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How to hook the Wiimote to your PC

8/17/2007

Hooking a Wiimote to your PC should be rather easy, no? After all it is just a Bluetooth device. Pair it up, and go? Unfortunately no. Bluetooth sucks. Google will be enough to prove this, and if not once you see what you need to do to hook your Wiimote to your PC you will become a convert.

Bluetooth Sucks?

But my bluetooth headset works fine! My bluetooth mouse works too! Sure, simple devices like those usually work. Try something besides a mouse or a headset. For more details you can read my previous Bluetooth needs a dentist entry.

Step 1 - Hardware

Maybe your computer already has Bluetooth. If so you are probably feeling pretty smug that you do not need to buy a Bluetooth dongle. But the news is, chances are your Bluetooth adapter will not work with the Wiimote. So you will need to consider to buy a Bluetooth USB adapter anyways. You need to choose carefully, most of the dongles will not work either.

You also need to make sure you get a genuine one. There are many counterfeit Bluetooth adapters. They say they are from one company, but actually are fakes with completely different chips inside. If you guy a counterfeit one, you have no idea if it will work or not with the Wiimote.

Some devices partially work. For example, you might get the Wiimote paired, but cannot read any input. Or you might get partial input, but no motion reports. The Microsoft Bluetooth adapters that come with all the wireless mice, keyboards, and Powerpoint presenters all work that way. They tease you enough to make you think they might work, but the will not.

So how can you choose a Bluetooth adapter that will work with your Wiimote? Consult the List of working Bluetooth Devices at WiiBrew. If you find others, please be kind and update the page.

Step 2 - Bluetooth Software

So now you really feel smug, you have Bluetooth hardware that is known to work. Now the problem is that your Bluetooth stack (Bluetooth software) probably does not implement the full Bluetooth specification.

Microsoft Stack

Using the Microsoft one in XP, Vista, or the software that came with Microsoft hardware? Surely that works? Nope. It was designed for basic devices like mice and keyboards. It does not know what to do with advanced input from a device like the Wiimote and discards data beyond simple button presses.

BlueSoleil Stack

Many people have found success with BlueSoleil. I was never able get BlueSoleil to work, even after a lot of fiddling. The only thing I have ever been able to do is crash Windows, and many users have contacted me with the same results. If you have no other choices though, try BlueSoleil, it works for some. BlueSoleil Tutorial

WIDCOMM Stack

The WIDCOMM stack is bundled with many popular dongles and is reported to work properly. Just because the WIDCOMM stack is bundled with a specific device does not mean the device itself will work, so be sure to stick to devices known to work.

Toshiba Stack

The Toshiba Stack seems to be the best and most advanced stack available. It is the stack that I am using. The Toshiba stack however has some non-technical issues. If you have a Toshiba laptop, or your laptop comes bundled with Toshiba drivers (Motion Computing and several others) then you can download the latest Toshiba Stack for free and upgrade.

If you have any other computer, the Toshiba Stack will not install. In the past you could buy the stack for around $60, however Toshiba has stopped selling it as a separate offering. There are forums describing how to install the Toshiba Stack on non Toshiba and non bundled platforms but such usage is likely illegal in most countries.

Step 3 - Pair your Wiimote

Fortunately once you have successfully passed steps 1 and 2, it is easy from here. To pair the Wiimote, hold down the 1 and 2 buttons at the same time. The blue lights on the bottom should start to blink. Now start the pairing process in your Bluetooth software. Keep holding down the buttons until pairing is complete. If you let up, the Wiimote will time out and turn off. If it does this before pairing is complete, pairing will fail. If you are using the Toshiba stack, after you have connected the Wiimote it should look like this. Note the green and yellow markings on top, these signify it is connected, and not just paired.

Step 4 - Access your Wiimote

Now you have to access the Wiimote. The Wiimote is implemented as a HID device. Which in some ways might be thought of a serial device over USB. You can send commands to trigger rumble, turn on and off the blue lights, etc. To get reports of buttons, accelerometer, etc you can either poll it, or receive updates. Nintendo did not document all of this in public view, but fortunately hackers have reverse engineered it. If you want to have a go at it, you can check out Wiimote Protocol at WiiLi. There are also many libraries available for .NET, Delphi, C++ and more. For .NET I use Brian Peek's WiimoteLib.

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Comments:

Dian on 11.06.2009 wrote: Is the Toshiba Bluetooth stack, also called a Bluetooth usb adapter. Could you send me a link, so I can see a piture. Thanks
Chad Z. Hower on 11.06.2009 wrote: The adapter is the hardware. The stack is the software. You also need a driver.
Dian on 11.06.2009 wrote: After reviewing your instructions, I found some important issues which you have not addressed. 1) if you use the Microsoft Bluetooth Stack, somehow you loose the icons, for the Toshiba Bluetooth preinstalled software. Start-Programs-Toshiba-Bluetooth Settings. 2)If you decide to use the Toshiba Bluetooth STack, you must delete the Microsoft Bluetooth Stack 3)To get back your preinstalled icons, restore your system to a restore point of your choice. 4) I will be purchasing my Toshiba Bluetooth usb/hardware device. Thanks Chad
Aaron on 11.06.2009 wrote: I have my Wiimote paired. Haven't figured out how to use it yet. My $30 USB BlueTooth adapter came with the Toshiba stack. It removed the MS, and Installed itself, and paired. That's cheaper than buying software... if it works. It was the Cirago BTA-3210
Tom on 11.06.2009 wrote: Can you use the WII Remote as a mouse on the desktop and in folders or can you only play games with it.
Chad Z. Hower on 11.06.2009 wrote: You can control the mouse with it if you like.
jamie on 11.06.2009 wrote: its so much easer to do this with a mac
David on 11.06.2009 wrote: This tutorial might be good but it is also rude :P
Shane on 11.06.2009 wrote: I was able to get the Wiimote to connect with the stock Bluetooth setup on Vista x64 on an HP tx2000 tablet. With another program ( Wiimote Presenter ) I'm able to use it as a powerpoint presentation remote with handy extra features.
Crag on 11.06.2009 wrote: going on and on about how not to connect a wiimote to the pc is annoying
Chad Z. Hower on 11.06.2009 wrote: You are free to do the trial and error yourself.
Rickate on 11.06.2009 wrote: Can you send me an email with the libraryies for delphi?? good stuff cya
Chad Z. Hower on 11.06.2009 wrote: I've never done it from Delphi. I know that there were some rudimentary libs for Delphi, but I dont know their current status.
Richard P. on 11.06.2009 wrote: I appreciated the frank comments about how not to connect. I have struggled with this for a while with different stacks and dongles. Just like you said, it teases you enough to make you think it's going to work. Now I know it isn't me. Thanks
Used Refurbished Laptops on 11.06.2009 wrote: Toshiba ships the Tecra R10 with Windows Vista Business as standard, and this operating system comes with its own performance measurement tool, the Windows Experience Index. Under this, the Tecra achieved a score of 3.8, but this was pegged back by the system's low score for 3D gaming graphics due to the integrated functions in its Intel chipset. For each of memory, graphics and hard disk performance, the Tecra scored over 5, where 5.9 is the maximum
william on 11.06.2009 wrote: In the UK, the Tesco-brand Technika bluetooth dongle appears to come with the toshiba stack.
Videogamer on 11.06.2009 wrote: please send me how to program it in Visual Basic 6.0 (screw delphi, C++, and the rest) Also if you know where I can get drivers that cause it to be recognised by the computer as a mouse or joystick, let me know. My email address is: videogamer555@gmail.com
Sam Christie on 11.06.2009 wrote: I wonder if someone has had the same issues as me. I am able to pair my Wiimote with my Dell D610. Looking in device manager I can see 2 items listed under bluetooth radios 1 Dell wireless 550 bluetooth module 2 Microsoft bluetooth enumerator Problem - I am able to connect by holding down 1 and 2 etc while adding the device etc. Once this is complete I am able to calibrate etc and use the Wiimote Whiteboard. What I cant figure out is what I should do the following time I wish to use the Wiimote whiteboard (i.e. after a shutdown). I woudl have guessed that once paired I should be able to simply press a button on the wiimote to wake it up and then run WiimoteWhiteboard.exe Clearly this is irritating rather than a showstopper, but it does make it more dificult for me to encourage teachers to use this technology. Thanks, Sam
Chad Z. Hower on 11.06.2009 wrote: I have a Wiiboard, but I havent tried to attach it to the PC yet. But again, the major obstacle here the absolute horribly designed, documented, and managed Bluetooth technology.... If USB were half as poorly done as Bluetooth, we'd all still be using serial and parallel ports. I cant wait for Wireless USB to take off....
movers on 11.06.2009 wrote: great post I realy like it
moving on 11.06.2009 wrote: Bluetooth is at its core a cable-replacement technology
jammer on 11.06.2009 wrote: nice post thank u sir
israel elections on 11.06.2009 wrote: nice 1 love u all
Denver Movers on 11.06.2009 wrote: made my day
oozerof on 29.06.2009 wrote: rapidshare-provider.com Find the files you are looking for at rapidshare-provider.com the most comprehensive source for free-to-try files downloads on the Web
worldnick on 28.08.2009 wrote: Your list of working bluetooth devices link currently does not go to the 'list of currently working bluetooth devices' wiki page. After some searching this is the correct link : http://wiibrew.org/wiki/List_of_Working_Bluetooth_Devices It is not straight forward wear to find that link so you might want to change yours. Thank you!
Kudzu on 30.08.2009 wrote: Thanks. I've updated the link.
Stephanie F on 15.09.2009 wrote: Hey guys, The latest Smoothboard version now does not require manual Bluetooth connection but handle automatic connection with the computer through a Bluetooth adaptor using MS Bluetooth Stack. Check it out at http://www.smoothboard.net

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