How to fix a misbuilt third party Wii RGB cable

I have a TV. No, not the kind you can put on walls, I mean a real TV. Naturally I wanted to hook up my Wii to it via SCART to get an RGB signal and play mad retro games in glorious 15kHz 240p. Luckily the Wii can output RGB with no modifications so all I needed was a cable.

The cable I got was not certified Nintendo. I couldn’t find one at the time so I went third party. The image was really crisp but the colors were FUBAR. A broken cable, you say. I say we fix it.

Mario had one too many mushrooms.

Inverted rainbow

Now, your cable bleeping the wrong greens and blooping the wrong blues does not mean all hope is lost. Chances are that the RGB wires are just shuffled around a bit. The Best Way™ to determine this is to find something on your Wii that you know is really red, green and/or blue. I guess you only need to know two of them but finding all three makes the solution all more obvious. Either way I just used Mario and Luigi to find my problem. Mario was green and Luigi was pissed at Mario for stealing his swag. So pissed, in fact, that he changed to a blue set of clothes.

Hold up. So if Mario, normally red, is green and Luigi, normally green, is blue then we can bet our life savings on Sonic the Hedgehog being red as a strawberry if he chased rings through our cable. We have a double switcheroo on our hands. The poor fellow who assembled this must have been unlucky and severely color blind.

Double switcheroo

The tools you need for this procedure are the followiing:

  • Wii RGB cable
  • A pair of needle-nosed pliers or soldering equipment

That’s it. Let’s dive in.

The SCART end of the cable.

If the SCART end of the cable was a head you need to look at the throat. Mine had a grippy thing that looked very twistable. A few swirls on it and it came right off. Right on.

Post-swirl grippy thing.

Now there was nothing more obvious disassembly-like to do so I resorted to brute force, a tried technique among weathered cable hackers. The SCART cable flew open and exposed cables, pins and shielding.

SCART guts.

After the initial shock of being overwhelmed by the sheer amount of cables needed to produce an RGB(S) signal I managed to unintentionally plop off what I thought was shielding. Later analysis of the SCART schematic revealed that it was a key connector in the interface: common ground.

Pin 21 is noted as Shield Ground.

No matter. We’re not touching it anyway during the more intricate part of the procedure but don’t forget to slip it back on when you put everything back together. Moving on.

We know that red things are green and green things are blue. That gives us:

R = G
G = B

The only possible permutation is:

B = R

We then check this technical diagram plotting out the interface for the Wii RGB cable’s SCART connector.

Please note that the diagram is solder side so if you can’t figure out how the wires map you might be looking at it from the wrong perspective.

The diagram tells us that the red, green, and blue signals are on pin 15, 11 and 7 respectively. Now that we know what pins we need to switch around we have several choices of how to proceed. One method is to desolder the wires connected to the pins and resolder them in the correct order. But if you’re like me you’d rather not get that iron out and drip molten metal all over the place. Instead you can use a pair of needle-nose pliers to dislodge the pins from the plastic base and rearrange them with no soldering required. If you find it hard to push the pin through you can use the base for support.

Pin dislodging technique.

When the pin has dislodged you can pull it through from the other side but be very careful not to bend the pins when you’re pushing to dislodge them.

When you’ve dislodged all the pins you need to move just stick them into the correct slots and pull them through from the connector side.

Now reassemble the cable by snapping on the shield, the casing, and ultimately swirl on the twisty thing. Hook your Wii up and marvel at the glorious picture.

Beautiful.
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