Written by Ryan Johnson Friday, 04 March 2011 06:00
Everything is wireless these days. Therefore, everything requires batteries. Personally, there are a few items that I think don't need wireless capabilities, are a drain on the wallet and a detriment to the environment. Here, you'll find how I solved one of those problems.
I purchased this Wii Wireless Ultra Sensor Bar when my room setup prevented the cord from the normal bar from reaching the television. Unfortunately, I learned that heavy gaming or Netflix use without paying attention to the "off" button (the bar has a two-hour auto turn off feature) would drain four AA batteries in less than a week. I purchased rechargeable batteries for it, but I couldn't keep up with the load needed, and often found myself unable to play Wii games for a night because I had to recharge the batteries. I didn't understand why a simple sensor had to use so much power.
So a friend came over, and we started a little DIY project. He brought over a universal AC Adaptor with a variable voltage switch in it.
This item came with a bunch of tips, and a switch to change between voltages. My sensor bar had four AA batteries in it. One AA runs 1.5 volts, so four AAs makes 6 volts. We flipped the switch to six volts, and ignored the tips. The cord end had two open ports to put the tips into. Using a voltage tester, we made sure we knew which side was which, and connected some high quality speaker wire we knew could handle the current. After securing the connection with electrical tape and marking the wires, we put some connecting ends on the wires that we felt could wedge well into the terminals in the battery compartment of the sensor.
We clicked them in, ensuring the terminals were matched, covered everything in electrical tape for safety, plugged it into the wall (again making sure the voltage matched the batteries), and clicked it on. Voila! A wall current powering my battery-backed sensor bar. For the layman who may be reading this, the sensor bar doesn't actually "sense" anything, it's a set of infrared LEDs that can be read by the Wii remote to tell where the TV is for pointing (therefore, if a game does not require pointing, you don't even need it on, such as a Virtual Console title). A true techie could put together an entire sensor bar with some LEDs from Radio Shack. I was working with what I had. You can even get a sensor bar from Amazon that runs via USB and use a USB adapter to a wall.
I put this information out here for either people in the same situation I am in, where a whole new bar would be a lot more money, or those technically inclined and adventurous. I can't guarantee that what you do will be perfect, nor do I or GoozerNation hold any responsibility for what happens to your equipment if you wire something backwards. I'm sure the original manufacturer of the sensor bar doesn't recommend this procedure either. As I experiment, though, I may be able to use the knowledge I learned from this project on other items that don't need to be completely free from the wall.
This little trick, however, is going to save me a bundle on batteries. I always thought the Wireless Sensor Bar made sense, but the battery backing didn't. After all, it's going to be on a TV that has to plug into a wall! If you, like me, tire of the headache of changing batteries on a device such as this, this project can save some time, money, and hassle.
Love DIYing? Try my other article, How to Change the Batteries in a Nintendo Cartridge!