First thoughts

A project log for Portable Wii in a laptop

A wii disguised as a laptop

menkveldMenkveld 12/30/2023 at 22:050 Comments

First things first.

I’ve started this project as I recently came across an old unused laptop (acer n15w4). This sparked an old idea I had; building a portable wii in the shell of a laptop.

This log will describe some background information as well as the current ideas for this project.

Therefore I started searching for a wii. As I was pretty sure I was going to ditch the dvd drive as well as modding it with homebrew I wanted to have a boot2 compatible wii. Not too uncommon to find. I ended up being given a semi-functional disassembled wii for free by an awesome dude. Unfortunately the display output was quite bad. One of the 220uF caps near the output were bad, this temporarily makes the wii output usable. I’ve ordered new ones. For the time being, this will have to do. Meanwhile I also desoldered all chunky ports on the top of the wii.

The display

The display in my screen is an LP156WHB-tpa1.

This is a 1366x768 display driven by a 1-lane eDP signal. Then it was time for searching through AliExpress to find a board that will be able to drive this. It became a board with the Realtek RTD2556 chip. Which I outputs an eDP signal and i think it should be able to take YbPbR as input through the VGA port. Which will give better video quality than using the CVBS of the wii. Another advantage that this board offers is that it has built in output for speakers. However, it outputs to a 30p ribbon cable (which is nice and flat). I can’t route that through the hinge of the display. Therefore my idea was to repurpose the current display cable and to remap that with a ribbon breakout board, we’ll see how that goes. One other requirement I set; i want an hdmi out on this thing. So if I go somewhere, i can connect it to a larger screen. I hope that the wii can simultaneously output RGB and cvbs, using cvbs with an off the shelf av->hdmi converter and the rgb would be fed into the internal display.

Sensor bar

A wii can’t work without a sensor bar. Therefore I was planning on getting 940nm (which is what the sensor bar uses iirc) infrared leds in the format of ws2812 leds. I could place those on an old ledstrip and put that in the bezel. I’d make 2 ledstrips, one for closeby usage (placing the leds closer together), and one for more distant usage (for when its connected to a display). But this will be something to worry about later.

Cooling the wii

I’ve ordered a small heatsink meant for hdd’s. This is only 4 mm high. I would then drill holes in it appropriately and mount it with those springy plastic screws or some bolts for the time being. I would possibly add a small laptop fan to blow some air through it.

Fitting the wii
The wii itself is quite large, but so is the laptop, having the wii in there still leaves quite some room.  Plus there is quite some space lost near the battery, lots of plastics that can go. I need to keep bluetooth for the controllers. I could trim it, but currently don’t see much benefits in doing so for the time being. Perhaps my views will change in the future if its becoming too size-constrained or I’d like bigger batteries. The laptop also has a daughter board, one containing the power button, a usb port, hall sensor and an sd card slot. All potential useful things. I’m keeping that there. I’ll wire up one usb port to the wii so I can have my games on a tiny usb. Which will be easily accessible to add/remove games from. As for the display controller board, ill need to do some fitting to see how and what. 

Future plans

I would also like to repurpose the 3s 42wh battery thats currently in there. I might add another cell, depending on how much room i’ve got left. This battery would need to be charged and discharged. I want this to be done over usb c pd, no proprietary charge brick or whatever. Another thing is; charging and using it simultaneously. A rough guess of the lcd + wii’s power draw will be 30w. So ill want to atleast be able to supply that. Fortunately both the wii and display controller board take 12V. However i found it quite difficult finding a board for these things. This is where I’d like to build my own. I’ve already got some Ic’s in mind from Texas Instruments. Their reference designs should be mostly good for me. But another post will follow on this topic. Once I’m at designing my own Pcb. Imma add a microcontroller of some sort (most likely an esp32 as im familiar with it). I’d like this to use to interface with the keyboard thats in the laptop so I can change the volume, dimm the screen (which I can to through the RTD2556 or by directly feeding a pwm signal into the display), lastly use the hall sensor for the display to turn on and off the wii.