Wii U tablet -- Possible to mod as a wired device?

Did you see a new gadget or toy and start brimming with ideas? See something that has tons of potential? Discuss these thoughts here.

Wii U tablet -- Possible to mod as a wired device?

Postby jopl12 » September 14th, 2012, 1:56 am

So Nintendo's just announced that the Wii U tablet will communicate wirelessly at all times. Unlike the PS3 controller, which stops transmitting wirelessly once its plugged into the PS3 for charging (at which point it communicates solely via the USB wire), the WIi U controller will instead be charged with a separate AC adaptor that you can plug into a power outlet during gameplay, rather than the console itself.

As someone who prefers to game on wired devices only, do any of you see the possibility for modding the tablet once it releases so that I can somehow connect it to the WIi U console and have it communicate via a USB cord only and transmit no wireless signals?

For reference, the Wii U console has 4 USB ports, and the top right of the tablet has a port that you can see here: http://www.extremetech.com/wp-content/u ... d-back.jpg. I'm not sure if its a USB port or one of Nintendo's proprietary charger ports, though. It does look like a 3DS charging port.

So can any of you advise me if this would actually be possible to achieve when the console launches?

Cheers!
jopl12
 
Posts: 21
Joined: December 27th, 2011, 7:56 pm

Re: Wii U tablet -- Possible to mod as a wired device?

Postby UAirLtd » September 14th, 2012, 5:02 am

there are limits to what you can practically achieve through modding (unless you're totally hardcore), so it simply comes down to this:

If the Wii U controller has built-in capabilities for wired control, then you will be able to use wires. If the Wii U controller does not have built-in capabilities for wired control, then you will not be able to use wires. I do not imagine a situation where Nintendo design the Wii U controller with built-in capabilities for wired control, and then proceed to disable that feature such that only modders are able to access it. This is unfortunately the case that there is little you can do about major design decisions such as this on a consumer device.
User avatar
UAirLtd
 
Posts: 629
Joined: July 19th, 2011, 10:32 pm

Re: Wii U tablet -- Possible to mod as a wired device?

Postby jopl12 » September 14th, 2012, 6:39 am

Thanks so much for your response! This was actually something I was meaning to ask, and I'm really glad that you responded with an intelligent post.

I'm no technophile, and if I were to ever do a mod, it would be via a guide, so please excuse me if I sound silly in saying this. I always assumed that with game controllers and consoles, since they're both designed to communicate button and input presses between each other, the only thing separating that communication is the method of transmission (wireless/wired). In other words, regardless of whether or not its connected via a wire (through a mod) or a wireless connection, shouldn't they both be able to communicate regardless? Or are you saying that there would have to be some kind of circuitry already embedded on the hardware side of things to accept a wired transmission, and it would be beyond modding?

Cheers, any other info or help is so so so appreciated!
jopl12
 
Posts: 21
Joined: December 27th, 2011, 7:56 pm

Re: Wii U tablet -- Possible to mod as a wired device?

Postby UAirLtd » September 14th, 2012, 7:54 am

Exactly as you say, there needs to be some hardware in there even for a wired connection. Gone are the days when controllers are simple boxes with buttons on them, the Wii U controller is a complex piece of equipment, and the communciations system would need to deal with the dispaly, touchscreen, various motion sensors, audio, as well as buttons.

Wired and wireless data transmission have significant differences, it is not straightforward to go in and interchange the two. Converting a wired device to wireless is difficult, but possible by using a device specifically designed to mimic a wired connection - for example you can purchase wireless USB hubs, and the rarity of such a device should give you an indicator about the difficulty with which it is achieved (using today's technology). The more complex and higher bandwidth the communications, the more difficult this is to achieve. For example for low bit-rate serial connections, there many devices that will do this - hobbyists would be familiar with XBee, and other serial radio modems; while a wireless HDMI transmitter is even more difficult.

Doing things the other way round is probably even less straightforward, to make a wireless device wired usually involves intercepting the signal somewhere inside the device before the wireless module, sending that over the wire, and re-injecting that signal in the correct part of the device on the other end, all while performing any additional data processing that would have been handled by the wireless module or the nature of the wireless transmission itself.

In short, wired and wireless data transmission are fundamentally different, and other than very simple data transmission, modern high-bandwidth communications that are designed to be either wired, or wireless, cannot be coaxed into the other mode very easily. Therefore any system that is designed for both wired and wireless operation will have two separate subsystems, one to handle wired communications, the other to handle wireless. If the Wii U controller lacks the wired subsystems, there is little chance that you would be able to add one by piggy-backing off the wireless system.

I'm not ruling out what you want to do as impossible, I can imagine a few circumstances where if the Wii U controller does not ship with wired control support but you would still be able to mod it; for example if the Wii U did have the wired subsystem (such as if that functionality was integrated into its microprocessor itself just as USB functionality is built into the processors/SoCs of today's smartphones and tablets) but the few external passive components required were simply not installed, but I would deem this to be unlikely.
User avatar
UAirLtd
 
Posts: 629
Joined: July 19th, 2011, 10:32 pm

Re: Wii U tablet -- Possible to mod as a wired device?

Postby KillerBug » September 14th, 2012, 1:06 pm

If you wanted to have all the functions including the screen through wires it would be a heck of a hack, with a rather thick cable...but if you just wanted the buttons and sticks, you could probably pull that off using a teensy 2.0++ to read the states and transmit them back to the console by USB. Of course, it would be rather pointless since you might just as well get a much cheaper wired controller that would do the same thing without hurting your hands when you held it.
KillerBug
 
Posts: 32
Joined: August 6th, 2012, 10:33 am

Re: Wii U tablet -- Possible to mod as a wired device?

Postby jopl12 » September 14th, 2012, 8:44 pm

Guys, I am absolutely floored by your amazing responses. Thank you so much for your informative posts. It's great that you guys are able to lend a helping hand.

KillerBug wrote:If you wanted to have all the functions including the screen through wires it would be a heck of a hack, with a rather thick cable...


This reminds me of the fact that developer kits for the Wii U have required the tablet controller to be tethered to the unit at all times. See the following leaked images: http://www.abload.de/img/screenshot2012-04-27aqbupq.png and http://attackofthefanboy.com/wp-content ... roller.jpg

As you can see, both of those cords clearly connect into a port that is absent from the retail unit here: http://www.extremetech.com/wp-content/u ... d-back.jpg But I thought it was worth noting nonetheless. Would this lend any credence to the possibility? Perhaps if the dev units are hardwired to communicate via wire, the retail ones might retain that functionality if it were to be modded?

---------

In regards to your post UAirLtd, thanks for telling me all that. That makes sense to me now, and I suppose all we have to do now is wait until the console launches so we can find out ourselves! If you're planning on picking one up (or if you know anyone who is), I'd love to see what they have to say about the possibility of this topic come Nov 18th. In the worst case scenario, I would pay hundreds for this kind of hack to be done if it had to be.
jopl12
 
Posts: 21
Joined: December 27th, 2011, 7:56 pm

Re: Wii U tablet -- Possible to mod as a wired device?

Postby UAirLtd » September 15th, 2012, 2:57 am

Ah I see now, yes it is feasible that all the pads are in place on the PCB for the wired connector and all you would have to do is solder in the connector itself and any chips and passives. This would imply that the Wii U controller has built-in wired connection interface that simply isn't populated, and modding involves reenabling this rather than doing ANYTHING to the wireless communications stage.

If these are dev kits, perhaps you could pick up a development controller off eBay?
User avatar
UAirLtd
 
Posts: 629
Joined: July 19th, 2011, 10:32 pm

Re: Wii U tablet -- Possible to mod as a wired device?

Postby jopl12 » September 15th, 2012, 3:43 am

UAirLtd wrote:Ah I see now, yes it is feasible that all the pads are in place on the PCB for the wired connector and all you would have to do is solder in the connector itself and any chips and passives. This would imply that the Wii U controller has built-in wired connection interface that simply isn't populated, and modding involves reenabling this rather than doing ANYTHING to the wireless communications stage.


Ah! That's great to hear. Although we won't know for sure until it launches, it's certainly a cause for hope.

One thing: When reenabling the built-in wired connection interface that you talk about, would that automatically switch off the wireless transmission when connected via a wire, as I'm hoping for?

If these are dev kits, perhaps you could pick up a development controller off eBay?


Interesting idea. I don't know if it would be that easy to find one readily available on there... but I could certainly put out the word and see if I get any bites. Do you know of any other possible methods/platforms where this could be feasibly done?

Oh, and thanks so much for your continued help!
jopl12
 
Posts: 21
Joined: December 27th, 2011, 7:56 pm

Re: Wii U tablet -- Possible to mod as a wired device?

Postby UAirLtd » September 15th, 2012, 6:05 am

I don't know about turning off the wireless connection, but there are always "dirtier" ways of getting that done (i.e. replacing the antenna with something non-radiative like a resistor).
User avatar
UAirLtd
 
Posts: 629
Joined: July 19th, 2011, 10:32 pm

Re: Wii U tablet -- Possible to mod as a wired device?

Postby jopl12 » September 15th, 2012, 6:55 am

Ah okay--yep, good point.

Alright, well now we just play the waiting game! I'll be bumping this thread around the console's launch... hopefully soon after someone on the internet will find out the answers to our questions and whether or not a mod is possible. :) If a mod ends up being required and I can't find a dev unit, I really hope I'll be able to find someone to help me out.

Since I'm not the best when it comes to hacking apart such things, if any folks reading this are wondering (or even you yourself UAirLtd!), I'd pay up to $200USD incl. shipping to have this done (if that price was absolutely required) if I couldn't find anyone locally. Here's hoping it doesn't come to that, but we'll see!
jopl12
 
Posts: 21
Joined: December 27th, 2011, 7:56 pm

Next

Return to The new gadget brainstorm pit

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest