Sunday, July 10, 2011

Dad... We broke the Wii Nunchuck...

I came home from a business trip to find this on my desk.  My desk, being the dumping ground for broken and hopefully repairable toys.  This one immediately had a special place in the throbbing vein in my forehead.

"Look at it! Did it break while you were beating your brother with it ?!"

The claim is that the plug was 'stuck' and while trying to remove it from the Wiimote that the cable ripped out.  Possible, I suppose.

So we get to dismantling the connector.  

After removing the cover, you have to slightly lift the metal plug while depressing the side latches, allowing it to slide free from the plastic housing.  

This is much trickier than it sounds.

Looking at the back of the plug there are 6 terminals.  The challenge of course, figuring out which is which.

I had to skin the cable quite a bit back to get to a point where the wires weren't damaged.

This reveals a shield wrap, plus 4 colored wires (red, yellow, white, green) which seems to match just fine with my bare terminals on the connector.

Unfortunately I couldn't find any one source of information that told me which colors coordinate with which terminals.  However there are quite a few sites outlining the different signals that come from the nun chucks, in trying to connect them into Arduino projects and such.

I found this picture on the WiiBrew website page that covered Wiimote/Extension controllers.

This works well as I can follow their labels through the back of the connector to know which terminal is SCL, GND, VCC, Device Detect, and SDA.  Now I just need to find out which color wires go with which signal.  It was then that I realized what was immediately apparent to my 9 year old....... Just open up one of the other nunchuck connectors and make it match.... Kids with their big brains.... pfffft!

This was not without it's own issues.  The only other nunchucks we have are Nintendo branded ones.  And Nintendo found it necessary to put proprietary screws on the connectors.  Really.... Nintendo..... Really?!

So, a very very small flat head tip was able to bite enough to remove the screws. Giving me enough of a view to figure out which colors needed to land on which terms.

So that I end up with a map that looks like this.  And for those keeping score at home, this means that:


Hopefully this will be of use to the next part time repairman like myself.

So after a bit of stripping wires, some solder removal, re soldering of connections, and reassembly......

I realized that my soldering skills (and patience) weren't up to the level required.  Wires that are just way too tiny, in way too cramped quarters to keep from having shorts occur between them.

I still put it all back together and gave it a run on the Wii..........

But in the end, it's getting filed under file #42.  The $15 or so charge for a new controller just isn't sufficient enough of a deterrent to keep me going at it.  No harm, no foul.  Always enjoy the challenge.  And maybe someone else will take the info and have better luck.


  1. Thanks for posting this. Watching 'The Colony' and felt like I needed to be productive and fix a controller.

    1. Your post gave me the confidence to fix mine. Damn it's fiddly. Nearly smashed it with a sledge hammer at one point.

  2. THANK YOU! I have a similar story - my 5 year old son thought that if it didn't pull out gently, a good hard yank would do ....

    I searched for 15 minutes trying to get a straight answer on what colored wires go where. I had five wires to contend with, but was able to figure out the fifth wire based on the old solder points on the plug.

    Turns out if you have a black or grey lead, it gets soldered to the rabbit/alcove on the metal plug itself. (Not sure what the black wire was for, but this nun-chuck lights up, which I'm sure has something to do with it.)

    As you mentioned, the little wires are a pain, and I have less experience at soldering than even the mildest geek, but with patience, extra lighting and your help was able to get it working again.

  3. Thank you for your info and pics they helped me to repair my nunchucks

    ive found that if you leave a bit of wire on the connector to do the soldering and then cut some insulaton tape you can refit the solder joins in the connector housing

    Daddy Dwayne
    ps i used this method to repair my nunchucks from overuse and the wire becomes twisted just outside the connector just remove 6inch of wire reconnect thank you

    1. Glad it was of some help! I hadn't thought about leaving a bit of wire to give some space to work with for the solder.

  4. could not find color wire diagram for my POWER-A nunchuk so i mapped it myself SDA-green VCC-red SCL-yellow GND-white/black. hope it helps someone out their.

  5. Bro! My 3 year old son and I thank you!

  6. Replies
    1. black wire...... hmmm.... this was so long ago. I see that black wire in the center of the plug, but can't recall what it was or what I did with it. It would seem it has to be tied to the 'device detect' or 'unused' pins.... of course unused wouldn't make any sense.

      is it the center one you're looking at?

    2. My Nunchuk has four wires: green, white, red, black. No yellow wire! So I asumed the black one as the yellow wire and put it in the VCC-Terminal. Unfortunately after reassembling and connecting to the Wii remote control the Nunchuk wasn't detected.

      Has somebody else any idea?

      Nunchuk-Vendor: PLAYon

  7. My rabbit bit through the cable in the middle. Should I skin the outer shell an conect the wires again? I'm not very good at electricity, and my dad is on a fishing trip atm and my little brother and his friend are nagging me to fix it...

    1. It's probably fixable. But the wires in there are quite tiny and difficult to work with. Skinning the outer cable is the easy part. Skinning the tiny inner ones is a bit more difficult. You may want to wait for your dad to try it.

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  9. My Dog chewed up my SNES Mini controller and the extension controller. I had to bandaid them both together to get a working controller back. Of course the wire colors are random on the extension.

    What I did was put my meter to beep and tested each controller port lead down into the controller and duplicate it.