DDR is a fun and rewarding video game activity. There are many studies out there that will verify the cardiovascular health effects of this video game. If you are a video game nut like myself and want the arcade experience in your living room then you have probably purchased a metal DDR pad for you living room. Like anything that takes a the abuse of having someone jumping and trouncing about on it, the pad is going to require some fine adjustments to keep it at peak performance. Things will still happen to your metal pad regardless of how much money you sink into it. Arrows will stick, screws will loosen, and the conductive contacts will get dirty and stop registering button presses. This can become extremely frustrating when you are a competitive player and you require your pad to have the same lighting fast reflexes as your feet.
I own a metal DDR pad and have been through these issues. I have accumulated a small wealth of knowledge on the subjects of purchasing a DDR pad, routine maintenance, and troubleshooting problems that occur. I felt it might be helpful to provide this information to others who might be considering such a purchase or who would like the knowledge to solve the less serious issues themselves.
Unless to live in California, or near a megalopolis, you are probably going to discover that your neighborhood electronics outlets are not going to have anything in stock besides the standard twenty-five dollar foam pad. For some the foam pad will be all they need, however as you increase the dance speed and friction on the pad you will find that metal is the best bet. The internet happens to be a great source for about anything which happens to include metal DDR pads. You will find a great select for about any price from a hundred dollars well into the thousands. My advice would be to get something in the middle range if you are going to be using this thing religiously on a weekly or daily basis. I went cheap and purchased a pad for fifty percent off at $150 the first time around and what I got did not last beyond four months (Side note: I still have this metal pad and when I get around to it I will have a tutorial on how to rewire one of these things).
For the second round I purchased another metal pad around the $500 to $600 range and it has worked like a champ for 15 months (I had to get some replacement plexi-glass arrows but nothing serious). Bear in mind that you will probably have to tack on an additional $50 or so for shipping charges but this will be minimal to the price of the unit, equivalent to paying sales tax on a PS3. While you're at it you might want to buy a couple replacement arrows if you are going to serious get into the whole DDR gaming thing.
For most people this will not matter, but the pad will ship in one large box, roughly 3 by 4 foot, so bear this mind when you decide where it will be delivered to and if you will need to transport the package yourself. I had my pad shipped to my work address because I didn't want it to sit outside my home all day while I was at work. Long story short, the package almost didn't fit into my car at the end of the day.
When you own a metal DDR pad you will have to perform some routine maintenance from time to time. This goes without saying because of the amount of strain the pad will undergo having someone jump and trounce around on it. These necessary adjustments will usually present themselves as problems during the game play and you will need to take the time to correct them. You can even make these adjustments while the game and console are still powered on and the procedure will only take a couple of minutes to perform once you get used to it.
I have addressed some common conditions and solutions I have discovered that will remedy the situation. Bear in mind that these are general suggestions and they will work for most metal DDR pads.