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CF 2.0 PIU Exceed Control Box


Where there are dancing games, there are dancers. And where there are dancers, there are Flux owners. And where there are Flux owners, there are any number of games incompatible with the stock control box. Such is the case with the latest home console release of the game Pump It Up.

Available via import, Pump It Up Exceed comes bundled with a USB pad made especially for the game. However, those of us with v2 Cobalt Flux pads know darn well that we have an active center panel for a reason - for PIU play! The current control box allows for use of the CF with the PC version of PIU, but the PS2 version is a different beast altogether. You see, if you don't have the USB pad, you are forced to use the hand controller scheme of L1/L2/R1/R2 and X as the center trigger. These functions do not map to the CF control box at all well, since the CF control box lacks some of the shoulder functions (interestingly, it does have R1 so that you can map the center panel in StepMania and the PC version of PIU). So what's a CF owner, potential importer, and PIU player to do? Why, build a custom control box, of course!

Parts and Tools List

Here are the parts you will need:

QuantityPartVendorPart #Price (ea.)
1Joytech Superstar Dance PadGame Express780332058329$10.49
115-Position HD Male Solder D-Sub ConnectorRadioShack276-1501$1.89
1Mini SPST Momentary Switch - Normally Open - Pack of 4RadioShack275-1547$3.29
1Hookup Wire 22 AWGRadioShack278-1221$4.79
1Rosin Core Solder, 2.5 Oz.RadioShack64-005$3.99

The following tools will come in handy:

  • Electric drill
  • 1/4" drill bit
  • 1/16" drill bit
  • Small (jewelers) Phillips head screwdriver
  • Utility or X-Acto knife
  • Soldering iron
  • Wire cutters / strippers

One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other

Before we get into this project, I just wanted to mention that I cheated. You see, I have two perfectly bad CF control boxes. Both have pretty severe timing problems and have gone unused for nearly a year. In order to save myself some time and hassle, I avoided the tedium of soldering, wiring, and mounting the customary 15 pin d-sub connector by simply taking one of the pre-wired connectors from one of my Flux control boxes. So, my final cbox is going to look a little different than yours, and you're going to have some wiring/soldering/mounting steps that I'll be skipping. If you need more detail on soldering wires to the d-sub 15, you can see my Xbox control box guide to cover general wiring and determine placement for the connector.

As with all my guides, any illustrations/images are linked in the text to speed up the page. If you wish to see the corresponding image, just click the link to have it open in a new window.

How To Make A DDR Welcome Mat

To get started, pull out your Joytech Superstar Dance Pad. This pad was specifically chosen for this project because it is one of the few on the market that supports all of the PS2 shoulder button functions. Unfortunately, the Joytech version of this pad is hard to find these days. Wal-Mart carries a slightly different looking Superstar Dance Pad that may very well also have the shoulder button functions, but I have not yet purchased one to verify that.

Assuming you have a suitable pad, flip it over so the bottom lining is facing up. Grab a screwdriver and take all six screws out of the controller housing (the plastic box) at the top of the pad. Inside, you will see a piece of plastic joining the main part of the pad with the circuit board of the controller. Go ahead and peel off the foam liner on the circuit board and then, underneath it, the plastic that connects it to the pad. It is held in place with a bit of adhesive, but it will peel off easily.

Now that that's done, throw away the majority of the pad. We only need the circuit board, the plastic box, and the cord that runs to the PS2.

Prep The Housing

You'll want to make a few modifications to the plastic controller housing. First up, you'll need to drill two holes for the momentary switches we'll be installing.

Second, you'll need to cut out a space big enough for mounting the d-sub 15 connector on your box. With this particular type of controller housing, I typically mount the d-sub on the front bevel (under the Joytech logo). It looks like it would be a tight fit, and it is, but it works. You'll need to cut a trapezoidal hole for it, put it in place, and secure it with a couple of small screws. Or, if you're making a tailed connector to give your cbox some slack between it and the connector on your pad, all you need to do is make a 1/4" square notch in that same front bevel. That's what I ended up doing for mine, since I'm using the pre-fabricated d-sub connector from my CF cbox.

Once your holes are drilled/cut, go ahead and mount the momentary switches and your d-sub 15 connector.

Let The Wiring Begin!

As I mentioned earlier, I'm going to use the cord/connector from my old CF cbox for my PIU cbox. Due to this, the following steps won't apply to the construction of your box. You'll need to wire each pin of the d-sub 15 connector individually, and you won't have the same color coded wires that I'll be referencing, but the information on which pins get soldered to which terminals on the circuit board will be the same.

Snagging the connector is easy enough. Just open up the CF cbox and cut all the wires. Done. Next, strip about 1/4" of sleeving from the end of each wire to get it ready for soldering.

Here comes the important info regarding pin assignments that probably everybody is waiting for. I chose to map the panels of the Flux in a way that would allow me to use the same cbox for PIU and DDR play. The functions go something like this:

FunctionLocationD-Sub PinFlux Wire
L1Upper-left Flux6Blue
L2Upper-right Flux8Brown
R1Lower-left Flux7White
R2Lower-right Flux9Black
XCenter Flux10Pink
UpUp Flux2Green
LeftLeft Flux4Orange
DownDown Flux3Red
RightRight Flux5Yellow
TriangleController HousingN/AN/A
CircleController HousingN/AN/A
GroundGround Flux1Purple

PIU Exceed doesn't require that Up/Down/Left/Right be available as all menu selections can be accomplished using the corner buttons. I threw them on there anyway so I could still play DDR with this control box. The problem with that decision is that I can no longer stand in the center when navigating menus in DDR as the center is now mapped to X. You can, however, stand on the corners during DDR play for menu navigation and then jump onto the center once the song starts (assuming you have corners disabled during play).

The Triangle and Circle buttons on the controller housing are simply for making selections and backing out of menus. Circle will act identically to X in PIU - you must press it twice to confirm a selection. Triangle lets you go back one level in the menus. Start and Select are unnecessary, as is Square, so I've not provided any switches for those functions. You might miss them in DDR, where Start and Select in particular give you more options at the song wheel, but for general play, the layout above works just fine.

With all that worked out, it's time to start soldering the wires from your d-sub 15 to the dance pad circuit board. The functions of the terminals on the circuit board are clearly labeled, so there's no mistaking which wire should go where, but here's the list going from left to right on the circuit board:

Board FunctionPin Wire
StartNot Used
TriangleBlack Switch in Housing
CircleRed Switch in Housing
SquareNot Used
SelectNot Used

Once the d-sub 15 wires are soldered to both the connector and the circuit board, you can test that portion of the cbox to make sure everything is good before moving on. Just be sure not to expose the circuit board to any electrostatic discharge during testing.

Assuming the test is a success, you'll then need to separately solder the momentary switches to the proper terminals and to the ground terminal on the circuit board. You can go ahead and mount the circuit board in the controller housing at this point.

Reassembling The Box

Go ahead and put the controller housing back together, compressing and moving wires as necessary to make it all fit. If you're using a tail connector, be sure to snug it into its notch before tightening down the screws. Everything should go together without any serious struggle.

You're Ready To Pump... It Up!

At this point, all you have left to do is hook your new cbox up to your Flux and dance to Banya tunes until you puke.

This project didn't take me long at all, especially since I used the Flux cbox tail. The most difficult part will always be wiring the d-sub 15 connector. Once you're past that, the rest is easy.

Should you run into difficulties, or you need advice/suggestions, please contact me at ddr at sinistarddr dot com.