May 19, 2008

DDR Pad Controller

Well after about 4 years the pad controller board died. I should have expected this, because I am forcing the circuit to run under much higher resistance then the 2 inches of wire it was designed for, but still 4 years of heavy ues is pretty good. So it was off to staples to grab a new USB key pad. I personally like the Targus Keypads because they are simple and support more then one key press at a time, which is very important for the pad to work correctly.

After getting the keypad I brought it home and took a look at the circuit, it was quite a bit different from the version they had 4 years ago, mostly because it used small contact pad instead of the holes for leads like I was hoping. This was a small set back, however after ripping the contact holder off the board to get access to the solder points I realized that I was going about it wrong. There where some lead holes on the board, just not right there.

I got some very thin copper wire with the insulating coat, and soldered them onto the board. It took some careful placement to correctly solder the wires that where very close to either the contact on the top, or the other solder points on the bottom of the board. Still after an hour of work I had it working, and could test in StepMania that it was indeed working.

All that was left to do was correctly wire it back to the pad. Sadly this was a lot more complicated then I had hopped, because the way I had the old version was slightly different. But I quickly fix this problem and had a wiring diagram to use. All I needed was the up,right,down and left buttons so I have two main wires 4 and 5 that are contacted to the remaining wires to get the correct button press. I am not sure if did something wrong or just shorted something, because after I had it all working for some-reason when you press left and up or down both up and down are pressed. Luckily this does not interfere with game play, it is just a small anomaly.

There you have it, all the instruction you need to make your own pad controller, however I expect that Targus will change the board again before this one breaks, so I am sure I will have to go through this hassle again sometime in the distant future.

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