WiiMote Charger Repair

2019-01-29 00:36 - Making

The fault: a pad has lifted away, breaking the connection.

I've had a Wii at my Mom's for several years. It's still fun to break out Bowling or Dr. Mario once in a while when visiting. This one came used, with rechargeable batteries for the WiiMotes, and a cradle to charge them. Last visit, the cradle stopped charging correctly. It wouldn't get power as expected. Wiggling the plug could help a bit, but not reliably. So I brought it home with me to take a look, which I finally did this weekend. (Delayed writing this post a bit for no good reason.

This little pictured board is one of two inside. This just holds the power connector and switch, and routes some wires out: to the other board which handles battery charging, and to some LEDs which indicate that the thing is switched on. From the symptoms, I suspected a bad power connection. First thing I tried was re-flowing the three pins on the barrel jack. Didn't help. The second thing I tried was wicking the solder away from the pads. I got lucky, the first one I tried was the problem. Look very closely and you might be able to see a bit of curling near the top and bottom (as pictured) of the bare pad near the middle. It's lifted away from the trace, so it doesn't conduct the power to where it needs to go.

It took a bit of investigation to hit this "lucky" find. When my first attempt didn't work, I started figuring out what all the connections do. There's more connections (five) on the power switch than it would seem to need (two!), and more wires leading off than seemed strictly necessary. Eventually I found that this pin of the barrel jack did not have a connection over to any of the other places that it should have.

A wider view of the whole contraption. The fix in place: an extra wire to carry the power where it should go.

Here's a view of everything else. There's a second (pair of, pass-through) power connector(s). And the fix: an extra wire added in, to carry the power that the PCB trace isn't carrying anymore. I didn't bring the batteries with me to confirm, but the power indicator LEDs light up reliably now. I re-assembled everything with gobs of hot glue for both insulation and hopefully some more mechanical support of the power connector, so such a failure is a bit less likely to re-occur.


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