Monday, January 4, 2010

How to connect a Wiimote to your PC under Windows Vista or Windows 7

For those of you unaware, there are a ton of interesting projects floating around the old worldwide web involving wiimote hacking. While, to some people at least, it may not be quite as interesting as Wii homebrew; The notion of having your PC interact with Wii controllers is far too tantalizing an opportunity to pass up. Everyone should seriously try it at least once.

This post aims to provide the most clear and simple instructions available all across the internet of how to connect a Wiimote (the balance board and additional Wiimotes can also be connected the same way) to a PC running under Windows Vista or Windows 7. Regarding the choice of operating system for this post, I chose only to cover the operating systems which I've actually successfully done this on so far. I would assume connecting a Wiimote to a PC running Windows XP or perhaps even Windows 2000 would be nearly identical process. I am also currently playing with trying to get it to connect to my Ubuntu OS and will post a Linux version of this post when I do.

What you will need:
  • A PC running Windows Vista or Windows 7
  • A Wiimote
  • A Bluetooth adapter to read transmitted bluetooth signals if your PC cannot already do this
  • Bluetooth technology installed on your PC (if your PC has an internal bluetooth reader or you have already set-up a bluetooth adapter, then this should already be installed)
Before we begin, I want to quickly address the issue of setting-up your PC to receive  and read Bluetooth signals. Most newer PCs are already set to go so you can skip reading this paragraph. Even though I only bought my powerhouse laptop a few months ago, I unfortunately realized that it did not have any Bluetooth capabilities whatsoever. I bought this adapter to receive Bluetooth signals. By simply following the set-up instructions and running the companion CD, I also installed Bluetooth technology to interpret and use the picked up signals. Setting up your PC to receive Bluetooth signals is a trivial matter at worst so you really shouldn't worry if you happen to have a PC that can't pick them up already.

Now for the meat of this post: Connecting your Wiimote to your PC.

Windows Vista:
  • Go to Control Panel
  • Click on Bluetooth Devices
Windows 7:
  • Go to Control Panel
  • Click on Hardware and Sound
  • Click on Devices and Printers
  • Click on Bluetooth Devices 
Now click the Devices tab along the top of the Bluetooth Devices window.

Now click Add which is located on the left side of the Bluetooth Devices window close to the bottom.

The Add Bluetooth Device Wizard appears!

Click the check box next to the phrase "My device is set-up and ready to be found."

Now press 1 and 2 on your Wiimote simultaneously.

While the LEDs along the bottom of your Wiimote are flashing, click Next in the Add Bluetooth Device Wizard.

This new screen of the wizard shows all of the Bluetooth devices within the range of your Bluetooth receiver. Click on Nintendo RVL-CNT-01 and then click Next.

In the next screen of the wizard, select the fourth option "Don't use a passkey". If your Wiimote has stopped blinking, press 1 and 2 simultaneously again and then click Next while the LEDs are still blinking.

Now click Finish to close the Add Bluetooth Device Wizard.

From now on, your Wiimote is connected to your PC. Your Wiimote only becomes unconnected when either end of the connection is broken. To break the connection, you will either have to remove your Wiimote's batteries, put your PC to sleep, or turn off your PC. Every time you want to connect your Wiimote to your PC, you will have to run through the process of adding a Bluetooth device again. Otherwise, whatever you are trying to use will not work. After you forget a few times and crash whatever program you're running that wants to use the Wiimote, I guarantee you that you will commit this simple little process to memory.

Now, before I end this post with you sitting at your computer screen with a nice connected Wiimote and nothing to do with it, let's run the Wiimote Data Visualizer program by Matthias Shapiro. To run the program, simply download it, unzip it, and then double-click the .exe file. You should be able to press buttons on your Wiimote and have your computer screen confirm that you are pressing them. You should also be able to read all of the other data being output by your Wiimote too. A quick final note before I send you off into the world Wiimote hacking, I linked to an older version of the Wiimote Data Visualizer program because I'm under the impression that is the most stable version of it. Later versions added the ability to see data from plug-in controllers (Nunchuk, Classic Controller, etc.) and even the Balance Board but I've read they don't work very well and crash often. Oh well :-(

If you have any questions regarding the content of this post, feel free to leave a comment, join me in #arikadosblog on EFNET, post in our forums, tweet to me, or send me an e-mail at

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