Homebrew Channel/Help

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Please place all new support questions at the bottom.

NOTE: If you think you've found a bug, please refer to the Bugs page instead. If you don't see your question here, check to see if it's been moved there.

Questions about features of specific applications can be directed to the application's discussion page.




What is the Homebrew Channel all about?

A: It's a channel that lets you run Wii Homebrew in .elf or .dol format. Currently, you can load them from an SD card, a USB Gecko or via local network (WiFi or wired). Each application may have a customised icon of certain size, and various metadata which is displayed when selected, such as name, short description, long description, version, release date, and coder, stored in an XML file.

Before Installing the Channel

Can the Homebrew Channel permanently damage my Wii?

Q: Have there been any cases so far of the Homebrew Channel bricking a Wii?

A: No.

What software is needed to run the HBC?

Q: Do you need any special software version to run HBC? Will it work with all versions? How do I find out which version I have?

A: No; most Wii owners should be able to install the HBC. If you receive a message during installation saying you are missing required system components, try renting or borrowing a recent Nintendo-authored game such as Super Mario Galaxy or Mario Kart; these games contain full updates and should install anything you need.

After installing the HBC do I still need the disc for Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess?

Q: Does the Homebrew channel require someone to own LoZ: TP or can it be used once (IE if I rent the game) and work?

A: You only need to use the game once in order to install the channel. Afterwards, you can access the channel straight from the Wii menu.

Can I play Zelda again?

Q: After installing the Homebrew Channel using the twilight princess hack, will the Homebrew channel still function if I delete the twilight princess hack and reinstall my original save file?

A: Yes. Once the Homebrew Channel is installed, the twilight hack save is no longer required.

Can I install the HBC without Twilight Princess? How about Super Mario Galaxy?

Q: Is there a way I can install Homebrew Channel without Twilight Princess? If not, could you make a Super Mario Galaxy Hack?

A: Yes, but it requires a modchip, which WILL void your warranty. Another soft-hack such as the Twilight Princess Glitch, is unknown at this time.
A2: If you have a modchip, and version 3.2 or lower of the Wii, you can do it.

Can the channel be copied from another Wii using an SD card?

Q: Would it be possible to COPY the actual channel from one machine onto another. If it's machine locked out, why not edit the file. Also, publishing a disc like action replay or gameshark might be able to force a channel! While this has probably been thought before, I'm not sure the reasoning why it isn't done.

A: Taken separately:

Q. Would it be possible to COPY the actual channel from one machine onto another.
A. No.
Q. If it's machine locked out, why not edit the file.
A. Because it doesn't work that way.
Q. Also, publishing a disc like action replay or gameshark might be able to force a channel!
A. Huh? Bushing 11:27, 23 June 2008 (CEST)
A2.What he means is, is it possible to create a disc to install the hombrew channel. and no.

it would require a modded wii, until someone comes up with some sort of way to get it to run without a modchip.

Yes, someone like Datel could produce a disc that would install the HBC on pre-3.3 systems. Bushing 04:10, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

Troubleshooting Installation Problems

I can't copy the Twilight Hack onto my Wii from the SD Card anymore even though the file is there.

Q: I downloaded the newest version of Twilight Hack to my SD Card, yet it doesn't show up when I go to Data Management --> Save Data --> Wii --> SD Card. I then cannot copy it to my Wii's NAND. How do I fix this? (It worked once, and this was before I formatted my SD Card. It was also before I deleted it by accident.)

A: Check if you put the correct file with the correct name in the correct folder. If that doesn't help, try a different SD card, or formatting it with the official tool.

Exception 300 or similar errors

Q: I keep getting an error ("Exception 300" or similar) when trying to install the Homebrew channel via the TP hack.

A: You followed bogus installation instructions that were once posted here; try reinstalling using the revised instructions. (Hint: If you're renaming anything, You're Doing It Wrong.)

A: Also verify that boot.elf has not been corrupted after you've extracted it. The correct MD5 for boot.elf alone is 80dd6b7c096dcba88b7996a4cd8a5935 for HBC 8.

Zelda freezes whenever I talk to the man. Has an update from Nintendo fixed the hack or do I need to reformat my SD card?

Q: I have downloaded the TP Hack and the homebrew channel and renamed it boot.elf and put it at the root of my sd card like it says. I turn on the wii delete the zelda file, copy the TP hack to the wii and go to the disc channel, let it load, start it, do the vision test, load the TP hack file and talk to the man, but then this comes up and it freezes. I already reformated the sd card to FAT16 and everything but i dont know whats wrong? someone told me one of Nintendo's updates fixed the hack? here is the error message:

FAT_ReadFile (boot.elf) failed with error -1
No elf image at adress 90100000
Dol image detected?
loading binary files

A: There are three known causes for this:

  1. Your card is formatted as FAT12; it needs to be formatted as FAT16 or FAT32. This is only a problem with small SD cards (less than 32MB or so)
  2. Your card is formatted without a partition table, in violation of the SD Card Spec.
  3. You followed the incorrect instructions that used to be posted here and renamed the .tar.gz file to boot.elf. Instead of renaming the file, you should extract it (using WinZip or another archiving program), and copy the resulting boot.elf onto your SD card.
  4. The first two problems can often be fixed by reformatting the card.

5. This can also be caused by trying to install the Homebrew Channel beta9 with an alpha release of the Twilight Hack. If this is the cause, upgrade the Twilight Hack. (tested 3.2E -- alpha0.3a -- beta9 = fail, 3.2E -- beta1 -- beta9 = success) Nanika 16:52, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

Updating the channel

Can the Homebrew Channel be updated to a newer version from the HBC itself?

Q: Would the installer install the updated version if it were booted through the Homebrew Channel? i.e. Add it as a Channel and then boot it?

A: Sure, other ways of booting the installer also work. It is possible to transfer it to the Wii using the Wiiload method, or from the HBC itself ;)

The Homebrew Channel doesn't seem to be updating automatically.

Q: Why didn't my Homebrew Channel detect the update? Connect 24 is on... and the World Icon on the Channel is white.

A: You could be behind a http proxy, the channel does not currently account for that. Also, the check is only done when you start the channel, we have not yet bothered reverse engineering connect 24.

How would an http proxy or a slow internet connection affect the update checker?

Q: Is there anything I can do to allow the Homebrew Channel to automatically update, assuming that I may be behind a http proxy? Or would a slow internet connection affect the update checker?

A: The self-update feature is still experimental; sometimes it does not work and we do not know why. Proxy support is something we'll need to explicitly add.

Installing Applications

What file format should applications have on the SD?

Q: What type of file format should I put into the SD?

A: Apps need to be called boot.elf or boot.dol (wii .dol only, not GC). Icons should be called icon.png, and information should be in meta.xml.

An application I installed manually without the Homebrew Browser doesn't show up in the HBC

Q: I've downloaded the "XYZ" app. It's a file in .dol. or .elf format. I've stored it into the SD card, but the HomeBrew's menu does not list the new app. What I'm doing wrong? Maybe should I have to store the app in a certain folder and/or do I have to run a certain installation procedure?

A: You need to create a folder in the root of the SD card called apps. Then you need to create a folder inside of that for each DOL or ELF file. Put the File in there, and rename it to either boot.elf or boot.dol(depending on the file type). You can then add an icon for each app in the same folder, with it named icon.png, and a description file name meta.xml.

I followed all the instructions but some applications still don't show up on the HBC

Using the channel

Is it possible to sort the applications running in the Homebrew Channel?

A: As of beta8, the Homebrew Channel sorts your applications alphabetically by their name (i.e. the content of the <name> Element in the application's meta.xml).

The Homebrew Channel starts to load an application, it doesn't freeze but the loading of the app stalls at 0% and I have to do a hard reset.

A: Update to beta9, which fixes the memory card bug. Marcan 12:08, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

Can wiiload send entire folders to the Wii and automatically synchronize data such as save files back to the computer?

Q: Using Wiiload is great for loading .elf/.dol files, but could it be possible to load folders? I'd like to load my snes9x.elf with my roms and saves when I'd like to play, instead of keeping the on an SD card. Also, if this is possible, a feature for wiiload should be added so you can send the data BACK to your computer. A reason for this would be in case your save game file is updated.

A: You can use Homebrew apps/FTPii for this or buy a cheap USB card reader for your computer.


Should I install the latest Nintendo Wii update after I've already installed the HBC?

Q: Nintendo has just relased an update for the Wii System Software. In the relase notes, Nintendo says that modded savefiles and so on will be removed by this update. I've installed the HBC. What will I do? Is it sure to install this update?

A: Although we recommend you do not update, the Homebrew Channel is unaffected by the update.

Is there any chance at all that Nintendo can or will brick a Wii that already has the Homebrew Channel?

A: Possible, but unlikely. It's far more likely that a future Nintendo update could *accidentally* conflict with the HBC. Keep checking on WiiBrew before installing any updates and you'll likely be safe.

Does a software-only modification void my warranty?

Q: Does this void my warranty even though it is just software and not a hardware mod?

A: Technically? Perhaps. Realistically? No.

Should I be concerned that the Homebrew Channel usage is being logged to the Wii message board?

Q: Is there a way to prevent the Homebrew Channel - and the time spent using it - from being logged on the Wii message board?

A: No, nor is there any real need to.

Followup: This information is uploaded if you use the My Nintendo channel and elect to share usage information (required if you want to download DS demos). The concern is that Nintendo will know you are running the Homebrew Channel and they could quickly identify individual Wii numbers if they decide to block all online access (Like Microsoft did with Live). It is a real concern. Can you remove the information from the logs when the Homebrew channel shuts down?
No, it's not a real concern. They don't care. Really. Put your tinfoil hat away.

Issues with specific apps

Q: I succesfully installed the HB channel and the provided apps package too, but I cannot setup the modern style into the ScummVM. The Wii ScummVM has only the classic style built-in, so I tried to copy the "modern" style from my PC to the SD card. The Wii ScummVM now does list the new style, but even if I choose it, the interface does not change. What am I doing wrong?

A: Try asking in the talk page for that application instead: Talk:Homebrew_apps/ScummVM.

Source and Future plans

When will the source code be released?

Q: Are there any plans to release the source to THC or is it available already? Opening up the source would allow more people to understand how exactly THC works, and aid in developing other channels. It would also allow us all to try and improve THC or go in our own direction with it. I also noticed there wasn't any contact email address, which is what brought me here.

A: When both it and the audience is ready for that. )

I think the reason there isn't source release of the HBC is so that there aren't a 100 unofficial HBCs made by other people *cough*wanky*cough*. Or atleast that's what everyone said when the topic came up in #wiidev --vader347 22:27, 6 August 2008 (CEST)

Is there a Japanese translation for the Homebrew Channel planned?

A: Not yet, because we do not yet have Japanese-characterset support for our text rendering code. A good first step would be for us to make Japanese text work in meta.xml. Can you provide some examples of meta.xml with Japanese text, along with a screenshot of how it should work? Bushing 11:27, 23 June 2008 (CEST)

The Wikipedia article on the Japanese language has a fair amount of Japanese text, as does the article on Japanese grammar. If your computer doesn't support it, I uploaded a screenshot of some of the text.

I have some ideas to let the HBC automatically update applications to the latest versions.

Q: This is more of a suggestion, rather than a question...I'm just not sure how to contact you guys any other way. :) I'm envisioning something like this - you'd just add an extra (optional) field to the xml file for each homebrew app. That would be a link to an xml file hosted on the app's own project website containing the latest version number. When an app is run, that remote file is checked by the homebrew channel. If it's the latest version, the app runs. If it isn't, the hbc prompts the user to download whatever's linked to in the remote xml file, be it a new .elf file, .xml, .png, or any combination of the three. This could help lots of people stay up-to-date as many homebrew project updates are buried within pages and pages of some random forum on a website somewhere. This could encourage homebrew authors to set up some kind of 'real' hosting somewhere to ensure consistent access to the latest versions of their work.

A: We have some plans for functionality along these lines -- stay tuned. In the mean time, try the Homebrew Browser.

Will there be any background music added to the channel?

A: There are certainly plans for that, but it's not our top priority right now. Drmr 15:56, 29 July 2008 (CEST)


How do I write an app for the homebrew channel?

Q: How do I write an app for the homebrew channel? I have some knowledge of c++, and would be open to learn any graphics libraries I would need. What do I need to do to start creating the app? Is there anything different while making the actual game? How do I compile into an .elf or .dol file?

A: Look at Getting Started with devkitppc to get started with compiling apps. Development Tools has some libraries, I suggest libwiisprite.

The homebrew channel now gives a code dump with lots of numbers while reading the SD card.

Q: My homebrew channel used to work, but now when i start it up it says its reading the SD card and it suddenly changes to code and says code dump and a long string of numbers. Everything else is normal though. What's wrong?

A: Try a different SD card, or see if it still crashes without an SD card inserted.

A2: This would point towards a bad meta.xml file, remove each app in turn until you find out which one it is, then correct the meta.xml file.

Is the keyboard supported?

Q: Have you guys been working on any way to get a keyboard working with the Homebrew Channel? The way I see it is that you have two ways of doing it. Either through the USB or through the Gamecube Powerboard attachment via GC controller port. I just figured it would help with some of the games like Tyrian where you need to type in order to save.

A: There is no dependence between the Homebrew Channel and the applications it launches. Device support has to be included with the applications themselves. Drmr 15:54, 29 July 2008 (CEST)

Can I compile my own apps on the Wii itself using a keyboard?

Q: Would it be possible, if you get a keyboard working for HBC, to create a compiler, so you can just compile and run the apps, without ever leaving your Wii?

A: Not likely. Embedded systems are generally not used to compile code for themselves. A2: If you are already intimate with Debian Linux, dpkg/apt and with programming/porting, you will be interested to install Wii Linux with gcc and various dependant packages, then compiling/porting libs yourself to build some programs on a USB drive; but this is beyond the scope of discussion here (you're pretty much on your own because it is undocumented). This isn't for the feint of heart; i.e. if you don't know what all of the above means...

The HB channel works fine, but I'm having trouble with a secific appliction.

What about progressive scan support?

Q: I use a VGA cable for my Wii so I can play it on my monitor, but that demands a VGA output. When I boot up a homebrew with The Homebrew Channel, it reverts to interlaced output, so I can't see anything. Would it be possible, at some point, for The Homebrew Channel to force an application to take up 480p, or is that going to rest entirely on the application?

A: It is up to the individual application to set the correct video mode. The developer should use the latest VIDEO_GetPreferredMode function described in Developer_Tips.

New Questions

Why is the Homebrew Channel TruchaSigned?

Q. Why is the Homebrew Channel TruchaSigned?
A: In order to install code into NAND flash, it has to be signed. So, we fakesign it using the strncmp flaw (aka "Trucha Signing"). That's just the way the system works.

  • Yes, but why not legit-sign it? --FSX 12:43, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
We do not have the key Nintendo uses to sign things.

When trying to copy the Twilight Save to the Wii, why does it say that I need to play the game first, when I already have?

A:You must have a Zelda: TP save file on your Wii, delete it, and put the Twilight Hack on, in that order.

A2: Also, make sure you are copying the one for the correct region.

More on sorting

Q: Do you have any plans of making manual sorting possible? It isn't very convenient to use the channel with many apps installed as it is now.

Run HBC of USB disk?

Q: With the coming ability to store WiiWare and Virtual Console gmaes straight to the SD card, it would be nice to run the homebrew channel off a usb disk. Is that an idea you are/will be working on?

What does the first part have to do with the second part? Bushing 13:14, 16 October 2008 (UTC)
I think he means there will be reduced space on the SD card... oops_ur_dead 22:15, 26 October 2008 (UTC)

Expanding the .tar.gz?

Q: How to expand the .tar.gz? I am not very good with that kind of stuf

A: On windows, use a program such as winrar or 7-zip (the former having a nag screen, the latter being completely free). Google either of them.

Copying the Homebrew Channel using the Wii's Data Management Menu

Q: I have the Homebrew Channel installed on my Wii. If I use Wii Data Management to copy the Homebrew Channel to an SD card can I take that to a friend's Wii and install the channel from the SD card to their Wii?

A: No, like it doesnt work for savegames if the game had not be played. Would be quite silly to have the ability to simply copy VC Games.