Hacking a wii sensor bar

So I needed a wii sensor bar that looks nice enough to be deployed in a commercial installation for a big client in the USA. Previously, for a similar installation in Malaysia, it was my first time doing it, so we proposed a design made up of wood that looks like this:

first version

first version

It was big and unwieldy, and blocked the screen partially. After this installation, we were asked by the same client to deploy this in the US. I was not happy with the wood box design and wanted something smaller and sleeker. The next thing I knew, my wonderful colleague saw this at a shopping mall in Singapore:

The Memorex sensor bar

The Memorex sensor bar

It was perfect! It is small and sleek. Just what I wanted. Unfortunately, there were two veto factors:- firstly, it ran on batteries. This meant replacing the batteries everyday for the week long installation. Secondly, and this is worse: it has a compulsory sleep function that would turn it off automatically every hour or so. This is a big no-no in a public installation.

So, the only way out, was to HACK that thing. Override the sleep function and make it run from wall power.

Hacking is never a guaranteed success. Sometimes, there is no way to hack something cos of various reasons, usually because of physical form factors, such as a lack of space to put in your own parts. Or sometimes, the electronics do not allow you to interface with the built in lights or sound outputs.

Luckily, in this case, the electronics was simple enough cos it’s simply a bunch of infrared LEDs. And I managed to cut away some plastic walls to create space for my own circuit components. Oh, I fried a couple of LEDs in the process, but I just replaced them with similar ones I already have in my inventory.

So here are the steps I went through. First of all, I carefully disassembled the thing to investigate its internal structure.

Disassembly

Disassembly

I decided to use the existing PCB, and create my own circuit on the other non-printed side of the board, cos the PCB board fits nicely into the casing, and I didn’t want to cut out my own board. Well, if I had a 3D printer, that would be another story, but that also involves the time-consuming task of drawing it out in a 3D program and hours spent printing. So I just went along with what was already there.

Hacking away literally

Hacking away literally

I hacked away the battery compartment wall to free up space.

More space!

More space!

More space freed up.

Power and ground line

Power and ground line

Power and ground line.

A simple LED circuit

A simple LED circuit

It’s actually a simple LED circuit.

No more battery compartment

No more battery compartment

What used to be the battery compartment.

Hot glued

Hot glued

The wonders of hot glue. I might be a bit too addicted to it.

Finished product

Finished product

Upgraded version. I hooked it to a 5V wall adaptor.

Two weeks later … …

Here are pics of the setup at Texas, USA :-

front view of sensor stand

front view of sensor stand

back view of sensor stand

back view of sensor stand

whole setup

whole setup

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