Dangers of installing a wii modchip?
November 22, 2007 11:55 AM   Subscribe

Dangers of installing a wii modchip?

i have a European wii (pal) and would like to install a modchip.
Im worried that the modchip will be useless when they release the next update or worse, the console gets rendered useless.
posted by freddymetz to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
First and foremost, if you screw it up, you will have a $250 white plastic brick. Barring that, ensure one is available with flashable ROM so you can upgrade if the firmware renders it useless, also the ability to cloak it or act like it's not there at all is a bonus feature. You will void your warranty.
posted by knowles at 12:09 PM on November 22, 2007

Do a little research on the different types of modchips, and get a solderloss one if possible. Don't be afraid to lay down a little extra cash to get a good chip - after all, it will be enabling more than its money's worth in games.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 12:29 PM on November 22, 2007

yeah, use caution. i now have a beautiful white brick after i botched my install of a wiip. i've done some soldering before, but this is finicky stuff, and i ended up ripping one of the pads off the pcb while trying to adjust the angle of a wire.

anyway, with a successful install and a flashable modchip (like the wiip) you would be very unlikely to have your wii go dead. at very worst i imagine it might stop due to an update for a little while, but the modchip community would be all over that and you'd have a firmware update to get you going again pretty fast.
posted by christy at 12:33 PM on November 22, 2007

Also, it really depends on how old your Wii is. I have one of the first ones from November last year, and so does a work colleague of mine. He got his modded not that long ago with the "wiikey", and from what I understand this particular chip doesn't actually go on the Wii per se, just the DVD drive, and reports to the Wii that everything is happy regardless of the media inserted, so the Wii iteself doesn't actually get modded.

As a result, he can go online, do all the stuff he wants and doesn't have any worries, and I think it can be updated. He also mentioned there was a software program he downloaded and burned onto a disc that will let the Wii play DVDs and Divx burned discs as well. That might be of interest to me more than the playing of backups, as my kid's old enough now that wrecked discs due to carelessness are no longer an issue.

Note however this particular chip only works on the earlier models.

You may also want to check in your area to see if someone is doing this as a sideline semi-professionally. I'd much rather pay someone who solders all day long $40 to install the chip than take the risk of screwing it up with my rusty-ass soldering skills myself. Check Craigslist or similar.
posted by barc0001 at 12:42 PM on November 22, 2007

The last two wii updates have had warnings telling you before they start downloading that if you have a modded wii it will brick it. Then they give you the option of not performing the update. So it appears that it is possible to keep a modded wii indefinitely unless something comes out in an update that you must have.
posted by hindmost at 1:22 PM on November 22, 2007

Data point: We got our Wii chipped at a mom and pop game shop adjacent to a famous and huge shady open-air market, and it works a charm. We have a 1st generation Wii in the UK and have done several system updates with no problem. We dropped it off and picked it up after 2 hours (there were several other Wii owners in that day). You are welcome to email or PM me with any further questions.

We have this chip.
posted by By The Grace of God at 3:51 PM on November 22, 2007

I use the WiiKey (official, not a clone). Updates from Nintendo will not brick your Wii, but they may render the modchip useless.

So far, the copy protection mechanisms have been built into the games (Super Mario Galaxy provided the first real hurdle) but the firmware on the chip can be updated. There is currently a beta build of the firmware available that solves the SMG issue (at least for most people, some people are still having issues).

I highly recommend it. I don't advocate piracy, but the quality of a lot of the Wii games have been so hit and miss that I'm happy to try before I buy and backup the games I really do enjoy (particularly GHIII. The original disc has already been having issues. Happy I have a backup).

For the record, I'm using the latest Wii firmware and I haven't had any issues with older backups, gamecubes games and original media. The WiiKey disables itself when original media is inserted (which is why bricking is highly unlikely).
posted by purephase at 8:06 PM on November 22, 2007

Response by poster: thanks guys, the wiikey seems pretty good.
for the record: I have a first generation wii, i got it a week after it came out in germany.
posted by freddymetz at 10:19 PM on November 22, 2007

If you have an early enough Wii (G2A or G2B revision), no problem. I didn't realize that I had a G2C until I'd already bought the chip and funky little tri-wing screwdriver to open it up...and found that no, a Wiikey wouldn't work with that revision.

So...if you can get your hands on the screwdriver and take a look before you buy, it's all good.

One other thing...this is some very delicate soldering. Not something for a beginner. If you've got an early enough Wii, though, I'm sure it's all good.
posted by rpaxton at 1:36 PM on November 23, 2007

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