Release WiFiflex: Wii WiFi relocation flex pcb

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This shouldn't be possible without a WiFi chip relocation, it works!

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Ever since I built my Gboy I've wanted to play MKWii or Smash online with the BitBuilt community. I thought it would be neat to have some sort of tournament while playing only portable consoles (Ashidas would probably always win but who knows?). The WiFi chip is notorious for being very hard to relocate and wanted to find an easier solution. I learnt KiCad specifically for this purpose and @YveltalGriffin has helped a lot in the journey by also doing the final via stitching and silkscreen.

Should be compatible with all 4-layer board Wiis, not tested on 6-layer boards, I don't think the layout is the same.

The license is fully permissive, if someone wants to make some pre-populated and sell them, be my guest! It's the best way to have these reach as many users as possible.

Beyond online play, this should open up possibilities through RVLoader: cloud saves, WiFi updates or who knows what other neat features Aurelio will come up with!


Enjoy!
 

subierekt

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am i doing something wrong or is this like $46 for one from pcbway? are flex cables that expensive in small batches lol

messing around with numbers, 1-5 is $46, 6-176 is $111 lol
 

Y2K

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am i doing something wrong or is this like $46 for one from pcbway? are flex cables that expensive in small batches lol

messing around with numbers, 1-5 is $46, 6-176 is $111 lol
FPCs through PCBWay are indeed very expensive. These FPCs through JLCPCB are $15 for 5, and they also currently have a one time use coupon available for a free 2 layer flex PCB order for boards less than 100mm^2. Perfect for these if you want to give them a shot!
 

subierekt

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i just ordered from oshpark, though they dont let you choose specs, so we will see what i get, it was less than $10 though
 
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I bought 5 of them from PCBWay: $ 64.14 with shipping to France.
It's good that you try out other fabs, maybe they work and are even cheaper!
 
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I'm in the process of building my very first portable and want it to have all the bells and whistles, like wifi, so this came at a great time! Thank you so much for this and the work you did on it! I went ahead and ordered 5 from JLCPCB. I know in your guide you mentioned that it will be hit or miss so I'll report back with what I get and if it works.
 

Y2K

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Hi everyone!

So as user @connorl discovered when ordering flexes through JLCPCB (and also through Yveltal's infinite foresight), JLC will not manufacture these flexes as-is due to the tolerances on the castellations being out of spec.

Have no fear, for I have come to save the day!

Here is a modified version of the Wifi relocation flex, that *should* be within-spec for JLCPCB. The caveat with this design is that you have to relocate RA20 onto the flex instead of soldering the flex to it. This was the only way I could think of to be able to do this, as JLC's via tolerances are much tighter compared to their castellations. As per supertazon's request, this version of the flex is hosted on a separate forked repository, which you can find here.

I will note that this version is untested, highly experimental, and may not line up properly or even work at all. I currently lack the funds or the hardware needed to properly give these a test, so hopefully someone else decides to take the risk and give these a try!

If you want an image of how the new flex looks, this is the best I have.
kicad_XDaNxkDx5M.png


Hopefully this helps others out be able to give this awesome design a try! Thanks to @supertazon and @YveltalGriffin for their awesome work!
 

Avery

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I've been waiting for something like this, can't wait to be able to play Mario Kart online on the go.

Thanks for making this :)
 

lun7n

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@supertazon Hello, thanks for your work on this! I'm super excited that the online aspect of portables is being developed!

Sorry to bother, but I am a custom PCB noob and will attach what pcbway options I have selected. Do these settings look correct to order? Thanks again!

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Yes looking good to me! Make sure you use hot air or a hot plate to solder the connector on to it.
 
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I received my JLCPCB order today finally and was getting worried reading through some of the posts here. This is how they turned out:

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Looking at it lined up on the board:

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The castellated edges appear to line up and look good from my point of view and should work. Am I missing something or did I just happen to get lucky?
 
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Those look perfectly fine, great! Maybe check continuity between the castellated edges. Let us know how the install goes!
 

Y2K

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I received my JLCPCB order today finally and was getting worried reading through some of the posts here. This is how they turned out:

View attachment 31875
View attachment 31876

Looking at it lined up on the board:

View attachment 31877

The castellated edges appear to line up and look good from my point of view and should work. Am I missing something or did I just happen to get lucky?
JLC will usually manufacturer boards that are out of tollerance if you accept the risks, so I'd definitely say you got lucky here. The boards are probably not going to have an issue through their process, but they can't offer any guarantees when they're outside of tollerance. In any case, my fork of the flex should be manufacturable by them without any issue, so thats an option for those that don't want to take the risk associated.
 
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It has been installed!!!
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And..... I think I broke my Ashida :'(

I tried booting a wii game with Wifi enabled and was getting hung up on "Found HWAccess_ES2 at 000291A8". I stupidly thought that maybe it's because I installed RVLoader with wifi disabled so I booted into safe mode and ran the installer again, patching wifi back in. RVloader got to the point of saying "Exitting..." and I waited about 5-10seconds before powering off. Now everytime I try to start my Ashida I'm getting a black screen. It won't even boot into safe mode.

I did check continuity on all the connections and everything was good. Also checked for shorts and there were none. I also made sure that everything was oriented the right way. Looks like I may have more debugging to go through unless anyone has any ideas....
 
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Alright, well, it turns out that I'm just an idiot haha. If you look at the first picture very closely you can see that the 3rd resistor in the array is actually shorted to ground on the connector by a tiny piece of solder. I guess I didn't check well enough...

Anyways, I fixed that, popped the wifi module in and it lives! Since it stopped working because I patched the wifi module back in, now that it boots that means the wifi module is working!!!

This is an amazing relocation flex @supertazon and @YveltalGriffin!!! Thanks for all your hard work you put into this to make it easier for people like me to do these relocations!

Lessons Learned:

1) This cable covers the via for headphone sense so if you want that in your portable, be sure to solder to that via first before soldering in the flex cable.

2) It is possible to solder the connector to the flex cable, although I probably wouldn't recommend it having done it. It's too easy to bridge those pins do to the fine pitch and the connector itself is very thin plastic and will melt easily with an iron.

3) MAKE SURE THE WIFI MODULE IS WORKING BY ENABLING IT IN A WII GAME BEFORE PATCHING IT OUT (which is also not necessary). This is probably my biggest takeaway from this install. Don't be an idiot like me.
 
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