Tips for disassembling the Wii
I'm sure there are people here who are experts at disassembling Wiis. If that's you, this post is NOT for you. Read through it for entertainment if you'd like.
However, a lot of us, including myself, aren't the most experienced when it comes to this stuff. I recently tore down my Wii all the way to the motherboard (first time I've ever done that with the intention of reassembling it), and I learned a few things along the way that I figured I'd share.
Tools and preparation
- Make sure you have a large enough workspace to do this in. I usually do this on the floor, but a decent sized desk/table would be best.
- Get a proper triwing screwdriver. Don't get one of those sets that has a driver that you can swap the bits on, even if it has triwing bits. Some of the case screws on the Wii are pretty deep, and a screwdriver like that absolutely will not get the job done.
- Having your screws organized will make your life so much easier, especially during reassembly. Personally, what I did was grab a piece of paper, a pencil, and some tape. Every time I removed screws, I grouped them by where they were, gave them a name that i wrote on the paper using my pencil, and taped the screws to the paper underneath where I wrote the name. This is the method I used, but find something that works for you.
- Don't excessively force things out. If it's not coming out and you're using a reasonable amount of force, you're probably missing a screw somewhere. You don't want to damage/break anything.
- Don't remove screws unnecessarily. One of the common mistakes people make is they remove the top half of the Wii case, but they detach it from the DVD drive RF shield. The way you're supposed to do it is only remove the screws holding the RF shield to the rest of the Wii and the screws holding the top half of the case to the bottom half, allowing the top half to be removed with the shield attached to it still.
- Use a magnetic screwdriver. There are some screws that I genuinely believe cannot be removed without it, especially the disc drive screws. If you don't have a magnetic screwdriver, touch a strong magnet to the tip of your screwdriver for a bit. It will make that screwdriver magnetized temporarily.
- Learn the symbols Nintendo uses on the motherboard shield. I believe the 4 symbols they use are an X, a square, an arrow, and a triangle. These different symbols are meant to tell you how deep the specific screw goes. This is more useful for reassembly, but it can be helpful for disassembly as well.
- Screws are commonly hidden in the Wii as well as most other electronics. In the Wii's case, you have to remove pretty much everything to separate the bottom case from the motherboard. The 4 heatsink screws, which you can't see until you remove the motherboard shield, which requires removing literally everything above it, also hold the motherboard to the bottom case.
- Even when not screwed in, a lot of pieces will kind of "click" together, indicating that they're aligned correctly. If they don't, the screws might not go in properly.
- Sometimes, stuff has to be reassembled in a particular order, so I recommend going in the order that you removed stuff.
- If you have screws or other various things that you can't quite figure out where they came from, don't just leave it out. It could be important, though you might not figure that out until later in the assembly process. One of the most common things to be left behind is a square shaped nut. I did this when I tore down my Wii. I left it out, but when I had the case back together and was screwing in the battery cover, I noticed it wasn't screwing in. That square shaped nut came from the black plastic bracket at the front of the Wii, and it is what the battery cover screws into. I ended up having to open up the case all over again, remove the disc drive again, and press that nut into place.
- Even if screws appear to be the same, I recommend trying to put it in the same place it came from whenever possible, just in case.
- Don't forget to route wires the same way they were routed before.
- You may want to test as you go. Make sure the disc drive works, the fan works, etc.
These were all the tips I could think of, but if I think of any more, I'll be sure to add them.