. USB can be used for virtually all Homebrew, and is far, far easier to wire up. SD has to be wired with short wires of identical length for it to work without issues.

    Memory Cards

    NOTE: Original memory card ports do not work with PortablizeMii at this time due to the necessary software modifications for Nintendont to automatically patch through virtual memory cards.

    How can I use the saves I already have with PortablizeMii?
    You can easily back up your saves with GCMM, a Wii homebrew that dumps your save to an SD card or USB drive. From there, we are able to convert the saves to a format that Nintendont uses, and your saves will be usable on the same USB drive that your games run off of.

    MX Chip

    Should I relocate the MX chip?
    The MX chip is not a particularly difficult relocation to pull off, so if RTC games or N64/SNES virtual console games are of great importance to you, then you should definitely attempt it. It also gives the system a more legitimate feel, like when saving time trial dates in Mario Kart or looking at the clock in the Wii menu.

    Wifi

    Should I relocate WiFi?

    99% of the time, the answer is no. Nintendo no longer offers any official services that utilize WiFi, and the only things left it can really be used for are Homebrew programs and servers or Netflix. The sheer difficulty of the WiFi relocation is the reason why we recommend using your phone for Netflix (480i/p Netflix on the Wii probably isn’t what you want anyways…) and evaluating whether the risk of having an unusable Wii is worth the benefit of playing online with your friends on a portable rather than on your home Wii.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2019
  2. Ethan McCoy .

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    Hi, I'm new to portables and for the past few days I have been looking around for a guide on how to wire the GC+. I understand that you have to connect the board to the controller, but do you have to connect the board to the motherboard also? If so could you please tell me where I have to wire it to.
     
  3. ToddyHD Guest

    The board has specific pins labelled A, B, X, Y etc etc for each of the buttons, joysticks etc you want to wire up for your portable. The GC+ needs to be wired up to 3.3v, GND and data. Please refer here for the GC+ documentation: https://bitbuilt.net/forums/index.php?threads/gc-documentation.695/

    Basically, you wire all buttons to the GC+ and the GC+ only needs to be grounded to one point on one of the Wii's ground pins, probably the ground right next to the vias next to the controller. The 3.3v pin on the GC+ would be attached to 3.3v on the motherboard, and the data pin would be attached to 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th data pins. (please refer to the GC controller pinout in the Wii Trimming Guide: https://bitbuilt.net/forums/index.php?threads/the-definitive-wii-trimming-guide.198/

    Make sure to search the forums extensively and read all of the guides before asking questions. I used to ask before doing my research but if you look hard and well, there is so much extensive information on here even for beginners like me. Good luck!
     
  4. Ethan McCoy .

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    Thanks!
     
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  5. JerryJenkem .

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    Hey, new here so not sure if this is the best place to post this, but I have a question regarding keeping the controller ports during the trim. I have big plans of putting a Wii inside my pc but it turns out it is slightly too big. I have decided the best way for me to get around this is to trim it :) . I don't want to make a portable Wii per se, I want to shrink my Wii and maintain the GameCube controller ports so that I can still use them to play GC games through Nintendont (no need for any other Wii stuff like Bluetooth or anything).

    Is it as simple as removing the ports and soldering connections from data/3.3v/GND to the points indicated in the trimming guide? Also, if I mess that up is there any reason why I couldn't use a GameCube's ports as a backup (I have a spare set of ports laying around from a previous project)?
     
  6. GingerOfOz no wario Staff Member . .

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    Yep, you're dead on the mark. Relocating the ports is as simple as that. Also, sometimes using the GCC ports off of a GameCube can be a better idea because they can be easier to mount that way. Either method will work fine.
     
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  7. JerryJenkem .

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    Another question, is it possible to keep the existing AV port intact? Since I don't need the system to actually be portable I am not concerned with the size or power draw. Additionally I'm going to need HDMI out so it would be convenient for me to stick to the Sewll adapter that I already have
     
  8. Stitches 2 and a Half Dollarydoos Staff Member . .

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    Yeah you can extend the trim down a bit and you'll be fine. Just make sure you check the trim diagram before you cut so you don't cut important traces/components.
     
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  9. Caden .

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    for the u10 relocation on a cpu 20 board, what gpu pin do i solder the wire to
     
  10. Stitches 2 and a Half Dollarydoos Staff Member . .

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    The trimming guide has a link at the beginning to the 6 layer repository.
     
  11. CHE3SECAK3 .

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    Hello. I'm also noob and I'm researching rn (guides, worklogs, etc.), so if I'm asking a repeated question I'm very sorry; I probably have not located the thread before

    Since I'm really inexperienced in electronics, I think I'm a bit lost on some terminology and overall awareness.
    So I looked through the OM6 (which I'm probably going to use) and it talks about relocation vias for Bluetooth and U10. What are they and what is the difference between them and directly soldering to pins on 4 layer?

    Also, relating to the GC ports question; when you remove the ports, how would I know if I accidentally cut some traces necessary for their use? (or am I talking nonsense?)

    Can u use the same 5v reg for 2 USB ports and controller rumble?

    These are the questions I have for now, and if they are common, a thread link with the answer would be appreciated. Thank for all your hard work guys! You are really making my childhood dream come true!
     
  12. cheese the tallest memer in town Staff Member . . .

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    Vias are the little holes that bring a signal from one layer to another on the board. Since they go through the board, it is easier to solder to compared to traces since it provides an area to put the wire and solder easily.

    The area you would remove the gc ports from is outside the trimming area, so there aren't any important components. You will want to sand the edges of the board if you cut the ports out (as opposed to desoldering and removing them from the board)

    Yes you can use just one regulator. If you use the same regulator you'll want to make sure it can provide enough current to power everything though.
     
  13. CHE3SECAK3 .

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    And this can be done with, say, 4 Panasonic Lithium Ion 18650s (or how much ever are used), right?
     
  14. CHE3SECAK3 .

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    IIRC I would have to mount the Bluetooth module either way.
    But for the U10, would you recommend the U5 placement or vias?
     
  15. cheese the tallest memer in town Staff Member . . .

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    Yes, 18650s can provide enough power, but you'll need to worry more about the regulator itself

    I would suggest the U5 placement, however this only is a convenient place to put the chip, you will still need to wire the output of the chip to the particular via on the bottom of the board.
     
  16. KreativDax .

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    Got this in a box of stuff at garage sale it powers on an works just was no plastic housing my question is can i OMGWTF trim it????? 0FBBAF86-8FC1-4A76-820D-D74E470463EA.jpeg 9B452D85-D429-4847-8F31-9D85B6FA3690.jpeg
     
  17. jefflongo Broke BitBuilt Staff Member . .

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    Of course you can. You will need to install portablizemii first obviously. Note that it is a CPU-20 so it is a 6 layer. That said you would need to use the OM6 trim.
     
  18. KreativDax .

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    Awesome Thank you for fast answer
     
  19. GingerOfOz no wario Staff Member . .

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    So this thread isn't really meant as a place to ask questions. I'm going to go ahead and lock it, so if you have a question that isn't answered here, then feel free to make a thread. I've got a couple things to add to the FAQ, so I'll do that in just a little while.
     
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