Ahhh! My friends were able to get the DDR pad in the morning and then bring it up during their planned visit that night. Time to make a kick-ass lil's dancing platform.

So far I've...
* disassembled it
* torn out the wiring
* started scraping off the glued on foam
* picked up replacement foam pads

I plan on taking the paint off the plastic panels too, and using them as a place to keep all of the stickers I've been slowly collecting. Here is the left arrow graphics panel! This goes behind the plastic, so it should be safe from shoes.

Alright! All of the plexiglass panels are free of their glued-on padding. If you ever find yourself in this same scenario:
1. slash the metal conductive tape as much as possible, to make it permeable
2. coat completely with Goo-Gone and let it rest for an hour
3. the foam should peel off easily, leaving the adhesive behind
4. scrape the remaining adhesive and stubborn bits with a plastic razor blade (they're amazing, if you haven't heard of them)

Today I finally found myself with enough energy to try and rebuild the frame. I flatted the warped panels as best I could. Then I replaced all of the screws with new ones (thanks god I got those measurements correct...) so that they'd be nice and consistent. The previous owner had stripped a lot of them, and replaced some missing round head screws with considerably less foot-friendly flat heads.

Oh my aching fingers. I soldered all of the force-sensitive resistors, ran the wiring, cut and covered them with the foam pads, and screwed everything together. The only thing left to do is actually connect and program a microcontroller before I am ready to test...

Okay, so upside of a modern digital soldering iron is that they are super light and heat up crazy quick. The downside is that as soon you finish wiring in some resistors you think, "well, I mean... it'll only take a moment to do on more." The Arduino is now all soldered together, with the breakout boxes connected.

All I need to do to tomorrow is strip & screw in the sensor wires, find them a home in the pad, modify the source & then pray I didn't fuck up my circuit.

Aaargh, so close and yet...
Modified the code to support digital input for the front start and select buttons. I accidentally had them registering a pull-high instead of a pull-low, which meant a lot of it typing "abba" when you plugged it in.
Of the 8 sensors, ↙️↘️↗️⬇️ seem to be working, with ↖️⬆️➡️⬅️ not quite hitting the mark (either they're linked together or not returning any change.) Heck, I'm not even 100% sure ↗️ is actually doing its thing or just accidentally measuring changes.

Okay, so one pad's wire had broken, and required a quick resoldering.

The other issue was code-based, as I was using integers for the extra analog inputs, but you do still need to specify them by their constant name to get it right.

Cleaned up the code, moved it to use an actual joystick library instead of key inputs (which makes debugging less annoying, added some button labels, pressed each to see which pin it was tied to and...

It's aliiiiiive!

Next step: finding resistor thresholds

This is it! I popped on a janky-ass temporary cover for the bottom, plugged it in and it wooooorks! My friend joined me for the inaugural dance, which I'll post in a jiffy.

There is one more teensy weensy issue... standing on the center panel pushes the reset button on the Arduino. 😅 Nothing some desoldering can't fix.

And, y'know, covers for the back so you're not stepping into foam holes.

Please enjoy my beefy stompers doing their initial attempt of Justin Timberlake's Can't Stop The Feeling on the new pad. I'm sad I couldn't fit the upper half in frame, as that's where all the cute moves are. Maybe next time. 😁

If anyone wants to try this for themselves at some point, I have a branch in Github with my changes:

The difference is...
* Arduino Joystick Library support, so non-Teensy boards can be gamepads
* New Button objects to easily handle digital input with debouncing
* Name parameters for labelling & human-readable debugging info

Took a break from studying to finish up the last bits I needed to make this pad my daily dancer. I took the thin metal sheet that was originally screwed over the bottom (it wasn't structural... I think it was meant to make it look like a solid unit) and chopped it up into squares. One went to cover the electronics on the bottom. Two others went to serve as top plates for the two previously empty panels that I flipped and turned into working buttons! Oh, and I tore out the internal reset button.


Two of the plexiglass panels broke while dancing, and the thin metal ones were... well, a deeply unpleasant replacement. So tonight I got some half-inch mahogany plywood, operated a jigsaw for the first time, and did this.

I think at this point it has real Steam Steam Revolution Punk vibes.

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Queer Town

A lil' town for me and maybe some friends in the future.