Difference between revisions of "Brick"

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Latest revision as of 02:48, 21 June 2021

Error 003, an example of a Wii brick.

To brick a Wii is to damage the console in a way that it can no longer be used properly, usually beyond repair - as in 'A bricked Wii has all the electronic functionality of a brick'. To put it simply, fully bricked Wii consoles do absolutely nothing. The term is often used in situations where modifying a system's firmware (without necessarily making any alterations to the machine's hardware) has caused it to become inoperable.

Fixing a brick generally comes in three steps; the first step is identifying the brick, the second step is launching homebrew, and the third step is using this homebrew to load a recovery tool.

Identifying a brick

To fix a brick, it must be identified first. If the System Menu boots fine, then the brick is simply a semi brick.

If the health screen is the last screen seen, then the brick is either a banner brick or a mail brick. To test this, hold + and - when pressing A; if the system still refuses to boot, it is a banner brick, otherwise it is a mail brick.

If "Error 003" appears on the screen, then it is an Error 003 brick.

If a system menu error message other than error 003 appears at this point, then it is a system menu brick. Otherwise, the brick is either a full brick or a low level brick. If BootMii as boot2 still boots, then it is some form of full brick. If HBC can be launched from here, then it is a system menu brick; otherwise, it is an IOS brick.

If Priiloader is installed, and it boots, then this is likely a system menu brick, and can easily be fixed.

If BootMii is not installed as boot2, and the brick is a full brick, it is worth attempting to use a SaveMii Dongle to recover; if it works, it is a system menu brick. Otherwise, it is or is equivalent to a low-level brick.

Finally, if an existing BootMii-boot2 installation fails to boot, then this is a low-level brick.

Types of Bricks

Semi/Partial Brick

A Semi/Partial Brick occurs when a System Menu update from the wrong region is installed on a Wii or some resources have been otherwise damaged, breaking some (but not all) of the functionality of the System Menu. Typically, games will still boot but the Settings menu will not work -- this prevents the system from healing itself with an online update. These cases can be fixed by installing a newer version of the System Menu from a disc of the correct region, or with any other tool that can modify the System Menu.

Fixing this brick

An semi brick can be fixed by opening the Homebrew channel and booting recovery software to install the correct region or IOS set.

If HBC is not installed for whatever reason, then Bannerbomb or Letterbomb can be used on any Wii on 4.0-4.3. On other versions, Bluebomb is generally the exploit to use. These exploits should be used to load the HackMii Installer, which can be used to access HBC.

Once HBC is loaded, NUS Downloader can be used to download the correct system files, and installed over the current system menu.

CAUTION: Installing the wrong file can make the brick worse! Be very careful!

Mail Brick

A Mail Brick is caused when a user has too much mail in their Message Board for the Wii to handle. The Wii will crash upon booting through normal means. However, the System Menu can still be used through Maintenance Mode.

Fixing this brick

This brick can be fixed by entering Maintanence Mode, which is done by holding + and - on the health screen when pressing A. From here, the mail can be deleted using homebrew launched from the Homebrew channel. If the Homebrew channel is not installed, then str2hax can be used for versions 2.0-4.3, or Bluebomb for other versions. Once the HackMii Installer is launched this way, HBC can be installed, and a mail deletion tool can be loaded.

Cause of this brick

Mail bricks occur when malformed mail appears. Because the Message Board is always drawn under the channels, this causes functionality to fail, even before opening the message board. However, this is disabled entirely in maintanence mode, which allows the System Menu to launch.

A Banner Brick occurs when the user installs a channel with an invalid banner (wrong image size). With this type of brick the system will freeze after the Health and Safety screen and may display a "System Files are Corrupted" error message.

Fixing this brick

Since boot2 is intact during a Banner Brick, any user who owns a pre Q4 2008 Wii with BootMii installed (as boot2) can access BootMii regardless of any corrupt WAD installed. From here they can access the HBC to uninstall the broken channel using AnyTitle Deleter.

If Preloader or Priiloader is installed, holding reset while powering on the Wii and launching HBC will enable recovery by uninstalling the broken channel.

Users Without BootMii installed as boot2 and Priiloader/Preloader may use the BlueBomb exploit to launch the HackMii Installer, which will enable access to the HBC, so a similar recovery procedure can be used as described above.

NOTE: Uninstalling the incorrect channel may lead to further damage, so users should be careful.

Cause of this brick

A banner brick is caused when a channel with a malformed banner (icon), is installed. Due to the poor error checking of the System Menu, the system menu cant handle the corrupted banner, so it crashes and thinks that it is a file corruption.

Full Brick (System Menu)

Generally speaking, a "full brick" occurs when the System Menu refuses to boot for any reason. There are two typical symptoms of a full brick:

1. The Wii displays an Opera error message instead of the “WARNING SCREEN" when the Wii boots and does not check the disc drive for a disc before displaying the error. Because of this it's impossible to fix using software unless you have BootMii installed (as boot2), or you use a SaveMii Dongle with an autoboot disc.

2. The Wii displays nothing and you are presented with a black screen. Because of this it's impossible to fix using software, UNLESS you have BootMii installed (as boot2) In some cases the latter will be unable to fix this brick.

Similar bricks occur when there is a broken Bluetooth Module, or non-Korean System Menu on a Korean Wii. The former can only be fixed by replacing the module.

Fixing this brick

To fix this brick, BootMii must be installed as boot2. To boot recovery software, navigate to HBC and perform a system update.

In some cases, it may also be possible to fix this brick using Priiloader, by booting to HBC. This method is not as reliable as the BootMii method.

If the Priiloader method does not work, and your Wii has GameCube ports in it, a SaveMii Dongle can be used. These dongles are inserted into the GameCube memory port, and are capable of performing disc updates. On a Wii Family Edition, the GameCube ports can be soldered back in, allowing this method to work there as well.

Once HBC is booted, NUS Downloader can be used to download an uncorrupted System Menu, and another tool can install it.

If none of these are options, Infectus must be used to restore a NAND backup.

Cause of this brick

A full brick is caused when SYSCONF is missing, damaged, or has the "reconfiguration" flag set. This usually occurs after certain updates. The Wii would usually show the settings screen on boot to let you adjust some settings, but since it is broken, you end up with an un-bootable Wii.

Each region has its own version of the System Menu. For example, 3.2 of the System Menu available is v. 288 (NTSC/J), v.289 (NTSC/U), v.290 (PAL). The only difference between those three versions is two different files — the main executable for the menu (a .DOL file, more or less) and an ARC archive that stores compressed versions of the HTML / image resources.

All of this is fine and good, but why put them in separately named directories? (E.g. EU/EU/GER/Setup/ScreenSave.html above)? The path name could always be the same because there are different files for each version.

If there’s a specific path that the graphics need to sit at, you’d think they’d hard-code a pathname like that into the code, right? No…

The code’s pretty hard to tease apart, but they seem to be trying to determine the system region from the setting.txt file, and then building up a pathname to load like so: sprintf(filename, “html/%s2/iplsetting.ash/%s/%s/ENG/Setup/ScreenSave.html”, region, region, region). This is so silly, because if they had hard-coded the path then the system would have booted just fine.

Full Brick (IOS)

If the System Menu's IOS is corrupted, then the Wii will not show anything on the screen. This will appear identical to a System Menu brick, however, Priiloader cannot be used to fix this brick.

A broken Wifi Module will present the same symptoms, but can only be fixed by replacing the module. This extends to installing a normal System Menu IOS on a Wii Mini without a WiFi module installed.

Fixing this brick

To recover from an IOS brick, BootMii must be installed as boot2. Normal homebrew will likely not work to recover from this brick, because they depend on IOS's that are now corrupted. Instead, special tools using mini (such as RestoreMii) must be used to fix this brick.

If BootMii cannot be installed as boot2 on this Wii, then Infectus must be used to restore a NAND backup.

Cause of this brick

This brick occurs when the System Menu IOS is missing or corrupted. When this happens, boot2 cannot locate the IOS that should be launched, so it fails to boot, or boots garbage code.

Low Level Brick (LLB)

A LLB occurs when part of the boot process is corrupt -- boot1 is corrupt, or boot2 is corrupt. Since boot2 is required to be working and able load an IOS before the system can run, any errors in this process will render the system inoperable. A LLB cannot be fixed with software and requires hardware modification to be repaired.

Fixing this brick

LLBs cannot be fixed with BootMii, even if it is installed as boot2. Instead, Infectus must be installed into the Wii hardware to install proper boot contents. A NAND backup is not required for this, because boot1 and boot2 are not encrypted with the NAND key.

Cause of this brick

This is one of the most dangerous bricks, because not even BootMii can fix it. While boot0 is in ROM, boot1 is on the NAND and is SHA1 hashed in OTP. This means if boot1 is modified at all, the signature check will fail, and boot0 will refuse to boot. boot2 suffers in the same way, although its signature is checked via RSA signature verification instead of ROM, so this brick could also be caused by a corrupt boot2 signature, resulting in boot1 refusing to boot the system. No part of the official boot process allows recovery software to be booted, leaving the Wii in a bad state.

Many low level bricks were caused by the 4.2 update incorrectly overriding boot2.

Prevention

  • Only install updates for your own region.
  • Play your own region
    • Playing games or using Wii Menu channels from other regions shouldn't cause any problems, but in exceptional circumstances something could go wrong
    • Games and Channels from other regions will not function without modification
  • DO NOT DELETE CRITICAL SYSTEM FILES
  • DO NOT INSTALL SYSTEM FILE MODS
    • Unless, you have a VERY good reason
  • DO NOT INSTALL UNOFFICIAL CHANNELS
    • Unless, they come from a TRUSTED source and REALLY serve a useful function
    • Malformed channels (especially the banner part) can make your System Menu crash on boot
    • Loading apps from a SD Card is much safer
  • Ensure that you know what you're doing before you install or run any homebrew apps
    • Especially, those with the "Homebrew Dangerous if Misused" banner on their page
  • BE VERY CAREFUL WHEN USING:
  • DO NOT TOUCH YOUR Wii's POWER SOURCE/BUTTON WHILE UPDATING/INSTALLING SYSTEM CONTENT
    • (e.g. BootMii NAND backup)
    • ESPECIALLY DURING AN ELECTRICAL STORM

Other recovery methods

If a Wii becomes bricked, there may be a way to unbrick it.

Using a Recovery Disc

Requires:

OR

Priiloader

The disc check can be bypassed.

Modchip

This allows you to boot Recovery Software from a disc.

NOTE: This method is outdated and has a lot of requirements:

1.) A semi-working System Menu.

2.) A fully working System Menu IOS.

3.) ILLEGAL copies of the old repair disc.

  • Won't work on updated systems, because IOS16 was stubbed and homebrew discs require the Trucha Bug inside the correct IOS or that IOS has to ignore signing completely.

Using a savegame exploit

If you do have a copy of an exploit save ALREADY on the Wii, and an authentic exploitable disc, you can use this to boot recovery software as well. This also requires:

  • A semi-working System Menu.
  • A fully working System Menu IOS.
  • Some way to still boot game discs.
  • A recovery homebrew app on the root of the SD card, named boot.dol

If you do not already have a savegame exploit on the Wii's NAND, there's a method to get it on the Wii NAND after a brick:

  • Spam the NAND with savegames until it's nearly full. Alternatively, if you have internet access on your Wii, Wii Shop access, and channels you can redownload (unless your NAND is already almost full), you can download a bunch of channels until there's little to no space left.
  • Try to install another channel, the Rabbids Go Home Channel, the Mario Kart Channel, or the Wii Fit Channel.
  • Use the option to go to data management and copy the savegame over. (And don't forget to delete the savegames/channels you spammed earlier when you're done!)
  • Once the savegame is copied over, boot the game, use the exploit, and use the recovery homebrew you copied earlier to recover the Wii from the brick.

Using Smash Stack

If you have a copy of Super Smash Bros. Brawl, you can boot recovery software as well.

Requirements:

  • Some way to boot game discs
  • A recovery homebrew app on the root of the SD card, named boot.dol

Simply copy the Smash Stack stages over to the SD card, and load the level editor as usual.

Using Priiloader

Requires:

  • Priiloader
    • Configured to boot something other than the System Menu

Simply boot a recovery program the way you would any other. if you have Priiloader installed, but it boots to the System Menu then try holding down reset when you turn on your Wii, after a few seconds of holding reset the Priiloader menu should appear.

Using BootMii

Requires:

  • NAND backup
    • BEFORE the Wii bricks

It's advised to backup your NAND right after you install BootMii.

boot2

If you installed BootMii as boot2, then simply go to the second options screen and choose the second icon which can recover from the brick.

IOS

If you installed BootMii as part of an IOS, then you will need Priiloader installed. Go to the HBC via Priiloader, then select Launch BootMii from the main menu.

Using a NAND Programmer

Requires:

  • Soldering many wires to the Wii's motherboard

In order to use a NAND Programmer/Infectus to rewrite the flash directly you will need to know your Wii's NAND keys.

WC24 title booting

WC24 title booting can be used to fix banner bricks. The types of bricks this can fix is similar to the "recovery mode" menu. That menu can be triggered by holding down all D-Pad buttons on the GC controller plugged into slot 4, a tab inside the controller needs removed in official GC controllers. Every time the file at the boot mail entry URL installed by wc24app is updated, every Wii that already downloaded the boot mail would download again and wakeup for title booting again. The entry URLs that wc24app installs includes the consoleID, this can be used to send unique content for one Wii. If you need the boot mail content for the entry installed by wc24app to be updated to fix your bricked Wii after it already downloaded and booted with the mail, contact Yellows8 on the talk page, or send an email to yellowstar6 at gmail dot com. To repair a Wii with WC24 title booting, the following requirements must be met:

  • Like the "recovery mode" menu, sysmenu IOS must be working correctly
  • HBC must be installed since the boot mail would boot HBC, WC24 title booting can't boot discs.
  • Sysmenu needs to be working without completely crashing to allow shutting down to idle/"standby" mode
  • Before the brick occurs, you need to run wc24app v1.1(currently from SVN or this build) on the Wii to install the boot mail entry, and to enable the WC24 title boot flag. The title boot flag is never cleared or set after file creation by Nintendo software, this flag is only cleared by Nintendo software on file creation. Nintendo announcement mail can't be intercepted and modified since that mail is RSA signed.(Modifying that mail is only possible if the sysmenu IOS has the signature check patched or has the fakesign bug, and any other IOS that run when the mail is newly downloaded/downloaded when mail is updated would need the sig patch or have the fakesign bug.)

Sending it to Nintendo

This option is the least desirable for homebrew users, as Nintendo will likely send back a different console, with your personal settings/Wii Shop account transferred and the latest updates installed. Additionally, Nintendo is no longer repairing any Wiis, so this is not even a last resort anymore.