HackMii

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SaveMii launch

September 26th, 2008 by marcan · 24 Comments

Team Twiizers is proud to announce the new SaveMii recovery dongle. This simple device plugs into the GameCard memory slot of any Wii, and will force the Wii into a special “Recovery Mode”. This mode will allow software updates from game discs to be installed, and will boot autoboot discs for those with drivechips installed.

The target audience for this device is people who own Wiis which were bricked by installing an update from a disc from the wrong region. In the case of a semi-brick, this can be fixed using one of the semi-brick fix discs we made, or by just trying to play a newer game (and letting the system install the included update). In the case of a fully-bricked Wii, that is not possible because the system will display the Opera error message before it tries to read from the disc.

Take a look at ChipD’s demonstration video:

It will hopefully be useful for some other recovery scenarios as well; for systems that can boot fakesigned discs, you will be able to boot them and execute whatever code you want. You will probably only need to use it once or twice per Wii; after that, you can keep it as a souvenir, or in case you accidentally brick your Wii again, or you can sell it to a friend.

For more details, please refer to the official site and, in particular, its Wii Troubleshooting page. It should help you determine whether SaveMii will be useful to you. If you do buy one, please be patient and give us a few days to ship – we’re still ironing out the kinks in the process. The lead time on the boards is about 3 weeks, so once our existing stock is gone you’ll have to wait a bit before ordering more. We’ll try to get a new order of boards in soon.

A couple of answers to questions we expect to be asked:

Q. Will this let me play warez? Is it some sort of modchip?

A. No. In this “recovery mode”, the system will boot fewer disks than it would in normal operation (in particular, it will only completely boot debug (“autoboot”) discs). However, it will boot those disks in cases where it wouldn’t boot anything before.

Q. How does the device put the Wii into a recovery mode? Aren’t you patching the system via the memory card port?

A. The recovery mode is built in to the System Menu, and it just checks for the presence of a device with a specific behavior. We can’t do anything other than trigger this menu. This also only works if the Wii can get as far as the System Menu – it won’t help if you’re having trouble earlier in the boot process.

Q. Are you guys selling out? Are you trying to make a profit out of the misery of others? Why not sell a kit?

A. We don’t think so. This isn’t something like a “PowerSaves” SD card, where we’ve taken a normal piece of hardware and copied some files to it, and then passed it off as a “hack”. This is a device that we spent considerable time designing and testing; we then spent a lot of money in advance to have a batch of PC Boards professionally produced. Each device is then professionally hand-assembled by bushing or myself (we make them in our kitchens, but I bet you won’t be able to tell). We think you will be happy with the result; for those of you with otherwise-useless Wiis, this will save you a considerable amount of money.

Additionally, you will be supporting Team Twiizer’s efforts on other projects. We will continue to strive to produce free software-only tools when technically feasible, and high-quality, reasonably-priced hardware when appropriate.

Q. What about the boot2 recovery you have been writing about?

A. When we first started talking about the boot2 recovery loader (which we’ll call BootMii), we wrote that it would be a “long-term” project, and we weren’t kidding. Eventually, it will be a much better solution than SaveMii, for it will be able to fix many more problems you might encounter.  It will also be very invasive, requiring physical access to the NAND chip if your Wii is already bricked, and it’s nowhere near ready yet. We feel that SaveMii is a good interim solution while we continue working on our boot2 replacement. For those users which have already bricked their Wiis, it has the considerable advantage of not requiring you to open your console. Once BootMii is available, you will be able to use it to “brick-proof” existing Wiis (via a simple software install), and you will be able to flash it to bricked Wiis using a hardware NAND programmer. Or, if the brick is fixable by using SaveMii, it will probable be easier for you to fix it that way and then install BootMii using software.

Q. Why aren’t you releasing the source code / schematics?

A. If history is any indication, we would just end up like PassMe did in the early days of the Nintendo DS. Modchip companies would just start using our design to manufacture cheaper, prettier-looking, better-advertised versions. While they will certainly clone this device at some point, at least this way it will take them a little longer.

Tags: Wii

24 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Hatch // Sep 26, 2008 at 3:27 am

    Are there any plans about making a plastic case in future?

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  • 3 marcan // Sep 26, 2008 at 3:58 am

    @Hatch:
    Considering that this device won’t be used very often, I don’t think we need a plastic case. It has the right thickness and width to fit into the memory card slot snugly, and the tabs to the sides of the connector on the Wii side keep it centered. Due to its size it might seem that it wouldn’t hold on very well, but in fact, once you insert it correctly, it works very well and automatically stays in place.

  • 4 SaveMii Wii Recovery Dongle // Sep 26, 2008 at 5:59 am

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  • 5 Link // Sep 26, 2008 at 6:34 am

    Q: If I brick my Wii and it already contains a 3.3 system menu – meaning it has the fixed IOS30 which wouldn’t normally boot fakesigned discs. Could I still create a fake-signed autoboot disc which would reinstall system parts so that the menu boots again – or would the Wii refuse to start it because the IOS won’t accept it?

  • 6 TwilightWii // Sep 26, 2008 at 10:15 am

    Congratulations on the Release of SaveMii!
    Even though I take the upmost care of my Wii, I may consider getting one, but also to help you guys.
    How much would it be in £’s (UK Currency)?
    Cannot wait for more Info on boot2 patch :D

  • 7 marcan // Sep 26, 2008 at 10:25 am

    @Link:

    If you bricked your wii via bad NAND data (banners) and you have 3.3, then your only solution requires that 1) you have a modchip, 2) you have the Twilight Hack installed (beta1), 3) you create an autobootable copy of Zelda. Then you will be able to launch homebrew using the Twilight Hack.

    If you don’t already have the Twilight Hack installed, unfortunately I don’t think there is anything you can do to fix your Wii. Since it has 3.3, it will refuse to boot any fakesigned discs, including any sort of homebrew. An autoboot-patched Zelda will work because the autoboot flag isn’t part of the signed content (nor are the region flags), but almost everything else is.

    @TwilightWii:
    Google says £19.81

  • 8 Zim // Sep 26, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    Sweet. I’m deffinatley going to buy this sooner or later, just in case…

  • 9 ciper // Sep 26, 2008 at 9:36 pm

    Congrats for your hard work. I have a question

    Why would this be necessary when StarFall http://wiibrew.org/wiki/Starfall can already enable rescue mode and disable the disc check?

    I know it requires 3.2 system menu but you can easily install it with the relatively safe AnyRegion Changer http://wiibrew.org/wiki/AnyRegion_Changer . There is a separate option that if used without changing any of the other settings will downgrade your console to 3.2 with no other user intervention.

  • 10 lmgc10 // Sep 26, 2008 at 10:32 pm

    I need one…. :)

    Marcan, please include paypal as a paying option…

    That would be nice for people without credit cards… Yes. Like me…. :(

  • 11 bushing // Sep 27, 2008 at 12:34 am

    @ciper: It really depends on what your goals are. If you’re hacking on banners or other resources in NAND, you probably won’t hesitate to patch the system menu binary in flash like Starfall does; in this case, Starfall is cheaper and slightly more flexible (the disc doesn’t have to be autoboot). (We feel that Starfall’s approach is risky and crude, but most people who have tried it speak highly of it.)

    On the other hand, if you’re trying to fix a Wii that is already bricked, you can’t go back and install Starfall. If you already have Starfall installed and your friend bricks your Wii by installing a foreign update, Starfall’s patch will be overwritten by the new menu and it won’t help you.

  • 12 Wii Recovery Dongle aka SaveMii Released » Restart // Sep 27, 2008 at 1:14 am

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  • 14 jandemanr // Sep 27, 2008 at 9:41 am

    awesome!

    gg!

  • 15 Taktloss // Sep 28, 2008 at 2:34 am

    Nice Device but what is BootMii

  • 16 WiiCrazy // Sep 28, 2008 at 4:03 am

    Marcan said

    If you bricked your wii via bad NAND data (banners) and you have 3.3, then your only solution requires that 1) you have a modchip, 2) you have the Twilight Hack installed (beta1), 3) you create an autobootable copy of Zelda. Then you will be able to launch homebrew using the Twilight Hack.

    Well the Branch A: “Banner Brick” in the troubleshooting diagram misses this information, it branches directly to the Bootmii option

  • 17 Daniel1024 // Sep 28, 2008 at 10:49 am

    Hey Bushing I have a question please answer. Okay so the thing is my Wii console isn’t exactly bricked however, I am stuck on 3.2E firmware and I need to revert back to my original region (U). Is this possible with SaveMii? Will I be able to autoboot some kind of disk that will change my region back to normal? Please help as of now I am stuck with a 3.2E Wii that can not boot any of my games including Twilight Princess so I can’t run the hack either.

  • 18 Daniel1024 // Sep 28, 2008 at 10:59 am

    Oh and I forgot to say, Everything works fine the menu works everything is good its just that it is on the wrong region.

  • 19 marcan // Sep 29, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    @Daniel1024
    If you don’t have a way of loading homebrew and you don’t have a modchip then your best bet would be getting a game with 3.3U and booting it (possibly with SaveMii). That should hopefully apply that update and you’ll be back at the new system menu version.

    However, having the wrong region in the system menu shouldn’t cause an inability to boot discs in the first place. Maybe you have a different problem.

    Going from 3.2E to 3.2U is impossible without homebrew and some hacks. It’s considered a downgrade, which is forbidden. Going from J to U to E (for the same version) is an upgrade, but going from E to U to J is a downgrade. Therefore your only path to U is to go to the next system menu version, 3.3U.

  • 20 linyaho // Oct 5, 2008 at 1:08 am

    Guys, any one can help me or give me some suggestion?

    Alright, I received the SaveMii today to try to save my fully bricked Wii motherboard going to the trash bin.

    Problem: NTSC-U motherboard with fw 2.XX bricked with Mario Kart PAL update, modded with DriveDoctor, stop booting at the Opera error screen

    After putting SaveMii to the gamecube slot, it did block the Wii from booting but no version number show on the screen.

    And I’ve already tried different autoboot disc (wii-system-menu-update-USA-v289 with autoboot set), retail disc, but nothing works, wasted 7 dvds so far.

    Finally, I can only get the AnyRegion Changer autoboot disc run but showing an error message.

    Is there any thing else I can do?

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  • 22 marcan // Oct 6, 2008 at 6:27 am

    @linyaho

    What error message does AnyRegion Changer pop up with?

    Using the normal upgrade path, your only option would be to install 3.3U, since it is the next higher version of IOS. Therefore, a game with a 3.3U update (as far as we know there are none) would fix it. This is why wii-system-menu-update-USA-v289 won’t work, and neither will anything that tries to install a new system menu using “normal” means.

    However, since you can already run homebrew anyway, AnyRegion Changer should work. That’s the right choice in your situation, as it uses an IOS patch to allow downgrades, which is what you want.

    A missing on-screen version number might just mean that 2.xx doesn’t show it. Since AnyRegion Changer booted though (even if it displayed an error), it means you can definitely fix your Wii. We just need to figure out what the problem is.

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  • 24 lynyrd920 // Nov 7, 2008 at 7:57 am

    Can anyone help me?

    I apologize ahead of time for not knowing too much about any of this —
    I just got my savemii today and after putting it in my system it displays that I am running v3.1.
    I burnt an autoboot disc (I don’t know what version though), and it asks me to press 1 to boot from the memory slot or 2 to read the USB slot, but the wiimotes don’t work, so there is no way to select anything — what am I doing wrong?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

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