Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Update and Quick Wii Mod

Its been awhile since I posted my last project but now that I'm done with classes and finals I can get back to working of some unfinished and new projects. I've got plans involving retro game systems, toasters, lasers, motors, mirrors, hard drives, lcd screens, microcontrollers, and much more. It'll be a summer of hacking and making and I will enjoy every moment of it. So I hope you will too as I strive to bring more documentation and worklog videos to my site and youtube channel.

With that out of the way I decided to start off my summer by finishing a project that I've been putting off for quite awhile. A few years ago I found a $30 Wii at a thrift store that was in perfect operational condition. I instantly purchased it and went home to see about modding it. I was fortunate that it was a launch model which meant that the drive could read recordable discs unlike the newer D4 drives which could not. So I went and bought a Wiikey Fusion for around $40 and installed it in between the original drive and the motherboard. This device would allow me not only to play my backup games, but also play games off of an additional SDHC card.
From my understanding, the device works by patching the security code into the data bus when playing a copied game, or by emulating the original disc drive when play off of the SD card. Because it is a hardware Actel FPGA implementation, Nintendo can do very little in the way of software updates to restrict its use. The installation was very simple. I had to remove the internal disc drive, place the fusion in between the Wii's mainboard and drive, and attach the SD card reader to the fusion. This took minutes and only required a tri-wing and small phillips screw driver and a small pocket knife (instruction can be found online). I then fed the SD card wiring to the outside and mounted the slot on the outside. It stayed this way for the good part of a year.

Just yesterday I wanted to play some Skyward Sword and found the externally mounted card an annoyance and hideous to be honest. So I decided to internalize it last night and did the modifications this morning. The fruits of my efforts can be seen below.

The problem is that there is very little free space in the Wii where I could mount a SD slot. I wanted to leave the front facing slot untouched so I opted to mount the second slot on the back above the two USB ports. For this I need to move the Wifi antenna down a bit and tape it to the top of the air duct plastic. Then I used a dremel's drum sander to remove the plastic mounting standoffs from just above the two gamecube memory card slots right under where the SD card is mounted. This allowed me to mount the small board flat so it would fit in the small space. I then used hot glue to hold the slot in place.
Next I used my dremel with the cutoff attachment to cut a rough SD sized slot after doing some measurements and drawing the outline on the plastic with a pencil. I then finished the cut with a pocket knife to clean up the edges. I made sure everything lined up and found that the screw post just to the right of the slot was preventing the case from closing. I took off a bit of the plastic and then everything fit like a glove.

In the end the slot is still a little rough but it can be cleaned up later. But for now I have a hard modded Wii with an internal secondary SD card slot to play backups off of. Everything looks stock with the exception of the small slit on the back. I am very happy with how this turned out and now I need to get back to playing some LoZ :-)