Among all of the instructables on DIY Wii sensor bars I noticed most of them were made out of cardboard or other equally hideous material, so I decided it was time to submit an 'ible on a Wii sensor bar that works and actually looks nice too. Just because it's DIY doesn't mean it can't be beautiful
The Nintendo Wii is arguably the coolest game console ever made, and this is reflected in its December 2009 recored for the best selling console in a single month. The reason for its success is not amazing graphics, which Sony’s Playstation 3 relies on, or lots of gore and adrenaline, like Microsoft’s Xbox 360, but the unique and immersive gameplay offered by its controller - the Wii remote.
Interaction with the Wii is achieved through accelerometers, gyroscopes, and and an infra-red camera inside the Wii remote. This project focuses on the infra-red part of the control system - specifically the sensor bar which sits atop the player’s television, to let the Wii remote know where it is and where it is pointing.
This is my take on a DIY homemade Nintendo Wii wireless sensor bar.
The beauty of DIY is that you can choose how it looks, and out of what materials it is made. I took this opportunity to indulge my inner Steampunk, even if that made things a bit more awkward.
Step 1: Theory
The sensor bar works thus: there are a number of infra-red LEDs (ten I think) which are invisible to the human eye, but can be seen by the Wii remote’s infra-red camera. That’s it. That’s all there is to it. To make things even simpler, after doing a quick bit of research, You only need four LEDs for a perfectly functional sensor bar. Dunno why the other six are there.
Step 2: Materials
- Recycled Wood
- 4 Infra-red LEDs
- Small nuts and bolts (2 of each)
- Scrap sheet metal
- A saw
- Drill press
- Soldering iron
- PVA glue
- Sand paper
Step 3: Step 1: Cutting the Wood.
Another two small pieces to hold the batteries (2x AA) on either end, and one to hold them against the face, as well as hold the face vertical. Then I cut out a section of this last piece , where the batteries would fit.
Step 4: Step 2: LED Holes
Note: The official sensor bar has 10 LEDs - this smooths the motion of the cursor, but the remote only tracks 4 LEDs and any one time, so 4 are sufficient and the decrease in smoothness is barely noticeable.
Step 5: Step 3: Routing
Step 6: Step 4: Battery Holder
I drilled bolt-sized holes in the to edge-pieces of wood, and widened them HALF way into the wood. Here I hammered a nut into the widening to create a thread.
I glued these into place, made sure the batteries fat in, and glued on the stand.
Step 7: Step 5: Switch
I then used the soldering iron burn an “on” and “off” into the top of the face.
Step 8: Step 6: the Circuit
Step 9: Step 8: Add an On/off Light
I did, however, forget to turn the sensor bar off when I had finished playing. The problem with infra-red LEDs, is you can’t tell if they’re on or off! This happened three more times before I decided to do something about it.
I drilled another hole - big halfway, small all the way through - and put in a VISIBLE blue LED, quickly wired it up (which was really difficult because of uninsulated wires, but I ended up crossing wires where I had used PVA - a great insulator!). Now there were four infra-red LEDs, which we can’t see but the Wii remote can, and one blue LED, which we can see but the Wii remote can’t. Never since have I left the sensor bar on accidentally.