For the proper retro gaming aesthetic, plenty of gamers look to old CRT displays. Older games can look better on these displays because the original programmers took their visual characteristics into account. Finding a CRT from the 90s or early 2000s is one option, but an even better option is a broadcast video monitor (BVM) which were extremely high quality CRTs with some other features, like the ability to install a Wii straight to an expansion port on the monitor itself (Nitter).
These monitors were, as their name implies, made for broadcast TV productions. As such, they don’t have the typical video connections that might be found on a consumer unit. Instead, they used modular cards to interface with the monitor. Thanks to an open design for cards made for Sony monitors, [ShankMods] was able to make one for the Wii by “trimming” away the unnecessary parts of the console’s PCB and mapping its video and audio outputs to the slot connector.
While the Wii might not be everyone’s idea of retro, it was still a console that came out when plenty of people still had CRTs as their primary home television. It isn’t as necessary to have a CRT for a Wii as some of the older consoles, but it was very easily adaptable to this single-board design. If you don’t have a CRT and still want the CRT feel, there are ways of retrofitting a more modern display to get this effect, though.
The conveniently tiny logic board of the M1 Mac mini has lead to it giving the Mini ITX format a run for its money in case mods. The latest example of this is [Luke Miani]’s M1 Wii. (Youtube via 9to5Mac)
[Miani] chose the Wii as a new enclosure for this Mac mini given its similar form factor and the convenient set of doors in the top to maintain access to the computer’s I/O, something he wasn’t able to do with one of his previous M1 casemods. The completed build is a great stealth way to have a Mac mini in your entertainment center. [Miani] even spends the last several minutes of the video showing the M1 Wii running Wii, GameCube, and PS2 games to really bring it full circle.
A Microsoft Surface power brick was spliced into the original Wii power cable since the Wii PSU didn’t have enough wattage to supply the Mac mini without significant throttling. On the inside, the power runs through a buck converter before making its way to the logic board. While the Mini’s original fan was too big to fit inside the Wii enclosure, a small 12V fan was able to keep performance similar to OEM and much higher than running the M1 fanless without a heat spreader.
One of often encountered traits of a hacker is an ability to build devices into places where they don’t belong. Perhaps, [sonictimm]’s self-descriptive WiiinToaster was somewhat of an inevitability. Inspired by the legendary Nintoaster project which used a NES, this is a modern take on the concept, putting a Wii inside what used to be an ordinary bread-making kitchen appliance. [Sonictimm] has taken care to make it as functional while reusing the user interface options commonly found in a toaster, with some of the Wii’s connections routed to the original buttons and the lever. It’s compatible with everything that the Wii supports in its standard, non-toaster form – the only function that had to be sacrificed was the “making toast” part of it, but some would argue it’d be a bit counterproductive to leave in.
[Sonictimm] says it took five years from building the WiiinToaster to documenting it, which sounds about right for an average project. If you, like many, have a Wii laying around that you haven’t been using for years, building it into a toaster (or any other place a Wii shouldn’t be) is a decent weekend project. Perhaps, a spacier chassis will also help with the overheating problems plaguing some earlier Wii models. One thing we would not recommend, however, is building a toaster into a Wii case – unless you like to see your creations self-immolate, in which case, make sure to film it and grace our Tips line with a YouTube link. There’s also a challenge for the achievement-minded hackers out there – making a rebuild so daring, it gets a DMCA notice from Nintendo.
It wouldn’t be the first time we feature a Nintendo console reborn in a toaster’s shell, with NES and SNES projects coming to mind. If you’re interested in other directions of Wii rebuilds, perhaps you could make an Altoids-sized FrankenWii, or an unholy hybrid of three consoles. And if you do build a Switchster, or a ToaDSter (perhaps, best suited for a waffle iron), we’d love to take a look!
If reading Hackaday teaches us anything, it’s that there is a subset of hackers who take things like emulator builds a step farther than most. [RetroModder] is very clearly one such hacker. Enter the GamecubePC, which you can read about on Hackaday.io. The GamecubePC is a multi-year project that aims to stuff an entire Windows 10 PC into a GameCube shell while still being able to play Wii and GameCube titles at native resolution and performance.
Although it only takes a spare computer and the Dolphin emulator to make a GameCube and Wii emulator, great attention has been paid to keeping the GameCube at the forefront. Contributing to the illusion is the preservation of the original GameCube power switch and reset buttons by way of custom PCB’s that interface the parts to the mSTX motherboard.
The bottom of the GameCube shell is replaced with a 3D printed base that mounts the motherboard while smartly giving access to the motherboard’s front panel. The minuscule motherboard sports an Intel Core™ i5-7600 with 8GB memory, and SSD storage. Topping off the experience are four functional controller ports that can be switched to be used with the emulator or with PC games too. Surely the GamecubePC will be the subject of many double takes!
The nunchuck is meant to plug into a Wii controller and the connection is I2C, so that’s trivial to interface to an Arduino or other small microcontroller. The only issue is making the connection. We might have just snipped the wires, but [Brian] prefers to use a small breakout board that plugs into the stock connector and provides solder points for your own cable. There are options for the breakout boards, and [Brian] has his own design that you can get from OSHPark for about a buck for three boards. You can also just jam wire into the connector, but that’s not always robust.
Anyone can go out and buy a handheld console, and if you want to be the cool kid on the school bus, you can always ask your parents to take you out to get one. But if you want real street cred that lasts through your adult years, you’ve gotta put something together yourself. [GingerOfMods] has done just that with the Wiiboy Color.
Yes, it’s another home-console-turned-portable, and it’s perfomed with exquisite execution. The Wii motherboard is cut and sliced to the absolute bare minimum, as the aim was to build the entire system to the rough form factor of the original Game Boy Color. Custom PCBs were then used to link the chopped ‘board to peripherals, such as the USB drive used to load games and the circuitry from a Gamecube controller. The screen is a beautiful looking 3.5″ IPS LCD, running at 480p and originally intended for use as an automotive backup camera. Battery life is around 2-3 hours, with a USB-C port included for easy charging. More details are included on the forum build log.
It’s a tidy build, and the 3D printed case, Switch joysticks and DS Lite buttons give it a near-production quality finish. [GingerOfMods] intends to build more for commissions, though expect a hefty price tag given the labor and custom work involved. We’ve seen other portable Wiis before too, like this tightly-packed Kapton-heavy build. Video after the break.
It turns out there’s a considerable amount of free space inside the Nunchuk case, so [Giliam] found adding in the new hardware wasn’t nearly as difficult as you might expect. Of course, it helps that the diminutive SMD ATtiny44A and its support hardware are housed on a very neatly milled PCB that attaches to the back of the original board.
Most of the other hardware comes in the form of modular components, like the Bluetooth transmitter and TP4056 charge controller for the 300 mAh battery. A micro USB charging port is mounted where the original Nunchuk cable entered the case, making the whole thing look very professional.
Even if you aren’t interested in making your own controller, [Giliam] covers many interesting topics in this write-up such as handling different methods of Bluetooth connectivity and various power management techniques to eke out as much life from the relatively small battery as possible. It’s not only a fascinating read, but a great example of what thorough project documentation should look like.