January 15, 2008

DDR Pad Revision 4

I like playing stepmania which is DDR for the computer, however playing with your hands is just not the same as feet. So I set off to build a pad for the computer, and several revisions followed after getting the first one working. Now I finally had a chance to update the DDR pad at home to rev 4.

To sum up everything before this,

Rev 0: was two tin foil covered squares of cardboard with some foam between, it worked but not well. More for the proof of concept and to get a USB IC controller working .

Rev 1: was 9 pieces of colored acrylic sheet held up by rubber and screws on a 3x3 foot piece of particle board. Between them where strips of metal tape which acted as the conductor and switch. This actually worked extremely well, and lasted a full year, with a little maintenance here and there. I later added black tab to hide the gaps between squares.

Rev 2: was a solid piece of acrylic and a piece of plywood. The top contacts rested on metal foil contacts in the center so no wires where used to actually connect the top. Much more sturdy, and was easer to maintain because the whole top lifted off instead of having to remove 9 squared with 4 screws each. This also lasted a year, but tended to break more easily.

Rev 3: Took the same design to the next level and placed solid copper wire in a grid on the bottom, epoxy was used to hold the wires in place. Now the bottom contacts would not need replacing like metal foil tape did. Sadly it tore through the weak top foil in a matter of minutes during testing. Rendering the pad useless.

Rev: 4 fixes this by having solid aluminum sheets on the top under the acrylic. Also wired clips now connect the aluminum contacts, thus always giving a good connection, yet letting access and maintenance continue to be easy. The metal was adhered by a special "for plastics" silicon. So far after a good amount of play by my self and others it looks like this might be the best revision so far. Unless the plastic cracks or the metal contacts fall off it should be nearly indestructible! I should have gone with solid metal conductors from the beginning, but it was a learning experience.

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