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Freq
December 05, 2011, 12:37:19 PM - ORIGINAL POST -

UPDATE: This thread is being updated. The process described in the original post (below) is not very good, photo links are broken, and the new process later in the thread is much much much better. The original post is being left up for informational purposes since it can apply to PS2/PS3/Xbox/Xbox360 controllers.

Updated process: http://www.pnwbemani.net/bemani-discussion/building-a-diy-cobalt-flux-control-box/msg30289/#msg30289

---

I recently got a Cobalt Flux wood/metal/plexi pad for a steal but it's missing the control box. The CF website is down (presumably forever), there were none on ebay, and none on Craigslist. I considered buying a Blue Shark control box since they share the same 15-pin 3-row d-sub connection, but I was concerned that the pin-out may be different and I didn't want to have to get an additional PS2->USB adapter. This is my solution.

Parts
  • Soldering gun [$3 at Harbor Freight or $35 at Radio Shack]
  • Solder [$5-8] (I used .035" wire but you may not need any at all if you're lucky)
  • USB game pad $5-10 (I used the Vakoss GP-3316. Make sure it does not have analog sticks or vibration motors.)
  • Small-ish screwdriver
  • Cat5 cable* [$varies] (I bought a 100' spool of cable for $25. I'm sure you can find a better price, or you might have some laying around the house.)
  • Male 15-pin 3-row d-sub connector [$2.29]
    (http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2102601)
  • D-sub hood [$3.19]
    (http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2102866)
  • Soldering wick [$5?] (this is a copper-colored woven fabric that absorbs solder. Your odds of the Radio Shack employee knowing what it is isn't very good, so just keep a look out. It comes in a translucent white spool 2-3" across.)

Total parts cost will depend on what you already own. If you already own a soldering gun, cat5 cable, etc. you'll just need the game pad and the d-sub parts, which will run you about $10-15. If you don't have a soldering gun you might want to have a friend who's proficient bring one over and help you.

* Cat5 has 4 pairs of wires (8 total). Because one will be used as a ground you only have 7 wires for buttons. Due to the limitations of the Vakoss pad (there are only 4 buttons with solder points) I couldn't wire the UL and UR arrows for use as Enter/Back buttons. If you want to use diagonal arrows as enter and back you'll want a different control board. If you want to use all 9 arrows you'll need to get a different cable as well.

NOTE: I didn't document making the cable. I'll likely end up making the end over again because the first one isn't that amazing. If I do I'll document it and append this post. To make the cable you just need to solder pins 1-5 of the d-sub connector you got to the end of the cat5. Pin 1 is ground, pin 2 up, pin 3 is down, pins 4 and 5 are L and R, though I don't remember which is which right now. Just make sure you write down the colors used and which is pin 1 (ground). The rest of the wires aren't super critical because you have to map the buttons in Stepmania anyway.

Step 1: Testing the controller
If you decide to get the Vakoss pad for this project I would highly, highly, highly suggest testing it before taking it apart. This is a very low quality controller and the factory solder points might be bad. I've bought two of these so far, one was missing the screw that secured the circuit board to the inside of the controller, the other had a bad solder point on the D+ wire for the USB cable.



I know that the Vakoss pad can register at least all triggers and buttons 1-4 at the same time. If you're using a different controller you might want to test this before taking it apart. In Windows 7 (and I assume Vista) open the start menu and type in 'game'. Click the option that says 'Set up USB game controllers'. In XP and earlier this will be somewhere in the control panel. With the controller plugged in you'll see it listed in the window. Double click it or click 'Properties' to open the test window. Hold down as many buttons as you can manage. You'll see them light up on the screen. Check to make sure that all the buttons are triggering.

Step 2: Take that shit the controller apart
For the Vakoss pad there are something like 8 screws holding the controller together. There's no secret sauce to getting it apart, just use a smaller screwdriver and take them out. There's one behind the white sticker. Obviously this voids the warranty.



On the top-right of the board you can see a silver screw securing the board to the front of the case. You may or may not have this due to poor quality control, but if you do, take it out with the same screwdriver.



This is what the Vakoss board looks like. There are 2 smaller boards connected by a ribbon that's soldered into place. We will be using these as the connecting points for the CF pad.

Step 3: Soldering
Strip the ends of the cat5 wires so that about 2mm of copper is showing. It seems like a small amount but once you connect the wires to the solder points you'll understand why. Coat the exposed copper with solder.



On the Vakoss pad there are only 4 solder points for buttons (where the wires from the shoulder boards connects to the main board). Each side has 3 points. The middle one for each is the ground, so you'll want to solder to the outside 4.

NOTE: If you care which arrow corresponds to which button you can solder the ground wire (see below), plug the controller in, and touch the solder points with the wires. With the controller test window open (see above) you should see them light up. This isn't that important for PC controllers, but may be important if you're using this to create a control box for Playstation, Xbox, Dreamcast, whatever. Also note that you'll need to apply pressure to the buttons in order for them to show up on the screen when you touch the corresponding wire to the solder points.

Place the end of the wire on the solder point and apply a small amount of pressure with the soldering gun. The solder point should start to melt and the wire will sink into it. Lift the soldering gun off and give it a few seconds to cool.

The ground wire will be soldered to where the USB cable grounds in the top-center of the pad. On the Vakoss board it's labeled "GRND" and has a black wire on the bottom. You may or may not need to add additional solder here. Use the same method to melt the solder and press the wire into the solder point.

Your connections should look roughly like the first two in the photo below. You can see how ugly the ground wire is. I needed to apply more solder, put too much on, and didn't have a solder wick to remove the excess. This is an example of a bad solder; don't do that.



At this point you should be able to plug in the naked board to the computer. It should be recognized the exact same as it was before you started messing with it. With your board plugged into the CF pad and the computer open the testing window from before, walk around on the pad, and verify the buttons work. If everything is working correctly I would suggest using hot glue to secure the wires to the circuit board, then putting the board into a plastic case like the ones they sell at Radio Shack. I haven't made a box yet (I just built this last night) but I'll add that to the post once I do.

You'll need to assign the buttons in Stepmania but that's pretty straight forward. I did notice that the timing was off, but I don't know if that was from the TV I had the computer plugged into, the controller board, or what. After calibrating the A/V sync in Stepmania (the delay was ~.130 notes off) it seemed to play just like in the arcade, but with a little more sliding around the carpet.

« Last Edit: December 14, 2015, 10:17:05 AM by BLueSS »
 
kjatar
Read March 11, 2014, 11:12:10 AM #26

The top post here was quite helpful, just finished making a control box for my CF.  Put it in a nice project box with arcade buttons for start and select, too, came out quite well.

I'm thinking of cranking out a few more, if people might be interested in paying for the time and materials.  I'll post a picture of the finished version later tonight.
 
Suko
Read March 11, 2014, 01:11:28 PM #27

Yes!

I've had parts sitting around for over a year, untouched. I know I could do this, but I just don't seem to ever make the time. If the price is right, I'd definitely love for someone to make and XB360 control box for me.
 
Freq
Read March 12, 2014, 09:19:03 PM #28

I got my USB controller board in the mail today, $10 including shipping from China. I tried to figure out the pinout of these new pads but was only able to to figure out where L and U were. When I get a new 15-pin D-sub cable tomorrow I'll try to figure out the rest of the buttons and document it (though it's the exact same process that's in the original post).


http://i.imgur.com/JcqdoHT.jpg
This is what comes in the kit. The printed circuit board (PCB), USB cable, and wires for connecting arcade buttons. Our application is the same in principle (the pad works by completing a circuit, just like an arcade button), just very slightly different in practice.


http://i.imgur.com/zWaUk2v.jpg
The white clips plug into the PCB. Some of the connections are labeled on the top, some are labeled on the back. It doesn't actually matter which ones you plug into for the most part, since we'll need to assign the buttons in Stepmania anyway.


http://i.imgur.com/QfSp6XQ.jpg
You can (kind of) see the labels for the buttons here. The PCB is designed for arcade sticks, so the labels don't apply to us for the most part. The only ones you wouldn't want to use are the turbo buttons and the like, which are labeled on the front.

Quickly looking at the traces on the back it looks like the bottom row of pins is a common ground. Looking at the second image we can see that white goes to the bottom pin, meaning that white is ground.

< background information >
The way the Cobalt Flux - and I assume every other home pad - work is that each button has an input wire and a ground wire. Every button shares a common ground which reduces the number of wires going in/out of the pad. Rather than having a pair of wires for up, a pair for down, and so on you just need one for up, one for down, and so on plus one for ground.
< /background information >

Our design will have the blue wires going to each wire that's connected to a button the pad's common ground connected to a single white wire. I tried to map the pins earlier today and was having some issues. In the event that there are multiple grounds we'll just run each of those to a white wire. It won't matter which ones go where, since they'll all be sharing the same ground anyway.

Assuming I don't run into any issues with the pinout tomorrow I'll post what pads I'm using, how I figured out which pins do what, and whatever other progress I made. I'll also try to keep the photo quality high this time around.

« Last Edit: March 13, 2014, 12:04:26 AM by Freq »
 
Freq
Read March 13, 2014, 09:41:26 PM #29

Got off work late, didn't have time to get to Radio Shack. I'll post again once I have the cable and have made some progress.
 
Freq
Read March 14, 2014, 09:27:10 PM #30

The first thing we need to figure out is which buttons correlate to which pins. There are a few ways to do this, each is a variation on the same principle. When you step on an arrow it's competing a circuit, and we can test if the circuit is open or closed. The first time I did this I used a multimeter, but the leads are really big compared to the plug, and having to look away to check the readout is obnoxious. My solution was to create a simple circuit that turned on a light when the circuit was completed. This is made of a battery holder and a single LED. For the sake of making this fool-proof I'd suggest getting a bicolor LED. LEDs are directional and won't work if you have it wired backwards, but this bicolor LED will glow red if it's wired one way and green if it's wired the other. That is, no matter which way you have it it will always glow.

Shopping list:
2xAA battery holder: http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2062251
Bicolor LED: http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2062549
^You don't need this one specifically; any 2.8-3v LED will work, this one is just cheap and really handy.

$4 in parts isn't so bad. If you have a soldering iron you may want to solder the LED to the leads on the battery holder. I can't find my solder and the store is closed, so I just had to wrap them around each other.

Note: I thought a single AA battery holder would work. And it did, but the LED was really dim and the current wasn't strong enough to make it glow green.



VS



So we have our tester finished. It's very important to be methodical when doing this, so we'll start with the up button. Stand/kneel/whatever on the up button, place one end of the tester in pin 1, the other in pin 2. Did the LED turn on? If yes, write down "U 1 -> 2" on a sheet of paper. This means that up is connected between pins 1 and 2. If it didn't turn on, take the tester out of pin 2 and move it to pin 3. Repeat until it turns on. Once you've found up, move clockwise to right. Start again with pins 1 and 2 (though if you know 1 and 2 belong to another button you can skip that one) and continue on until you have them all mapped out. You should end up with a list like this:

U 1 -> 15
R 2 -> 15
D 3 -> 15
L 4 -> 15
X 6 -> 15
O 7 -> 15

15 is the common ground, all the hard work is done. It might also look like mine:

U 11 -> 5
R 14 -> 5
D 12 -> 15
L 13 -> 15
X 2 -> 3
O 4 -> 3

Here 5 is the common ground for U and R, 15 is the common ground for D and L, and 3 is the common ground for X and O. I have no idea why it's like this, but it's a cheap pad so I guess it's to be expected. There's also the possibility that each button has its own ground. I don't think any pad would be wired that way, but if yours is you should be able to modify the instructions accordingly.

The next step for me is to connect a new d-sub connector to my project box and connect that to my circuit board. I'm going to be busy all weekend so I probably won't update until Monday at the earliest.

If I explained something poorly or you have any questions let me know and I'll try to be clearer about the process.

« Last Edit: March 14, 2014, 11:24:25 PM by Freq »
 
Freq
Read March 15, 2014, 09:12:13 PM #31

First pad works, with the exception of UL/O. I F'd up that solder connection, so it might be that, it might just be that the pad is cheap and that arrow doesn't work anyway. About to test the pad in StepMania before posting more instructions.

Update: The pad seems to be working fine, but the computer keeps loosing sync with the USB board. Plugged it into a different computer and replicated the same results. When it sits idle there doesn't seem to be a problem, but when I start using the pad it seems to go in and out pretty regularly. I'm wondering if there's some buffer issue with this board, like after too many button registers it crashes and reboots. Guess that's to be expected with a board that only costs $10 shipped from China. I'll still post my photos and whatever since the process is all good, just the board is bad.

« Last Edit: March 15, 2014, 09:53:24 PM by Freq »
 
Freq
Read March 15, 2014, 11:25:58 PM #32

The pads already have their own cable, so it seemed redundant to get a 15-pin d-sub cable (generally this would be a thin VGA cable). We're going to get a male d-sub connector and connect it to the box. On the other end of the d-sub we'll attach the wires the run to the circuit board.

If you don't have one already I would highly recommend getting a pair of automatic/self adjusting wire strippers. You can use regular ones but with how thin these wires are it's really easy to cut the wire when cutting through the shielding. You should be able to find these for $15 on up and their usage is obvious when you're holding it.

You'll also want to get some 1/16" heat shrink.

With your pinout guide in easy eye-shot cut off the metal connectors from the end of one set of white/blue wires. Strip off about 5 mm off the end of the blue wire and twist it. Optional: Heat the exposed wire with the soldering iron and apply a small amount of solder to it. Make sure there aren't any globs -- it should look roughly like the bare wire. Cut off about 10 mm of heat shrink and slide it down the wire. Reference your pinout guide to double check where the first wire goes. On my guide the first pin was 11, with a common ground at pin 5. Place the blue pin in the guide for pin 11 (again, this was just how mine turned out, yours may be different). Use the soldering iron to heat the wire and apply a small amount of solder. The result should be roughly the same size as the d-sub pin. Once the solder as cooled slide the heat shrink over the connection and rub it with the soldering iron make it contract around the connection. It probably won't seal perfectly, which is fine, we're just trying to keep each connection from touching the ones next to it and strengthen it in the process.

Do the same with the white wire, connecting it to the common ground (in my case pin 5).


http://i.imgur.com/3C0vOvJ.jpg

I broke off a length of solder and used the spool to prop up the wires which made it easier to solder.

If your board uses a single common ground for all the buttons you'll repeat the process above for all the buttons using only the blue wires. Cut the metal clips off the white wires  to avoid any issues once everything is jammed in the project box. If your board uses multiple grounds like mine does do all the wires for the first ground (in my case 11 and 14 went to 5), then follow all the same steps for the next set (in my case 12 and 13 went to 15). Remember to connect one white wire from the set to the ground pin. Repeat until all the pins from your guide have been connected.


http://i.imgur.com/0ZhsdZE.jpg

Here pins 11, 14 and 5 have been connected as well as 12, 13, and 15.


http://i.imgur.com/DvycE4z.jpg

The reminding pins 1, 4, and 3 have been connected. That's 6 buttons and 3 grounds. Note the extra three unused white wires. Make sure the metal connectors are cut off you can use a zip tie to keep these out of the way.


http://i.imgur.com/Oh8a6ro.jpg

After the wires have been plugged into the circuit board. These first 6 plugs represent buttons 1-6. If you want to you could plug U into 1 or D into 2 or whatever you want. It doesn't really matter since you'll need to map the buttons in StepMania anyway. The only thing I'd suggest you do do is keep all the wires for pad 1 plugged into one side and pad 2 plugged into the other.


http://i.imgur.com/N4l1kUO.jpg

Here's the pad as Windows sees it once the board is plugged into the computer. Press down on each arrow to make sure it registers correctly.

The next step would be to put everything in the project box, which I would do, but I ran into a but of an issue. If the board is plugged into the computer and and no buttons are pressed it's fine, but after 10-20 seconds of play (or 5-10 seconds of rapid stomping) it disconnects from the computer then reconnects. This leads to about 5 seconds where no hits are registered which makes it completely unusable. I moved the wires to the 6 other plugs, tried another USB port, tried another computer, and even tried another DDR pad with the same result.


http://i.imgur.com/UGWtr9I.jpg

(Don't judge the Excellent/Perfect/Great ratio, I didn't set the delay since it keeps disconnecting)

I'm not sure if it's a defect in the board or in the driver, but something is wrong. I've emailed ebay seller I got it from for help, hopefully I can get this resolved soon.

Update: Seems to have started working for no  reason I can figure out. Decided to build the second input using the exact same method and pinout I used earlier and half a game of Butterfly doubles is looking promising. Room mates are sleeping, so rather than being an asshole I'll just go to bed and do some more intensive testing in the morning.

Update 2: Nope, still being ridiculous.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2QeSdFG9l8

Update 3: I'm in contact with the seller (manufacturer maybe?) about the board.

Update 4: I've been emailing the seller. After some troubleshooting (and having to explain why I'm not using the joystick inputs) he's shipping me a new board. I've seen no reports of these board not working correctly, so science/statistics will tell us if it's the pads freaking out the board or if it was just a bad board. If the new board has the same issue I'll continue to test to see if it's the pad somehow freaking out the board.

« Last Edit: March 17, 2014, 11:18:49 PM by Freq »
 
Freq
Read March 27, 2014, 11:04:46 PM #33

Good news: My replacement board came in today.

Bad news: It isn't any better. I put the game controller properties window on top of OpenITG to watch the buttons register as I stomped on them. They would register perfectly until they -- seemingly randomly -- would stop responding. Sometimes this meant a held arrow, sometimes it meant no arrows. I'm finding it highly unlikely it's the board and more likely that it's either the pads or the way they're interacting with the boards. At that point it's a little beyond my ability to test; the only thing I can think to do is get some buttons (or make my own) and see if I encounter the same thing if I play that way.
 
tori
Read March 27, 2014, 11:36:15 PM #34

I read about your attempt and decided to try myself.

I purchased http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/281282209675?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1439.l2649 and with the help of a good friend I came up with this http://imgur.com/2u3BMgO .

We took the cable from my Cobalt Flux v2 box ( now the housing for my chinese pcb ) and I can report this is a working solution.

Absolutely perfect execution in Stepmania 5 ( both DDR and PIU ).

Considering the overwhelming positive response on ebay I think it's safe to say your pad is the error here.

Get back to me if you have any questions.

cheers

EDIT:

I should note that as you can see on the image, the bottommost wire (purple) is soldered to the outmost connection ( GROUND ) while all the rest is soldered to the inner. My friend pointed out that they are connected to common ground, which means that you only need one wire for ground.

On your image http://i.imgur.com/QfSp6XQ.jpg you can see clearly how the outmost are connect to eachother.

Another example of this:

http://www.koenigs.dk/mame/eng/basicwiring.png which should make my point clear.

EDIT2:

We used this pinout http://pinouts.ru/Game/cobalt_flux_pinout.shtml

« Last Edit: March 28, 2014, 06:50:10 AM by tori »
 
Freq
Read March 28, 2014, 09:53:19 PM #35

I can't tell you how happy I am that someone was able to build a functioning unit using my write-up! May I ask why you opted to solder directly to the board rather than using the wires/clips for a removable/rewireable solution? Just curious. Smiley

And yeah, when I did this initially for the CF pad I found that they all shared a common ground and soldered them to the gamepad PCB as such. Unfortunately this cheaper pair of pads has 3 grounds, each for two buttons (6 buttons total). I'm not sure if this is what's causing the boards to malfunction or not. I'm able to simultaneously hold buttons with different grounds, so I dunno what's up exactly.
 
tori
Read March 29, 2014, 12:06:04 AM #36

Hi,

I think the reason was space efficiency ( fitting it inside the original housing ), and also reuse of materials.

Sorry, I didn't take note on what pads you are trying to fix? Would be interested in knowing.

Please get back to me, if you want
 
Freq
Read March 29, 2014, 04:12:36 PM #37

My original pad was CF, but I was politely asked to give it away *grumble*grumble*. Some months back a friend found these two metal pads on Craigslist really cheap and gave(?) them to me. They have no markings on them at all and came with PS1/PS2 control boxes. I would use those with a Playstation to USB adapter but I've had extremely poor luck with those in the past.
 
inverseparadigm
Read August 05, 2015, 08:09:23 PM #38

Great guide guys, I thought I would never get my old pad going after my sisters pitbull killed the ps2 control box as a puppy.  Decided to switch it to usb for stepmania.

bought this bad boy


chopped off the 15 pin connector, stripped the cable and wires.



used a multimeter on continuity to figure out which wire was what, labeled accordingly



Purple-Ground
Green-Up
Black-square
White-Top Right
Blue-Top Left
Brown-Triangle
white/orange-center
Orange-Left
Red-Down
Yellow-Right

cut the metal push on's off the blue-white connectors and stripped them.  spliced all the white wires with the Ground of the dance pad.  Spliced individual blue wires from PCB to individual wires on the dance pad (I only wired 6 buttons)



plugged it in the the PC and drivers installed automatically, ran a test and all buttons work.  End of the day I crammed it all in to a 25 disk cd spindle and cover.  Thanks again for for all the detailed information allowing me to pull this off.


« Last Edit: August 05, 2015, 08:16:11 PM by inverseparadigm »
 
TeamZebra
Read December 13, 2015, 12:40:02 AM #39

Sorry for digging up an old thread, but I just wanted to thank you for the fantastic write-up, Freq! I got lucky and found a Cobalt Flux on Craigslist for a pretty reasonable price, however, the control box on it was flaky as hell on PS2 and was completely incompatible with the USB ports on my pretty modern PC, so I decided to follow this guide.

I bought the same USB microcontroller that you used, followed the pinout here: http://pinouts.ru/Game/cobalt_flux_pinout.shtml and I re-used the housing from the OEM Cobalt Flux control box, even wired up the buttons on the box so those work as well. Now my new pad works beautifully on StepMania Smiley

Here are a few pictures. It's nothing fancy, but for anyone that's curious:




 
BLueSS
Read December 14, 2015, 10:16:18 AM #40

inverseparadigm and TeamZebra, thanks for posting and sharing here! 
In case either of you are still lurking on the forums here, did you find the site by search engines for repairing the control box? 
 
TeamZebra
Read December 14, 2015, 02:33:18 PM #41

inverseparadigm and TeamZebra, thanks for posting and sharing here! 
In case either of you are still lurking on the forums here, did you find the site by search engines for repairing the control box? 

Yeah, I was just googling around for ways to build my own Cobalt Flux control box, and this was the most relevant result I found.

But for what it's worth, I'm in Seattle, so the PNW part is still relevant for me too Smiley
 
Suko
Read December 17, 2015, 04:08:33 PM #42

Good, because BluesS is an incredible xenophobe and will delete your account and hack your PC through the internet if you attempt to infiltrate our awesome PNW community.

No foreigners allowed!

TRUMP 2016

(This post was sponsored by Americans for Sarcastic Humor)
 
Goongdi
Read July 23, 2016, 01:43:11 PM #43

Bringing back this dead thread, but wanted to say thanks. I built mine using these two parts (found on a reddit post) and a wire stripper:

1) https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00X73QLMI/ref=s9_simh_gw_g23_i2_r?ie=UTF8&fpl=fresh&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=&pf_rd_r=FXMGJD5JAX1VTT9K1RJ1&pf_rd_t=36701&pf_rd_p=6aad23bd-3035-4a40-b691-0eefb1a18396&pf_rd_i=desktop

2) https://www.amazon.com/Easyget-Arcade-Encoder-Joystick-Fighting/dp/B00XHRIKLE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1469306264&sr=8-1&keywords=usb+encoder

The 15pin D-SUB to board connector was great because I was able to just strip the wires that came with the encoder and screw them in. I followed the pinouts here http://pinouts.ru/Game/cobalt_flux_pinout.shtml. Works like a charm for my Cobalt Flux.
 
Morendo
Read July 26, 2016, 08:34:06 AM #44

Bringing back this dead thread, but wanted to say thanks. I built mine using these two parts (found on a reddit post) and a wire stripper:

I just found out I need a new control box today and stumbled across this thread coincidently.  I'm thinking of trying to make it with the parts you mentioned since it seems pretty straightforward and everything is amazon Prime.

Have a few questions if you don't mind.

Have you made a case for yours?  I'm thinking I'll try to 3D print one but have never really done any.

Notice any issues?  Lag?  Buttons don't stay pressed?

And call me stupid, but don't you need the male DSUB to breakout board and not the female?  I'm not at home so I can't check my pad but I don't remember if the Flux outputs as male or female DSUB.  I found a google image of a DIY control box and it uses male, so I was confused.
 
Suko
Read July 30, 2016, 10:26:14 PM #45

Bringing back this dead thread, but wanted to say thanks. I built mine using these two parts (found on a reddit post) and a wire stripper:

1) https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00X73QLMI/ref=s9_simh_gw_g23_i2_r?ie=UTF8&fpl=fresh&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=&pf_rd_r=FXMGJD5JAX1VTT9K1RJ1&pf_rd_t=36701&pf_rd_p=6aad23bd-3035-4a40-b691-0eefb1a18396&pf_rd_i=desktop

2) https://www.amazon.com/Easyget-Arcade-Encoder-Joystick-Fighting/dp/B00XHRIKLE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1469306264&sr=8-1&keywords=usb+encoder

The 15pin D-SUB to board connector was great because I was able to just strip the wires that came with the encoder and screw them in. I followed the pinouts here http://pinouts.ru/Game/cobalt_flux_pinout.shtml. Works like a charm for my Cobalt Flux.
That D-SUB board is amazing. So much easier to wire to. I still need to get around to building a control box. Someday.....
 
Morendo
Read August 01, 2016, 09:00:11 AM #46

Here's my runthrough of what I ended up doing.



The first thing I did was connect the wires I needed for the buttons I would be using on the PCB.  The PCB came with all the wires needed.  The Blue / White wires are the circuits I'm using for the directions while the black/red wires are the ones I used for the accept / back buttons.  All the directional arrows were connected to joystick buttons on the PCB since I wasn't sure if Windows 10 would have a problem assigning the directional buttons as an axis and preventing simultaneous left/right up/down inputs.  I used the left 4 buttons as the directions and the far right 2 as the Select / back buttons, but this doesn't matter as any buttons you use can be mapped to what you want in Stepmania.

Next I did a quick quick test of the PCB in windows.  Most importantly, I needed to see how the wiring of the ground connection would work.  I connected the PCB with the provided USB cable and then opened up the Game controller options menu to see the buttons.  Then, I made contact between the wires for each button one by one and made sure they lit up in Windows to show they were activated.  I found my PCB only needed 1 ground connection for all of the buttons on the PCB to activate in Windows, so I cut all of the ground wires off the PCB (white and red wires) except for the white wire on button one.  The 2nd Picture shows what I did here better.



Then, I cut off the included connectors from the wires and stripped them so they could be used with the 16 pin DSUB connector.  The pins I needed to use on the pad were easy to remember. 

1 is ground (white wire)
2, 3, 4, and 5 are the directional arrows, which are the blue wires
6 is top left, which I don't use
7 is top right which I use for accept (red wire 1)
8 is back left, which I would use for back (red wire 2)

When connecting the wires, I went sequentially both on the PCB and the DSUB connector which ended up making some of the wires cross over.  It's not a problem, but it makes everything look a little messy overall.

My project box is from a cooler master CPU heat sink which is slightly too small for the PCB, but works out because it holds it in place.  Not pictured, I also took an Xacto knife to make holes for the DSUB connector and USB cable so that the box can be closed. 



Everything works in Stepmania on both Windows 7 and 10.  The PCB appears as a Generic Joystick.  Once you map the controls in Stepmania, everything works great.

Next I may try to add in some manual switches to the top of the box for the Select / back buttons.  Having the back button on the pad sometimes causes some accidental exiting mid song so I have it unmapped for now.

Since taking the photos, I've improved the wire management, carved holes in the box, and also done another one of these using the box that comes with the PCB.  I will post more pictures later.
 
inverseparadigm
Read April 28, 2017, 09:05:13 PM #47

inverseparadigm and TeamZebra, thanks for posting and sharing here! 
In case either of you are still lurking on the forums here, did you find the site by search engines for repairing the control box? 

I found this place looking for a DIY solutions on google after many months of
a) waiting for a 3rd party supplier to manufacture a working control box as they were on back order
b) having a second hand control box jump from $5 to $50 on ebay
 
Suko
Read May 01, 2017, 11:27:51 AM #48

Well, I'm glad you stopped by. I wish I could offer my feedback to you. Feel free to post additional questions if you have any. Perhaps I (we) can help out.
 
 
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