Author Topic: Syncing with a Permanently Mounted WiiMote  (Read 21046 times)

Offline edtech2020

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on: May 05, 2009, 01:49:03 PM
I have thought through my approach to the mounting and AC/DC powering (thanks to many forum posts), and now I confront the challenge of syncing WiiMote to laptop when you can't get to the buttons.  I've appreciated the creative approaches I've read about involving fishingline and yardsticks, but though I'm the kind of guy who would think that's a cool way to solve the problem, I can't sell the idea to a school full of teachers when it involves "creative" workarounds.

So imagine with me here for a minute.  The wiimote itself is inaccessible (on purpose--we teach middle schoolers).  It is powered from an AC source that is accessible.  What needs to be happening (and in what sequence) in order for the laptop to sync each morning and stay synced until the laptop closes or powers off?  What needed to be done to the WiiMote before it became inaccessible--depress the red sync button, tape down buttons 1 & 2, etc?

~Tim in Central Oregon
www.edtech2020.com





Offline mystre

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Reply #2 on: May 05, 2009, 06:03:25 PM
I've seen wiimote USB rechargeable battery packs, but I've only seen 5 volt USB AC chargers.  Does the rechargeable battery have a voltage regulater in it that allows the USB charger to be plugged into the wall?

To me BoonJin's wiki section under  "Powering Options" suggest you can, but since I've already fried two remotes I'm hesitant to try without more clarification.

http://www.boonjin.com/smoothboard/index.php?title=Mount_and_position_the_Wiimote
« Last Edit: May 05, 2009, 06:08:05 PM by mystre »



Offline benpaddlejones

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Reply #3 on: May 05, 2009, 07:28:23 PM
edtech2020
Yes by a battery pack with USB connectio then buy a 240v to usb plug (comes fee with some iPods etc.

Then your away.

jdkstewart also has a really creative sync method using fishing line, worth PMing him.

benpaddlejones:)


See my full profile and links on my Google Profile: http://www.google.com/profiles/benpaddlejones


Offline edtech2020

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Reply #4 on: May 05, 2009, 10:29:55 PM
I've seen wiimote USB rechargeable battery packs, but I've only seen 5 volt USB AC chargers.  Does the rechargeable battery have a voltage regulater in it that allows the USB charger to be plugged into the wall?

To me BoonJin's wiki section under  "Powering Options" suggest you can, but since I've already fried two remotes I'm hesitant to try without more clarification.

The one that I have working now is plugged into a multi-voltage adapter that I've soldered onto the contacts, but I was going to use the USB version.  Maybe I'll have to chuck the USB option and keep with the AC/DC adapter and soldered contacts.  Did you burn out the WiiMotes on 5V USB power?

And to be clear, I can't afford to have fishing line or anything that could be labeled "contraption" in the setup if I want it to become a widespread adoption in the district.  For my classroom, fine.  For other teachers to get into it, it needs to be totally hands off and not so "creative."  That's the dilemma.  :(
« Last Edit: May 05, 2009, 10:32:15 PM by edtech2020 »



Offline jdkestewart

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Reply #5 on: May 06, 2009, 02:01:38 AM
Hi edtech2020,
I don't think I have walked into any Primary Classroom and not seen displays hanging from line drapped across a classroom. One more isn't going to be a problem. The teachers in our school love it!!! The fishing line and all. Left with the option of NO Interactive Whiteboard or one that can be easily and permanently set up for under $100 is a no brainer. If they are serious about providing a truly enhanced and engaging learning environment for the benefit of the children why would they worry about a piece of fishing line! My kids love it.
The Principal of the local Secondary School spoke to me today to get meto help him install a wiimote system in every room with a data projector. He is so excited as now he can provide his school and his students the Interactivity for a fraction of the cost. Had the wiimote not been around, his school of 500 + students would be stuck with only 2 Commercial IWB's possibly for a very long time.
I wonder how these teacher with the "hands off" approach function in the real world in regards to technology. Do they plug their computers in? Do they turn them on? Is their computer voice activated? Hahahaha.
Seriously though, you have a quality product and a passion to enthuse others, going by your blog. I truly believe that you can sell this idea and convince your staff that for the 60 seconds it takes to connect the wiimote (however you go about it) the benefits for their students and therefore for the learning environment will be far greater that not having an IWB!

Keep up the great effort and pursuits,

I'm sticking with my Fishing Line Connection Device, FLCD or FLiCD as in Flicked a switch. (Just thought of that creative idea too. Thanks) until someone else shows me something cheaper, easier, more reliable and better to connect.

Cheers,
Joe.



Offline benpaddlejones

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Reply #6 on: May 06, 2009, 03:20:24 AM
edTech2020
Yes anything 5v will fry the Wiimote. The rechargable battery packs down voltage thye USB out. If you are direct connecting USB you will need to step down to 2.5-3v at the Wiimote terminals.

benpaddlejones :)


See my full profile and links on my Google Profile: http://www.google.com/profiles/benpaddlejones


Offline edtech2020

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Reply #7 on: May 06, 2009, 11:40:03 AM
I'm sticking with my Fishing Line Connection Device, FLCD or FLiCD as in Flicked a switch. (Just thought of that creative idea too. Thanks) until someone else shows me something cheaper, easier, more reliable and better to connect.
Cheers,
Joe.

<blush!>  Sorry, Joe.  I didn't intend for the fishing line comment to sound like a smart crack.  </blush>

I am the guy in our school who MacGyver's things together and gets them to work--even when it's outside the box.  But though I like things that work and don't care about packaging and polish, the folks who run the district distrust anything they didn't have to pay big bucks for.  Honestly, they'd be happier to pay $600 for something that looks slick than to even allow me to use my own money to have something that looks the slightest bit hacked together.  I've run afoul of the tech fashion police before in my own computer lab.

Your district sounds like a less restrictive environment.  That has its advantages!

~Tim

« Last Edit: May 06, 2009, 12:08:06 PM by edtech2020 »



Offline Davo

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Reply #8 on: May 06, 2009, 05:37:33 PM
Tim, this was one of the key 'issues' that we had to solve in our setups at our schools in New Zealand.
Our solution to providing power is to have developed a clip in inset that works with AC/DC adapters to provide a stable 2.85vdc which the wiimotes like - as others have said, do not over power them.

Our current solution around the need to synch remotely involves keeping the red synch button permanently pressed and interrupting the power supply. We achieve this with a remotely mounted switch that can be positioned in a convenient location.

Just like you, we know that this awesome system has to be simple and reliable (not to mention 'look' professional!) to be accepted widely.

Dave
3P Interact Ltd



Offline edtech2020

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Reply #9 on: May 06, 2009, 06:58:35 PM
I'm having some preliminary success using a method (I read about it here in the forums) where you tape down buttons 1 and 2 and get the WiiMote to enter sync mode by unplugging the AC charger, waiting 20 seconds, and then replugging it in. 

When it's first turned on, the WiiMote flashes blue and becomes discoverable by my laptop for about 20 seconds.  It doesn't seem to matter whether WiiMote Whiteboard (software from http://www.uweschmidt.org/wiimote-whiteboard for my Mac) is already running or not . . . if everything is working as it should it will connect as soon as both a) the unit is plugged in and b) the software is running.

Unfortunately it's not as reliable as I might like after the computer has been running a while.  When the computer is freshly back from logging out and logging in, this works beautifully and reliably.  I login to the laptop and then activate the WiiMote Whiteboard software, then walk over and plug in the WiiMote.  Ready to roll!

I think this will work for me, but I'm interested in hearing about other ways to make the WiiMote "discoverable" that don't involve plugging in the power--it would be nice if that step could be skipped.  But I haven't yet seen how to make a WiiMote always discoverable.

Also I haven't seen yet how this will work with multiple WiiMotes in multiple classrooms near each other.  Yikes!



Offline Davo

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Reply #10 on: May 06, 2009, 07:44:41 PM
No, we wouldn't advise using buttons 1 & 2 either. If you do this the wiimote stays in discoverable mode which potentially causes problems when several classrooms are in close proximity.

It is better to use the red synch button. When you use this, it effectively only puts the wiimote into discoverable mode for 15 - 20 seconds, not permanently.

Our connection procedure goes: push our remote synching button, pair the wiimote and computer, start the software, teach! If the wiimote goes out of discoverable mode before a connection is made, simply push the remote synching button and try again. Because the remote button is usually positioned beside the computer this is very easy.
(If you haven't tried the excellent WiiConnect yet you should - great for those using the standard Microsoft Bluetooth stack and takes a step out of the process).

Dave
3P Interact Ltd




Offline edtech2020

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Reply #11 on: May 07, 2009, 10:09:35 AM
Our connection procedure goes: push our remote synching button, pair the wiimote and computer, start the software, teach! If the wiimote goes out of discoverable mode before a connection is made, simply push the remote synching button and try again. Because the remote button is usually positioned beside the computer this is very easy.
(If you haven't tried the excellent WiiConnect yet you should - great for those using the standard Microsoft Bluetooth stack and takes a step out of the process).

Dave,
I don't see on your website (http://www.3pinteract.co.nz/products.html) a remote syncing button.  What are referring to?  Is there a device that sits near my computer that will jiggle the mounted WiiMote to become discoverable?

I'm in an all Mac district--do I need WiiConnect?

~Tim



Offline Davo

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Reply #12 on: May 07, 2009, 04:27:01 PM
You are quite right there's no picture of the remote button - but that's only because we need to update the site!
Our 3Pi team consists of three school principals, and in term time the site can be a little neglected!
We'll remedy the lack as soon as possible.

Our remote synching button  is attached to the power supply by an extension cable and effectively turns the power off/on. It is connected to the low current DC side of the AC/DC adapter so poses no risks to users.
Most teachers choose to position the button by their desk so when connecting they don't have to move  away from the computer.

I'm open to correction here, but I don't believe WiiConnect can be made to work with Macs. Thex, the guy who wrote it, has done a fantastic job making it work with the standard MS Bluetooth stack and many people would love to see it work with other stacks, but that is a future project.

Dave
3P Interact Ltd



Offline jdkestewart

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Reply #13 on: May 08, 2009, 04:35:38 AM
I'm sticking with my Fishing Line Connection Device, FLCD or FLiCD as in Flicked a switch. (Just thought of that creative idea too. Thanks) until someone else shows me something cheaper, easier, more reliable and better to connect.
Cheers,
Joe.

<blush!>  Sorry, Joe.  I didn't intend for the fishing line comment to sound like a smart crack.  </blush>

I am the guy in our school who MacGyver's things together and gets them to work--even when it's outside the box.  But though I like things that work and don't care about packaging and polish, the folks who run the district distrust anything they didn't have to pay big bucks for.  Honestly, they'd be happier to pay $600 for something that looks slick than to even allow me to use my own money to have something that looks the slightest bit hacked together.  I've run afoul of the tech fashion police before in my own computer lab.

Your district sounds like a less restrictive environment.  That has its advantages!

~Tim



Hi edtech2020,
Please don't feel like you should apologise, I don't take your comments as a smart crack, just as I hope you didn't take comments regarding how your "hands off" teachers cope as anything but a lighthearted look at the world. I too aspire to produce the best quality in everything I do. I love tinkering and redesigning almost anything. I'm also the guy that everyone calls on when anything doesn't work.
Anyway, good news may be on the horizon. Being a full time teacher, doesn't leave me much spare time. The reason I'm fond of the fishing line is it can be set up in a couple of minutes by anyone with no skills or tools required, it's foolproof and most importantly it works effortlessly.
This week though I've been working with an electronics store to source some parts, bought a few galvanised brackets from a hardware store and am now building the ULTIMATE prototype to house the wiimote in a theftproof bracket which will be bolted to the data projector brackets, or wall, or ceiling, or where ever it's best suited. In this housing will be a device that will remotely turn on the wiimote. I don't want to give too much away yet as I'm still experimenting but what you'll end up with is a self contained unit powered by a 3 volt power adapter. As the wiimote will not be able to be removed from its housing without tools, it should deter older students from trying to knock them off. To initiate the syncing process, the teacher will need to use a remote control, like they do to turn on the data projector. There will be NO fishing line, NO wires and it won't looked "hacked".  You will be able to initiate the syncing process from anywhere in the room. I've also considered how to eliminate the problem of other teachers with wiimotes in close proximity so this shouldn't be a problem.
As soon as I've got a reliably working unit that looks decent I'll post photos and parts lists. Hopefully should cost less than $70. Give me a few weeks. As the high school wants a top set up too I've decided to push the boundaries beyond the fishing line.
I'll keep you posted,
Cheers,
Joe.



Offline edtech2020

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Reply #14 on: May 08, 2009, 01:20:50 PM

This week though I've been working with an electronics store to source some parts, bought a few ... I don't want to give too much away yet as I'm still experimenting ...

Aaagh!  And leave me/us in suspense!?

I'm very, very interested in seeing your successful venture.  So far I think I'm traveling a parallel track, and here's my shopping list:

Walmart: AC/DC power adapter $13
Walmart: WiiMote $35
Amazon: DSI EZ Outlet $25
IRPENS.CO.UK:  DJewel IR Pen $17

I don't like my method for mounting the WiiMote yet . . . still pondering theft-deterent, wall-mountable methods for permanently mounting the setup.  Probably I'll end up stuffing the AC/DC adapter and the remote AC on/off piece inside the mounting box so that all that dangles out is a white extension cord that stays plugged into the nearest power.


« Last Edit: May 08, 2009, 02:02:46 PM by edtech2020 »