Does using a custom firmware circumvent Wiiu's check that the optical drive is the system's original

Discussion in 'Wii U - Hacking & Backup Loaders' started by wiiuuser, Apr 14, 2019.

  1. wiiuuser

    wiiuuser Newbie

    Apr 14, 2019
    United States
    Hi everyone, thanks in advance for your time.

    The thread title is my basic question:
    does using a custom firmware circumvent Wiiu's check that the optical drive is the one that came with the system?

    However, here is some background if you're interested.

    I have owned a deluxe WiiU since launch but at some point the optical drive went bad.
    It would accept discs but would report invalid disc regardless of which one I put in.
    Otherwise, it boots and works fine; digital games work without issue.

    Recently I decided to fix it because I had a Wii (the original) drive malfunction before and replacing the drive solved the problem.
    However after the new drive arrived and I installed it, I was greeted by an error message (160-1402, iirc).
    This is apparently due to the Nintendo "marrying" the drive to the Latte chip.

    After learning that swapping the drive PCBs might workaround that issue I did that.
    The new drive with the old PCB recognized a disc (icon appeared) but then refused to eject after which it stopped recognizing the disc.
    I had to disassemble the drive and pull the disc out in the opposite direction from the slot where it was inserted.

    After multiple PCB swaps I determined that BOTH drives ingest and eject discs properly with the NEW PCB and BOTH drives now do nothing at all with the old PCB installed.
    There is a little corrosion visible on some parts of the old PCB so it appears it was failing and simply completely kicked the bucket during my attempted repair.
    This is the worst case scenario because the internal check at boot PREVENTS the system from going to the Home Menu if the NEW PCB is installed.

    Nintendo charges significant $$ to repair but I could easily do it myself if not for a deliberate, anti-consumer software roadblock.
    So this is why I'm asking if a custom firmware exists at a low enough software level to circumvent the check that rejects a different disc drive.
    It's my last idea before I'll have to VERY reluctantly send the WiiU to Nintendo.
    DarkDengar likes this.
  2. CreeperMario

    CreeperMario GBAtemp Advanced Fan

    Jun 18, 2016
    Adelaide, South Australia
    Even if an existing CFW stubbed the optical drive check, there is currently no method of booting directly into a CFW early enough to bypass the check.

    Sorry, but unless you can repair the PCB, I think you're out of luck.
  3. wiiuuser

    wiiuuser Newbie

    Apr 14, 2019
    United States
    OK. Thanks CreeperMario.
    That's what I feared; the check is too early.

    I did some electrical engineering (probably could find my old multimeter somewhere) but I wouldn't know where to begin troubleshooting/repairing.
    The old PCB must be functioning on some level as it isn't damaged enough to prevent the system from detecting the drive when booting.
    But another failure must have happened recently since it used to accept/reject discs and spin up. Now any drive with the old PCB is quiet even on boot.

    Wait, looking the problem a different way, I could transfer the circuit module that stores the drive ID from the old PCB to the new one.
    I wouldn't have to troubleshoot the old PCB, I could just pilfer the only thing that matters from it and put it in the new one.
    That circuit module is likely functional since the system software accepts any drive with the old PCB installed and boots.

    So I guess my next question is a hardware question. Should I repost in another sub-forum?
    The question is:
    Which integrated circuit on the optical drive PCB is known to store the drive ID which the WiiU main chip checks on boot?

    There are three large chips on the drive PCB.
    (I can't post hyperlinks so I removed the dl.x-ex dot com)

    I'll note what's printed on them:
    1) A large square chip has two lines with { C211NP9 } and { 232P715T }
    2) A rectangular chip with a shiny window which has { 41226 } and { 234C5698 } (perhaps, hard to see even with a magnifier)
    3) A rectangular chip on the other side labeled ESMT and { M12L64164A -7T } and { AZM1P12JL 1228 }

    ESMT is a memory manufacturer but I suspect chip (2) the most since it reminds me of the memory chips that can be erased with UV light.
    It'd make sense for Nintendo to have to rewrite this as part of repairs because of the optical drive check.
    Anyway, if anyone has definitive information I'm all ears.

  4. wiiuuser

    wiiuuser Newbie

    Apr 14, 2019
    United States
    Guess I've gotten to the HARD questions now, lol.
    Is this worth a repost in the hardware section?
    I don't think I'll attempt this without a good idea which chip is key to the optical drive check.