Elite Wii U Gamepad with RetroPi 3

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IrieMars
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Elite Wii U Gamepad with RetroPi 3

Post by IrieMars » Wed Jan 18, 2017 12:19 pm

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I decided to do my own narrative/guide of my Wii U Gamepad project using a Raspberry Pi 3 in the hopes that it might help some of you. As of right now though, I’m not fully done yet. But I do have the controls working, and sound coming from the head phone jack. Power does work, however I think the batteries in the uBoost don’t hold a charge anymore. So I’m going to gut that and replace it. I STRONGLY SUGGEST AN ENTIRE READ THROUGH BEFORE PROCEEDING.
First things first, parts you’ll need or want to consider for your use. This is the list of things I used:
• Wii U Gamepad (Case and Buttons) http://www.ebay.com/sch/sis.html?_nkw=O ... 2749.l2658
• 6.5” LCD http://www.ebay.com/itm/201227576171?_t ... EBIDX%3AIT
• Teensy 2.0 http://www.ebay.com/itm/191981137603?_t ... EBIDX%3AIT
• Digitizer (use original Wii U gamepad if possible as it comes with the black bezel).http://www.ebay.com/itm/162251255451?_t ... EBIDX%3AIT
• Flat ribbon HDMI http://www.ebay.com/itm/252508906577?_t ... EBIDX%3AIT
• Pre-soldered PCB and adapters (you can get unsoldered, but it’s a pain in the ass to solder correctly, save yourself some trouble and get them pre-soldered.) http://www.ebay.com/itm/201713692785?_t ... EBIDX%3AIT
• LCD bracket http://www.ebay.com/itm/support-chassie ... Sw8aNXGTUw
• USB Sound Card https://www.amazon.com/Channel-External ... SOUND+card
• PCB 3.5mm headphone jack http://www.frys.com/product/1922701?sou ... fgodc_AKBg
• Sound Amp http://www.ebay.com/itm/201372728692?_t ... EBIDX%3AIT
• B503 Potentiometer http://www.ebay.com/itm/112193635426?_t ... EBIDX%3AIT
• Replacement Wii U Gamepad Shoulder Buttons (Unless your Gamepad came with already) http://www.ebay.com/itm/291798176257?_t ... EBIDX%3AIT
• uBoost (Turns out this is only 1000MAH so you might want to reconsider your options here.) http://www.ebay.com/itm/272429165680?_t ... EBIDX%3AIT
• Battery Charging board (I never ended up using this) https://www.amazon.com/Lithium-Battery- ... B00AUDQWXQ
• Power boost 1000 Basic https://www.amazon.com/Adafruit-PowerBo ... B00R3QWEAS
• 10 conductor ribbon cable (I suggest 30 gauge AWG for data connections and I personally used 26 solid coopers for anything with power.)
• USB type A female Jack. https://www.amazon.com/Straight-Solder- ... emale+jack
• OEM Screws http://www.ebay.com/itm/162251270128?_t ... EBIDX%3AIT
• Pi 3 (I’m assuming you have already installed Retro Pie on an SD and are familiar with this, adding Roms, Retroarch, flipping the screen 180 degrees like I had to, and making the USB sound card the default. There are tutorials on this on the web but I would be more than happy to help guide you.
• SD Card, your choice in size.
• Xbox Elite Replacement kit
As for tools:
• Soldering Iron, your choice. I used a cheap one from Harbor freight that I had from a previous project. You might want to consider a heavy duty one so you can break down some of the above parts.
• Rotary tool. Again, I used Harbor freight for a cheap rotary tool. You’ll need this for filling down the Wii U gamepad and bracket for space.
• Screw driver set and tri-wing screw driver.
• Pliers
• Electrical tape.
• Wire strippers.
• Hot glue gun
• USB Keyboard

Step 1: Ordering parts and tools. If you don’t have them, order them now. Most of the parts are from China so (for me at least) it can take up to several weeks for things to start arriving. Do your best to check everything works once it arrives and if it doesn’t, ask for a replacement or refund. I know this might be impossible to do for everything, but do what you can.
Step 2: After you receive everything or start getting items in. Start with the Wii U gamepad. Grab your pad and rotary tool and start stripping it down, grinding out almost everything down on the rear of the case. Most of this you don’t need and is taking up space. Remove the stylus holder and battery casing. Also, anything on the back end that is screwed to the rear of the case you can axe. Keep the parts for later if you need. But I just hacked as much as I could. Be careful not to get rid of the screw hole parts. That should be the only thing you need from the back really. I believe there are about ten total.
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Everything in green can go, meaning you can file down/remove from the housing. Leaving your case looking something similar to the below.
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Get your case looking like this without ruining the exterior case integrity and you’re off to a good start. Be careful doing so, depending on your rotary tool or dermal, things could get grinded down too much. So take your time and go slow.

Step 3: Time to strip down your Pi 3 so it takes as little space as possible. The best way to probably do this is to get a soldering iron that heats up high enough to melt the solder on the Pi. I am not sure what temp this is, but I wasn’t able to do it with my iron so I had to take it apart as delicately as I could. First I started with the Ethernet port. I basically got an exact-o knife, and started removing the chrome shell around the port. It helped to grab your plyers and break off the underside mounts that were soldered on. Once you get the shell/cover off you should be able to jiggle the port back and forth, heating up the pins and eventually breaking it away.
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You will then need to move on to the USB ports and the headphone jacks. Using the same method you used to remove the port, whatever way you decide is best. Then comes the camera and GPIO pins. For these I attempted again to unsolder them with no luck. For the pins and camera port, I ended up taking my plyers, and essentially crushing the plastics and removing all the pins for the GPIO that I did not need. I left two pins for my power and ground, this would make it easier to solder to without the risk of bridging to other pins. If you can find a better way to do this, then I suggest you go down that route. This is what I ended up doing to clear the Pi. I also got rid of the two ports on the LCD board as well.
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After all was said and done, my Pi and LCD board looked like the above picture. Of course before you move forward with anything else I suggest you fire them both up and test. Confirm they are still working and you should be ready to move on. In order to test this you will want/need to wire up one of your female USB jacks in order to connect your USB keyboard and properly shut down. Otherwise you run the risk of corrupting your SD card. At this point I suggest you skip down to STEP 9.

Step 4: This next step is a lot easier than what you previously went through with the PCB board. Take your bracket, which should look something like the below, and modify it by cutting out portions (to allow for the LCD ribbon and joystick wires) as well as grinding it down portions that stick out and would cause anything you mount to it to be uneven.
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In the end mine looked something like this. I’m sure I didn’t have to modify it as much as I did. But at the time that’s what I decided on as to allow the most amount of space.
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Step 5: Time to wire up the joysticks. As you will notice, there are five wires that each joystick uses. See diagram below for what each does.
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Now these come with a plastic connector on the end that we need to get rid of. Grabbing your trusty plyers, grab hold of the plastic ends and press so that the plastic breaks and the wires can be removed without cutting them short. They are really short to begin with so we want to make sure we preserve as much of the wires as we can.
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This is what I ended up with on each joystick. Don’t splice like I did. Instead use butt-splices, or inline splice, using your wires. I used this method (shown) first because I like to twist my cables. However this is when I realized the 28gauge ribbon cables might have been too big. Looking back I would have gone with a smaller gauge, 30G or something. In any case, I ended up undoing this because the Pi was pressed up against those splices, it was basically taking up to much room and made it difficult to handle the wire. So I ended up going with Butt splices. Easier to move and less space.
Last edited by IrieMars on Thu Jan 19, 2017 12:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.

IrieMars
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Re: Elite Wii U Gamepad with RetroPi 3

Post by IrieMars » Wed Jan 18, 2017 12:26 pm

Step 6: Now on each of your ribbon cables for the Wii U gamepad you should have two little “wings” on each side. (If you purchased the connectors I did you can probably skip this step as it should fit without removing the wings of the ribbon, I suggest you test before you cut). You may or may not need to cut these as these might prevent you from sliding the ribbon cable into your FPC connector and board. If so, you will want to take a small pair of scissors and cut the little tips off. You can probably also use a straight edge and an exact-o knife. Each of these connectors has either 10 or 7 assigned traces. See below. Take a close look at your FPC board (especially the left side) and the ground wires. If you purchased what I did. Then the left side will start on pin out #10 as LB, #9 as LT, #8 as Right, #7 as Left, #6 as Up, #5 down, and anything after that should be ground, should be 7 wires on the left side. On the right your #10 and #01 are your grounds, you only need one ground to the Teensy, so pick. Everything else is pretty self-explanatory. Now take this time to land your wires on the FPC boards. Give yourself enough slack in order for those to reach your Teensy, where ever you decide to mount. DO NOT SOLDER TO THE TEENSY YET.
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Step 7: Time to program your Teensy. Follow the steps shown in the link below. Remember to change your Teensy to be a Keyboard/Joystick/Mouse.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_ecnM7ULDw
Once you follow the steps, grab the code from the Sudo Mod script below, provided by user Banjo.
http://sudomod.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=1607
Once you selected all your correct options. Copy the script, and past it. Then upload and follow the steps shown in the video. Your device should be ready to go.
Step 8: Wiring up your Teensy. Best way to do this without having to change the code is to wire up to match the script. Below is what I ended up doing. Twist your grounds together before soldering, you should have a total of four grounds, two per Teensy ground. I kept my two grounds from each side on the same Teensy input. So the grounds for the right joystick and input were twisted and landed where you see the black dot. The left grounds at the brown dots.
Teensy Wiring.jpg
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Once you complete, test. Launch RetroPie and if everything goes well, it should recognize your Teensy as a gamepad in the configure input (should be automatically launched if this is your first time using RetroPie.
Step 9: At this point if you didn’t jump down to this step you might be wonder how the hell I’m testing as I go? Well I had other Pi projects and I would power the Pi up using a 5v power supply I had. Take the time to land wires on your PI to pin outs 2 and 6, 2 being your power and 6 being your ground. The 2 should wire back to the positive on your Charge boost and the 6 to your negative. Once you complete that do the same for your LCD board, taking it back to the charge boost I mean. This is how I wired mine. Below the green are the ground conductors while the red is your current carrying conductors. Your – and + basically. Doing this will allow you to plug in a 5v Micro USB into the Pi’s port and will fire up the LCD and the Pi. This is currently how I am bringing power to my system. I have a male micro USB cable to the Pi port going to a male USB cable that I plug into a Ham 5v 2a external battery. Of course, get your HDMI cable from your Pi to the LCD board to get an image, MAKE SURE YOU HAVE IT IN CORRECTLY. I spent a good few hours trying to figure out why the image wouldn’t show up, ordered another cable, only to find out I wasn’t in all the way. Stupid me, I know.
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I also landed four wires to the USB ports (or where they once were) the two middle are for data and the two outer wires are for power. I used a total of three ports, totaling 12 wires. One for the Teensy, one for the female USB jack that I have my keyboard connected to, and the final one for the USB sound card. Wire those puppies up here. So basically what you are doing is soldering four wires to three USB ports. The other ends of those are TBD depending on what you plan on using that port for. For now let’s start with the USB keyboard. This is what I mean. The USB you destroyed or removed from your PI are females. Which is the 1, 2, 3, 4 pinout on the right in the image below. The left are your males. Make sure you match them up accordingly.
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Keyboard (Female to Female): What you’re basically doing here is extending the female pinout to a female USB jack that will allow you to connect a USB keyboard. This I have sitting outside the case so it can be removed and used as needed.
Teensy (Female to Male): This is a female to male connection. That male connection is the Mini USB male connector that fits into the female Teensy connector. Make sure the ground meets ground, data meets data, etc. Remember to keep it to length you need. Here I landed the wires on the pins to the male connector to allow me to simply plug in to the Teensy as needed.
Teensy.jpg
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USB Sound Card (Female to Male): Same as the Teensy, only you will land both ends of the wires to the Pi and USB sound card. However, I took apart my sound card so that just the PCB was left.
You should now at the very least have the keyboard set up and hopefully Retropie loaded onto your SD card. I had to enter in a few codes to rotate my LCD image 180 degrees and get the sound to default to the USB Sound card. There are plenty of guides on that floating around the web. First you probably want your screen flipped if needed. I’m assuming your keyboard is working and you can navigate Retropie using that. Even better if your Pi is already recognizing the Teensy as a keyboard/mouse/joystick. But you will still need the keyboard for flipping the screen and defaulting to the USB sound card.
That was a long Step 9…..
Step 10: At this point, you should have your Teensy connected to the Pi, wires landed on both ends, to the joysticks and ribbon cables, your keyboard and USB, your soundcard, power to the Pi and LCD, and everything working perfectly….I’m sure everything didn’t just automatically work the first time around, so don’t give up, take a break and troubleshoot, ask questions, start laying out your material in the gamepad, figuring out where you want things to go. You’re almost there. Take note that my original intention was to power the device through the Nikko uBoost. However that didn’t work for me as the used uBoost I received didn’t hold a charge on the battery for long, it did boot up the system, but only for a few seconds before losing power. I also opened the thing up only to find one small 1,000 MAH battery and a weight on the inside. So I could have done one of two things, try and find a small enough battery with enough MAH to keep the device powered, or simply keep the micro USB to USB cable, and purchase a 5v, 2a external battery. I went with the latter as I was tired of spending money, and getting frustrated with the roadblocks at every step.
Step 11: The final step was the sound card since I detoured the power as described above. Simply land your left, right, ground wires on the pins of your USB sound card. This might vary, but I used this guy. The green jack is what you should have removed earlier. Just land your L,R, G wires there and match them to the headphone jack, keep in mind that you will be daisy chaining this to your Potentiometer and your AMP. So it’s Sound card, headphone jack, POT, AMP.
Sound card.png
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From there take your L and R speaker cables that should have come with the Gamepad, and land them to the L and R on the Amp. You’re last step will be to take the power and ground on the amp to the charge boost. I used the same – and + as the LCD screen, just on the underside of the board. And that’s all she wrote. I’ll leave it up to you as to where you want to place things USB, Headphone jack, POT. Have fun building guys.

Video of it running before the Elite Mod.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbhRkZxJmuo
Last edited by IrieMars on Thu Jan 19, 2017 1:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Thorrak
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Re: Elite Wii U Gamepad with RetroPi 3

Post by Thorrak » Wed Jan 18, 2017 3:13 pm

Thank you so much for your post, it is very informative. I know I am going to have a lot of questions when I get all the parts.
I was clicking on the links you set and there is 2 that are not working.

#1 Flat ribbon HDMI
#2 USB Sound Card

Can you please fix the links? :D

Thank you
Deuces!!!! :lol:

IrieMars
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Re: Elite Wii U Gamepad with RetroPi 3

Post by IrieMars » Wed Jan 18, 2017 7:39 pm

Thorrak wrote:Thank you so much for your post, it is very informative. I know I am going to have a lot of questions when I get all the parts.
I was clicking on the links you set and there is 2 that are not working.

#1 Flat ribbon HDMI
#2 USB Sound Card

Can you please fix the links? :D

Thank you
No problem. I also checked the links and they seem fine to me. Takes me right to the product page. If that doesn't work I'll try and use another link, you can also try a google search for those guys.

Lpoolm
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Re: Elite Wii U Gamepad with RetroPi 3

Post by Lpoolm » Fri Jan 20, 2017 3:46 pm

Really good post, makes me want to do one next!
Think I'm going to have to keep a look out for a broken wii u now!
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IrieMars
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Re: Elite Wii U Gamepad with RetroPi 3

Post by IrieMars » Fri Mar 24, 2017 1:51 pm

Lpoolm wrote:Really good post, makes me want to do one next!
Think I'm going to have to keep a look out for a broken wii u now!
You are best off just getting a case online. The broken Game pads I've seen are pricier than just buy the case alone. Plus you never know what will be wrong with them I suppose.

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Re: Elite Wii U Gamepad with RetroPi 3

Post by jellypowered » Fri Mar 24, 2017 4:42 pm

We used a lot of the same parts and alot of the pictures look very familiar (for teensy wiring/ fpc pinouts etc) GREAT job! I can't wait to see what you did with the hole in the back of the case. :)

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Re: Elite Wii U Gamepad with RetroPi 3

Post by IrieMars » Mon Mar 27, 2017 8:36 am

jellypowered wrote:We used a lot of the same parts and alot of the pictures look very familiar (for teensy wiring/ fpc pinouts etc) GREAT job! I can't wait to see what you did with the hole in the back of the case. :)
The hole in the back was covered up by the battery cover. Once I got the case I noticed that the plastic that housed the battery was taking up precious space. So I axed it but left the screw portion so I can cover it back up.

Captnshacky
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Re: Elite Wii U Gamepad with RetroPi 3

Post by Captnshacky » Tue Sep 26, 2017 3:55 pm

Thanks for the tutorial. One question I have is, why didn't you just use the audio from the 3.5 jack on the Pi? Why go through the trouble of using the USB audio converter?

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Re: Elite Wii U Gamepad with RetroPi 3

Post by IrieMars » Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:30 am

Captnshacky wrote:
Tue Sep 26, 2017 3:55 pm
Thanks for the tutorial. One question I have is, why didn't you just use the audio from the 3.5 jack on the Pi? Why go through the trouble of using the USB audio converter?
The audio on the Pie is horrible from my exp. Much better through the HDMI or USB audio IMO.

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