Mar 26, 2008

DDR Pad Part 4

So I've finally got some pictures of how the wiring went.. not much but it will suffice.

Here's the board after cleaning off the black stuff with an abrasive bit. I tinned all the leads as well. There's 5 legs on either side and the ground in the center. Which is what?
From Left to Right: Start - A - Right - X - Up ___ Ground____ Down - Y - Left - B - Back
Next comes converting the Xbox controller plug with a standard USB plug. The Xbox controller is a standard USB plug, but the output is different. The colors match up. There's a yellow lead from the controller as well, but that apparently is not needed.
Ghetto finished conversion. I didn't have any shrink on hand, so electrical tape and duct tape did the job just fine.
The finished product. I used the Up Down Left and Right inputs, as well as start and back which were wired up to a small project box that housed 2 arcade style buttons that my feet can easily tap on when needed.

There you have it! It works just fine, I just need to fab a bar for myself and get a 1/2" sheet of plywood to help reinforce my weight on the pad. Next time I do a pad, I'll be doing the other trigger method mentioned and try and put lights in it.

Mar 19, 2008

DDR Pad Part 3

Now that I have the triggers all figured out, it's time to start finishing this up! All the wired leads were soldered onto the metal sheets with rosin core, which seems to bond the wire well. As you can see here the bottom arrow is all set, minus an arrow graphic.
The plates were still a little loose, and I recall checking on a few of the pad pages that there was a corner piece that needs to be put on to help support. A little dab of wood glue, and my corner pieces were on. One for each corner of each arrow.
Here's the finished arrow triggers.
For the arrow graphics, I simply cut out the arrows off the soft pad I had gutted. It was all going to be trashed anyways, so what the heck?
Below is the finished product, ready to be wired in.
Now I don't have many pics of how it is all wired, but I will explain how it all happened in the next post..

DDR Pad Part 2

After the stainless was cut down to size with tin snips, I clamped the wood and steel together and then bent down the steel with a rubber mallet. Before I bent the pieces, I had tacked the metal down to the wood with screws.
The finished pieces. The stainless I bought from the junkyard was PERFECT!
The rest of the pieces are now cut, and it's on to the polycarb pieces. Since everything was not perfectly aligned, I had to cut each arrow's panels slightly different to get them to the right size.
My first attempt at getting the trigger system down seem to not work out so well. The concept was right but the screw heads were in the way. Even with low profile heads it wasn't working. 4 ground tabs, 4 circuit tabs, one sheet on top to short them.
After much deliberation, I came up with a better way of doing the triggers. Take some galvanized steel and wirebrush it. I attached the steel to the base with servo tape and duct tape. The top received similar treatment. This allowed me to have a decent amount of clearance (around 3/16") to step down onto.

Mar 10, 2008

DDR Dance Pad Part 1

I know what you're thinkin.. big tall Jon plays DDR? Sadly I've become addicted to it. It's good cardio for my tall ass, and the songs are catchy (Thank you Lynzi :-p) I run strictly Stepmania and run the core songs from all of DDR and ITG. I'm more of an ITG addict than DDR.

So what to use that isn't as crappy as a soft pad or those thick foam ones? Metal pads. BUT.. I'm a cheap college student. I can't afford a $200 pad. Plus, I love to make things :) It's REALLY EASY to build one of these pads that work just as well as the original arcade ones. All they are are really big momentary switches.

Here's the progress I've made so far:
I got this going based on what I've seen on these sites:
Arcade Style Dance Dance Revolution Metal Pad

The proverbial pile-o-parts:
Sheet of Pegboard (leftovers in our house)
(2) 1/2" sheets of 2' Square plywood (Home Depot)
(2) 1"x2"x6' pine strips (Home Depot)
1/8"x16"x6' Polycarb scrap (Junkyard)
0.030"x13x7' Stainless Sheet (Junkyard)
(16) 2" Corner Braces (Home Depot, and pricey lil bastards..)
A Gamestop brand Xbox soft pad (Cash Converters, dirt cheap)

The pad is the exact one depicted in the inventgeek link above. Speaking of which..
After 8 screws, the casing on the pad comes off, and you see how the board is attached to the pad. It's all weird thin contact pieces that just tape onto the board traces. Easily removable. In fact, the whole board is easy to take off. 2 screws, and some finger force on the molded plastic bits and it's out. Be sure to clean the black residue on the contacts before trying to solder.

Now that the board is removed, time to start working on the actual pad!
Here are the non-stepping pad pieces. They need to be cut to 10.875" (or 10 7/8"). These will be covered over top with the stainless steel.

I called it a night after this as I shopped in the morning and had other errands to run today. More to come!

Mar 4, 2008

The A/V PC

Ah yes, how could I forget? The Media PC got done about late January and has been a useful tool until lately when the DVD software seems to have disappeared after I system restored the computer.. ugh! Here it is though:

Custom polycarbonate case with alum. joining bits. Added an LED fan for effect. Doesn't really need it...


So recently, I bought Call of Duty 4 for my main PC after being obsessed with my roommate's copy for PS3. It was really nice the first week of play. After then, it started to give weird lag issues when playing online. Also, while this was going on, I realized that the CPU fan had been running full bore for no reason at idle. I thought the new front fan would fix that, but apparently it had nothing to do with this. So I plainly said fuck it, went out to computer wizards and tried to find something affordable that would work. For a few bucks more than I would have found something online, I found something that looked oddly familiar to the stock cpu fan from intel:

This "cheap looking" cpu fan cost about $28, but moves air around 50CFM! That's an incredible amount of airflow compared to what I was seeing online. Not only that, but it's damn near silent. Loudest it gets is 31dB. Keeps the inside temp around 42C at low speeds.

So what does CoD4 have to do with all of this?

When I put the new cpu fan on (plus a good amount of Arctic Silver) I also cleaned out the dust and reminded myself that the computer only likes RAM in pairs, so I took out the 3rd stick of Memory, dropping me back to 2GB, but making performance go back to the way it should be. Guess what? No more lagging, and smooth gameplay. I'll go find an extra 1GB stick and play it at 4GB real soon.

End result, I'm pleased :-D