For the cost of a Raspberry Pi Pico and an SD card, you can fix your non-booting Wii U.
For the cost of a Raspberry Pi Pico and an SD card, you can easily fix your non-booting Wii U.
The past few weeks have been troublesome for Nintendo fans. In response to Nintendo infamously shutting down the ability to purchase Wii U and Nintendo 3DS games on their respective eShop storefronts on March 28th, 2023, many turned on their dusty Wii Us to rush in and purchase any remaining games they have yet to purchase before the digital purchases shut down for good. However, after years of neglect towards the dual-screen home console, several reports came out to alert owners of idling Wii U consoles that there might be an error code waiting for them.
As it turns out, the Wii U is susceptible to two particular error codes– error codes 160-0101 or 160-0103, which both prevent the system from booting to the Home menu. This led to people coming up with less-than-ideal solutions to keep their Wii U alive, like pledging to turn their Wii U once a month to keep it alive. Some took this as a sign that the Wii U's age is catching up and without Nintendo officially supporting the Wii U for repairs anymore some speculated it's a matter of time before all Wii U's slowly met their fate of being stuck at an error code and becoming "bricked".
But there is hope! Along came YouTube and Twitter user Voultar, who sought to find a solution to help others save their Wii U systems. As it turns out, the issue is solvable. It stems from a corrupted title ID that is incorrectly telling the system where the main OS menu is located in the Wii U's memory. Thanks to Voultar's investigation, the solution to this problem turns out to have quietly been available since June 2022.
GaryOderNichts uploaded software called "USB Descriptor Parsing Is Hard" or "udpih" (pronounced like "mud pie" without the 'M'), onto GitHub that uses a Raspberry Pi to take advantage of a vulnerability in the USB port of the Wii U. This can allow unsigned code to be read by the Wii U, including software written to the SD card.
This leads to GaryOderNichts' other release, aptly called "recovery_menu", also on GitHub, that can then help tell the Wii U where its BIOs file is properly located.
As a result, any Wii U with error code 160-0101 or 160-0103 should be able to overcome this error code screen for about $8– so long as the eMMC flash memory storage is not corrupt– we'll let you know if any solutions come out for that problem in the future.
If your Wii U is showing error code 160-0101 or 160-0103, you will need to do the following to resolve it.
- The Nintendo Wii U that cannot boot past error code 160-0101 or 160-0103
- Raspberry Pi Pico or Zero (or any Linux device capable of USB device emulation).
- SD Card
- A computer (or device) that can write files to an SD card and the Raspberry Pi via a USB port.
How to Fix Your Wii U
Preparing the Raspberry Pi.
- Plug our Raspberry Pi into your computer via USB so it has power.
- Power on the Raspberry Pi board.
- With your Raspberry Pi plugged into your computer, save the latest build of "udpih.uf2" from GitHub to the Raspberry Pi-- as if you were saving any other piece of software to a USB flash drive.
Preparing the SD Card.
- Insert your SD card into your computer via an SD card reader.
- Click on the file called "recovery_menu" (you can ignore the file called recovery_menu_dc_init for this process).
- Save the "recovery_menu" file directly to the root of the SD card. Simply open the SD card and leave the file on the main page that pops up when you open the contents of the flash drive (also known as the root folder).
You should now have saved two separate files to two separate devices. Unplug the USB cable and eject the SD card from your computer and go to your Wii U.
Booting the Wii U into the Recovery Menu.
- Insert the SD card we just prepared into the Wii U's SD card port in the front. (It hides underneath the front flap cover matching the color of your Wii U, under the Power and Eject buttons ).
- Do NOT plug in the Raspberry Pi's USB yet, but get ready to insert the USB after pushing the Power button.
- Turn on the Wii U. Your disc drive will make an audible spinning noise like a typical power-on.
I hope you like reasonably slow quick-time-events in video games. I'm sure most gamers can get past this next step.
- Shortly after the Wii U's disc drive quiets down, you will see a bright, white Wii U logo on your screen. Plug in the Raspberry Pi right when you see the Wii U logo, or else your Wii U will proceed and go to the error code screen. If that happens, unplug the USB cable, shut off the Wii U, and try booting again.
The Wii U Recovery Menu does not use a normal Wii U controller– it uses the DISC EJECT and POWER buttons on the front of the Wii U. DISC EJECT cycles the highlighted option down and POWER chooses the option that is highlighted.
OPTIONAL: While in this menu, you can dump files to help recover other problems your Wii U might be having by choosing "Dump OTP + SEEPROM", which will save to your SD card.
- To resolve the boot issue is to push POWER when "Set Coldboot Title" is highlighted on the menu.
Once you choose the Wii U Menuy of your region, you should see new text that says "Success".
Navigate again with the EJECT button to choose "Back" at the top of the screen. This will return you to the main menu of the recovery menu. Choose "Shutdown" at the very bottom to safely shut off your Wii U. You can safely remove the SD card and the USB for the Raspberry Pi now. Power the Wii U back on and you should see your Wii U's menu come back to life.
Image Sourced from Voultar on YouTube.