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Thursday, June 05, 2008

Nintendo Wii & Tri Wing Screwdrivers

This post is one of several on how to fix problems with your Nintendo Wii. To see the entire list, click here for the Nintendo Wii Repair Guide.

Apparently, I have too much spare time on my hands. Meet my latest project, a broken Nintendo Wii. I decided a couple of weeks ago that I would look for a "bargain" and preferably unmodified, broken Nintendo Wii and proceed to fix it. Just for the heck of it.

After searching for a couple of weeks, last weekend I had a breakthrough. A nice auction on eBay that included the original box, the Nintendo Wii itself, the Sensor Bar, Power Supply, and the audio / video cable came to me at a bargain price. Just under $125 shipped. The seller stated that the system would not insert or eject disks, but otherwise booted up fine. It was exactly what I was looking for.

Well, today that "broken" Nintendo Wii console arrive. And, true to the auction's description, powered on fine -- but there appear to be an issue with the loading mechanism on the Nintendo Wii. Just as expected.

Broken Nintendo Wii Console in need of repair
I mess around with it for a few minutes and decide -- why don't I just disassemble the whole thing. Most likely, I will need to replace the DVD drive on this bad boy anyways. At least I can have some fun taking it apart.

I start the disassembly process.

I get a couple of the panels off and some superficial screws and then I encounter something I do not have a tool for. Drat, a Tri-Wing (Triwing) screw -- requiring a specific Tri-Wing screwdriver. I actually did not expect this -- I figured that it might require a Torx bit or similar driver, maybe even a hex tool. But not a tri-wing, which I had not heard of or did I have one.

To disassemble a Nintendo Wii Console, you need a Tri-Wing Screwdriver

After some brief research I find that the Tri-wing is a tamper resistant screw that Nintendo, among some other manufacturers choose. Why is it considered tamper resistant? Mainly because it is an uncommon screw type, and you generally cannot buy the Tri-Wing screwdrivers at the local hardware store.

Stuck in a bind, I turned to eBay with the intent to find a Tri-Wing. Fortunately, it did not prove to be too difficult -- in fact, there were 282 auctions for that screwdriver. The biggest trick I had was finding one that was located in Souther California so I could receive the tool a little sooner.

After some search, I picked one up for $7.95 -- about $2.00 and located in Hacienda Heights. The good news? Should the vendor ship the tool tomorrow, I would end up with it Saturday and be able to continue the project.

If you are looking to disassemble your Nintendo Wii Console -- you should pick up a Triwing screwdriver, as you will not get far without it!


LittleD said...

As a carpenter, I had to buy a set of "security" screwdriver bits for installing things like fixtures in public restrooms. As it turns out, almost every "specialty" bit I've needed to disassemble various systems can be found in this set- I got mine at Ace Hardware- it was in the 4.99 bin, but even at full price of 15$ its worth it. link:

LittleD said...

Actually, I take back the previous comment. While the security set does indeed come with 4 tri-wing bits, they won't work for 2 reasons: first, the smallest bit in the set is a "#1", which is too large for this application. You need the 3mm size. You could take a file or dremel tool to make the bit smaller, but the second problem is that, as a bit, it fits into a screwdriver that has a diameter too large to fit into the deeper holes. So the original post is correct: you will need to special order a 3mm triwing screwdriver from one of the many online sources.

Anonymous said...

I went to Lowes in search of the elusive 3mm Tri wing screwdriver. They did not have any in stock, but they contacted their distributor and had it mailed to my house the following day costing me a total $5.05.

Nathan said...

Maybe a bit loosey goosey, but I didn't have much trouble removing the triwing with a set of precision tip needle nose pliers, although I may have "liberated" a bit of the plastic around the screwholes.

..::··Smiker··::.. said...

You can always use the pen tip trick:

Melt the tip of a plastic pen over the pin, let it warm a bit, then use the tip as screwdriver. It worked opening old gameboys, which used same triwing type screws.