11 Replies Latest reply on Feb 17, 2019 11:35 AM by w4ldron

    Wii U Gamepad - Raspberry Pi


      So I am embarking upon a new project following the same concept as Ben Heck's raspberry pi game pad, but instead using a Wii U gamepad as a case. I found this case on ebay which was perfect since is still had all the buttons...


      Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 11.19.17 PM.png

      So now here is my rough plan...

      Screen Shot 2016-01-25 at 8.47.28 PM.png

      As you can see I plan on using an Xbox 360 controller which I will solder all the existing buttons from the Wii U gamepad to. I'm choosing an Xbox controller because it just seems simpler to solder the buttons from as opposed to any other controller I've seen. My one question is the fact that both the d-pad and abxy buttons on the wii u all run through a blue ribbon connector... not sure if I will have to scrape away some of the blue to reveal a solder point or what??


      If the Xbox controller doesn't work as the game controller that Ben Heck used didn't work, I may also have to go the route of using a teensy like he did. It would be smaller and I wouldn't have the issue of running out of space inside the case as I might with the Xbox controller. Yet I'm not sure what the pins will be for both analog sticks and back trigger buttons and bumpers?


      The other issue I'm struggling with is the screen. Should I use an actual 6.2 inch Wii U screen? I believe the ribbon connector on their screen is a 60 pin and therefore in order to connect it to the pi, I would have to find maybe a 60 to 40 pin converter??? (Really I haven't found any information online of anyone even attempting to connect a Wii U gamepad screen to a raspberry pi... so I would be doing this blindly.) OR... I just get a backup TFT LCD either a 5" or 7" (which would mean I need to trim the screen opening on the wii u gamepad case if its 7"... which could get tricky if I don't do it right.)


      I did find this image of what this guy tried to do with a 5" TFT LCD screen and its not horrible... but a bigger screen would be really awesome!!

      case work6.jpg

      Going this route would also mean having to go with a higher volt battery supply like Ben Heck did. As he discovered, those backup LCD's take about 12v to run and dies at about 6v, so I would just have to add a 5v regulator power supply onto the 7.4v lipo battery to lessen the voltage for the pi.


      Anywho, this is where I am at so far, just trying to concept and pull all the parts together that I need. I would love to hear any ideas or suggestions on how to further make this work. I haven't found a lot of people online doing this... so I wanna make it happen one way or another and maybe I will be the first to post this! I think if I just go down the same path as other raspberry pi gamepad or gameboy designs, it should work... I just have to add more buttons and a bigger screen.

        • Re: Wii U Gamepad - Raspberry Pi

          So I've just put together a list of other additional internal parts I will need to make this work...

          Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 11.07.51 PM.png

          As you can see, I also found something called a Pimoroni Picade Controller PCB. This might be my answer to wiring all the buttons to. Also it has an audio amplifier with headphone jack, which would be perfect so that I don't have to purchase a separate amplifier circuit, and I can use headphones on the gamepad from time to time as well.

          I contacted the company to find out what kind of power supply it takes. It appears to have a mini usb connection, so I assume I can plug this into the raspberry pi and have it run off of its power. Also I need to know if it can handle all the buttons I need...


            • Re: Wii U Gamepad - Raspberry Pi

              So the Wii U Gamepad case came in the mail, and well... I think I underestimated the size... and the space I would have inside of the Wii U Gamepad. So I went back to the drawing board on this and came up with a new design that I think will work. The key is to simplify everything. For one I am removing the battery and plan on having it outside the case as either an added attachment which I can take off when charging and just then plug the device either into the wall or the car. Or permanently attach the battery pack to the back of the device and cover it in epoxy puddy and make it look apart of it after sanding and some paint.



              The other thing is like how Ben Heck did in his Raspberry Pi is to remove some of the components to make it slimmer.


              With this I was still struggling with how to wire all the buttons, I decided NOT to go with the PiCade and instead just stick with the Teensy 2.0... and I was lucky to find someone online who had also done this project...


              Very nice design! I especially am inspired by is frame over the original LCD hole to mask out the gaps left with the 5" LCD instead of the 6.2" LCD. I may do the same thing or go from the inside and epoxy puddy to make smooth. Also his pinout of all the buttons and joysticks really helped out a lot in researching how to make this project work. I took is penciled drawing notes that he did and re-illustrated them into a clearer diagram as you can see below:

              Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 2.22.07 AM.pngScreen Shot 2016-02-03 at 2.21.51 AM.png


              For the buttons though he was able to get some flex ribbon cable connectors with breakout boards for the wiring which even he states was a lot of hassle and took up a lot of room. He even stated after the project was completed that he wished he would have used a SNES controller and used it for the button wiring. I considered this idea but then realized that the ABXY buttons are design further apart than the ones on the gamepad. So I plan on just using tactile buttons like Ben Heck did and wire from those to the Teensy directly. This should save on a lot of space. Also the left and right bummers and triggers I will be reusing old PCB pieces from the left and right bummers and triggers from an PS2 controller.


              The end design that the one guy did worked, but it however did have some errors I found. From my observation he lost a lot of space with the wiring inside and thus his end product he had to put both the battery and the Raspberry Pi outside of the gamepad.



              Not saying that I might run into the same difficulties, but my plan is that if I do run out of internal space, then I will just create with some plastic and epoxy puddy, a thicker case and build out. My new rough layout of how this all will fit will look something like this...

              Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 7.05.26 PM.png

              As you can see I have removed the power boost, audio amplifier and battery from the design. Like I mentioned earlier I plan on just having the battery pack outside the design. But using a cell phone backup charger so it will have all it needs to recharge. Also I


              realized I didn't need the audio amplifier, instead I will just wire directly into the Pi and use a separate wire with volume control added to control the sound. Unfortunately I will loose the headphone feature from this... oh well.

              Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 11.00.15 PM.png

              For the power switch I plan to used the original button with a tactile switch which I will wire into a Mausberry circuit like the one shown to turn it on and off.Also I wish to still use the AV feature for my kids to plug into our van's AV setup for DVD's so that they can all play it on long car rides via the van's video screens.


              I have a lot of work ahead of me... ugh, what have I gotten myself into!?

              1 of 1 people found this helpful
                • Re: Wii U Gamepad - Raspberry Pi

                  Hello there,


                       I was also inspired by the same build, I found him on a r/DIY post. Like you, I felt that there might be some room to change the design around a little. I did not like the external battery or the Pi, call me a purist, but I would love to have something more "sleeper" I am running into the same issue with the screen, I can find a replacement screen for the GamePad on eBay for like $25, and even some driver boards around the same price. The problem I am running into is that I do not know if the generic driver boards I see online would drive the replacement GamePad screen. I am hoping you have more expertise, or knowledge about those to help getting it to work.

                       I found some FPC connector breakout boards on Proto Advantage I chose the connector from Digi-Key, and the soldered it to the board with pins, it came out to around $13 each, and it fits perfect, like factory. I have put the screen on the side burner and have been looking for the correct connector for each of the joysticks. Once I get those sorted out, I can connect them to the Teensy 2.0 for the buttons.

                       My personal plan for the power supply is to cannibalize some portable power packs for cell phones and get them to fit into the battery bay in the GamePad for a sleek look.


                       I would be very interested to hear any thoughts you have on a screen, all of the 7" screens have been just too large to fit, and the 5" screen is just too small. I love the idea of getting the original screen to do my bidding and I hope we can figure something out that way. And it looks like the new RasPi 3 with its embedded wifi and bluetooth and numerous USB ports would be a great fit for this.

                  1 of 1 people found this helpful
                  • Re: Wii U Gamepad - Raspberry Pi

                    hi im building similar project but i have a teensy ++2.0 and the code is not compiling could you help? 

                • Re: Wii U Gamepad - Raspberry Pi

                  I am doing the same build. I am having trouble finding a display driver for the screen also has anyone had any luck?

                  • Re: Wii U Gamepad - Raspberry Pi

                    Found a 6.2" screen that fits the Wii U gamepad

                    • Re: Wii U Gamepad - Raspberry Pi

                      Having some power issues so I'm still tethered to the wall but fully functional.



                      • Re: Wii U Gamepad - Raspberry Pi

                        Hey i was inspired by your wii u pad build. I was wondering if you have anything you would want to change or tips to build my own. I liked the xbox controller idea and was wondering the same thing. Wouldnt that take out all the teensy 2.0 im also confused how to connect the little blue ribbons on the control pad. Do you have a better picture of how you connected it?