Question To start or not start? (Probably not start)

Discussion in 'Console Modding 101' started by ToddyHD, Dec 7, 2017.

  1. ToddyHD Guest

    Hi everyone!

    I am completely new to the forums and also new to the modding world and electronics.Before I joined BitBuilt, I had no idea even what a regulator was, so I feel pretty accomplished to have learnt even some of the basics. I originally was intrigued in building my first WiiPortable after seeing a few built on YouTube a few years back but I always thought it would be too difficult for me. I have done a lot of research on the basics of electronics (soldering, voltages, resistance, ohms law, resistors, capacitors, diodes etc etc) and have had a lot of fun along the way (although I am not an electrical engineer and cannot read electrical circuit diagrams to save myself)

    Despite all of the apparent hurdles, I have decided to try and embark (seems impossible right now for a complete beginner) to build my first Wii Portable. I will try to not ask too many questions which have answers that can be found on the BitBuilt forums as there is so many guides from regulators to Wii trimming.

    I have used the BOM as my starting reference as well as reading multiple Worklogs in the Wii subforum to compile a list of the things I will need such as 4 regulators (1v, 1.15v, 3.3v, 5v), the corresponding resistors and capacitors for the custom regualtors etc plus casing.

    Of course I plan on making this the most simplest Wii I can (even with no Bluetooth for a first timer, no MX chip and no WiFi of course) due to the level of difficulty required.

    Basically my knowledge thus far is very limited but after lurking around the Wii subforum and reading a ton of worklogs, I understand a little bit more now about modding the Wii motherboard. So far I understand the following:
    • Softmodding Wii console is required to boot with PortablizeMii using OMGWTF Trim
    • Frankencasing (I am pretty good with moulding my own cases out of parts (seems the simple stage compared to the electronics right now)
    • How to solder properly (I have soldered in my final High School year physics class lel)
    • Relocation of U10 IC Chip and also custom regulators required to boot Wii system
    • 2 3400mAh Panasonic Lithium Ion Batteries (most commonly used batteries) can be connected either in series (to double voltage) or in parallel (to double the capacity of the batteries) to power the Wii
    • Batteries are connected to a PCB
    • Switch is connected to PCB to power Wii initially
    • Voltage regulators are powered to their respective voltage locations on the board (with common ground)
    • Basic concepts of electricity (voltage, amps, amp hours, capacitance, voltage drop, basic LED closed circuits and how they work)
    • Sanding the board to prevent shorts to ground
    I know that I am a complete newbz right now, yes, please dont hate, but I really am interested in learning more about electronic circuits before I take the leap of faith and actually cut the board and try and hook everything up. (currently in the research stage as we speak :D)

    What I dont know:
    • How to wire the commonly used Plug and Play Charging System (although diagram is extremely useful) to charge the Wii
    • Audio/video relocation (I really dont know know what all the numbers and colours mean on the Wii Trimming Guide (yes, this is terrible that I dont know what this means, im sorry) (do I just connect a wire from any 1 to 1 on the diagram?)
    • How to connect buttons (although I assume I can use the Wii Trimming Guide) and wire them to GC controller board and then to motherboard (I know this is probably ultimate noob level, forgive me)
    • How to create a low battery LED indicator system
    • How to wire USB up to the board (ie do I use the USB port on the Wii or connect my own?)
    I completely understand that I am not ready to create my own Wii portable yet, but I am excited to continue doing more research on the Wii subforum and also further read into the discussion forums/noob thread. Anyway, my question would be, should I create my own Worklog and ask questions along the way (of course I dont want to ask too many, I would like to do my own research as well as get help on here) or would people not mind helping me if I upload pics etc of each stage of my work?

    Thanks guys, and this is a wicked website with a great bunch of guys it seems. Sorry for being an absolute beginner but, I guess we all start somewhere when it comes to learning something new.
    Cheers guys!
    Stitches, Shank and cheese like this.
  2. Madmorda Painting Queen Staff Member . . .

    Oct 27, 2016
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    It's really great to see someone who has put so much thought and research into their project. I'm sure you'll come up with something awesome since you're clearly willing to do the work :) research is like 80% of your first project. Sorry in advance for writing so much (late night modding syndrome).

    To answer some of the things you mentioned,

    1. If you want to use charge and play, there are a few diagrams floating around. However, if you really want simple, you could save yourself the trouble and use a prebuilt battery pack for charging phones. In my wii portable, I used one that had two 18650 li ion cells (roughly 2hrs of battery life) that output 5v (standard for charging phones), at 2.4A (1A output won't cut it). This was convenient because I no longer needed a 5v regulator for usb. Also, it had the built in function of charge and play, as long as it was plugged in before it was turned on (The wii turned off if you plugged it in while it was on). It had built in charge status leds as well. It charged using a micro usb, which I use for my phone so it was the ultimate convenient battery pack. I'm not saying you should use this one in particular, but here's the link so you can see it.

    2. For video, it shows a composite line. This is the yellow cable on the yellow, white, and red AV cables that are used for audio and video. Basically, you can connect the composite pin to a composite pin on your lcd screen, and a ground pin to the ground on the screen, and you'll have video. For audio, they are labeled left and right audio in the diagram. Once you get an amplifier board, it'll tell you where to connect those pins.

    The wii is able to output component, which is better quality than composite, but you mentioned only wanting two batteries in your portable, so I'm assuming it's fairly small. That means that for now, composite is really your only option unless you want to use a 7" screen (in which case you might want more batteries since you'll have room).

    3. For your controller, most of us use a gc+. They're out of stock right now, but they are sold on the bitbuilt store so keep an eye out. The gc+ is basically a gamecube controller, except it's smaller and more configurable. For example, you can use any joysticks you want, not just GameCube joysticks. You can also orient them however you want. The gc+ also has convenient soldering pads for each button, so you just pick whatever buttons you want, and wire A to A, B to B, etc.

    The gc+ will need to be connected to the player 1 data pin on the wii, 3.3v, and ground.

    4. Personally I'm a fan of using the premade battery packs because they're easy, but I know there's a diagram floating around somewhere if you want to build your own. If it's not in the guide section, it's probably in the guide submissions section.

    5. Either or :). I used the one from the wii because I planned on using both ports and they were conveniently stacked and I already owned it. However, you will have to sand the edges of the board if you cut it out. If it's not done right, it can cause issues. If you're only using one port, I'd say it's probably better to use your own. They come with convenient soldering pads and cost basically nothing.

    The second usb port can be used for powering external devices and using peripherals. You can plug in the wii u usb gamecube adapter and use players 2-4 with it in Nintendont. If you add a switch to your built in controller to disconnect it, you can use players 1-4 on the adapter.

    Hopefully this answered some of your questions :) you should make a worklog and keep us up to date on your project. You can ask questions there that will help you and be helpful to others in the future.

    Also this is random, but if you're shopping for parts, I recommend ordering far in advance from ebay. The US gets free shipping from China, so things are dirt cheap but shipping takes a few weeks. For example, 100 tact switches are $0.85 shipped from China but might take 3-4 weeks to get there. Headphone jacks, usb ports, buttons, switches, plugs, heatsinks, etc add up fast if you order from the us.

    I also recommend that you buy a few gauges of the red enameled magnet wire and the smallest soldering iron tip you can find. They're lifesavers.

    Hope to see more on your project :)
    Stitches and GingerOfOz like this.
  3. MasterNate .

    Mar 18, 2017
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    The Mitten
    All this sounds great. I just have a couple suggestions. First off, if you are using 2 batteries, they have to be in series to get the voltage you want, they cant be in parallel.

    Second, with "buttons" you use these things called tact switches. There are 4 legs on each switch, you then solder a wire to two legs, ones not on the same line. Then one of those wires goes to the GC+ and the other goes to ground.

    Thirdly, with the audio video relocation, lets say the color for composite is yellow. You just connect a wire to the yellow point, and then connect the other end of that wire to the composite input on the screen.

    But I wouls love to see you try this. You may think you know nothing now, as did i when i first started, but you learn so much along the way.

    Welcome to BitBuilt!
  4. GingerOfOz no wario Staff Member . . .

    Dec 16, 2016
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    The Oregon Wildlands
    Welcome to the forums! It's good to see research and the thought you've put into your potential project.

    To clarify what Madmorda said about wiring video, you should use shielded wire to wire composite between your Wii and your screen. Shielded wire is essentially a wire with a bigger wire encasing it, and by grounding the bigger, outer wire the inner wire is protected from interference. So yes, you definitely need ground on your screen, but be sure to ground both ends of the shielded wire to help protect the video signal.

    I would definitely reccomend using different USB ports than the ones you get off of the Wii. I sanded the board part well, checked for shorts along every pad, but couldn't get USB to work until I pulled a different port out of an extension cable. From then on, USB has worked fine.

    I also want to emphasize how important good tools are. Since I'm guessing you probably don't have much in the way of tools, I'd reccomend picking up a good soldering iron. Plan to spend at least $40 on an iron. Cheap in out on an iron will hurt you more than almost anything else, as many of us have learned. Even if your soldering skill is mediocre like me, you can perform all the necessary soldering with a good iron. Leaded solder is amazing. Flux is amazing. Isopropyl alcohol is a lifesaver when cleaning boards.

    Also, do you have a multimeter? If you do, make sure you know how to use the continuity tool. If you do trim the board,ake you sure you thoroughly read through every part of the trimming guide. When I first tried to trim a Wii motherboard, I missed some of the basic things like putting tape over the chips and checking for shorts before powering the Wii on. I also had a really bad iron, which probably contributed to that board's failure.

    Definitely make a worklog, it's a great place to post progress and get suggestions at the same time. Good luck!
  5. jefflongo Broke BitBuilt Staff Member . .

    Dec 15, 2016
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    Ventura, CA
    Just wanted to say as many others have that you are certainly approaching this from the right direction. The fact that you have done a lot of reading and research makes you more qualified than a lot of people on this forum who have worked on a portable. Best of luck!
    Fruity_Grebbles, Stitches and cheese like this.
  6. ToddyHD Guest

    Thanks everyone for your speedy replies. Honestly, I am sort of shocked to see this amount of feedback on a forum. Great to see everyone is really willing to support each other in their projects!

    I am going to try and gather up supplies in the next month. I am however going to Japan for work for 6 months soon so I wont be able to get a start on the Wii until I get back. Until then, ill be doing a lot more research and trying to learn more about wiring audio up using amplifiers etc as my knowledge is pretty lacklustre in this area haha.

    Time to stock up on tools though before I start, and I guess the first stage of anything would be getting the Wii case open to access the board. I have heard the Wii requires a specialised Nintendo bit in order to access the internals, but has anyone used a regular phillips/flathead driver/brute strength to get it open? Would rather do that instead of waiting for a driver bit :(

    Thanks again everyone, pretty excited to learn more!
    Fruity_Grebbles likes this.
  7. Stitches 2 and a Half Dollarydoos Staff Member . . .

    Feb 5, 2017
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    Banana Bender Land, Australia
    The Wii's screws just need a tri-wing and phillips screwdriver. You can pick up a Nintendo spec red handled tri-wing for a few dollars on ebay or amazon.

    If you have a set of precision screwdrivers you might be able to use a very small flat head to cheese the tri-wings, but it'll be difficult and you'd probly end up damaging the screwdriver.
  8. Shank Certified Wiitard Staff Member . .

    Jan 31, 2016
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    Im a little late to the party, but I'd like to reiterate how great of a first post this is. You are asking for help, but you have very clearly shown you did everything you could to figure out as much as you could on your own. Doing this earns mad respect from our community. Keep at it like this, and you will find that people will go above and beyond to help you finish your portable. Im impressed, and can't wait to see your complete portable!
    Fruity_Grebbles, Matthew and Stitches like this.
  9. ToddyHD Guest

    Hi all.

    It has been a while since I posted my project plan on the forums but I am hoping to get started soon-ish on this. I just got back from Japan so I did not have much time to start.

    I am wondering if anyone has any recommended cases to use as a base for frankencasing? I planned on using the ZN-45 case for frankencasing since it's quite cheap, bulky and gives me quite a bit of space to put all the components in, but I'd rather have a sleek looking case similar to a Wii-u design of Gmanmodz and BocuD's previous models.

    Obviously I would like to have a 3D printed case since it would make things a lot easier with screw posts and sealing up the case, however I really do not have the CAD skills or time to be able to learn how to 3D print my own case. Is there anyone here on the forums who would commission a case for me? If so I'd prefer to have that done since it would save me some time.

    Finally, although an unrelated question, I wanted to ask if people have had any difficulties moving their Wii Portables overseas. I am planning on living in Tokyo for a few years and I am unsure whether to start the project now (5 months before I leave) or just wait until I get to Tokyo to begin. I would prefer to start now since I have more time, but I am worried that sending all of the parts overseas would be a hassle (since the internals are likely to look like a recipe for disaster since it's my first portable ever).

    As an update, I plan on buying the following things in the coming weeks (if I do decide to start my project over university break). Please let me know if I am forgetting anything crucial here.

    Basic Tools for Building Wii Portable
    • Weller Soldering Iron
    • Dremel (including cutting wheels)
    • Multimeter
    • Wire Strippers
    • Needlenose pliers
    • Snips
    • Case (purchase by commission or frankencase, but would rather design myself/get a member to assist based on the internals)
    Internals for Wii Portable
    • Prebuilt battery back as recommended by Madmorda above OR 4 3400 mAh Panasonic Lithium Ion 3.7V Batteries (probably going to go with Prebuilt battery back as already have incorporated charge-and-play + I also like it being able to use the phone charger for charging - seems a little easier than creating my own battery pack)
    • PCB
    • Layer Wii Board - OMGWTF Trim or easiest trim available
    • USB Flash Drive (128GB)
    • PTH08080 Custom Regs
    • Speakers (not sure which to get)
    • Amplifier (PAM8803 AMP)
    • Squishy Tack Buttons
    • 3DS Sliders
    • GameCube Controller Buttons/3DS Buttons (whatever is easiest) - if I can buy separately would prefer than pulling apart a controller
    • 5 inch screen (
    • GC+ board for buttons
    • USB Ports (2) for peripherals and for USB flash
    • Shielded Wire (for screen)
    • Soldering Wire (what gauge wire is best for power lines vs GC+?)
    • Magnet Wire
    I want to keep my first build extremely simple as I mentioned above (which means no Bluetooth or WiFi functionality) for my portable.
    Sorry if my post seems a little nooby. Again, I feel like getting started and asking questions is the best way for me to learn since I feel I have exhausted all of the resources on here.

    If anyone has any forum user who has made some 3D printed cases for other users on the forum then I'd love to get in contact with him to discuss my internals and start building the case around my materials.

    Thanks everyone. I'm all open for any advice for my portable. Again, simple is the mindset I am going for.
  10. GingerOfOz no wario Staff Member . . .

    Dec 16, 2016
    Likes Received:
    The Oregon Wildlands
    Well I'm not sure about getting a case design commissioned, but if you like Gman's cases then he recently open sourced the 3D files for the case as well as most the parts he used here. It's a fairly simple build for beginners, and overall it had a really nice design. If this route interests you, I may be able to help get it 3D printed if you'd like.
    cheese and ToddyHD like this.
  11. DeoNaught .

    Dec 10, 2016
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    Constant Fear
    sin^2(x) + cos^2(x) +e^(i*pi)
    cheese likes this.
  12. MikaMaslak .

    Jan 31, 2018
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    If you are worried about shorting a connection. I would recommend using a power supply unit while developing that has an overload cut out feature. This saved me a few times when I had shorts I didn't originally catch. Once your done with electronics and insulation, go ahead and start using batteries. Of course just a suggestion.

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