Nintendo fights Wii modchips with new motherboard, modders claim

UPDATED MARCH 27: Nintendo has changed the design of its Wii games console to combat modchips, modchip developers in China have charged. Several design changes can be seen on new Wii motherboards, in photographs that appear to support these claims.

Some sources allege that the changes make it more likely the Wii could be damaged by modchip installation, we have not been able to verify this, however.

Modchips are small circuit boards that are added to the Wii to enable users to copy games to standard disc formats. Nintendo has charged that they are used for piracy, although manufacturers and users point out that they have legitimate backup purposes.nintendo wii and controller green

Small change ups mod risk

The photograph below shows the points where the motherboard has been changed, making it far more difficult to install current modchips, according to the claims from a modchip installer reported on the MyDrivers.Com forum (Chinese language site). The notes are translated from Chinese by

The new positioning of traces on the motherboard reduces the spacing between the limited accessible contact points, making it much more difficult to solder modchip connections into place, the reports say. A key modchip attachment point has been removed from the surface of the board, forcing modchip installers to solder modchips directly to a pin on one of the Wii's chips.

wii_motherboard_design_change_modchip_wiikey_attachThe pins on the chip are less than 1mm apart. Soldering wires onto these closely spaced pins requires great skill. The modchip installer risks shorting out adjacent pins with solder.

This can render the console temporarily inoperable, until the unwanted solder bridge is removed.

It is unclear if shorting out these pins can permanently damage the Wii.

However, in the worst case, an inexperienced modder using the wrong tools or making a clumsily-applied soldering joint could overheat or melt part of the chip - destroying the console.

wii_new_modchip_attach_points_wiikeyThe photograph above illustrates how attachment points for the popular WiiKey modchip from NeoAsic have changed. Other modchips may also be affected. The second photograph, on the right, compares the critical modchip attachment points on the old and new Wii motherboard layouts.

'Inexperienced modders could damage Wii'

As the old and new motherboards appear almost identical at first glance, the forum poster says, modchip installers have already begun to damage new Wii consoles by using the old installation procedure. Other commenters suggest that this may come as no surprise to Nintendo.

The modchip developers are also concerned that Nintendo may eventually change its chip packaging technique from the current PQFP, in which the chip's metal connections are accessible around its edges, to BGA (Ball Grid Array), where the connections are hidden underneath. With a BGA design, console manufacturers can make suitable modchip connections very hard to access, by not linking them to the top or bottom layer of the multi-layer motherboard.

Correction: We earlier incorrectly described the chip packaging as TSOP, it is PQFP (Plastic Quad Flat Pack).

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The Solder-free Modchips

Does the Wii have any solder free mod for it yet? My deluxe Xbox mod boards had a sort of spring to make the contact without soldiering it

Knew this would happen...

The modders need to go back to work!

There are no solder free

There are no solder free modchips for it. The only reason the xbox can be hacked so easily is that someone found an exploit to crack the kernel(core operating code). Nothing has been found to run unsigned code on the wii yet.

Solder free modchip not possible

Thanks. Do you mean a solder free modchip is not possible on the Wii?

Partially Correct

I believe this person was referring to a modchip that actually connects to the bus by friction instead of by soldering. You can buy it as an addition to the Xecuter X3 from (or at least you could the last time I ever checked).

The kernel hack sounds interesting - but I like being able to disable my modchip and enable games with protections to play.

I own the games on my XBOX but I like using it as a Media Center.

It plays my anime fansubs better than Windows MCE does. :P

Reported in Taiwan

I ever seen this in Taiwan. I sure I saw a photo like this on Taiwan's website a days ago THere're many people concern about it

Where did you see this?

Thanks for your comment! Could you tell us more about it because we don't have enough information yet!
 Maybe a link to the website? ( 講中文可以!)

Knew this would happen...

The modders need to go back to work!

There is an easy fix, using

There is an easy fix, using paper and epoxy, cover the pins that you are not soldering then with a fine tip iron solder the 1 point you are connecting all done and no chance of a solder bridge. Careful with the epoxy though, use a toothpick or something to apply it.

Does this work?

Can someone please elaborate on this process? and has anyone tried this yet (on the wii or anything else)? Will this damage my wii or will it bridge the connections?

how to...?

can anyone give details and a more concise procedure? and will this short or bridge my wii connections?

Remember Human can hack

Human can hack anything created by Human

NO solder needed-Hack, quack, FAQ

You can buy commercially available conductive silver epoxies...

is this safe? please

is this safe? please elaborate...

For now...

I'm sure the modders will fix this. It's a cat and mouse game...always!

this doesn't scare me...

whatever they try to do, there will ALWAYS be a work around no matter how difficult it will be to do it, it will still be possible to install a mod chip and run backups.

Would be good to know the

Would be good to know the Serial numbers start of the new boards so we know what not to buy

all MOBOs are moddable now

all MOBOs are moddable now but a bit harder?

Which type is more easier to install the modchip?

Which type is more easier to install the modchip?
Drive chip are cut or not cut?
which one is more easier to install?

we sell all kinds of game

we sell all kinds of game parts

Hello everyone


I've just desided to register here, so... hello everyone ! :)

My ps2 winhiip hdd loading problems

Hello! I loaded my ost image files in my hdd using winhiip175 but when i installed my hdd in my ps2 after the matrix logo in my tv it turns black...whats my problems

mod chip install

Thanks for the info, i have a D2C board with the new pin configuration as you have described here. Can you confirm for me that it is the fourth pin on the chip that is location #3. it appears to be pin #4 but just checking. John.

mod chip install

Thanks for the info, i have a D2C board with the new pin configuration as you have described here. Can you confirm for me that it is the fourth pin on the chip that is location #3. it appears to be pin #4 but just checking. John.

this was my question, thanks for posting it but i didnt give you my email for a reply
many thanks John.

One word...Drive Key Mod

One word...Drive Key Mod Chip...

Killzone 2?

Killzone 2 - the best PS3 game yet?Still LittleBigPlanet for me, but Sony's new shooter is mightily impressive. What you think about my web?

Mod chips

Wow i really didn't know that you could install a mod chip in a Mobo that easy. Or near in future it could become ordinary for everyone. Thanks for the article. Keep up the good work!