Author Topic: Wii fix  (Read 3550 times)

Offline richidoo

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Wii fix
« on: January 12, 2012, 11:17:10 AM »
Our Wii is a few years old, well used. Right after Santa left 2 new Wii games it started misbehaving, difficulty reading the disk, sometimes not starting the game, sometimes choking in the middle. I googled around and found some clues. My kids were chomping at the bit to play because...

First my daughter got a Dancing game that she has wanted for months, and her friends want to come over and play it too, and she wants to leverage the popularity points. You can imagine the "Is it fixed yet" factor...

... and my son, after trying for a year, finally was the winning 105th caller to the big pop radio station contest, and won a Wii game, which made him crazy with pride. The fun part for me was getting a tour of the 4 station facility from my friend Sol, the station's engineer, while I was picking up the prize. Talk about the great Oz behind the curtain, modern radio is amazing. All automated, all computerized, very complex. It raised my respect for Sol's knowledge to new heights, because he built those studios and fixes everything from the DJs mic to the 100kW tubes in the transmitter.

So my oldest son, the game winner is not so much of a fix-it type guy like his little bro, who programs virtual reality games online and makes his own iPod apps and fixes everyone's broken toys. So I decide to harness his excitement into a lesson, to get some hands on training in order to get his prize of playing his new Wii game. He was bouncing out of his skin with anticipation of fixing the Wii, but we had to order a special tri wing security screwdriver ($.01 plus 2.99 shipping  :thumb:) Everyday after school he asked did it come yet?

Finally it comes, and he gathers up all the tools we'll need for the surgery. We watch an OCD Wii modder's youtube on how to disassemble a Wii, which my son executes while I pause and play the video for him. He takes it apart with me coaching him to avoid stripped heads, threads, losing parts, etc. He gets it all apart and I clean the laser lens with a Qtip and alcohol. He puts it back together while I give clues about what parts go next. He argues that I am wrong until he finally notices the big aluminum RF shield that fell on the floor, forgotten in 10 minutes. Overall it was pretty fun, and he was so proud of himself that he could take it apart and reassemble. It seemed to work for the first test, but same error again the next day.

So I try vacuuming through the disc slot and cooling vents, no change. More reading on google and I see a trend, the lasers are basically maintenance items. While other tricks sometimes work, replacing the laser seems to always work. So we ordered a laser from Amazon for $10 which arrived yesterday. Last night the "repair begging" began again. He is ready to dive in again, rip that thing open and cut out its heart! The kid is a genius, but he doesn't assume he can do things until he is forced to try. He has to be ridden hard then he excels. It was difficult lesson for us to learn because it is the exact opposite of what motivates me and my wife. I pity his poor wife. Ahhhh, but she won't be poor with his talent put to use, and she can be pure bitch and he will thrive on it. I'm looking forward to those Thanksgiving dinners already! ;)

So tonight he will replace the laser assembly in the Wii all by himself. I will try not to offer any help except clearing my throat when the pending fuckup will cause serious damage like bleeding finger or bricked Wii. I like to think he is more excited about fixing it than he is about playing the game, but I know that is pure delusion. When he's done I will show him the website for the local Wii repair shop, who charges $75 to replace a Wii laser. Anyway, that's how we mold our children here on the farm. Harness their desires to the plough so they learn some skills and learn that life is not free and easy.

Last fall my 9yo daughter helped me flush the transmission fluid. She loved running the engine, pouring the fluids and getting greasy, and later told me that she was glad I finally asked her to help fix the van instead of always asking the boys. OUCH! Heart melter!

I just hope this laser finally fixes it or my name is MUDD!

Offline djdube525

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Re: Wii fix
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2012, 03:52:45 PM »
Probably asking too much... but would be interesting to video tape it and then put it on you tube... see how many people watch the video over time.

Nice touch on the lessons... and better yet on the "evil" look into the future Thanksgiving dinners.  :rofl:

Offline richidoo

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Re: Wii fix
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2012, 04:14:40 PM »
Hi Dave!

Well, we gave it a try this afternoon, everything went smoothly, but it works even worse than before, doesn't even read a disk at all, crashes the console when it tries to load a disc, and makes a mechanical racket so I'm suspecting the replacement laser is aftermarket ripoff. We're putting the original laser back in tonight and if it works better that will verify that the replacement is bad, then I can look for an OEM quality laser. 

There are dozens of funny videos about fixing and hacking Wiis on youtube. Some real characters!

Offline Barry (NJ)

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Re: Wii fix
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2012, 05:17:55 PM »
Looking forward to the updates  :thumb:
So much media, so little time...

Offline djdube525

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Re: Wii fix
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2012, 06:12:24 AM »
Hi Dave!

Well, we gave it a try this afternoon, everything went smoothly, but it works even worse than before, doesn't even read a disk at all, crashes the console when it tries to load a disc, and makes a mechanical racket so I'm suspecting the replacement laser is aftermarket ripoff.

While I wouldn't be surprised if your son was really disappointed, it may turn out to be a good thing in the long run. As you mentioned... lots of learning opportunities well beyond getting the Wii back up and running.

Dave

Offline richidoo

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Re: Wii fix
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2012, 10:43:57 AM »
We took it apart checked everything and tried it again with the new laser, but still no good. A couple days later we put the old laser back in, which worked better, but still not permanently fixed. 1st test disc worked, but then wouldn't work after reloading it again.

The fun part was running the wii naked, disassembled, splayed out on the table with cables running everywhere, pressing the microswitches with a screwdriver to operate it, watching the laser light up and move across the disc during play, watching it stutter and crash when it couldn't read. All the kids enjoyed seeing that. They all agree that we've given our best shot and now it's time to get help.

I'm returning the replacement laser through Amazon, and we're shipping the Wii off to Nintendo for repair. The total cost is $91, which includes shipping and tax, guaranteed repair or replace with factory certified unit, and renewal of the one year warranty. Not a bad deal considering a new system is $160.
Rich

Offline tmazz

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Re: Wii fix
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2012, 01:00:03 PM »
My kids got a Wii when they first came out and you had to offer up your first born male to get your hands o one. They waited two months for it and the laser went bad after three days. We sent it off to Nintendo figuring it would be weeks or months before we saw it again and low and behold it was back on my doorstep repaired five days after we sent it out. And it hasn't skipped a beat since. We tracked the packages on the UPS web site and it arrived at the service center at about 8:30 in the AM and was shipped back to us before lunchtime on the same day! And we got back the same unit so it was a true repair and not just a refurb swap. Their service department really has their act together.
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Offline richidoo

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Re: Wii fix
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2012, 03:37:18 PM »
That's great Tom... We too had to wait a good long while to find a Wii even after they had been out a while, but they love it, and it's held up pretty well considering how old it is and the tough life it lives.

My middle son's Nintendo DSi started flaking after 6 months so we sent it in. We had a great experience, and got a new warranty. He told me today that when the DSi returned he saw that it was a different serial number, so they had actually replaced it, but kept all of his stored data still intact. I like that they respect how important their toys are to the end users. Great company.