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Wii IR camera as standalone sensor

Using the Wii Remote IR camera directly with an Arduino
Wii-IR-Camera-schem.pdf11.63 KB
Wii-IR-Camera-board.pdf11.3 KB
wii_remote_ir_sensor_sample.pde2.5 KB

The Wii Remote became a very intersting tool for hacking and other uses where it not has been mentioned for. After the first hacks appears in the internet a lot of people are doing great stuff with it.

This tip&walkthrough is about  using the IR camera from the Wii Remote as a standalone sensor. It is based on hack of a japanese guy named kako. There also exists a Make article

This sensor is great for tracking infrared sources. It can track upto 4 sources independently and give out the coordinates and the strength ob each tracked object. The IR camera has an I2C interface which can be easy accessed by a microcontroller. Here an Arduino board has been used. 

Wii Remote disassembling:

To get the IR camera out of the Wii Remote, the Wiimote must be disassembled. A Tri-Wing screw driver has been used for this task. The IR camera is on the front of the board. To get the IR sensor out a hot air gun is been usefull.  

This walkthrough only works for an original Wii Remote. There exists some Wii Remote clones, which are cheaper than the original one but they have different sensors with unknown pinout, so be warned!


The schematic slightly differs from Kako's aproach, it has been taken form the CC2 ATM18 project. A quartz oscillator has been used. A frequency bettween 20..25MHz will work. Unfortunately the sensr is a 3.3V device. Some level conversion must be done before connecting it to a 5V Arduino board. The sensor gets it power source from 2 diodes in series with a 5V from the arduino board which give roughly 3.6V. 2 pullup resistors on the I2C pins limits the voltage down to 3.6.

Schematic and a board layout is atached to this article.



  • Wii Remote IR Camera (from a original Wii Remote, not a clone!!)
  • 24Mhz quartz oscillator (or 25MHz, but not a resonator!)
  • 2x diode 1N4148 or equivalent
  • 2x elecrolytic capacitor 10uF
  • 1x ceramic capacitor 100nF
  • 2x resistor 2.2kOhm
  • 1x resistor 22kOhm
  • perf board 60 x 25 mm
  • pin bar 1x4
  • pin bar 2x4
  • bar jack 2x4



The Arduino control software is also based on Kako's sources. It simply initialise the IR camera sensor and sends the readed blob information to a PC: The sourcecode has been slightly modified to work with the PC software.

The PC software is also taken from the CC2 ATM18 project and can be downloaded here.

An Arduino sketch is attached to this article. At the moment I am working on a processing sketch for graphical represantation of the Wii IR Camera output.



To be continued...






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Did you checked the pinout of the clock oscillator? I remember CtC had a problem with his Wiimote boards using different types of clock oscillators.

Using the 3.3V from the Arduino board should be ok.

I bought another Wiimote and this time decided to solder some cables directly to the back of the Wiimote's board to test the circuit prior to unsolder the IR sensor. And it's working ! So one must be really careful when unsoldering - this is yet my third dismantled Wiimote.

I can confirm that you can use the 3.3V output from the Arduino (Uno Rev. 2 in my case). Also, the pull-up resistors for SDA and SCL are not needed because the IR sensor is the only device on the I2C bus.

I'm going to try getting the blob sizes too.

Getting the z position trough blob size is easy. However the resolution is 4 bits only. Also, I have a jump between a value of 6 and a value of 15 when getting closer to the camera. I think I'll use two IR sources with constant distance and calculate the evolution of the tracked distance to infer the distance with a better resolution.

I'm a little off-topic with this question, but this seems to be the most logical place to put this question.

Has anyone found a source for the female port of the wii remote control?


I've built an adapter to allow me to use the nunchuck as a USB mouse, and I'd like a more stable connector port than the breakout boards that are available..

Hi, it's necessary to shift the I2C voltage between 5 and 3.3 V? I've been looking and a lot of people, including kaku, use a converter like LTC4031L, and it makes me think I'm missing something.

IMHO a level shifter for I2C isn't necessary. The I2C specification says: all outputs must be open collector. The output can only be driven LOW by the controller or the I2C device. Driving HIGH is only done by floating outputs, using the pullup resistor to reach HIGH level. The pullup resistors connected to SCL,SDA and 3.3V VCC should be ok.

So if you put the pullups on the 3.3V side the 5V device will probably register a logic high at 3.3V (or even much less; the datasheet usually will tell you)

Do you think it's possible to track a laser pointer with this?
I'm think of buying a 808nm 300mW laser for the brightness or a 980nm 50 mW laser for the closer wavelength.
I also saw somewhere that it has a limit of 2 meters?

I'm just trying to make an arduino powered turret that will aim at the dot of a laser pointer so I have a remote of sorts. :)

- Michel :)

I think Gareth has done some experiments with laser pointer and Wiimote, look here. My experiences wasn't good. Only on a short distance the Wiimote could detect the reflected light of the laser pointer from a white wall.