Doctabu (doctabu) wrote,

The Homemade Wireless Wii Sensor Bar!

From the moment I picked up my Nintendo Wii last Sunday morning, I've been very curious about the design and functionality of the Wiimote and its sensor bar. Of course, I'm not the only one. Through a few links on sites like digg, it has come to other people's attention that the Wii sensor bar both only consists of IR LEDs and also sends no signal between the Wii and the bar... only power.

This had me thinking. It my apartment in Boston, I have a projector, but I feared hooking my Wii up to it because of the length I'd need to have in the cable to put the bar right under the image. Then, I thought, maybe I can make one.

So, I did.

With just a perf board, some wires, a bit of soldering, 4 AA batteries, and 4 IR LEDs, I was able to make this:

The Homebrew Wireless Wii Sensor Bar 4


Yes, it's ugly. Yes, it's ghetto. But, it is a wireless, battery-powered Wii Sensor Bar. And it works.

First, I measured the distance between the middle of the left set of LEDs on the Nintendo sensor bar to the middle of the right set. That came out to be 7 1/2 inches. It wasn't a perfect measurement, but since the Wiimote triangulates the distance, it's accurate enough. Soldering wire from the positive side of the battery holder to a switch, the switch to the positive end of one of the IR LEDs, then to the next, to the next, to the next, and then back to the battery terminal, it was easily completed.

The Homebrew Wireless Wii Sensor Bar 1
Placing the IR LEDs.

The Homebrew Wireless Wii Sensor Bar 2
Soldering some wires together!


Placed on top of my TV showed that it was a success... the Mii plaza, the Wii menus, Wii sports, and Zelda all worked and moved just as well as it had with Nintendo's stock sensor bar. There is no need for a wireless transmitter or an extension cord. Just unplug Nintendo's stock bar, put your homebrew wireless Wii sensor bar in place, and you're good to go.



Enjoy!

The entire Flickr set | digg this! | As seen on MAKE, Engadget, joystiq, wiifanboy


CREDIT: Tons goes to Eoban Binder, who traveled with me and helped quite a bit with the wiring and whatnot. It wouldn't've happened without him. Also, Kevin Moore for even more wiring help!


-----


Flickr user BlueM00 has a bunch of pictures of the (much prettier) sensor bar he made. The best part is it can plug into an outlet. Be sure to check it out! Here's his schematic:

Parts List:
1 Friend to motivate you and design everything
2 project boxes
2 small bread boards
2 10k Ohm potentiometers (Waaay overkill. Do your math first)
4 High output IR LED's
4 Led holders
Dual strand wire
1 AC to DC converter, 6V, 300mA.
1 Power connector

I put two LEDs and a pot in series in each project box and connected the project boxes to the power supply via the wire. I set the resistance of each potentiometer at 60 Ohms, and the LEDs have a 1.2V drop across them. The circuit simply looks like this:

6V
|
+---/\/\/\----|>|----|>|---GND
|
+---/\/\/\----|>|----|>|---GND
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