Yet Another DIY Wii Sensor Bar





Introduction: Yet Another DIY Wii Sensor Bar

I've found that the included Wii sensor bar wouldn't allow me to play games far enough away. This could've been due to the actual width limitation of the bar or the strength of the LEDs. Since I use a front projector setup, this required wiring together a solution that allowed the sensor bar to be placed anywhere (and overcome the 10 ft wire extension distance) and also extend the range of the play.

Following the DIY sensor bar initially created by Doctabu, I created one of my own.

My requirements was that I move the Wii around and needed flexibility on the actual play distance. To do that, I wanted two IR LEDs that could be easily repositioned. Thus, a quick trip to the local electronics store yielded me 2 infrared LEDs, 2 battery holders and 2 resistors and 8 AA batteries.

I was aiming for brightness in the IR spectrum and some research had shown that LEDs with a lower 850nm wavelength produced higher degrees of brightness than the higher wavelengths. In the end, my electronics store had a limited selection anyway. The LEDs I was able to obtain were 1.7 forward voltage with a peak current of 50mA. I had a 4 x AA battery pack so that required a 100ohm resistor for each. If you have any other type of LED, your resistor requirement would change. For example, if you choose to use a 2 x AA battery pack for this LED, you'd need a 56 ohm resistor.

Once complete use a digital camera to see the IR light and check that your connections work.

I've attached a spreadsheet to calculate the right width that the LEDs need to be spaced apart for any given play distance.

Step 1: Back and Soldering

Luckily, there was just enough space to drill a hole and fit the LED and resistor inside. The resistor is important to prevent the LED from burning out.

Step 2: Calculate the Distances

I've attached the spreadsheet I used to figure out the exact distance that you need to set the sensors apart for any given play distance.

Setting the LEDs apart by about 17 inches gave me a play distance of 7 to 14 feet which was much more suitable for my front projector setup.

Good luck and hope this was useful.



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    There's a great new kit version of this on Kickstarter
    Seems to be a more complete system. I like their father-son kit idea.

    I found a little window burgaler alarm at the dollar tree store. I had the batteries, battery compartment, and a slider switch included for $1. I got rid of the speaker and some the the components on the circuit board. I wired in a 22 ohm resistor, and a VISHAY TSAL 6400 IR LED and a green visible LED (to be a power on indicator). It works great. Either with the Wii console or with Smoothboard.

    Is is absolutely necessary to use 4 AAs per LED box? How well would it work with just 1 or 2 AAs?

    For an LED with a 1.7 forward voltage, you need at least 2AAs per LED (with a resistor). You could hook up a single LED but the LED may not light or may stop radiating earlier as the battery wears out.

    oh i forgot to mention that I only used 4AAs because my electronics store only had these handy enclosed battery holders for 4AA and not 2AA. If you go 2AAs, use a 56 ohm resistor

    I made mine, with 2 AAs, but they look really crappy because I just soldered the components and electrical taped them on top. Oh well, not lookin bad for my first ever soldering job :P.

    you really should not use the LEDs without a current limiting resistor.  You will eventually fry your LEDs. especially since the batteries don't evenly divide into the voltage.

    You are are just going to eat through half the batteries twice as fast.  It will be the same thing.  You could use 2 LEDs and run them off of 2 1.5 volt batteries (any kind AA AAA, AAAA, C-cells, D-cells anything as long as you get 3 total volts)

    If it were me I would use C-sized batteries (and a resistor).  they will last for Eons.

    also radioshack high output LEDs are 1.28volts not 1.7 volts...

    id put another small red led in so you can tell whether is on with out looking at the switch

    Actually you probably can't for two reasons

    1) the different voltage/current requirements of the red LED might cause problems. You could wire it up in parallel with it's own current limiting resistor but that seems like a hassle.
    2)it is going to eat up your battery time.  I would only do it if you are running it off of a power-supply

     the wiimote has an infared cam in it right all you need is two candles place on tv light them up and your wiimote should react to it trust me i tried it