Metal DDR Pad Maintenance

Before I talk about the problems and solutions I feel it is necessary to give you a simplified explanation of how the DDR pad works. The basic components of the DDR pad are the underlining wiring, the contact plates, and the Plexiglas and metal buttons.

Here is a diagram of a basic electrical circuit. Eletric flows from the positive battery terminal across a complete path toward the negative terminal.

In the top example the builb will not light because the switch is open, shorting the circuit. In the bottom example the bulb will light because the switch is closed and the circuit is completed.

These are analygous to the functions of a DDR pad where the arrow tile and conductive plates form the switch.

Basically you can conceptualize the pad itself as an oversized controller. The player moves by stepping on the different buttons and these are transferred by the controller into electrical impulses that the console can understand. The entire pad itself is comprised of several electric circuits with the buttons acting as switches. Since electric flows from positive to negative over a given conductive path, the path must be completed for an action to be registered, such as a button press from the player.

Wires are run from the console to contact plates underneath each of the buttons. These contact plates are arranged in an interweaving parallel, but unconnected pattern. By default these plates are not connected and do not complete the electrical circuit to register a button press. The plexi-glass tiles, buttons, that hover above these contact plates are coated with a conductive layer of tape on their undersides (The metal buttons on the corners do not have this because their surface is metallic). These tiles are suspended above the metal contact plates by a thin layer of insulation that elevated the outer edges of the tile.

When the player steps on an arrow the tile is depressed pushing the elastic insulation down and allowing the metallic tape surface to provide a contact point connecting the two contact plates. This effectively completes the circuit and registers as a pressed button sending a signal to the console. When the player moves off of the tile, the insulation elevates the tile to its initial position and the circuit is broken again.

That is the premise in a nutshell, so let’s continue on with fixing problems that can occur.

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