Alternative to a Wii Sensor Bar
By Grahame Turner
Updated September 22, 2017
The Nintendo Wii's revolutionary motion control system introduced players to a few new technologies that put them closer to the game: moving the remote or nunchuk accessory would correspond to motion on screen, and pointing the remote allowed pin-point accuracy for aiming and controlling figures on screen. The secret of the pointing was the Wii Sensor Bar, which gives the remote a frame of reference to control. Fortunately, if yours is broken or simply stops working, there are a number of alternatives.
In addition to the Nintendo brand sensor bars, there are a number of third-party products which serve the same function. They function more or less the same as the stock one, but they have the added benefit of coming in a wireless alternative. The wireless sensor bar allows you to play the games on a projector screen without having to route the wires across the floor. A few even boast expanded play range. There are several brands available.
The trade-off with third-party accessories is that they are lower quality and often aren't covered by the same warranty as the rest of the console and accessories; however, they're often cheaper and more readily available than the official Nintendo branded products. Read some of the reviews of various products, or speak to shop staff or assistants for advice on which 3rd party peripherals work the best.
Homebrew Sensor Bar
It's also possible to build yourself a sensor bar of your own. You merely need some Infrared LEDs, a power source, and a base of some kind to hold the IR LEDs about 12 inches apart. Solder the LEDs to either end of the base bar, and connect them to the power source--any kind of battery is sufficient. An On-off switch would also allow you to turn the bar off when your game is not in play. Place your homemade sensor bar on or under the TV in the same position you had the original.
Because all the sensor bar really does is project infrared lights toward the remote, anything that sends out infra-red light is sufficient to work the Wiimote. Many users report being able to use a pair of candles placed at either end of the TV with great success. Simply put two lit candles at the top or bottom corners of your screen. There is a small fire hazard with this particular method, so don't let children play with candles unsupervised, and don't leave the candles burning when the game is off--unless they're on for mood enhancement.
Grahame Turner has worked as a freelance writer since 2009 and a freelance reporter since 2010 for Wellesley Patch and Jamaica Plain Patch in Massachusetts. He also works part-time as a bookseller at the Northeastern University bookstore. He is a Northeastern University graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in English.