On modding

Discussion in 'Wii - Hacking' started by Hooya, Jan 28, 2007.

Jan 28, 2007

On modding by Hooya at 6:52 AM (2,183 Views / 0 Likes) 14 replies

  1. Hooya
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    Member Hooya GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    So I know how to solder. Well, at least rudimentally, it's not like I build electronic boards all day. But I've never modded a console. What kind of wire is appropriate for soldering a modchip onto a board? The only wire I have that seems thin enough still seems rather thick and has a single copper wire. I think it's the thinnest stuff at my local radio shack.

    Is there something better than what I have got? It seems to me the pictures I've seen have a thinner wire and I don't think it'd be copper either...
     
  2. Moomba

    Newcomer Moomba Newbie

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    i use 30awg wire for when i mod xboxs, look it up, its super cheap, other than that just some good ol solder.
     
  3. Hooya
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    Member Hooya GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    The stuff I have is 24. Too thick? Copper is ok?
     
  4. FAST6191

    Reporter FAST6191 Techromancer

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    You will be hard pressed to find anything other than copper or aluminium wire for soldering (if you are feeling especially flash you may find some gold coated wire but I do not suggest this), 0.8mm to 0.25mm diameter wire (I am not familiar with the AWG notation but I think that corresponds to 40-29 awg) is usually pretty good for such applications. In a pinch I have been known to grab some doorbell wire and take some of the strands that make it up as it works just as good.
    24 may be a bit thick but if you only have to solder to a board then you might be able to get away with it (I advise soldering to a board if you can), if you have to solder to a pin on a chip then it is time to invest in something thinner.

    As for solder if you are not that confident in your abilities try and track down some lead-tin near-eutectic solder (approx 60-40 Sn-Pb) as it melts easier and flows nicer than most of the lead replacement ones around, modern lead free legislation makes it more and more difficult to track down (I seem to recall some noises your side of the pond too).
    Invest in a solder sucker as well.

    Other than that make sure you are not tired, take your time (you do not have to finish in one sitting) and a (mild) sugar/caffine hit helps me solder fiddly stuff. Oh and make sure that the wires you solder are not held in tension as solder tends to creep and troubleshooting that can be a pain.
     
  5. kelvinate

    Member kelvinate GBAtemp Regular

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    FAST6191 is pretty much correct, 60-40 lead-tin based solder is easiest to flow and have a low melting point. the low melting point is important to reduce the risk of damaging the chip/pcb during soldering. it's also a good idea to attach a heatsink during the soldering as well. its generally a large metal peg which can be attached to the wire during solder to draw the heat away from the chip.
     
  6. Hooya
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    Member Hooya GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    Thanks for your replies. I have a heatsink clip, but I don't have a solder sucker, so maybe I actually should pick up one of those.

    I'll dig around for some thinner wire. I had a feeling that what I had would be considered too thick. I think I'll have a hard time finding any lead based solder. I have a marginal amount of resin-core stuff that came with the soldering iron kit... I'll just practice mounting wire on a blank board for the next few months while I wait to get my Wii and for the review of the first few modchips.
     
  7. deano72

    Newcomer deano72 Newbie

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    Just wondering what soldering iron would be best (i.e. not too hot) 15,20 or 30Watts?
    Cheers,
    Deano72
     
  8. leetage

    Newcomer leetage Member

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    Is it dangerous soldering a chip?

    Eg you melt some solder over a different part of the board?
     
  9. Veho

    Global Moderator Veho The man who cried "Ni".

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    It can happen. In most cases, the solder doesn't stick to the board, only the metal leads. No woories there. But you have to be careful not to short two separate leads. That would be bad, but it can be fixed. If that happens, just melt the solder again, and it should split, slip off the insulation part, and stick to the metal leads. Problem fixed. And if you act quickly, you can suck the still-hot solder metal off with a solder sucker. Just be careful not to accidentally leave two separate leads connected.

    And if you're new to soldering, don't try it at all. You don't want to ruin a $250 console. Precision electronics soldering is tricky.
     
  10. dsdork

    Newcomer dsdork Advanced Member

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    Hello-

    I figure there must be a couple of people reading this thread who either don't know how to solder or wish they knew more than they do. I found some great general (non modchip specific) resources at makezine.com.

    Here is a great group of learning to solder resources: http://www.makezine.com/blog/archive/2007/...earn_to_so.html

    Since the wiinja has sparked this conversation, I have to say it does not look too difficult compared to the PS1s and Xbox 1.6s I have soldered.

    lessons I have learned in soldering mod chips:

    - look at a few diagrams and mark next to the points you will be soldering with a marker
    - re check the solder points one last time prior to soldering (soldering the wrong point happens to lots of people)
    - use a 15 watt iron with a clean tip- 30 watt gets really hot and can damage
    - use thin wire (the routing of the wiinja looks like it requires thin wires)
    - take your time and do your work in a comfortable space (not in the garage at 2 in the morning when its 10 degrees out)
    - If you are nervous and want to hone your skills, open up that old ass CD player or broken electronics and practice soldering on the carcass.

    I'm gonna step it up and learn to use a multimeter to test my soldering soon too: http://www.makezine.com/blog/archive/make_podcast/

    Other various thoughts/ ramblings about soldering in the chip:

    - I don't expect a solderless solution anytime soon. It would be a bitch to get something like that to line up right and stay in place on the DVD board.
    - I expect we will see a bunch of inexpensive wiinja clones by the end of February- I'm gonna wait.
    - Since this method of modding is much like the xbox360 DVD flash/chip, I do not expect wii homebrew or region free play via the chip anytime soon (if ever). Someone might be able to get into the wii hardware via a chip like the wiinja breaking through the GC side. Someone might come up with a way of flashing the drive firmware in a PC too.
    - I do not expect Nintendo will be able to detect or disable this chip since its on the DVD drive. Read up on the XBox360 dvd drive mod status and microsoft's inability to deal with 360 DVD modchips on XBoxlive.
    - later revs of the wii might have different dvd drives that require a newer generation of chips. Microsoft is putting epoxy over the modchip solder points now.
     
  11. slayerspud

    Member slayerspud GBAtemp Fan

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    Great post dsdork.

    So let me get this right, you just get the mod chip without any wires.
    So all you have to do is solder the wires onto to the mod chip, then onto the correct postition in the wii?

    Thanks
     
  12. Hooya
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    Member Hooya GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    yep.
     
  13. dsdork

    Newcomer dsdork Advanced Member

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    Yes.

    Looking at the way the wiinaja is installed, I would probably instal it this way:
    - solder the wires to the mod chip first (I use different colors)
    - wrap the chip with electrical tape to make sure it doesn't short out something else
    - place the chip and route the wires to the solder points on the dvd drive board
    - trim the wires to the right length for the point it is soldered to
    - I would solder the wire close to parallel to the board- depending on what other parts of the drive or wii come close to the solder points.
    - maybe put tape over the solder points and/or wires on the board

    This does not look like a very difficult mod chip install. Anyone who takes the time to practice their learning and practicing soldering should be able to do this. I use a cheep ass 15watt radioshack, some desoldering braid, and a few types of solder and have never had a problem.

    Since the chip looks so simple, I'm guessing there are going to be a ton of clones hitting the market within a couple of weeks of the wiinja's release. While I do not expect any added functionality for a while, I do expect to save some money and see some names I trust in producers and stores come into the Gen 1 Wii modchip game.
     
  14. slayerspud

    Member slayerspud GBAtemp Fan

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    Thanks again.

    Do you reckon there will be a wii mod chip that allows region free backup play?
     
  15. dsdork

    Newcomer dsdork Advanced Member

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    Since the gen1 Wii chips seem to be using the same basic DVD drive exploit as the xbox360 and the 360 is stuck with region specific backups of signed code after quite some time, no I don't think there will be a wii mod chip that allows region free backup play very soon.

    I expect there will be added features that will come down the road as different exploits are found, possibly region free backup play.

    I'm gonna watch the flood of gen 1 chips come in and find a producer and reseller I trust at a good price. I might try programming my own gen 1 chip if the code is released and someone writes a nice tutorial b4 I buy something.

    I'll replace the gen 1 modchip when/if something better comes around.
     

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