Worklog The Groupii

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Some time ago, I received my first wii portable "experience" through the wonderful G-boy kit. I hastily learned to solder and started putting it together, and as anyone would expect, it went terribly; multiple wires were routed badly and had come loose, an inductor came off the screen (and is forever lost to time) and, worst of all, the Wii didn't boot. Go figure.

Time has passed, though. I relearned how to actually solder and learned more about how portables are built. Hence, why I decided to start a worklog to ask some questions and not go into this blind. Regardless, I have written out some goals for the project which are hopefully achievable.

GOALS
1.
Make a working portable Wii (obviously)
2. Relocate Bluetooth
3. Relocate the MX chip
4. Add Gamecube ports.

In a nutshell, that is what I'm hoping for. All the PCBs have been ordered from 4layertech, and... well, the rest of the parts have either already been ordered or are recycled from the deceased G-boy.



Meanwhile, I have done some work; namely, I thought of a name, designed an early case for the portable and created one controller PCB.
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(If the case doesn't seem appealing to your eyes, don't worry; this is an early design.)
I plan for the case to use buttons from the Wii Classic Controller, hence why some of the buttons at the top are oval shaped. There are some issues that I should probably address, though. Firstly, the case is huge: about as big as a Wiiu Gamepad. Normally, I wouldn't have an issue with this; I think the Wiiu Gamepad shape is fine, but the buttons at the top may be hard to press. (I have a backup plan involving putting the Z-triggers on the back, but I haven't physically held this case yet, so I don't know if I should change it.) Also, the edges on the front aren't curved like most portables. Initially, it was curved, but due to fixing an issue with one of the top corners, I haven't been able to fix it. (Maybe I'll leave it be, maybe not.)

And for the back:
1661444451871.png

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I'm more happy with the back than the front; everything feels so much more organized, and I got to curve it too! Again, the back isn't finished because I still need to add some mounds for the RVL-AMP. Not much to say here because I think that it looks pretty good.

1661443066550.png

This is the first time I've designed a PCB, so I hope I did ok. I looked at the Louii PCBs for reference to make sure I didn't mess anything up, so I... hope I didn't mess anything up. The button mounds are pretty close to where the GC+2 will be soldered on, but this is about as good as it will get. Other than that, I would like to know if everything's ok!

So, that ends my first post, but I have a few remaining questions:

1. I know it sounds stupid, but can you connect the player 1 Gamecube data line to the GC+ and the Gamecube controller port?
2. I noticed that the Louii PCBs have a trace going from one of the button mounds to the opposing one (I copied this for my button mounds.) Why is this? Surely, if you don't have a wire between the mounds, the button would send the voltage to ground, seeing that the button would connect them together.
 
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Preeeeeetty big(ish) update, so I'll label these in order of importance

(1.) The Wii has arrived!
1661712180692.png

It was a pretty good wii, too. I was kind of sad that I had to cut it down so soon, but the show must go on. After setting it up, I made some game backups and downloaded RVLoader. Now, it's time for the scary part: the trim.
1661712560597.png

I didn't want to take too many risks, so I made my outline for the trim huge. That's going to be annoying to work with when it comes to sanding, but I'd rather do 20 minutes worth of sanding than $40 down the drain and having to get a new wii.

And ladies and gentlemen...
1661712733917.png

The worst wii trim in history. Oh well, it'll be sanded... a lot :l.

No, I am not following the sharpie marker line in the picture for sanding; I will use the Definitive Wii Trimming Guide. (And do not fear! I certainly did not follow the outline in the front for trimming; I drew another line on the back of the wii and followed that. I simply drew the marker line on the front so that I could find out where to put the tape.)

AND....

(2.) I did some personal R&D

That was fun! I got to open up some controllers and find out how they work, but I think what was better was that I actually learned something

but first, a few pictures of the destruction
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Meanwhile, I learned that the joystick circuit boards for the Wii Classic Controller are practically the same as the Gamecube controller. This is probably nothing new to this community, but again, this was for personal R&D, so it was nice to learn something. With this information in mind, I will use the Classic Controller joystick circuit boards for the joysticks.

AND...

3.) Updated the design of the case. I managed to get the front of the case to curve, and... well, not much else. Oh! I also put in the fan vent for the back of the case. Still not a whole ton, but it's progress.
1661714571982.png


And that's pretty much it!

EDIT: Oh! And a question that I've been wondering: If I've soldered 3.3 volts from the PMS-lite over to this point on the motherboard...
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... how much current is going through the wire? Knowing the answer to this would help me understand a bit more about the gauge of a wire. (Sorry if this is looks like spoon-feeding, although I am doing personal research too.)
 
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Fairly minor update:

The wii has been sanded and sanded and sanded, and I think it's good enough to call it... good.
1662499174089.png

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I can definitely see some parts that could be sanded better; no doubt about that. However, the resistances seem to check out okish. (If anyone could confirm whether or not it's good, I would appreciate that :)). Also, I cut out the MX and it... may be ok?
1662501378472.png

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and I've been working on the case a bit more:
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Those "sinkholes" for the buttons took a lot of time, especially with some of the strange angles the holders stick out from. Also, I added in some "ground" for the shoulder buttons to stand on, but after looking at an AliExpress portable, I realized that it would be better if the shoulder buttons were angled with the corners, rather than putting them on the top of the portable. I'll change that in the coming days. Meanwhile, I designed some holders for the case: a screen holder, shoulder button holders and speaker holders. The case is getting closer to being printed!

And finally, a question.

As I said before, I plan to use the Classic Controller joystick circuit boards for my portable. Now, I'm faaaaairly certain you can slice right through the middle of this (highlighted in red) and wire up the rest of the points, but just to make sure so that I don't waste this controller, I'd like to confirmation:D.
1662501584546.png


Also, sorry for not updating in quite some time: I've been away from my workstation for about a week and didn't have enough time to get things done. Hopefully things will be back on track now.
 

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Stitches

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Fairly minor update:

The wii has been sanded and sanded and sanded, and I think it's good enough to call it... good.
View attachment 24478
View attachment 24479View attachment 24484
I can definitely see some parts that could be sanded better; no doubt about that. However, the resistances seem to check out okish. (If anyone could confirm whether or not it's good, I would appreciate that :)). Also, I cut out the MX and it... may be ok?
View attachment 24485
View attachment 24486
and I've been working on the case a bit more:
View attachment 24481
View attachment 24483
Those "sinkholes" for the buttons took a lot of time, especially with some of the strange angles the holders stick out from. Also, I added in some "ground" for the shoulder buttons to stand on, but after looking at an AliExpress portable, I realized that it would be better if the shoulder buttons were angled with the corners, rather than putting them on the top of the portable. I'll change that in the coming days. Meanwhile, I designed some holders for the case: a screen holder, shoulder button holders and speaker holders. The case is getting closer to being printed!

And finally, a question.

As I said before, I plan to use the Classic Controller joystick circuit boards for my portable. Now, I'm faaaaairly certain you can slice right through the middle of this (highlighted in red) and wire up the rest of the points, but just to make sure so that I don't waste this controller, I'd like to confirmation:D.
View attachment 24487

Also, sorry for not updating in quite some time: I've been away from my workstation for about a week and didn't have enough time to get things done. Hopefully things will be back on track now.
Yeah you can chop that line and the sticks will work fine.

Also to answer your previous question about wire guage, we recommend 22AWG for major power and ground connections. Small peripherals like the screen, GC+, and audio amplifier can use 24-26AWG wire for power. Data lines can be as small as 38AWG, since they carry next to no current.
 
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Yeah you can chop that line and the sticks will work fine.
Good, thanks for the confirmation!
Also to answer your previous question about wire guage, we recommend 22AWG for major power and ground connections. Small peripherals like the screen, GC+, and audio amplifier can use 24-26AWG wire for power. Data lines can be as small as 38AWG, since they carry next to no current.
Thanks again for answering, but I later found out the information I needed... I probably should've went back and edited that.

Meanwhile, after a lot of cleaning up... The case design is finally ready for a test print.
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It feels so good to be moving on to a new "phase" of this project, but I know that it's not yet printed out, and there's still more to do. Meanwhile, the front of the case: it actually has a decent curve now, rather than a reeeally small, practically non-existent one. Initially, I had the screen holder sticking out on the front of my case because I thought it looked cool (see first worklog post), but my Ender-3 said no. Like I said in my last post, I angled the shoulder buttons. I tried to make it work with normal Wii classic controller shoulder buttons, but that was pain, and I realized that it would be much easier to make my own.
1664668707428.png

Now, yes, they aren't curved as much as I wanted them to be, but I'll try them out during the test print; if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Anyways, the back of the case is pretty much the same, with the only difference being that 2 of the batteries are on the bottom rather than the sides. This is because I had to shrink my portable (again, that was pain) and I had to move them. Other than those important points, that's pretty much all I've got. Sorry for the long gap between this update and last; it's that time of the year when homework starts to ramp up the pain, but oh well. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

EDIT: Annnnnd question here solved.
 

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Shipyu

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Your project looks cool ! :D

As I just finished fy first portable wii, i'll give you some advice :
At first, you should print every part of your case one by one so you don't waste a day of printing by printing the whole thing at once
I've had to print a dozen of parts from the bottom case and top one to finally have something OK
For the speaker holes, I don't think you need them to be as wide, thinner ones will work nice. Mine are 1.25mm wide and 11.5mm long.
The hardest parts to fit were the screen and the fan
Also, the walls on your case looks quite big. 1.6mm for the walls looks fine on my Wii.
 
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At first, you should print every part of your case one by one so you don't waste a day of printing by printing the whole thing at once
Oh, I learned the hard way about that; my Ender-3 taught that lesson pretty well.
For the speaker holes, I don't think you need them to be as wide, thinner ones will work nice. Mine are 1.25mm wide and 11.5mm long.
Yeah, I just now took a look at a couple of portables which have much, much smaller speaker holes. Thanks for the advice!
Also, the walls on your case looks quite big. 1.6mm for the walls looks fine on my Wii.
Admittedly, yes, the walls look thick. For me, what matters is that the case dimensions line up on the outside rather than the inside; I don't think anyone would want to end up with a clunky portable with odd parts sticking out on some sides. On the inside, meanwhile, unless I have to do some troubleshooting when the portable is done, it should be OK in terms of one wall being a bit thicker. (Oh, I should probably mention that two halves of the case do line up, even if it may not look like on the models.)
 

Y2K

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Admittedly, yes, the walls look thick. For me, what matters is that the case dimensions line up on the outside rather than the inside; I don't think anyone would want to end up with a clunky portable with odd parts sticking out on some sides. On the inside, meanwhile, unless I have to do some troubleshooting when the portable is done, it should be OK in terms of one wall being a bit thicker. (Oh, I should probably mention that two halves of the case do line up, even if it may not look like on the models.)
It's definitely within your best interest to slim those outer walls down, since they do not need to be that thick, and it will only increase your print time unnecessarily. I would do the G-Boy approach, 2.5mm total thickness walls with a 1mm to 1.25mm raised wall that will prevent any sort of visible gaps in the shell from the outside. It will lead to a much cleaner looking device.

1664867325015.png


Edit: One more thought, consider thickening your screwposts for extra rigidity. 3D printed screwposts can be fiddly in my experience and break easily if you're not careful, especially for the tall ones. Taking this into account when designing your portable will save you the headache of either trying to glue snapped off screw posts back on, or having to reprint, and will lead to a more durable system. It may be a good idea to look at other commercial handhelds to see how they handle this, usually by using ribs, which cut down on material usage while providing more structural stability. Hope this helps!

Edit again (sorry, thoughts just burst into my head, I'm not one for forums lmao):Since you have a lot of room to work with you can also consider using ribs on the walls of the device to help with any sort of flex in the walls of the shell. This is also a very common practice with commercial products, so no reason to not try it out here! :D
 
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Yikes, I didn't think it would be this long until a message was posted here. Looks like that's going to be a running theme though :oops:.

Anyways, no update yet (there will definitely be one soon!) but I do have a question: what are the dimensions of Wii Classic Controller thumbsticks? I've tried to look this up for some time and haven't found results.
 

Stitches

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Yikes, I didn't think it would be this long until a message was posted here. Looks like that's going to be a running theme though :oops:.

Anyways, no update yet (there will definitely be one soon!) but I do have a question: what are the dimensions of Wii Classic Controller thumbsticks? I've tried to look this up for some time and haven't found results.
They're the same as nunchuck sticks, Gamecube controller sticks, and Wii Pro controller sticks. If you have any of them to open up, the measurements will match classic controller sticks
 
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If you have any of them to open up, the measurements will match classic controller sticks
Somehow, after all that time measuring the sticks, I only now realize the solution after I show off my stupidity... crap. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these sorts of things.
 

Stitches

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Somehow, after all that time measuring the sticks, I only now realize the solution after I show off my stupidity... crap. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these sorts of things.
Ayy don't worry about it. It's not unreasonable to assume the sticks would be different between controllers, seeing how basically everything else is different
 
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Well, how do I start this?

For some reason, I thought that building a portable Wii was a nice, simple, relaxing DIY project. I thought that if something didn't look like it would work, I would just fix it in the test print; just sand it down. Besides, I had already put in maybe 20-30 hours on the case, so surely some divine power would have mercy on me and let my first test print go right, right?

No, no that did not happen.

What actually happened is that you guys caught me before anything happened, and I appreciate that. Seriously, This portable would've been really scummy otherwise. It also served as a sort of restart for me, realizing how much patience it takes to design a case, let alone troubleshoot and build the finished product. That being said, I took the past month or so of what free time I had left (not very much :(), and I started to clean it up.

Recently, I had a blessing in disguise: I got COVID, which gave me much more time to work. For these past few days, I have been barrelling towards releasing an update (while also taking my time; patience!) and I think it's ready to be re-judged. So, here is Revision 1.1:
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Sooooooo, some notable changes to the front: the speaker holes are considerably smaller (thanks @Shipyu !), the joystick holes are considerably bigger, and the shoulder buttons have changed... again. I think I went through 4 different designs/concepts until I realized that I should just put them on the top of the case rather than having them angled with the sides. Also, I don't know what I was thinking with the joystick hole size originally; they were wayyyyy too small. Oh yeah, and the giant wall on the left of the internals is gone; @Y2K and @Shipyu were right about the walls being way too thick, and I changed them to the recommended length of 2.5mm. Also, lots of wall support! Maybe too much? (Maybe not enough on the bottom internals, but I didn't have much space to work with there.) And an extended wall was added to both sides of the two halves of the case (back half not pictured because it's still being reworked).

However, I didn't want to just post this without some test prints, so here are those:

Firstly, Y2K noted the horribly small screwholes, so I went through some test prints to see what would be the a good length. With my screws, a hole of 2mm and 4.5mm seemed to work well with my printer.

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(Yes, picture is blurry, you'll just have to trust me :awesome:)
Then, I test printed the shoulder buttons:
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They came out... fine. The test print pictured is the best one I got out of the 4 others printed (which were of varying revisions). It looks like they'll have to be adjusted some more before the final print, but hey! A screw fits; that's a new feature!

Oh, and sadly, I chickened out on the PCB designs (I wasn't confident enough in them) and went with 3d prints instead, but they look fine. (Note that some have not been test printed yet):
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Pictured on the left are the joycon stickbox mounts and the ABXY button mounts. On the right is the D-pad button mounts. There's not much to say here, except for the fact that those joycon stickbox mounts cost me a day of test prints, so I now have an idea of what's ahead of me... yay.

That being said, these test prints have been kind of fun to do. Trial and error isn't something I like doing, but it's nice air of refreshment once it starts working.

Oh, and... no questions! I've started practicing a little-known method known as critical thinking, which has been helping me a lot in terms of research. I'm hoping this portable'll turn out good!
 

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Stitches

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Looks like you're finding the groove now. Well done. I look forward to seeing this thing become physical!
 
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Incoming question!

It suddenly occurred to me that I was dedicating more time to my case design than practicing my soldering. With this in mind, I decided to practice on a dead wii and put those skills to the test by soldering the speaker to the RVL-AMP. Most joints looked fine and solid, using the normal process of flux, solder, flux, solder. However, there is one obstacle I think I can do better on when it came to wii: soldering H-sync and V-sync. I don't think it's any breaking news that these legs are hard to solder to, but does anyone have any advice for soldering to them, or is the only way to effectively solder to them through practice?
 

Stitches

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Incoming question!

It suddenly occurred to me that I was dedicating more time to my case design than practicing my soldering. With this in mind, I decided to practice on a dead wii and put those skills to the test by soldering the speaker to the RVL-AMP. Most joints looked fine and solid, using the normal process of flux, solder, flux, solder. However, there is one obstacle I think I can do better on when it came to wii: soldering H-sync and V-sync. I don't think it's any breaking news that these legs are hard to solder to, but does anyone have any advice for soldering to them, or is the only way to effectively solder to them through practice?
The latter I'm afraid. That kind of pitch lends mainly to practice, a fine chisel tip, and a whole lot of good flux. The H-sync pin you can kinda cheat with and solder the wire to the side to make it easier, but V-sync is just trial and error. You just have to keep trying, find the right angle for the board to sit, the right angle for your iron, the right spot to hold the wire, etc.
 
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