November 6, 2008

Connecting a Wiimote to your PC

Clear, simple instructions on connecting a Wiimote to your PC.

You can do some pretty cool stuff these days with just a Wiimote, some software and a Bluetooth-capable computer. If you haven't seen Johnny Lee's Wiimote experiments yet you must check them out - it's required viewing!

If you're yearning to join the Wiimote hacker's club, the first skill to learn is how to make a Bluetooth connection between your Wiimote and your computer. You can find the steps elsewhere on the web, but I have a few tips that might save you some time. (Note: I'm using Windows Vista and these steps will vary on other operating systems)

First, from the Control Panel open Bluetooth Devices.

Now on the Devices tab click the Add button at the bottom.

This will bring up the Add Bluetooth Device Wizard. Click the checkbox that says "My device is set up and ready to be found".

Now, before clicking Next, press 1 and 2 simultaneously on your Wiimote. The blue lights on the wiimote should start blinking letting you know it's ready to make a connection. Click Next.

After a moment the wizard should locate a device named Nintendo RVL-CNT-01. That's your Wiimote. Select the device and click Next.

The next screen asks about setting up a Bluetooth passkey, which we don't need. So, select the fourth option - Don't use a passkey.

By this time your Wiimote has probably stopped searching for a connection (the blinking only lasts for 20 seconds). So, before clicking Next reactivate the connection mode by pressing 1 and 2 once again.

Now click Next.

That's it - if all has gone well you'll see this success dialog.

You can click Finish and know that your computer now has access to your Wiimote.
NOTE: once you've made the connection, the Nintendo device icon remains in your Bluetooth Devices list, HOWEVER, whenever the Bluetooth connection shuts down -- if your computer goes to sleep, or if the Wiimote gets turned off, for example -- you'll need to run through these steps once again. It may seem like a pain, but it only takes a couple system crashes before this will become a habit :)

Now that your Wiimote is connected you need a way to confirm that it's working -- I like this Wiimote Data Visualizer written by Matthias Shapiro.

It shows the current state of all the controls on the Wiimote and even lets you toggle the blue lights and trigger the Wiimote's Rumble feedback.

Good luck to you and happy hacking!


Anonymous said...

thanks for the tutorial, some pretty neat projects too.

Had a question does a new wii remote need to be synced with a wii at least once to assign it a controller number?

thanks again

Ken Moore said...

Thanks, dansm, I'm not aware of any different requirements for the first sync... for me it just worked the first time.

Michael said...

Hey Ken, Thanks for sharing your cool ideas. My Dad and I just discovered your videos, as well as Jcl's, and are really excited about the possibilities. I'm a juggler in las vegas and have been pondering the use of theremin created melodies activated by the proximity of juggling balls to the sensors and the use of ir bulbs on the balls and a strategically located wii remote might just do the trick! Cool!! Thanks again. I've got the laptops, midi sequencers and will have to figure out the programming to connect the bluetooth info to midi software...any suggestions?

Michael Holly
Folies Bergere Tropicana Hotel, LV

Ken Moore said...


Hey, the juggling thing sounds cool -- and a real challenge, but that's what serious jugglers thrive on, eh? You'll need some programming chops though, to integrate the Wiimote library ( with Leslie Sanford's MIDI library ( The technique I use is to send one single note and send pitch bend messages to bend it down corresponding to the LED position. It's not rocket science, but it IS computer science :) Best wishes to you!

Lucas said...

Hi ken!

Just so you (and everyone else) don't waste your time rediscovering the device every single time using the add bluetooth device wizard. A great app was written by a guy named "thex" on (Johnny Lee's forum), and the software is called "WiimoteConnect" and it does precisely what it's meant to. All you do is start the program while holding 1+2 on your wiimote and it will just sync it up automatically - generally before the wiimote sync is finished.

Hope this helps other people!

Ken Moore said...

@Lucas - thanks a bunch for the pointer, the WiimoteConnect applet is a breath of fresh air! I'll make sure to share it with others.

Parker said...

It works, except it is asking me for a passkey, and I don't what it might be. any ideas?

Afia2k8 said...

Hello. I am grateful if you could help me.
After connecting the wii remote, it either continues blinking and stay connected; or is connected but all the LEDS are still blinking and then disconnects itself. In the meantime, I am unable to use the wiimote with glovepie and such. Any help would be much appreciated. Thank you.
Kindest regards

Ken Moore said...

@Afia2k8, I wish I could assist with those issues but since I haven't encountered them myself I can't even speculate as to the source. I can only point you to Google, sorry :^/

Ken Moore said...

@Parker, at the step where it asks for a passkey, choose the option to NOT set a passkey, sounds like that's the bit you're missing.

Aqualung said...

I've been trying to connect the Wiimote to my Windows 7 x64 computer, with no luck so far. Ken, would you mind attempting this on a Win7 x64 setup please?

Ken Moore said...

@Aqualung, sorry I feel a little burned by Vista so I'm not going to upgrade to Windows 7. Next year when Chrome OS shows up I'm moving everything I can to that :) I'm sure Windows 7 has been discussed here though: Good luck!

Shyla said...

HI Ken
Okay so I can not connect the wiimote to the HID list. It does not give a option to not put in the passkey do you know of anyway how to pass this part? I have the HP BT500 and it does not work with Blue Soleil for some reason. Also what type of software did yours come with? Maybe if I used that it could work. Thank You

Ken Moore said...

@Shyla, I'm sorry but I'm not an expert on Bluetooth connection... it just happened to work for me without much problem. Not sure what to recommend aside from some quality time with Google... hope you can get it working.

Anonymous said...

I've been trying to create the LED pen and I keep burning out the LED bulb. I never got it to work with a switch, but when I connected it straight to the battery, I saw the light thru my camera twice, then never again. I'm a little frustrated, as I could have purchased a pen for less than what I've paid for the parts to build one. I did get my wii remote to communicate with my computer tho.

Ken Moore said...

@Anonymous: the LEDs I bought from Vishay Electronics (TSAL6400) are pretty robust and don't burn out when connected to a 1.5v battery. However, the circuit should probably include a small resistor, and that would probably resolve your issue. I'm not an electronics expert in any way, so you'll need to consult other sources for guidance on selecting the right resistor.

Dan Collyer said...

Most of the connection tutorials I have read told me to press both the (1) and (2) buttons down while connecting to bluetooh. This did not work for me, my controllers have a red "sync" button located in the battery compartment of the wiimote. I spent and hour holding down the two buttons wondering why it would not work, so I hope this information helps savew someone some time.

I found some tutorials that helped me connect here.

ajsarris said...

Thank you, it works great.

Vincent Rogiest said...

Me myself and i spoke about this idea with native instruments in 2002-2003,... The only difference is that i wanted to use lasers. I'm happy to see that someone worked on this project.