Make your own Wii for £15

I recently picked up a second hand Wii for £40 during the demise of Game last month; which I figured was a bargain, but only if I knew of the power of the Dolphin Emulator.

Since discovering the dolphin emulator, I have pieced together a second own Wii connected for Just £14. The thing that sets the emulator aside from others is the fact that upto 4 WII remotes can connect to it via Bluetooth, this allows the games to control and play just as if they are on a Wii, but the processing is all happening in emulation on your computer. If you’re interesting in building a similar setup here’s what you’ll need:

What you’ll need

1. An IR Emitter AKA Sensor bar

Originally I used the one that came with my Wii (Above), but this had the disadvantage of needing my Wii to be turned on to power it
Instead I hopped on EBay and brought a ‘Wireless Sensor Bar’ aka 8 LEDs powered by 4x AAA batteries, these can be turned on/off by a button on the bar.

Cost: £2.39 (Google)

2. A Wii Remote / Motion Plus (If needed)

One came with my Pre-Owned Wii, but I was after motion plus, as some of my games use it, so brought a 2nd hand bundle off eBay,  which had an additional Wii Mote and Motion Plus bundle for £12, which was cheaper than buying a standalone Motion plus Kit (£15-17).

Cost: £12.00  Wii Remote (Google) / Motion Plus (Google)

3. Bluetooth Receiver

These cost as little as £1, I had a really old one for a Windows 98 laptop that worked using window’s generic drivers. It’ll be used to connect the Wii Remotes to your PC wirelessly.

Cost: £1-£3 (Google)

4. Dolphin Emulator

You’ll need a fairly average pc to run it, it supports both Wii and GameCube emulation.

Cost: Free  (Official Site)

Requirements:
Windows XP or higher, or Linux, or MacOSX Intel.
Fast CPU with SSE2.
GPU with Pixel Shader 2.0 or greater. Not all integrated graphics chips work

5. Batteries

You’ll need 2x AA for each Wii remote, and my sensor bar required 4x AAA batteries

Cost: £1 (Google)

Setup

1. Install the Bluetooth USB

You don’t need to do this if you have a laptop with in-built Bluetooth. But follow the instructions that came with your dongle. Plug the USB into your pc and install from the CD/Windows Update

2. Download & Unzip Dolphin

Go to: http://dolphin-emulator.com/download.html and Download the top version, selecting the correct operating system.

You’ll need 7zip to unzip the archive with the emulator in: http://www.7-zip.org/

Extract the contents of the archive somewhere memorable.

3. Connect your remotes to your pc

This is by far the trickiest part, and will probably take several attempts to get the timing right. Here’s the instructions for Windows 7

Open “Bluetooth Devices” and click “Add a device”

At this time hit the 1 & 2 buttons on the Wii remote simultaneously such the 4 LED’s at the bottom blink rapidly, you must perform the next 2 steps quickly as the Wii remote exits this state in about 20 seconds

You should now see Nintendo RVL-CNT-01 appear in the device list:

Click next, and then select “Pair without using a code”:

You now must wait for the driver to install, and hope your Wii remote doesn’t give up searching for a Wii, you can Press 1 & 2 again to reset the Wii remotes counter, but I found that it also reset the connection process.

Once connected the Wii remote will continually blink waiting for a response from the emulator.

4. Setting up Dolphin

Vista/Windows 7 Users – You must launch dolphin as an administrator for it to access the Wii remote and accept the UAC Hard drive access warning

From there click Wii Remote in Dolphin to pair

The Wii remote should now vibrate and show it’s connected as player 1, if it doesn’t select Real Wiimote in Wiimote 1’s drop down list, and click pair up:

Now turn on your sensor bar, place it above/below your monitor and you can now start playing some games!

5. Games

By itself the emulator doesn’t do much, we need some games:
To play your backup games, you’ll unfortunately need access to a softmodded Wii  or a Compatible DVD drive to rip the game onto your computer.
The alternative is to download an existing backup from the usual sources (Which are outside the scope of this Tutorial). The emulator can also play WiiWare which are significantly smaller in size than games.

6. Wii Menu

You may notice the emulator doesn’t come with the familiar Wii menu, this is deliberate to avoid falling afoul over copyright,
However the emulator can run the Wii Menu, you’ll however need a dump of a Wii’s NAND, you can get this from a softmoded Wii, or Google “Wii NAND 4.2” Hacker 689 has uploaded a Dump to various file sharing sites. Be warned though this isn’t legitimate.

Once you have acquired a dump, extract the contents to [Dolphin Emulator]\User\Wii Overwriting existing files.
To launch the Wii Menu in dolphin go to Tools->Load Wii System Menu
I do note the menu isn’t really supported and is quite buggy, so for the most part I recommend skipping on this.

6. NUSD (Mii, Internet Channel etc)

http://wiibrew.org/wiki/NUS_Downloader

This clever bit of kit allows you to emulate a Wii Updates to Nintendo’s servers. It basically allows you to download most of the default channels. I used this to download the Mii channel to create the iconic mii’s seen in many games:

To acquire the Mii channel:
6.1 Click Database…
6.2 Seletect System -> Mii Channel -> 41 (All System) -> Latest Version
6.3 Check the Pack wad box at the bottom
6.4 Click Start NUS Download!

The download will take a few seconds to complete

Once downloaded select the wad in Dolphin by using the Open Menu (it’s in the titles folder of NUSD named RVL-NigaoeNR-6.wad)

And get creating:

Repeat the above steps for different default channels J

7. Homebrew Channel

The homebrew channel is the ultimate resource for cool indie made applications for you Wii, all the stuff there is free built by bedroom programmers with love for the console, they have some pretty good offerings:

http://hbc.hackmii.com/

You’ll need to have the Wii Menu with the Homebrew channel in a nand Dump
Hacker689 has this in his dump, otherwise you’ll have to find a softmodded wii

If you can’t do that, dolphin can run .dol (Homebrew files) directly, it’s just a matter of acquiring them (http://wiibrew.org/wiki/List_of_homebrew_applications)

8. Nunchuck and peripherals
The Wii Nunchuck is fully supported, simply plug it into the back of the Wii remote as usual.
Most Wii peripherals (Guitar Hero Guitar/drums, DJ hero, Wii fit) are hit and miss
As of writing:
Wii Fit: No (http://wiki.dolphin-emulator.com/index.php?title=Wii_Fit)
DJ Hero: Yes (http://wiki.dolphin-emulator.com/index.php?title=DJ_Hero_2)
Guitar Hero: Yes (http://wiki.dolphin-emulator.com/index.php?title=Guitar_Hero_5)
RockBand: Unknown (http://wiki.dolphin-emulator.com/index.php?title=Rock_Band_2)

 

9. Summary
Is it as good as a Wii? In fairness I admit it’s not close to the Wii experience, it’s allot more fiddly, the remotes sometimes disconnect randomly, sound is an issue on some games, but for the all drawbacks Its a pretty good experience, I will defiantly use it with a laptop for playing on the go (Last Xmas I took a Wii on holiday, it was wire hell), even then Just having the advantage of instantly starting any game without finding discs and its unified library gives it a few points over the Wii.
The whole setup took me under a hour, plus a few days for delivery for the Wireless Sensor bar, and is £15 well spent.

That’s all the features I’ve needed so far, if I discover more tips, I’ll update this post, for now if you have any questions Leave a reply below.

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