Long Time DDR Fan, just bought an Arcade Machine

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twistedsymphony
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Long Time DDR Fan, just bought an Arcade Machine

Post by twistedsymphony » Mon Oct 28, 2013 9:00 am

I used to work in an arcade years ago repairing machines. My first introduction to DDR was seeing some weird videos of a new Japanese dancing game online while I was in college.

Imagine my surprise when we took delivery of new machines for the arcade and my boss tells me that he saw this cool new dancing game at a trade show and imported one from Korea... I got to setup and try out the first DDR machine I ever saw... A Korean 2nd Mix. I was never very good at it but I always loved the game. And over the years I've owned and played many home versions on soft pads.

In any case, I recently go back into arcade machines and started building my collection at home and decided I would like to get a DDR machine. After hunting for a few months I managed to pick up a Japanese 5th Mix that had been converted to Extreme. (I'm guessing it's a bootleg as the security cart was originally for 5th mix, and the marquee is not-original either)

It needs a little work but I got it for a very good price.

The dance platform needs to be rebuilt (both up arrows are stuck ON), I figure all new sensors and some new plexiglas arrows as well as all new screws (the original ones are pretty gnarly)

The monitor looks like it's been replaced once before, it currently has a NeoTec NT-500DX with a horizontal hold problem... the hold along the top section of the screen is out of whack and on occasion it stops working completely.

I know my way around arcade machines and electronics in general but I'm still a big noob when it comes to DDR machines.

My other arcade machines include:
  • Killer Instinct 2 (I recently completely restored this machine)
  • Cybertroopers Virtual On (USA Twin version)
  • Double Dragon
  • Donkey Kong (20% finished converting to Fix it Felix Jr)
  • San Francisco Rush the Rock Alcatraz Edition (I have 3 of this for multiplayer)
  • Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 (in an MKII cab)
I've been looking for the best place to buy foot sensors and replacement arrows, how I might get the monitor chassis fixed and how I might go about swapping the disc in my machine for other Mixes. So I signed up here so that I might search around for some answers :)

If you've made it this far thanks for reading :D

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Re: Long Time DDR Fan, just bought an Arcade Machine

Post by Fluffyumpkins » Mon Oct 28, 2013 9:48 am

Virtual On was pretty cool.

I purchased my sensors from Betson and they work pretty well. They're pricey, but you can probably talk them down a bit if you place a larger order. I think I paid around $11.

http://www.betson.com/products/IMP-92-501032
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Re: Long Time DDR Fan, just bought an Arcade Machine

Post by twistedsymphony » Mon Oct 28, 2013 12:17 pm

Fluffyumpkins wrote:Virtual On was pretty cool.

I purchased my sensors from Betson and they work pretty well. They're pricey, but you can probably talk them down a bit if you place a larger order. I think I paid around $11.

http://www.betson.com/products/IMP-92-501032
the page lists them at $25 a piece :? that'd be $800 to do the whole dance pad, even if they gave me a bulk discount that's still pretty rich.

I found sensors listed at channel beat for just under $10: http://www.channelbeat.com/products/par ... s/483.html

and at happmart for under $5: http://www.happmart.com/Pro_Details.asp ... x=0&sid=62

I've heard that I should stay away from the green ones but I have no idea on the quality of the sensors that channel beat or happmart sells.

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Re: Long Time DDR Fan, just bought an Arcade Machine

Post by MonMotha » Mon Oct 28, 2013 12:30 pm

The Channelbeat ones suck or at least did the last time I heard of anyone purchasing them. They are the "greenie meanies" you have apparently heard about.

The Happmart are probably the same as the ones from Uniarcade which apparently vary highly. We ended up with a set of them from Uniarcade that are a total write-off, but I know people who bought them and were happy enough. I've heard similar anecdotes from people who have purchased from Happmart. Also be ready to shell out $50-100 for "payment processing" and "freight" plus whatever your bank charges for an international wire if you buy direct from China, and caveat emptor: you have zero recourse if something goes wrong. Uniarcade, for example, will just not reply to messages if they, say, ship you the wrong product, so you're stuck with it.

In the end, we (me and others who have bought these) have found that, if you talk Betson down a bit - which is possible, especially on a full order of 32 - that you can end up within $100 or less of buying the potentially-crap ones from China, and Betson's quality is at least good and consistent. You'll also get them much quicker, if that matters to you.

Note that you may not need new sensors. They rarely hurt and can make a pretty big difference in performance, but just cleaning the stage out thoroughly often does wonders, especially for sticking.
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Re: Long Time DDR Fan, just bought an Arcade Machine

Post by twistedsymphony » Mon Oct 28, 2013 1:10 pm

MonMotha wrote:The Channelbeat ones suck or at least did the last time I heard of anyone purchasing them. They are the "greenie meanies" you have apparently heard about.

The Happmart are probably the same as the ones from Uniarcade which apparently vary highly. We ended up with a set of them from Uniarcade that are a total write-off, but I know people who bought them and were happy enough. I've heard similar anecdotes from people who have purchased from Happmart. Also be ready to shell out $50-100 for "payment processing" and "freight" plus whatever your bank charges for an international wire if you buy direct from China, and caveat emptor: you have zero recourse if something goes wrong. Uniarcade, for example, will just not reply to messages if they, say, ship you the wrong product, so you're stuck with it.

In the end, we (me and others who have bought these) have found that, if you talk Betson down a bit - which is possible, especially on a full order of 32 - that you can end up within $100 or less of buying the potentially-crap ones from China, and Betson's quality is at least good and consistent. You'll also get them much quicker, if that matters to you.

Note that you may not need new sensors. They rarely hurt and can make a pretty big difference in performance, but just cleaning the stage out thoroughly often does wonders, especially for sticking.
Thanks for the info. On Channel Beats website they have 2 separate sensors, they sell both the green ones for $8 and gray ones for $10, and they even include close up pictures of each. Maybe they used to only carry the green ones?

The stage is pretty filthy, however I did attempt to rebuild the player 1 up button and at least 2 of the sensors were still registering as "on" when they were completely removed from the machine. I unplugged those 2, cleaned everything up and after reassembly one of the two still hooked up sensors started sticking...

I'm thinking half of my problem is that the plexiglas buttons are really beaten to snot on this machine. They have a visible concave to them that you can see just standing behind the machine, and the underside has deep groves on all 4 corners from the little L shaped pieces that they rest on. such that they probably sit about 2mm lower than they should. Not to mention that, at least on the one button I cleaned, the sliding metal brackets that rest on top of the sensors were only being held in by 1 screw a piece instead of 3.

Overall the sensors seem to be in decent shape, realistically I think I'd be good with ordering just 12 of them, enough to completely replace the sensors in the up arrows, 2 more to replace 2 other sensors that weren't registering as well as a couple extra to have as spares.

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Re: Long Time DDR Fan, just bought an Arcade Machine

Post by MonMotha » Mon Oct 28, 2013 7:07 pm

Strategically placed new sensors combined with rotating the old sensors into less important spots (outside of the stage, mostly) and removing the really bad sensors can do wonders at a somewhat substantially lower cost than replacing them all, yes. If cost is a concern, it's a great option.

You'll definitely want to replace the panels. IIRC, there's a set on eBay right now at remotely reasonable price. The original Konami ones have really nice silkscreen printing on high-quality Lexan and are downright awesome. Most of the replacements are very low quality printing on plain plexiglass but work well enough. Some of the replacements you get from the various Chinese outlets (who all seem to sell the same stuff from the same factory) are slightly oversize and will need to be cut down on a table saw to fit. They also, being plexi rather than Lexan, will creak a bit and are probably more prone to shattering, but they work fine and will feel much much better than the old, worn out ones you have now. This easily makes the most difference in terms of how the stage "feels" when playing on it, it seems.

You may also get a fair bit of mileage out of replacing the little foam rubber strips that are on top of the L-brackets (sitting on top of the sensor itself). These are what take the tolerance stack-up out of the system and tend to be very worn at this point. A lot of people use craft foam from the local craft store. This works, but you may get a bit more ruggedness out of a good neoprene rubber material from an industrial supply shop.

The missing screws on the L-brackets are easily fixed, of course, and this will really reduce any bind-up problems you're having along with simply cleaning everything out.

As you're probably aware, everything on the machine is metric. Do not try to put in UTS screws, for example; you'll just destroy the threads if you do, no matter how close it looks like it fits. Also, spring for the stainless steel hardware. You'll thank yourself in 3-5 years.
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Re: Long Time DDR Fan, just bought an Arcade Machine

Post by Fluffyumpkins » Mon Oct 28, 2013 7:21 pm

I found that replacing the panels had a significant change on the performance of the sensors. Probably something weird about weight distribution.
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Re: Long Time DDR Fan, just bought an Arcade Machine

Post by MonMotha » Wed Oct 30, 2013 12:09 am

I have decided that this thread probably belongs in the Dance Dance Revolution section.

(Holy crap...I actually used the moderator tools!)
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