Hacking Lost chip on an old hardmodded Wii

Baba44713

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Hi everyone.

First, obligatory excuse for being a newbie. I did try to find the answer for my issue, but since it's a bit unique (or at least I think so), I wasn't able to find the answer.

So here's the story - my brother bought a second-hand Wii a couple of months ago, for his kid. It's a pretty old unit, and it was hardmodded - a bit shoddily at that. It came with one of those strip thin strip cables jutting out of it, and a small square chip in the end which was glued on the case ("was" being the operative word - I think you can sense where I'm going with this). I didn't get a chance to see the unit (we don't live in the same city, and with the pandemic we don't visit that often anymore), so I only know that the chip was small, square, and had a red LED on when the Wii was turned on. The Wii itself has 4.3E firmware, it has Homebrew installed, and it ran official Wii CDs as well as backups from USB perfectly.

A week ago my brother's wife was cleaning up the place and while dusting has apparently managed to knock the chip off the cable. This unfortunately wasn't noticed until days after, with the chip most certainly being vacuumed up and lost forever.

Without the chip the Wii will not load neither the CDs, nor the backups - the drive just flashes blue a few times and the "eject error" shows up.

My brother has no idea what the chip was. Since I am slightly more into tech then him, he asked me to help.

Now I have *some* experience with Wii hacking from a decade ago. I did manage to succesfully softmod a Wii for one of my friends, using the Letterbomb hack and following one of the web guides. However I have absolutely no experience with hardmodded Wiis, nor have any idea what are his options.

So here's my question - does anyone have any advice whether this situation is salvageable, or is this Wii now a brick? Can you softmod a hardmodded Wii, or is there any way to identify what the chip was and order a replacement somewhere?

Thank you in advance for any kind of assistance.

Regards,
B.
 

FAST6191

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3 main choices for a mod, though each break down one or two more times.

1) Some kind of drive emulator. Pity if you lost it as they are shiny indeed and quite desirable. Do a search for Wii WODE (wii optical drive emulator) and see if that looks like it (I doubt this was a sundriver if the original games worked). That said they are rare and came along way after softmodding was a thing and were reasonably expensive for little gain (about all you can do that USB can't is maybe a couple of early games are easier to run, and you can fake out the original gamecube aspect to make it seem like you own the game for Devolution).

2) Cable mod/flatchip.
These sat on the cable inside the Wii and sent the relevant commands here and there. Most likely what you have here, especially with that failure method. Some did mount them outside it I guess but still somewhat odd.

3) Basic mod chip.
Various models of these and oldest of the mods (even predate software) They variously sat on top of the chip, were soldered onto pins or were soldered onto a serial port within the DVD drive. Not sure whole would have put one outside the wii but who knows. There was also 3a) where you could wire up the serial port on the wii's DVD drive to a PC which could in turn inject code and would need an external connection.


I would be guessing 2 here. If the cables came out and the chip gone it would not detect a drive and consequently error out.
You can try opening it up and seeing what is inside and thus whether you could reconnect the drive. Most cable chips as they were known were literally an extension cable and chip using the same form factor.
I don't know what became of software bypasses for DVD drive not being there, that said some people are doing very interesting things making minimal wiis for stuffing into portable devices and part of that involves faking out the DVD drive present check.

If it is that old you might be able to boot into recovery modes of some form. See https://sites.google.com/site/completesg/how-to-use/bootmii
 

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Baba44713

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Thank You for the answers.

Unfortunately, as I said, it is not my unit, and I have only seen the chip once, months ago. I asked my brother if he at least had a picture of it, but he doesn't, all he knows the chip was small, squarish, with each side being around 1cm, and the red LED was continually flashing.

From these options I guess 2) or that Drivekey might be the most probable (I forwarded him the links, and he says it might be it but he isn't sure - the truth is noone really paid much attention to the damned thing until they managed to lose it), so as I understood, it should be possible to open the Wii and reconnect stuff back. I'm pretty sure my brother will not be willing to do that on his own, so I'll try and perform the operation next time I come visit. I hope it will be at least semi-obvious what to do once its opened (or at least I'll be able to get a photo of the current situation which may provide new information about how the Wii was initially modded).

I'd also like to see what the other options are - I didn't really quite get what I could achieve with the BootMii, i.e. is it possible to somehow get the Wii to reach a state where the drive gets ignored and at least the backup copies are playable via USB.

Again, many thanks for the help, and cheers.
 

Alexander1970

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Hello.:)

Hi everyone.

First, obligatory excuse for being a newbie. I did try to find the answer for my issue, but since it's a bit unique (or at least I think so), I wasn't able to find the answer.

So here's the story - my brother bought a second-hand Wii a couple of months ago, for his kid. It's a pretty old unit, and it was hardmodded - a bit shoddily at that. It came with one of those strip thin strip cables jutting out of it, and a small square chip in the end which was glued on the case ("was" being the operative word - I think you can sense where I'm going with this). I didn't get a chance to see the unit (we don't live in the same city, and with the pandemic we don't visit that often anymore), so I only know that the chip was small, square, and had a red LED on when the Wii was turned on. The Wii itself has 4.3E firmware, it has Homebrew installed, and it ran official Wii CDs as well as backups from USB perfectly.

A week ago my brother's wife was cleaning up the place and while dusting has apparently managed to knock the chip off the cable. This unfortunately wasn't noticed until days after, with the chip most certainly being vacuumed up and lost forever.

Without the chip the Wii will not load neither the CDs, nor the backups - the drive just flashes blue a few times and the "eject error" shows up.

My brother has no idea what the chip was. Since I am slightly more into tech then him, he asked me to help.

Now I have *some* experience with Wii hacking from a decade ago. I did manage to succesfully softmod a Wii for one of my friends, using the Letterbomb hack and following one of the web guides. However I have absolutely no experience with hardmodded Wiis, nor have any idea what are his options.

So here's my question - does anyone have any advice whether this situation is salvageable, or is this Wii now a brick? Can you softmod a hardmodded Wii, or is there any way to identify what the chip was and order a replacement somewhere?

Thank you in advance for any kind of assistance.

Regards,
B.


If you mean a Chip/Cable like this:

P1020248.JPG


Then it is pretty sure a D2pro Chip.
The attached Chip is a FT2232HQ programmable/flashable One to
program/flash/reset (via Micro USB 2.0) the D2pro Drive Chip.

Did you maybe also tried to Reset/Flash the Chip with a PC ?
The Tool was for Windows XP but maybe work als with Windows 7/10.
Attached is also the latest Firmware for the Drive Chip.

Good luck
Thank you.:)
 

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XFlak

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So, if the only issue is you can't play disc games... just use a usb-loader, which should work fine with just a softmod. Now I know that if certain hardware is missing you sometimes can't even do that... but if I were in your shoes, I'd softmod the wii using ModMii as if it were a virgin, then see how it handles running a usbloader. You certainly won't make things any worse by going down this road, and it may just restore enough functionality to the console to prevent it from becoming an expensive paperweight

Edit: you can launch "bootmii" at startup via bootmii boot2, or priiloader options. And if your external media are set up for neek (instead of bootmii), then it will boot directly into your emulated nand upon startup

And @alexander1970, they've lost the chip, I don't think the tools you shared will help him very much without the chip itself
 
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Alexander1970

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So, if the only issue is you can't play disc games... just use a usb-loader, which should work fine with just a softmod. Now I know that if certain hardware is missing you sometimes can't even do that... but if I were in your shoes, I'd softmod the wii using ModMii as if it were a virgin, then see how it handles running a usbloader. You certainly won't make things any worse by going down this road, and it may just restore enough functionality to the console to prevent it from becoming an expensive paperweight

Edit: you can launch "bootmii" at startup via bootmii boot2, or priiloader options. And if your external media are set up for neek (instead of bootmii), then it will boot directly into your emulated nand upon startup

And @alexander1970, they've lost the chip, I don't think the tools you shared will help him very much without the chip itself

If it is was really the same,I can send him the Chip to (Croatia if it is true Country),I do no longer need it.:)
 

Baba44713

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20210616_193006.jpg
20210616_192956.jpg
Hi everyone.

First, thanks for all the answers... I've waited to finally have a change to physically get a hold of my brother's Wii and unfortunately it took awhile. But now I have it, and I disassembled it to see where the cable with the lost chip comes from.and whether there's a possibility to simply reconnect the thing.

This is as far as I got:

(hopefully the images appear in the post, I'm new here so the forum does not allow me linking to remote images)


and now I'm completely stumped. I'm reluctant to keep disassembling if it's pointless and if there's an alternative to resurrect it somehow only via software (btw, the machine has Homebrew with USB loader, but it still will not load anything without the chip).

Again, any kind of help would be greatly appreciated.

P.S. @XFlak, if you have the chip in question and do not need it, I'd be very grateful to get it off your hand and reimburse the costs in a way you see fit. Hopefully I didn't manage to completely wreck the Wii with this teardown job... :)
 
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XFlak

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Sorry I don't have any modchips, I'm not sure what gave you that impression, but no biggie.

Can you post a syscheck?
https://gbatemp.net/threads/posting-a-system-check.300279/

Honestly I would still try updating your softmods and apps before doing much of anything else, mainly because it's easier than futsing with hardware. But let's have a look at your syscheck first
 

Baba44713

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The disc drive is held in with only 4 screws. If you can get a picture of the actual chip on the bottom of the drive board, we can tell you definitively what you have.


Sort of looks like a D2Sun (), except that cable on your wii only has 4 wires in it.

Ah, so take out drive, look at bottom. Sure, can do, I'll try it tomorrow.

Sorry I don't have any modchips, I'm not sure what gave you that impression, but no biggie.

Can you post a syscheck?


Honestly I would still try updating your softmods and apps before doing much of anything else, mainly because it's easier than futsing with hardware. But let's have a look at your syscheck first

Sorry, my eyesight's bad, I meant @alexander1970, but I mistakenly used the nick from the quote.

I'll make a syscheck and report in once I finish with butchering this thing... if it even turns on afterwards. :P

Thanks everyone once again!
 

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:wacko:

So no chance of just reconnecting something so it magically starts working? Even if it doesn't read CDs anymore?
downgrade the wii firmware, not modded @XFlak can help how to do that, check if the dipswitches matching your model wii.
and the external chip i could make you one that works the same, but shouldn't be needed (it only got flatcable connector (4p), 2 resistors i think both are 330Ω (hope to find a better picture, but @alexander1970 might have the same board so we might have someone with a chance to get a better picture on those), 2 leds and a switch.
nothing hard to get and the wirering is pretty straight forward.
just wierd it is on korean D2C set, i mean korean wii, really?
make sure the dipswitches matching the model wii (D2something, and region) (i'd think you have a pall model wii, wich makes the dipswitches setting wrong).

4 lines are i think: 1 Run, 2 VCC, 3 GND, 4 Stop.
now 2 and 3 i'm not certain of wich is what, but one should be powered low voltage (VCC), the othere no voltage (GND), switch directs the current to run or stop and through the circuit with the led.
it should even work without the leds and resistor.
 
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downgrade the wii firmware, not modded @XFlak can help how to do that, check if the dipswitches matching your model wii.
and the external chip i could make you one that works the same, but shouldn't be needed (it only got flatcable connector (4p), 2 resistors i think both are 330Ω (hope to find a better picture, but @alexander1970 might have the same board so we might have someone with a chance to get a better picture on those), 2 leds and a switch.
nothing hard to get and the wirering is pretty straight forward.
just wierd it is on korean D2C set, i mean korean wii, really?
make sure the dipswitches matching the model wii (D2something, and region) (i'd think you have a pall model wii, wich makes the dipswitches setting wrong).

4 lines are i think: 1 Run, 2 VCC, 3 GND, 4 Stop.
now 2 and 3 i'm not certain of wich is what, but one should be powered low voltage (VCC), the othere no voltage (GND), switch directs the current to run or stop and through the circuit with the led.
it should even work without the leds and resistor.
Why downgrade? And yeah, to resoftmod just use ModMii, let me know if any issues

Any progress on that syscheck btw?

Edit: some newer lu64+ wii's can brick if downgraded (unless you are using IOS60 installed to the system menu IOS slot, as is installed by modmii to all system menu IOS slots as part of its extra brick protection option)
 
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JaapDaniels

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Why downgrade? And yeah, to resoftmod just use ModMii, let me know if any issues

Any progress on that syscheck btw?

Edit: some newer lu64+ wii's can brick if downgraded (unless you are using IOS60 installed to the system menu IOS slot, as is installed by modmii to all system menu IOS slots as part of its extra brick protection option)
because the modchip never got a firmware update since 4.2, and i'm not sure if that might be part of the problem.
but i'm almost certain the dipswitches are in the wrong position.
the external switch module was optional, so i doubt it's the real problem, but wrong settings of model and region would lock the drive wich is what is described as the problem.
 
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