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A Wii PC

Posted by musicinstinct 
A Wii PC
April 21, 2009 11:39AM
I've been experimenting with a bit of Wii Homebrew, but this is an offtopic post - about another interest of mine - pico and mini-itx computers.

I've found replacement Wii plastic cases for sale on eBay at about 15 EUR. By my calculations this would be ample room to fit a pico-itx motherboard and construct a "wii pc". I was wondering if anyone else had tried this or similar projects?

I was thinking of putting something like this inside:

The wii case internals will be about 200 x 150 x 40. The motherboard is 100 x 72, a slimline DVD drive would measure 129 x 128, and the hard drive would be 70 x 100. I think that could all fit inside.

I am imagining I will need to fabricate some internal structure for the machine, and before I go ahead and buy all the parts to give this a go, I was wondering if anyone else had tried it.

Re: A Wii PC
April 21, 2009 09:47PM
That would be cool.

Yeah I looked over the mini-itx site. It looks possible to me.
Re: A Wii PC
April 21, 2009 10:13PM
I've started ordering some components. I'll be sure to document the build.
Re: A Wii PC
April 22, 2009 04:00AM
Looks very possible.
Re: A Wii PC
April 24, 2009 12:24AM
can't wait to see this come to fruition!
Re: A Wii PC
April 24, 2009 12:37AM
Well - for my first version I've got this on order:


A black Wii case, and the Pico-ITX motherboard.

The operating system will be Ubuntu based. I've got my Wiimotes working under Linux, and I'm working on a desktop skin that looks more "wii-like". I'm considering using the Netbook Remix, as that might be more suitable for pointing at icons with the wiimote, or I may code up a simple channel style app launcher.
Re: A Wii PC
April 24, 2009 04:04AM
why a black case? would a white one look more original wii-ish?
Re: A Wii PC
April 24, 2009 05:01AM
why a black case? would a white one look more original wii-ish?
Well, wasn't the "revolution" going to be black?
Re: A Wii PC
April 24, 2009 08:55AM
I originally wanted white, but the black case was cheaper, and came with free tools.

If it works, I'll make the second version in white.
Re: A Wii PC
May 05, 2009 10:25AM
Case has finally arrived. over 2 weeks after ordering.

I'm quite happy with it. The flap that covers the SD card slot doesn't seem to fit perfectly, and takes a bit of wiggling to get it to click into place when closing, but other than that it all fits together very well. I'll post up some photos later. I will probably end up gluing the battery holder in place as I wont be using it. I guess I'll not be using the gamecube ports either, so they may get glued down as they keep flapping open.

I'm going to go ahead and start ordering the internal components now - the motherboard and power supply boards first. The motherboard comes with a separate IO daughterboard, which I'm going to order anyway but might not end up using. I'm going to order a slimline DVD drive too.

I will need to fabricate a couple of parts. I will need some kind of internal structure to hold everything together. I think a sheet of perspex cut to the right size with mounting brackets glued on will work for this. I also need something to screw onto the front panel to hold the power switches in place. Ideally this would be a small circuit board that was also home to the switches and SD card reader. I already have a small USB SDHC card reader that fell apart so I was planning on mounting this as the front SD card reader.
Re: A Wii PC
May 05, 2009 06:17PM
***Waiting for the next chapter***

What kind of configuration do you have in mind?
Re: A Wii PC
May 14, 2009 01:25AM
Any photo's of the progress ?
Re: A Wii PC
May 14, 2009 02:58PM
Still waiting for delivery of the motherboard board. Living on an island in the middle of the Mediterranean does have it's disadvantages!

I am planning on installing this with a customised version of Ubuntu. I am going to add the bluetooth drivers to enable wiimote support.

Eventually I plan on creating a custom startup app for launching Boxee, Firefox, games, emulators etc, but for now I think I will use the desktop app from Ubuntu Netbook Remix. I am using this on my Eee and it works well. I think the large icons will help with "point-at-ability" using the wiimotes. [www.canonical.com]
Re: A Wii PC
May 28, 2009 01:27PM
Finally got confirmation today that my goods have been shipped!

The motherboard is now on it's way so I can hopefully get started on putting this thing together soon. I've had the case on the shelf for too long now awaiting it's internal organs.
Re: A Wii PC
May 28, 2009 05:51PM
wow,their shipping service sucks! that took a while!
Re: A Wii PC
May 28, 2009 07:13PM
wow,their shipping service sucks! that took a while!

Totally, I'd be pissed!
Re: A Wii PC
June 03, 2009 08:43AM
The shipping service is actually quite good all things considered, although I didn't get any confirmation until I asked for it. The main delay was with my credit card :(

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/03/2009 08:45AM by musicinstinct.
Re: A Wii PC
June 04, 2009 02:58PM
All the bits arrived today. I think I have the wrong cable for the hard drive I was hoping to use - but that can be fixed easily locally, so no more big delays.

I've got some unboxing pics to upload. Everything fits quite nicely in the wii case.

There are a few mounting holes that would have been useful, but unfortunately they're slightly out. I'm going to have to make some new ones or glue something into the case. The VGA connector lines up with the wii's fan on the back of the case, so I'll have to cut some of that out too.

I've got Ubuntu netbook remix downloading, and will try and boot from USB until I get the correct hard-drive cable.
Re: A Wii PC
June 05, 2009 12:18AM
Hello, it's the Pico ITX motherboard!

And here's a first attempt at positioning stuff inside the Wii case:

It's going to take some trial and error until I'm happy with the positioning.

I've got a hard drive at the back of that picture connected to the motherboard via SATA connector. The 2.5" hard drive is bigger than the motherboard! There's a separate IO board you can see in the picture on the right. If I want even more cables inside the box I can use the IO connectors that plug straight onto the motherboard rather than use the IO daughterboard. Here's some of the cables:

There's a rather nifty power supply to go with it:

Re: A Wii PC
June 06, 2009 01:17AM
Looking good.

Would be funny to run dolphin on that thing so you can play Wii games. I doubt the graphics card would be good enough though.
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