Repair Of Wii Game Console Sensor Bar

My daughter came to me complaining that our cat had chewed into the Wii sensor bar and it now fails to work.  I looked at the cable and indeed the cat had chewed right through the outer insulation and right into the wires.  Just over three feet nearest the antenna was damaged in about three places.  The remedy was to cut the wire at the last break and solder it into the bar.

Location of wire breaks.
Location of wire breaks.

I was later to find out that the connector that mates with the game controller is not available at my local electronics store.  I had to go into the antenna and shorten the cable.  I was successful and here is the procedure I used.

There are a number of very small screws that need to be removed from the rear of the bar.  I did not have the correct tool and had to go to an electronics store and purchase a Prokit’s Industries, Tri-Wing Driver with shaft #0 tip size.   The tool was less than $4.  I found that when putting the sensor bar back together that this screwdriver would hold the screws perfectly and I did not need to use a second hand to hold the screw in the hole.

Turn the bar so the back is facing upward.  Right away you will notice two screws that need to be removed.   You will have to remove four more for a total of 6.  Two screws will be at the end of the bar under a very thin rubber cover.  Gently peel back this rubber starting from the end of the bar and you should quickly see the hidden screws.  Remove both.

Hidden Screws
Hidden Screws

 

The next image shows the hidden screw location at the end of the bar, the black sensor lid pulled away from sensors at the end.  Take note of the how the black lid comes off.  One end of the lid has a hook and the other end has a “L” shaped tab seen below.  It is a bit tricky putting all the pieces together after you have soldered the new wires in place.

Sensors shown, sensor lid and two screw locations.
Sensors shown, sensor lid and two screw locations.

 

 

Next. gently separate the clear plastic stand that holds the bar correctly upon a horizontal surface.  This stand is only held in place by a sticky surface but it is quite strong so take care not to break it.

Sensor bar middle screws
Note the clear plastic bar stand at the top of the image. I have put red arrows where the two screws are located.

Once all the large black plastic back can be removed, the circuit board will be seen at one end.   I cut just over 3 feet of wire from the end of the cable going into the sensor bar which was damaged.  I still had plenty of cable to reach the Wii controller.  I cut out the bad section of wire.  I removed insulation from the wire end and soldered it in place.  I did have difficulty with the wire quality.  It was a pain to remove the thin cotton string that wrapped the wire.  Then I found that the wire would not tin properly until I used a high wattage soldering iron.  To finally solder the wires on to the circuit board, I used a low wattage pencil iron with thin solder.

This image shows the solder points.
This image shows the solder points.

 

 

The next problem was to properly calculate and execute a knot in the wire.  This took some time to match the same distance between where the knot is to rest in the middle of the bar and the circuit board.  Below I have outlined where the knot must rest with the color green.  I am most sorry that the image below does not show the knot in the box.  The plastic tape wire with a red stripe can easily be lifted so you can stuff the knot into that little box.

Proper knot placement is inside the green box.
Proper knot placement is inside the green box.

 

Putting the bar back together requires patience and some puzzle experience.  The wire must be placed properly within channels.  The black sensor lids must hook properly and close properly into both ends of the bar.  The black back must be placed carefully down upon the bar and care and good visual confirmation must be made that the back is down in place before you put those 6 screws into the bar.  I wish you good luck.  Just take your time, have good light and maybe a magnifying glass as the parts are small.

The solution I used to keep our cats from eating the wire again was to run the whole cable into a white garden hose that I had that was darn near perfect length.  It was left over from my pool sweep.  A large diameter hose was needed because of the connector size.  I was able to hide this awful garden hose pretty well by running it along the back of our wide flat screen TV.

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