Wii IR sensor/track bar conversion to USB or external power

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Wii IR sensor/track bar conversion to USB or external power

Postby Sethioz » Tue Apr 16, 2013 5:34 am

Today i spent 2 hours examining the Wii trackbar / sensor bar and it made me laugh so hard.
Well first, it looks like they gone down in price a lot, but they used to cost a lot more, that said, now i say its complete rip off, specially the ones that are USB powered, complete rip off.

So what it actually is? they call it sensor bar, but it has no sensors in it. i call it trackbar, because all it has, is simple IR LEDs. I have old wii trackbar that has 10 LEDs in it, but i think it's only purpose is to show people how "complicated" it is, while it really isn't. You only need 2 LEDs really, that's it. maybe they have more to make it more accurate and to prevent stuff from covering the line of sight, like wires. if you put a single wire in front of it, it would not work, but with many LEDs single wire in the way is no problem, maybe even waving your hand there won't get in the way with more LEDs, but 2 should do just fine.

Cool thing to try - if you have any sort of camera, phone, webcam..etc. turn down your lights in the room and look at the trackbar thru camera, you see the lights so well, but with naked eye you can't see IR (infrared at all). its quite amazing effect thru camera. Also looking at your TV remote's IR LED has same effect, you can see it blinking when pressing buttons.


Moving on, now to convert Wii trackbar / sensor bar onto external power or USB power, it's easy.
cut the wire off from wii trackbar and connect it to external power or usb, here's quick guide how.

1. USB is 5v
Wii trackbar with 6 LEDs total is 5v (3 on each side), not sure about the one that has 4 (might be 5v, but no idea)
So you need USB coming from pc / laptop, cut the usb wire (disconnect it from pc ofcourse!!)
clean the red and black wire (silver casing / surrounding shield wire will do too as black).
so in other words, RED is + and Black is - (also case / silver casing is -)
Wii trackbar has red and gold (yellow / orange) wires.
RED is + and other one is -
connect them up, + to + and - to - by following the colors, no need to solder, just twist them together properly and use the electric tape to seal them off and you're done.

2. Wii trackbar that has 10 LEDs in total (one that i have) is 7.5v, so you have to find external power supply for it, i used old motorola phone charger that is exactly 7.5v.
use volt meter to see which wire is + and - on your adapter or rely on the markings on the adapter.
Most power adapters have it marked, which one is + and which one is -, no need to cut the wire off of adapter, simply stick one of the wire into the end and wrap other around the outer side (make sure + and - are correct).
usually inside is + and outside is -, but sometimes its other way around, so make sure to measure it with voltmeter / tester or check from adapter.
connect them up and off you go.
mine worked fine.


This is just quick guide, i wanted to post it up or i might forget it. its 6am and i need some sleep, so just threw quick guide here and saying it works and is confirmed and approved by me :)

special thanks to 7Ds who quickly found me a GlovePIE script that uses trackbar so i was able to give it a quick test.


UPDATE
I just took my remote controller and pointed it into Wiimote .. it reacts to it as expected. So any IR LED will do just fine, but you need 2 really.
based on my tests, you need to have 2 IR LEDs and put them on both sides of monitor, in middle (not on top or bottom of monitor, but middle).
This should work best. for better precision and smoother movement you can use 4 LEDs in total, 2 on each side with about 1cm cap between.

Reason why original wii sensor bar has 10 LEDs, is for wider angles and better distance, however i still don't see why 10, 3 on each side would do.
mine has 3 pointing straight and 2 angled, angled ones i fully understand, it's so that if you move left or right from monitor, it will still react to it, but why 3 in middle?? for distance? i doubt, but maybe.
mine works fine from 3 meter distance.
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