de_Fuse, a Wii U modchip in development by ShinyQuagsire

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The Wii U was truly the black sheep of the main Nintendo consoles, but in terms of homebrew capabilities, it was but a diamond in the rough. While the Wii U is way past its heyday by almost a decade, the homebrew community still continues to thrive and develop great things for the system.

One of these developers, @shinyquagsire23, has made some research and advancements towards creating a modchip for the Wii U, which he titled "de_Fuse". The modchip started when Shiny Quasire started looking at the then unhacked Wii Mini console, in an attempt to glitch boot0 on it, and while getting curious if it could work on Wii U, he found that a similar exploit could be attempted for it, with the only downsides being OTP dumps being impossible due it being all 00s and the driver for boot0 being limited to SDHC cards.

While the necessity of having a modchip for the Wii U is not a must since Wii U already has coldboot exploits and many other things like Aroma that could serve a similar purpose, the main purpose of this modchip is to allow booting a Wii U console straight from the SD card, without having to rely on the Wii U's internal eMMC chip to boot into the console. This due to the recent news about some Wii U consoles bricking entirely due to failures in the eMMC chip, so giving players the option to boot from SD card would be a relief to this delicate issue that plagues the console.

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The rest of the information is highly technical and dives into the eFuses, OTP, boot0, boot1 and SRAM of the console, so those interested in a more in-depth and detailed information regarding the process can read it in Shiny Quagsire's own article about de_Fuse on his webpage.

The modchip is currently in early stages of development, and it currently requires an FPGA of sorts, but it hasn't been standardized in terms of schematics or parts. However, Shiny Quagsire is trying to aim for a $25-$35 dlls range when its finished (or lower), based on RP2040 chip. Those interested and willing to collaborate and help out throughout its development can do so through Shiny Quagsire's GitHub repository for the modchip, where he keeps all of the coding and research for it open source.

:arrow: de_Fuse, the One True Pwn article
:arrow: GitHub Repository
 

Valery0p

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Here's a video of the entire exploit chain in function from coldboot:

There's also a boot1 replacement in the works called minute_minute that is going to be the basis for a new CFW; and most importantly this is going to help save a lot of bricked consoles and dead NANDs.

...and if you read the blog entry, here's my personal contribution to the cause :D
FtO5HR1X0AI9PQk.jpeg
 
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linuxares

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What does this modchip do better than Tiramisu and Aroma?
Yeez since none one is actually reading what IT IS FOR.

The Wii U have an issue with the quality of the eMMC. It breaks!
This will make it possible to boot your Wii U from a SD Card.

"With the news that a handful of Hynix Wii U eMMCs were starting to rapidly degrade, I decided to revisit a recurring project idea of mine: an open-source Wii U modchip."
 

bodefuceta

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If Tiramisu is like a9lh (but you need a working nand), this is like ntrboothax (unsigned boot from the sd even without nand)
Yeez since none one is actually reading what IT IS FOR.

The Wii U have an issue with the quality of the eMMC. It breaks!
This will make it possible to boot your Wii U from a SD Card.

"With the news that a handful of Hynix Wii U eMMCs were starting to rapidly degrade, I decided to revisit a recurring project idea of mine: an open-source Wii U modchip."
Any idea how many dead Wii U's could be brought back to life? My own might be one of those, I don't know what's wrong with it but if it's the NAND this could fix it. What does a failing eMMC error look like?
 
Last edited by bodefuceta,
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ShadowOne333

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Yeez since none one is actually reading what IT IS FOR.

The Wii U have an issue with the quality of the eMMC. It breaks!
This will make it possible to boot your Wii U from a SD Card.

"With the news that a handful of Hynix Wii U eMMCs were starting to rapidly degrade, I decided to revisit a recurring project idea of mine: an open-source Wii U modchip."
I forgot to add that to the article, I'll go right ahead and add it asap.
 

JuanMena

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Yeah, two weeks ago was watching a video about WiiU suddenly bricking themselves due nand chip or something like that.

I was planning on getting a WiiU (just for Sm4sh) but it seems the WiiU is highly unattended/unmaintained console by Nintendo.

Any confirmation on what's causing the eMMC bricks?
Like, is it because an update from Nintendo broke something? Fabric malfunction? Age?
 

Patxinco

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Yeah, two weeks ago was watching a video about WiiU suddenly bricking themselves due nand chip or something like that.

I was planning on getting a WiiU (just for Sm4sh) but it seems the WiiU is highly unattended/unmaintained console by Nintendo.

Any confirmation on what's causing the eMMC bricks?
Like, is it because an update from Nintendo broke something? Fabric malfunction? Age?
Mostly an Hynix emmc bad batch
 

Kioku

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My first thought was “wow, this seems pointless..” then I remembered the issues with bricked WiiUs. So, I read a bit… now this actually makes sense.
 
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linuxares

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Damn, so, at this point is random?
Or like consoles manufactured before/after or having a special serial number are guaranteed to fail?

Honestly that's a deal breaker for me.

My 2008 Wii is still kicking ass up till this day!
Sadly it seem to be a dice roll
 
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Spectremint

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Damn, so, at this point is random?
Or like consoles manufactured before/after or having a special serial number are guaranteed to fail?

Honestly that's a deal breaker for me.

My 2008 Wii is still kicking ass up till this day!
iirc early in the lifespan of the Wii U, they used cheaper Hynix NANDs that tend to stop functioning long before they're expected to. The Wii was made with better NAND chips, so they rarely fail today. i believe the only safe bet on a non-Hynix system is the Wind Waker edition, but i could be wrong.
 
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halfashark

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I really liked my Wii U but boy howdy I hated how starting the console and then a game could take 10 minutes. The load times were so abysmal.

Me and my buddies would want to smoke and play Mario Kart but it would take so bloody long that we'd be blitzed enough that by time it loaded we'd say screw it and just go back to laugh at Miiverse posts. 💀

Wonder if this could help that at all... since I bet most of it was just the disc + well, loading the aforementioned Miiverse posts on your home menu.
 

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