Saturday, November 28, 2015

Project: Outlet Wii - The Final Peice

It's been over 2 years since I've last stepped foot in the outlet store, although I haven't completely stopped going to thrift stores. Sporadically I've been to Goodwill sales days as well as going to a local Salvation Army store, yet I've never been able to find the final piece to finish off Project Outlet Wii. I found everything, short of a replacement controller, through the outlet store, flea markets or other thrift adventures, yet for some reason I could never, and have never found a Wii sensor bar that wasn't already part of an overpriced bundle.

Up to this point I've been using a wireless Big Buck Hunter Pro bar that is essentially the exact same thing, albeit ugly and eats batteries like a glutton. This meant I would turn the thing on just enough to navigate the menus or get a game started, then I would turn it off and hope that I didn't use up the brand new batteries I just put in the thing, not 10 seconds ago. I do have a few games that require a constant presence of a Wii sensor bar, which I don't play all that often anyway, otherwise causing the game's controls to be horrible or non-responsive at all. I needed to find myself a Wii sensor bar, or did I?

Being the crafty fucker that I am, I decided that I would just compromise and use what I already had, but modify it to work with the Wii's USB ports. It's a super simple little project. All you need is a Big Buck Hunter Pro sensor bar, or analog, which I found at the outlet store years ago, I also often find them hidden among the toys at local Goodwill stores, and a cheap USB cable, which I procured from Goodwill for 50 cents.

While the Big Buck bar only requires 4.5 volts, USB will provide 5, and to be honest I'm not completely sure whether this will shorten the life of the sensor bar or not, but the fact is I'm sick of changing out batteries constantly and I don't often play games that require the bar on the whole time, so I see this as being a necessary evil. Either way I feel this project is worth the attempt as it only cost me about $1.

I simply isolated the 5v source and the ground wire and soldered them to the proper terminals in the battery slot. Then I made a knot in the USB cable and cut a notch in the battery door of the Big Buck bar and voila! Now I have a USB powered sensor bar for about $1. If this thing burns out or dies, I can most likely salvage the USB cable and just find a replacement bar at Goodwill for $1-2 and just do it all over again. Hopefully with the infrequency with which I use the sensor bar I won't need to, but it was well worth a try because now I don't have to worry about batteries anymore!

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