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Thread: Motherboard Modifications

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    Motherboard Modifications

    I am starting this thread to showcase motherboard modifications. I have a project on a spare Wii that has become a fun little challenge. I will be adding a SD card slot, usb hub, headset jack and RCA composite video out connection to the console.
    So far I have started by removing the GC memory card ports from the board.
    SCAN0005.jpg
    The GC cards are in essence large sd cards. The pins need to be rearranged very slightly, but the conversion should be simple and will be soldered directly in place on the board.
    pin_out_SD.jpgpin_out.jpg

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    I can't believe it's been nearly a month since I started. So many unexpected challenges have popped up. The design is changing as I learn more about the Wii. Originally I had no intention of including a dvd drive in this unit, but aparently none of the Usb loader apps can run games without first checking to see if the drive is connected. (Someone, please, correct me if I am wrong here.)
    I have still not picked out the usb hub I will be using in the final project. I have found several models that work with the Wii, but I have not as of yet found one that will fit inside in the space I have alotted. The dvd drive is throwing me off. I have experimented with a few hubs so far. I desolder all the connections and replace them with leads to connect directly to the motherboard. I will be keeping port 0 as a direct line to the usb drive. Port 1 will have the hub attached. I will face 2 ports outside again and 2 for peripherals added internally.
    Another design change has come with the need for better wireless coverage. I am working on this Wii a scant 20 feet from my router, yet some games (i.e. Call of Duty:Modern Warfare:Reflex) have trouble keeping enough reception without signal noise to remain connected online. I have scavenged a single antenna from a wireless print server for now, but in the future I will be replacing the stock antennas with some from a laptop that are larger, nearly all copper sheets.
    Another feature I overlooked, is a very simple volume control for the headset jack. I hadn't planned for it, but I know it will be necessary. On my test board, I had a set of speakers stolen from a portable dvd player hooked up to test the audio. It is deafeningly loud. I might keep the speakers as an add-on with a switch to keep them off for times when I need to be quiet.
    More pictures will follow when I have the time.

    As always, thoughts and comments are welcome.

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    Thats Cool Bro!!!
    Keep it up maybe you will change wii world!!!
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    Cool !!
    for the GC ports, suggest to keep at least one, as this may be required for SaveMiiFrii (or GC controller, equivalent) for unBricking.
    adding planer speakers into wii is nice, yet, a usb port for MP3-playing flash drive is more demanded, (imo)
    u plan to add RCA plug for video/audio outputs ? rather, i would think of using coaxial 3-channel a/v plug for space saving (ie. as applied in Sony digital camcorders)
    would it be a detachable antenna on Wii rear to enchance wifi reception ?
    could a mini-board (ie. with coded asic) be designed to replace(emulate) the dvd-rom for space saving?
    increase the power of dc cooling fan so that a 500GB hdd be internally attached to the emi shield ?
    ..............
    what a wonderful wii u can have.......
    Last edited by billyhome; 09-07-2010 at 06:33 AM.

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    @Billyhome, I have a SaveMii, and really it is only useful on consoles without Preloader. I do want to put some 5-pin headers on the board so that I can reconnect the controller ports if desired. The usb ports are still accessible from outside the case. I have a self powered usb hub board pointing 2 ports out, and 2 ports internally. Inside I have port 0 redirected for my usb HDD. The other 2 ports (from the hub board) will go to a usb ethernet adapter and a usb wireless keyboard adapter.
    The RCA jack I have installed is a set of 3, for video and stereo audio. I also have the headset jack installed temporarily, but until I get a decent mini-pot I won't have the volume control I want. I am actually using my installed a/v setup rather than the Nintendo proprietary cable.
    As for the antenna(s), I have ordered u.fl to rpsma pigtails to connect 2 5dBi or 9dBi antennas. They will be removable. Right now I am testing with a small antenna salvaged from a print server. It has greatly improved signal strength, and it is <3dBi. 5's will be adequate, 9's will be wonderful.
    The Dvd drive is now being incorporated into the design. I am going to very slightly extend the height of the case to make sure there is enough room. I am still working on the specifics for that, so stay tuned. After watching dvd's for several nights from this console, I thought it would be better to keep the drive in the final design.
    The stock cooling fan is less than than I'd like. It is quiet, but the cost is more heat. I have several 12v fans that are nearly the same size. I will be re-routing some power later to supply at least (1) 12v fan to replace the little stock fan.

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    nice to know, making quite a leap.....
    wireless keyboard is good; then, what abt a blu-tooth microphone reception for musical games ?
    Last edited by billyhome; 09-10-2010 at 02:35 AM.

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    I never use a mic, to be honest, I have never considered including one. Any USB peripheral is an easy add-on, except where it requires that a 'sync' button. The wireless keyboard I have is a Wii specific made by Logitech. It has an extremely small sync button, but it shouldn't be too difficult to incorporate it into the case. I hit a small setback with my usb hub today. As I was soldering on new headers to replace the connectors, I put too much force onto a header pin and ripped my contact right off the board. I may have to replace the whole hub board. Not a huge problem, just frustrating. Oh well. That is why we prototype first! At least I have some practice. I will post some pictures tomorrow. It's not pretty, but it's just a rough draft anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Titanofhaloce View Post
    I never use a mic, to be honest, I have never considered including one. Any USB peripheral is an easy add-on, except where it requires that a 'sync' button. The wireless keyboard I have is a Wii specific made by Logitech. It has an extremely small sync button, but it shouldn't be too difficult to incorporate it into the case. ...
    Oh well. That is why we prototype first! At least I have some practice. I will post some pictures tomorrow. .....
    oh, i was thinking a PC wireless keyboard woud hv been used for ur mods.
    looking forward to see ur ugly photos
    keep up the works !!

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    Any usb keyboard will do for this project. I am going to get a different one other than the one I thought I was going to use. I am keeping my logitech keyboard with my main Wii in the living room. It's a nice pairing. It's all white and matches the stock Wii case, so for the project Wii, I will get a usb keyboard that matches whatever case I end up with. The case is still in debate. The more I modify the inner workings, the more I see the stock case will not work. I want to expand the case to include all my additions, plus have the ability to open and access it on a regular basis. I still want to keep it small for travel. Right now I have everything crammed into a stock case (@Billyhome, yes, it IS ugly), with a few haphazard holes hastily bored into it for the rca connections and 2 rpsma antenna mounts. I am still waiting on my antennas to come in from China. Maybe having those in place will help me decide what kind of case this should go into. I have had a lot of suggestions as far as complex cases go, i.e. Bender from futurama, a pc case, old NES etc. All of that will come later in other projects. Right now I just want to get a solid motherboard/internal base going.
    Has anyone seen an improved wireless board for these? Or, does anyone have a pinout of the header for the wireless board? I would love to be able to get an ethernet card on that header instead of the wifi board. Probably just a pipedream. If any of you have interest in it, Ben Heckendorn is a well renowned console modifier. You can see the Wii Laptop and other projects on his webiste The Official Blog of Benjamin J Heckendorn. Or just Google Wii Laptop. His has a great blog of his build for the laptop. You can seen how he slims it down by mangling the heatsink and removing parts. It's a great site anyway for all his consoles.

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    IMG_20101015_114843.jpgIMG_20101015_114902.jpg
    Finally had a few minutes to spare to put some images up. 2 quick build pics. The hard drive is still being used externally for now until I can get the materials for expanding the case. The pic on the right shows the rca jacks and the headphone jack. Not done yet, but I barely have time to work on it.

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