Archive for April, 2008
Since I’ve heard of a few stories of people ripping off pads, and destroying their wiimotes trying to perform the Player Indicator Mod, I’ve made a quick write up to show an easy way to remove the LEDs from the wiimote. One of the things to note is that the LEDs are not salvagable using this method, this method will destroy the LED but is fairly simple to do with the basic soldering irons on the market. Another thing to note is to try and use flux if poosible, it’ll make your life alot easier and be cleaned up with isopropyl alcohol once complete.
Start off by following the first 2 instructions of the Player Indicator Mod.
Once you’ve located the LEDs you’re about to remove, first start be removing the excess solder around the electrodes with the desoldering braid.
This step is where the damage occurs. Use your soldering iron to melt and “scrub” off the transparent lens of the LED.
At this point, add flux if you have it. If you don’t have flux you can melt a tiny bit of solder onto the tip of your iron, most solder these days have a bit of flux running in tubes within the solder wire itself. You can determine if the solder you’re using has is a flux core solder by snipping an end off with a pair of scissors or X-acto knife and looking at the center of the solder wire, flux is usually a light brown colour similar to maple syrup.
You’ll now have to lay the iron flat on the LED, you’re trying to make contact with both ends of the now destroyed LED. Give it a bit of time to heat up (roughly 5-10 secs) and start to gently slide the LED from side to side until it comes off the pad. DO NOT use excessive force while sliding, otherwise you may end up with a ripped pad on the wiimote PCB.
Finally this shows the LED removed and cleaned. I used isopropyl alcohol (aka rubbing alcohol) with a q-tip to clean the mess caused by the burning flux.
And here’s all four steps on the wiimote.
Tags: guide, led, removal
Posted in Guides | 90 Comments »
This is re-write of Finch’s Nunchuck LED mod. This mod adds a backlight to the joystick on the Nunchuck attachment. Its very simple to perform and should take roughly 30 minutes. It does have one downfall though, as shown this mod does not include a limiting resistor, so just as with the Easy A Button Backlight Mod, battery life on the attached wiimote will be decreased.
Start by removing the two triwing screws located on the bottom side of the Nunchuck attachment.
Once the screws are removed, lift the upper housing off the base starting from where the cable exits the Nunchuck.
The main PCB of the Nunchuck can be removed simple by lifting up. Note the two test points this mod will use.
To prepare the LED, use the heatshrink tubing on the legs of the LED as shown. You can also see how I formed the leads to give roughly a 1/4″ spacing between them.
The LED is then soldered onto the two test points. Red is the anode (+), and black is the cathode (-).
Before reassembling, test the Nunchuck to make sure your mod works. Re-assemble following steps 1-3 in reverse order.
Tags: backlight, mod, nunchuck
Posted in Mods | 234 Comments »
This guide will show you how to mod your wiimote to flash an LED when it rumbles, this mod was inspired by M37R01D who has posted a video over on YouTube.
This mod would fall in the intermediate level, it should take roughly 45 minutes to perform and requires a steady hand. To open the wiimote follow the first instruction found on the Player Indicator LED Mod.
This mod will center around the speaker holes on the upper bezel of the wiimote.
The LED will eventually be placed in between two rows of speaker holes on the bezel. You’ll need to cut the circuit tape length-wise in half as shown.
Lay two strips of the circuit tape in between the speaker holes as shown, leave a slight gap to solder the LED over. Don’t worry too much if it doesn’t stick securely, when you solder the LED it will melt a bit of the plastic and fuse it together.
Continue by soldering on the LED, make note of which way (polarity) the LED is soldered on.
Now start by routing the wire. I`ve stripped the insulation from the wire in the area that is under the speaker, so the speaker is able to sit almost as flush as it was without the wire.
And at last solder the wires to the two contact points of the of the rumble motor, the right most in the picture is the positive (+), and the left most is the negative (-). If you lift the PCB you`ll also see the wires for the rumble motor below, red for +, and blue for -.
And the rumble mod is complete! You can check out my animated gif of the LED flashing by clicking on the image below.
If you think I’ve missed explaining any steps please let me know, and I’ll see what I can do to explain it better.
Tags: mod, rumble, wiimote
Posted in Mods | 176 Comments »
Here’s the install guide for the Smart A Backlight mod. It’s a bit short, but should clear up any questions you might have in regards to installation. So, in the same tradition as the other guides, what you’ll need is:
If you have circuit tape (included with the prebuilt kit), you’ll need to cut a strip of it to wrap around one of the solder pads. This step isn’t neccessary, but will make installation alot quicker. Since the solder pad for the push button is very low, the circuit tape will help to make the solder to connect easier.
Next wrap it around the pad as shown in the picture. Don’t worry if it doesn’t hold very well, you can solder it down permanently a few steps below.
Shown here are the points that you’ll want to line up the mod to solder to. The GND connection as shown can actually be any one of the four pins on that side of the IC, they’re all connected.
Here’s the mod soldered down. It’s probably best to solder the ground and input connections first, the +V connection is probably the hardest so you’ll want to have the mod as stable as possible when doing it. I’ve used a small wire (30ga) to bridge the gap between the pad and pin, to make things easier and neater for this guide.
And that’s pretty much it. If you want to check your installation, use a continuity tester on the points shown in the picture. If it tests okay, I would recommend testing the wiimote with batteries in before closing the housing.
Tags: install, multicolour, smart, wiimote
Posted in Mods | 180 Comments »
This is not really guide but more of a worklog. After hearing and seeing complaints about the difficulty of the Multicoloured A Button Backlight mod, I decided to make it a bit easier. This is where the Smart A Button Backlight comes in, its the Multicoloured A Button Backlight at heart but powered by a microcontroller instead of the wiimote. Its interface to the wiimote would use a similar method as most of the newer modchips dubbed the ‘Quick-Solder’ method.
The mod would consist of 4 multi-coloured LEDs, appropriate current limiting resistors, a circuit board and a microcontroller to drive it. The 4 LEDs were an easy choice, I would use the same 0603 LEDs in blue, red, green and yellow at the original mod. For the resistors, it would have to be a value to keep the power consumption to a minimum, again using the same 0603 package as the LEDs. The circuit board would probably be the most expensive individual component as it is with most electronics of this nature, it’s design would have to incorporate the ‘Easy-Solder’ method of installation. And finally the microcontroller, my choice with this project was the Atmel ATTiny12. It’s a tiny and inexpensive chip at roughly $2 each, the chip also contains onboard eeprom memory, which its smaller brother the ATTiny11 doesn’t have. Why is eeprom memory important? It will be used to store the user’s preferred LED colour when the wiimote is powered down.
This is the schematic I came up with for this project, it’s rather simple.
Normally you would see LEDs being individually driven by a single pin on the microcontroller, the ATTiny12 has 6 I/O pins - 3 on each side. In this project however the LEDs aren’t driven by a dedicated pin, they’ve been charlieplexed to drive 4 LEDs using 3 pins. I’ve designed it this way to prevent a problem with designing the circuit board, I’ll explain it in futher detail in the board design section of this log.
Because this mod is mostly independent from the wiimote, there needed to be a way to set the colour of the LED. On the original Multicoloured A Button Backlight mod there were wires directly connected to each of the wiimote’s original LEDs, however this mod’s purpose was to avoid that problem all together. To solve this program I’ve used the PB1 pin of the microcontroller, this pin will be used as an input to set the colour of the LED and will be connected to the ‘home’ button on the wiimote. If you’re wondering why I used PB1 instead of the other 5 pins, it’s because this pin is the only pin on the ATTiny12 that can be used as an external interrupt. I’ll explain more about the interrupts, if you’re not familiar, once we get to the programming portion of the work log.
At this time the work log is only completed to this section, I’ll continue it and eventually get to the final product over the next few days. For the impatient ones, you can watch a short clip of the prototype over on youtube.
The circuit board was designed in PADS, which isn’t as popular as Eagle or OrCad but was what I was trained in and comfortable working with. There were obvious restrictions when designing the circuit board; it needed to fit in the wiimote, all the components and circuit traces had to work around the QuickSolder installation pads, and to make it DIY friendly it had to be done on a single layer.
The image above shows the layout I was able to design. Since the board would be designed single-sided, using 4 pins would have forced me to use a via (a plated hole that connects two or more copper layers) and be double-sided. Some may notice that there are 2 pins not being used, why didn’t I just use those? PB5 (pin 1) as an output can only act open-drain, meaning it is unable to directly drive an LED. PB0 (pin 5) would have worked, but would have required a second layer.
Smart A Button Firmware:
Here’s the source code for the Smart A Button’s microcontroller. It’s in assembler and was programmed in AVR studio, I realize that it may not be the neatest or most optimized code, but it is open for everyone to see and update if you desire.
If you’re not familiar with assembler, or just don’t want to bother looking over it, I’ll explain it’s function.
Upon powerup, the ucontroller looks for the pattern ‘01010101′ in the eeprom. If the ucontroller finds this code it will then retrieve the last saved setting in the eeprom and turn on the appropriate LED. If it does not find the pattern, it assumes that either this is the first time powering on, or the eeprom has been corrupted. It will then write the pattern, and a valid save setting into memory.
After powering on, and initializing the LED, the ucontroller goes into idle mode and does nothing. This is to keep the ucontroller from wasting power. A press on the ‘home’ key will activate an interrupt and awaken the ucontroller, it then waits for 1 second to pass before it allows the user to change the LED setting. It will turn off the LED as a visual indication that it is able to change settings, further presses on the ‘home’ button will cycle through the LEDs. After 2 seconds of inactivity, the ucontroller saves the setting in eeprom and returns to idle mode.
Pretty simple no? That also explains how to use it; hold the ‘home’ button down until the LED turns off, then keep pressing the ‘home’ button until the Mod has cycled to the LED you want to leave on. Leave the ‘home’ button for 2 secs and the value will be saved.
Here’s the source code for those who want to make your own, or edit it to make the mod do fancy tricks. I’ll post any user submission I get, so please send them in!
What you’ll need:
1x Blue 0603 LED
1x Red 0603 LED
1x Green 0603 LED
1x Yellow 0603 LED
3x 15ohm 0603 resistors
1x Atmel ATTiny12 SOIC8 package
1x Etched Circuit Board
If you have access to a programmer to program the ATTiny12 - the source code can be downloaded. And if you’re etching your own board - a 1:1 photopositive PDF of the board can be downloaded.That should be enough info to make your own for those who can, if you’re not able then you can get yours on the mod kits page.
Tags: backlight, multicolour, smart, wiimote
Posted in Guides | 146 Comments »
Continued from the “Nintendo Wiimote LED Mod” article, this guide will demonstrate how to add a backlight to the wiimote’s A button. The A button was chosen since it is distinct from the others being clear instead of the opaque white the rest of the buttons are. This mod ties in with the first wiimote led mod by lighting the A button the same colour as the indicator LED depending on the player number as shown at LED Indicator Mod Step 8. For those looking to mod their wiimotes with only a single colour, I recommend performing the Easy Backlight Mod instead.
What you’ll need:
A Nintendo Wiimote
A Triwing Screwdriver
LEDs (surface mount 0603) in Red, Green, Blue and Yellow
Copper Circuit Tape
Soldering Iron and Solder
If you’re planning to perform this mod, set aside an evening for each remote you plan to mod. Depending on your skill level it will take anywhere from an hour upto three. As noted above, glue is optional, the main reason is to keep the wire down when routing it to the wiimote’s A button. In this guide, I used hot glue, while its strength isn’t the greatest it has the advantage of being very easy to take off. What I would recommend is to use hot glue temporarily, as shown throughout all the steps, and when complete use something like super-glue that isn’t as thick. Along with the LED indicator mod, I’ve also made available some parts kits to get you what you need all at once, visit the kits page get yours!
Start by stripping and soldering the ends of two lengths of wire directly on the contacts of the indicator LEDs on the wiimote.
Continue by routing the wire up to where the contacts of the A button is on the exposed wiimote.
The next step is to prepare an LED to be used as the backlight. Use the peice of circuit tape and stick on top of a paper label, this will eventually be used to prevent any shorts from occuring from the LED and the wiimote’s PCB.
You’ll then need to cut out a section to make a gap over which the LED will be soldered on to. Continue onto soldering the LED onto the circuit tape.
Once the LED is soldered onto the track, cut it out as shown below. Use the adhesive backing on the paper to hold it onto the wiimote’s PCB, make sure to match the orientation when placing the LED to match the polarity of the indicator LED.
Continue to route the wire for the rest of the LEDs.
Once done you can start to solder the LEDs to the ends of the wires as shown below. Note the hot glue used to keep the wire from shifting while soldering.
When all the soldering is done, insert the batteries into the wiimote and perform a test to ensure all the LEDs have been installed correctly. At this point you can either leave the hot glue, remove it and replace it with a more permanent glue, or remove it all together.
Assemble the cover peice and screw everything back together.
And now you have a backlight on your Nintendo wiimote!
If you think I’ve missed explaining any steps please let me know, and I’ll see what I can do to explain it better.
Tags: backlight, mod, multicolour, wiimote
Posted in Mods | 27 Comments »
If you’ve have managed to break your wiimote in attempts to perform the Player Indicator Mod, or are just too scared to break your wiimote to do it, this guide is for you. The most likely scenario is that you ripped off a pad or two, but this guide also covers dead wiimotes and wiimotes with the IR sensor not functioning.
So here’s an example of a broken wiimote.
I’ve used the Isopropyl alcohol and a toothbrush to scrub off all the residue flux from the board giving a clean surface to start from.
Use the desoldering braid to clean up the pads, try not to apply too much pressure or heat or you’ll end up damaging or lifting them. The proper way to do it is to gently place the iron on the braid then slide the braid back on forth holding the other end of the braid. This is to remove any of the excess solder from the pads, also what happens is when you place too much heat and time on the joint you get something called intermetallic growth which weakens the joint.
At this point I would solder the LEDs on to complete the mod you’re performing. If there are any missing pads use this wiring diagram to run 30 gauge to the correct points. If you’ve managed to damage any of the resistors (outlined in white) you’ll need to replace them, they are 0402 470ohm resistors.
If for some reason you can’t solder to the vias near the ‘button 2′ pad, you’ll be able to run them directly to the controller.
If you’ve managed to solder everything on okay but your wiimote just doesn’t turn on any more, check the board for solder splashes and solder balls that may be causing shorts.
Once you’re sure that your board is clean, check the fuse pictured below. With a multimeter the fuse should read around 1 ohm, if the fuse has blown usually from the shorts in step 6, the fuse will need to be replace (safer) or jumpered (cheap).
From what I’ve seen the culprit to a non-functional IR sensor is mistake performing the Easy A Button Backlight Mod or the Nunchuck LED Backlight Mod. This can be verified by removing the LED from the board and checking the wiimote, once verified reperform the mod being careful not to cause any shorts. A note to remember is that the shorts maybe caused by the plastic housing pressing down on the exposed part of the LED.
I hope this helps many of you attempting to perform the mods here on this site. If you still need help or are stuck in a situation that doesn’t apply to you, discuss it in the forums. There are lots of people there willing to help you out.
Tags: repair, wiimote
Posted in Guides | 164 Comments »
This is an alternate method of adding a backlight to the A button on the Nintendo wiimote, its extremely simple to perform however you’re only limited to 1 colour for your LED unlike the multi-coloured A backlight mod. This would be good for those only looking to mod their wiimotes with a single colour, all red for example. In this guide, I’ve already performed the player indicator mod, so I’ll be adding a white backlight to the A button to not compete with the other colours.
This mod is very simple to perform, it should take less than an hour for even the most beginner modders. Along with the other two mods, I’ve also made available some parts kits to get you what you need all at once, visit the kits page to get yours! A note to mention before you proceed with the mod; normally a current limiting resistor would be used to prevent the LED from receiving too much power, however with the limited space one isn’t used with this mod. This shouldn’t be too much of a problem since most led flashlight keychains don’t use one either, however because there isn’t a limiting resistor, you may find yourself running out of batteries faster than normal.
It has come to my attention from members on our forums that certain revisions of the wiimote are not compatible with this mod. From what it seems, early versions of the wiimote, mostly ones that were shipped with the Wii console itself are not compatible. Wiimotes bought separately or with WiiPlay are, to determine whether yours is compatible look at the image below. Look for the “TP01″ marking visible on the wiimote PCB in the battery compartment.
The mod will center around two test points located on the bottom side of the wiimote. These two points provide power (3.2v) when the wiimote is powered up.
You’ll need to use your pliers to bend and cut the leads of the LED as shown, test place the LED on the wiimote’s PCB to determine where to make the bends.
Once the leads are bent, as shown above, all you need to do it solder it on to the test points. Make sure the leads of the LED don’t accidentaly touch other copper areas of the PCB that may cause a short.
You’ll also need to use the pliers to snap off a portion of the casing as shown, the easiest way is to grab firmly with your pliers and rock back and forth. Once done try position the LED so that it points toward the A button’s rubber membrane.
As a final tweaking step add black electrical tape to the casing so you don’t get bleeding of the light from the LED. 3mm LEDs are much brighter than surface mount ones so you’ll see it bleed through the housing if you don’t.
You can see from the picture even with electrical tape the light does still bleed through in the dark, however during daylight it isn’t noticable at all.
Tags: backlight, mod, wiimote
Posted in Mods | 184 Comments »
Inspired by this Nintendo Wii wiimote mod found here, this write up is to show you how to do it yourself. This is an simple yet innovative mod to replace the LEDs on the wiimote to correspond to the cursor colours used by the Nintendo Wii. For example pointing the player 2 controller at the screen gives a red cursor, this mod changes the corresponding LEDs on the wiimote to match that of the screen. A second part, to be written, will also show how to add additional LEDs under the A button to light up as well.
What you’ll need:
A Nintendo Wiimote
A Triwing Screwdriver
LEDs (surface mount 0603) in Red, Green and Yellow
Soldering Iron and Solder
Tri-wing screw drivers are pretty hard to come by, but just happen to be dirt cheap from Play-Asia at $3.99, and if you are going to order I’d recommend their $9.99 component cables as well. The LEDs you’re looking for are 0603 (size meaning 0.006″x0.003″) surface mount LEDs in red, green and yellow with a 50-60mcd rating. You’ll be able to find these at any decent electronics distributor, but since some have minimum orders to deal with, I’ve put together simple kits containing LEDs of each colour along with desoldering braid and fine solder. Each kit is enough for all of your wiimotes, or spares if you don’t use them all at once. Soldering irons and tweezers can be found virtually everywhere so I won’t go into any detail with them.
Open the wiimote by unscrewing these 4 screws. You’ll notice that the wiimote is somewhat loose but will not completely open, open it by squeezing the bottom portion of the remote, as shown in the image, and pulling apart with a good deal of force.
Locate the three LEDs that will be removed on the Nintendo wiimote. Start by desoldering one end of the each LED using the wick. Try to be careful as you’ll need to reuse at least one to backlight the A button.
Next using a pair of tweezers hold the LED and apply heat to alternating sides of the LED. When the solder has melted, you should be gently moving the LED from side to side to work it off. Do not pull it straight up! If you do you’ll most likely damage the LED itself (bad), or lift the solder pad off of the PCB (worse). For more detailed instructions on removing the LEDs visit the SMD LED Removal guide.
Clean the pads with the desoldering braid, by placing the braid on top of the pad and heating it up. Once you feel it melt, move the braid around carefully to pick up the left over solder on the pad. You shouldn’t have to heat the pad up longer than 10 secs to remove the excess. This is optional but is recommended for a quality job.
Add a bit of new solder onto one of the pads and slide the replacement LED in while its still in liquid form. Add more to the remaining pad, and repeat for the rest of the LEDs.
Assemble the cover peices and screw everything back together.
Tags: player indicator, wiimote
Posted in Mods | 9 Comments »