Arcade Machine FAQ

by Yeehaw McKickass, 18 October 04


The beginning of the revolution.

Not many people could have imagined that a game with a simple premise, and an innovative interface could spark people all around the world to get up and dance to minute and a half long songs. Even more surprising is the popularity in American arcades, where fighting and driving games previously ruled the day.

At current, Dance Dance Revolution often serves as THE game to draw people into an arcade. This is largely due to the sights and sounds of the game, and the sights of players seemingly flailing to hit certain parts of the stage in synch with arrows scrolling up the screen.

But there’s another side to the game, as there is to every game made. Arcade games require a surprising amount of work to keep in top shape. DDR machines require a bit more because of the type of human interface.

As such, this FAQ is geared towards the operators side of things, though it does address several common player-side questions, and is based off of frequently asked questions on’s DDR Arcade Games sub forum. You can see the ongoing FAQ thread there.

Optimally, this FAQ should be useful for arcade operators, players looking to purchase their own machine, or anyone curious about an arcade DDR machine.

Table of Contents:
Common Player Questions
Bootleg Mixes - Hacked versions
DDR Extreme - Extreme and hacked version questions
Miscellaneous - Others
Operator Questions
DDR Arcade Operations - Operator Mode, Joint premium, etc.
Physical Specifications and Maintenance - Sizes and Upkeep
Up/Downgrading and System Errors - Brief answers on changing mixes,
and some common errors.
Buying a Machine - Where to buy, sample costs
Miscellaneous - Other questions

Common Player Questions

Bootleg Mixes
Q: My arcade has a DDR machine called DDR Megamix (or Extreme Plus). What’s the deal with these?
A: Congratulations, you're privy to what's essentially a poorly made bootleg of Extreme. You can expect lots of messed up backgrounds, machine glitches, and Freeze Arrows that start like blocks.

Q: My Extreme has .25x, .5x, Brake, and Wave selectable. Why doesn’t this other arcade have them?
A: The guys over at the Aaron in Japan forums decided to snoop around the extreme programming and found the tags to activate those modifications. They also activated a few different oni steps for songs too. While pretty cool, this is technically a bootleg version.

Q: Why are there only a small amount of songs in Extreme?
A: There are several different list sortings in Extreme. Default only shows a small portion of these. Hit :leftsel: and :rightsel: at the same time to access the others.

Q: Can I get the modes in the Trick oni course other places in the game?
A: No, unless your arcade is using the hacked version from the AIJ forums.

Q: I went too far on the Option Select screen between when I picked my song and before it starts. Is there a way to go back to a higher row and change that setting?
A: Yes there is. Hold either :leftsel: or :rightsel: and press start button to back up to a higher row.

Q: My machine has memory card slots. How do I use them?
A: See Cutriss’ Memory Card Faq both on forums and in the main site’s FAQ section for instructions on that. Note that you MUST use a Playstation one memory card in a DDR machine. Also you have to have a link file only accessible through a Japanese mix or download.

Q: I just matrix walked and broke the screen, what do I do?
A: Expect one (or more) of several consequences, ranging from other local players wanting to beat the life out of you to being arrested for destruction of property.

Q: Will an arcade disc work in anything other than an arcade cabinet it.
A: No. Older mixes (on the 573 board) discs won't function any setup other than a 573 board. PC's can access some of the information, but not play the actual game. DS Fusion and DDR Supernova operate on a type of modified PS2 that's incompatible with normal PS2's

Operator Questions

Arcade DDR Operations:
Q: How do I get to operators mode?

A: When you open up the top (coin) door on a ddr machine and look in, you’ll see one of two possible configurations.
The first configuration (Japanese machine) has two knobs arranged vertically and an on/off switch to the left, three red buttons in the middle, and 8 small knobs to the right. To enter operators mode, press the button in the middle.
The second configuration (Korean/international machine) is simpler, containing two knobs, a coin meter, and two buttons in the top right. The two buttons are white and red. The white button is service credit, while the red button will put you in operators mode.

Q: What are the unlock codes?
A: There's an announcement by Phrekwenci right at the top of DDR Freak’s arcade sub forum and in the FAQ section for Extreme under Songlists & codes The second link also includes instructions on how to input the codes.

Q: Where's Joint Premium at?
A: It's in the operators menu, under coin options. You’ll have to try several different combinations of coin settings to activate it though.
Some bootlegs might put it in a different place.
Many arcades will not activate this option, as it has the unfortunate side effect of cutting profits. It's usually activated for a special occasion or situation--or if they don't know any better.

Q: What's event mode?
A: Sfetaz (a vivid member on the board who owns an Extreme he rents out) answered this question, here's his post as a link to the orginal thread:
Sfetaz came out NOWHERE to say:
Event mode at the arcade is different from home versions. At the arcade, you can still set the number of songs for event mode. Lets say you set it to 4 songs. There is no failing in event mode. After the 4th song it shows your total score for all songs. Then instead of the credits screen, it will go back to the green screen with the logo and will say "Dance Dance Revolution". Then you can start a new game. You can still fail in nonstop and oni mode. In those modes you cannot set a high score.

Q: Ok, I know what event mode is, how do I get to it?
A: Put the machine on free play, then hold down the service button (only) when exiting the operator's menu.

Q: Where’s the volume control?
A: Volume controls are the two knobs inside the coin door. The top knob controls treble, the bottom controls bass.

Q: It's still not loud enough, can I hook up more speakers?
A: Sure, there's two RCA Audio jacks (red and white) on the back of the machine. There's also what looks like a VGA port, which is actually an external monitor hookup. This will be on the opposite side of the power cord.

Q: Any way to change the amount of time to pick songs?
A: The only way that's been found so far is event mode, which just eliminates the time limit.

Q: Can Fail be turned off?
A: Only if your machine is bootleg. This link has some information on turning fail off completely. Otherwise you’d have to use event mode to disable game ending failing.

Q: Can Auto-Fail be turned off?
A: Yes, it can. It's under the game options menu as "Fail during song". If this option is changed, you fail at the end of the song.

Physical Specifications and Maintenance

Q: Monitor size?
A: 29". With some bracket reinforcement you can also use a 27’ monitor.

A: Ok, how big is the entire sucker.
Q: Most web sites that sell the suckers list this:
"H2252 X W1780 X D2760 mm"
Doesn’t do a whole lot of good for U.S. residents, so let’s do some conversions.
    First off lets get this sucker to meters:
    Height: 2.252 meters
    Width: 1.780 meters
    Depth: 2.760 meters.

    Ok, now feet:
    Height: 7.38845 Feet
    Width: 5.8399 Feet
    Depth: 9.05512

Depth probably includes the pad at full distance away for some reason, so you can knock about 6 feet off that number. Making a machine small enough to fit through a standard doorway.

Height includes the marquee. With the marquee off, a machine is around 6’ tall.

Q: On the topic of the pads, How much do they weigh?
A: 221 lb. per side. They are splitable and on wheels.

Q: Ok, how about the total weight of the machine, pads and all.?
A: 427 kg. or 939.4 lb. Without the pads it comes up to 497.4 pounds.

Q: What's the dimensions on the Pads?
A: Each arrow is around 11 inches by 11 inches, as are the metal squares. There's a 3 to 4 inch metal section to the front of the pads, and the sides are covered by metal approximately 1/4 inch wide. The back by the bar is around 4.5 inches thick with the corners chopped at around 45 degrees. The total width for two pads is approximately 70 1/8" with depth of 42 1/2". The pads are about 4 inches thick.

Q: How big are the bars on the back of the pads?
Damage wrote:
Someone else asked this about 7 posts down the page, so I'll repost my response and add a few things since I'm at work, it is dead, and I like tape measures.

The top of the bar rises 36" from the top of the pad and the legs on the bar are 17.5" apart, measured outside edge to outside edge. The pipe is 2" diameter steel with approximately a 3/4" pad on the top part of the bar. The 36" measurement was without the pad.

Addition: The left and right player bars are 18 3/4" apart measured from the facing edges of the interior legs. The edge of the bar is 2 1/2" from the back edge of the pad and the outside bar on each side is 9" in from the flat side of the pad, not the angle in the back corner.

The stage itself is 70 1/8" wide and 42 1/2" deep.

Q: How big is the marquee?
A: 27" wide by 25" 3/4 tall.

Q: My machine doesn’t have the ‘Stay Cool’ plates on it’s back. Any idea where they’d be?
A: Check on the inside of the machine. If they’re not there, you probably didn’t get them. Not a big loss as the only real purpose they serve is to keep trash and people's feet from going under the pad.

Q: I got sent Pump It Up sensors instead of DDR sensors, can I rig them up to work?
A: Yes. For all intents and purposes, they're the SAME EXACT piece of equipment, PIU sensors are just slightly longer. All you have to do is figure out which wire is which on the PIU sensor, apply it to the ddr sensor (can't use the connectors, they're different), and rig it up. I'll leave the figuring up to you, for now. (Both types of sensor DO NOT USE MERCURY.)

Q: How do I clean the pads?
A: Instead of me boring you with lots of annoying test, you can look at This article by Ho-Man or this topic on a the global ddr board.
Cleaning the pads will take anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours, depending on how much help you have and the amount of dirt in there.

Q: How do I keep the brackets inside the pads from falling off so much?
A: Pretty simple, actually. There are L-shaped brackets screwed into the sides that cover over each of the four sensors underneath each arrow. This is what causes a pad press to register. The screws for those brackets eventually come loose from all the stomping and bass. Normally, you can get away with just screwing them back in. In a higher traffic situation, you may have to resort to more ‘drastic’ measures.

This is Loctite comes in. For those who don't know, Loctite is a plastic like coating you can spread over the threads of a screw that hardens and tightens things down pretty solidly.

Of course, you don't want the screws to be immobile (if the brackets are immobilized, nothing registers), so you don't want to use anything stronger than a medium hold on it. Using anything stronger will result in the screws being stripped if you do have to take them back out again.

Q: My machine won’t hold freeze arrows, any way to fix it?
A: Grab some business cards or paper tickets (something small), and stick them on the underside of the sensor. This lifts the middle of the sensor up to ensure the L-Brackets keep better pressure on the sensor.

Q: I have an arrow that isn't working, any way to get it working again?
A: In order or probable cause: Check your connectors, then L-brackets, swap with known working sensors, test your wiring, replace sensors. I/O Test in operators mode will tell you what sensors aren’t registering.

Q: Light replacement?
A: Lights burn out, sad fact. ChannelBeat has them, but they're usually on backorder. The lights near the top speakers are easy, but the neon's around the lower speakers and below the arrows can be a bit tricker to deal with because of the bends. Neither are too hard to replace, and you’ll figure out how to do it when you pull the lights out.

Q: What if I have to replace a power supply?
A: Just make sure it connects up properly. While Japanese machines work on different voltages and frequencies, they can handle the differences.

Q: Speakers aren't putting out sound, what's up?
A: Check your connections. That's the number one problem with a DDR machine, so much bass gets pounded out a connection or two is bound to get loose. Also check your fuses and such, you might have blown one. If that's not the problem, you'll probably have to either replace a speaker or call someone in to fix it. (ChannelBeat has speakers on backorder)

Upgrades and System Errors

Q: I want to add memory card slots. How do I do this?
A: This is discussed briefly in Cutriss’ Memory Card Faq both on forums and in the main site’s FAQ section.
A few things that aren’t touched on in Cutriss’ FAQ. Namely that you must have a Japanese machine in order to do this.
There’s also an older thread about the inner workings of the memory card slot system on the forums. The discussion was left up in the air though.

Q: How do I upgrade a machine?
A: Any mix above second (including most Dancing Stage machines) can be upgraded easily, though you may be forced into using a bootleg kit.
If you have a legit upgrade kit, it's a simple matter of swapping out a cart, switching an IC chip and putting the new game disc in the machine.
If you have a bootleg, I hope you got instructions. It's generally not much harder though, adding a security bypass chip is usually the only additional step.

Q: I want to upgrade a 2nd mix to something higher. How do I do that?
A: Good luck. Upgrading from a 2nd mix is a pain in the butt, and very costly. You'll need a digital I/O board and a 32 meg flash cart. You may just want to consider entirely new boards or a different machine.

Q: Can I downgrade?
A: It’s essentially the same process, but you can’t use a legitimate mix. You'll have to replace a the disc, and use a bootleg security lockout chip. These chips usually work for 3rd through Max2, sometimes excluding 4th Plus.

Q: I'm getting an error code, what's it mean?
A: There’s a lot of different error codes, but most of them go back to something not being plugged properly or a fan going out. Fans are easily replaceable, and you can always push something that shakes loose (like the security cartridge) back in.
If you get a general Machine error, unplug your machine for about a half hour, then plug it back in.
If you get an error relating to your CD-ROM drive, congratulations. The System 573 board that all of Konami’s Bemani games run on are very testy about what brands of CD-ROM’s work in them. It has to be a CD-ROM (no r/rw and no dvd) of at least 24x speeds. Even still it may not work.

Q: Ok, my machine’s freezing or doing weird things in game, like freezing. What’s up?
A: Well, there's two possible reasons. First is you have a bad bootleg. Check for that first.
The second reason is that your CD-ROM drive is going bad, or caused damage to your disc. Repair/Replace that and any media destroyed by it.

Buying a Machine

This topic was covered in one of the other guides on the site, Choosing a DDR Machine guide by AnimeNathan. Since the question is asked so often on the forums, here’s some answers.

Q: Where can I get a DDR machine for myself?
A: if you want to take a chance on losing a lot of money. usually stocked, but shipping charges are pretty high, Dance Beat Arcade recommends them. occasionally has them, Do a search for Dance Dance Revolution.
Check your yellow pages under Amusements. There's usually arcade vendors there, you might be able to score a cheap machine there.
Tilt arcades have a game sale around Christmas time (NO THEY'RE NOT GOING OUT OF BUSINESS), and DDR machines go up. You, on a huge long shot, might find one for a reasonable price.
Betson Imperial is Konami's official american arcade distributor, they have pretty much have everything from parts to full machines.

Q: Same question but upgrade kits?
A: Same answer but you might not have any luck in the yellow pages, and you’d have to go through Tilt’s corporate office to inquire about parts.

Q: How much can I expect to pay for a machine.?
A: Again depends on where you go. ChannelBeat ranges from $3695 for a 2nd mix to $5495 for an Extreme. However they've been proven shady and have a bad shipping track record.
Coinopexpress has better prices, a 2nd mix will run you $2413 while an Extreme will run you $4995. The snag with Coinop is that your shipping charges will be an 8-footer (Exorbitant).
eBay is hit or miss, you can sometimes find a good deal on something, others you wont find squat.
Amusements vendors in the Yellow pages vary by region. Don't expect to only pay 500 dollars though.
Betson Imperial will have the highest quality, but you'll also pay some of the highest prices. They are, however, recommended by Sfetaz.

If you’re looking for a higher mix and want to save money, consider buying a 3rd mix, then upgrading.

Q: Ok, what about upgrade kits.
A: Channel beat, while not recommended by some, has most of the upgrade kits (they have no public info on 2nd mix to a higher mix) at this link:
Coinopexpress supposedly has them, but they’re hard to find.
eBay is again, hit or miss, I've seen a 6th mix upgrade kit that went for only $40. Kits don't show up too frequently.
Vendors/arcades are hit or miss too, and not very likely.
Betson Imperial has a strange price scale. Extreme upgrade kits (legit) run $2000, but 5th mix will only run you around $295. You’ll need to get a hold of a Betson Catalog, which can be a bit tough if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Q: Ok, what about parts?
A: Channelbeat has parts, they've been linked already.
Betson Imperial has the highest quality parts, has good quality replacement equipment (including sensors at around $35), and even the hard to find stuff like security cartridges.
For other, non-DDR specific parts, Happ Controls is the number one source for arcade parts. They even sell some of the tools you need to various jobs. Their web site is

MIscellaneous Questions

Q: What tools would I need to do the various things I need to do to keep a DDR machine working right?
A: Pretty simple. An array of both flat head and phillips screwdrivers, wrenches, a Digital Multi meter (voltmeter), and on rare occasions, solder and soldering irons. A Molex pin extractor is another useful too.

Q: Is there any logic to the coloring on the wires inside my machine?
A: Yes, actually. DDR machines are JAMMA compliant, so if you know anything about a JAMMA board, you’re a jump ahead. As a quick refresher Black wires usually mean ground, red wires usually mean +5 volts. To CD-ROM you’ll have four wires, two black, a red, and a yellow. In this instance the two black are ground, the red is +5, and the yellow is +12 volts. (A CD-ROM won’t spin up if it doesn’t have it’s 12 volts.)
You may also run into -5 volts, and very rarely -12 volts.

Q: Is there a specific voltage I should keep my machine at?
A: Yes. At your Logic board (where the jamma connection is) you should have between 5.00 and 5.15 volts. This varies by machine, but is considered the acceptable range for nearly every JAMMA compliant game out there. (The only exception I know of is the Silent Scope series, which needs closer to 5.35 volts at it’s logic).

Q: My monitor went out, is there a way to bring it back?
A: Possibly. First make sure all your connections are all good, then look for a connector that has two wires(white and black) or three wires (white, green, black). Put your multi meter’s ground pin in with the black wire, and the red pin in with the white wire. If you get less than 110 volts there, you’re not getting enough voltage. If you get the full 110 or more, and don’t have picture (with everything else working), you’ve got a problem on your hands that requires anything from resoldering all the leads, to replacing parts on the monitor board.

Thanks and Contact Info

Thanks to: Baka Orochi/Bob Earl, Ho-Man, EndOfTomo, sfetaz, and Cutriss for their help; the DDR Freak staff for putting up with me and having the forums, Ginnie for hiring me and teaching me how to pop open and clean a ddr machine, Vicky P. and Kevin K. for putting up with my insanity as a manger for Tilt, Kai for being attentive when I taught him the various cleaning and repair techniques on a machine, the Tilt (289) Joliet (R.I.P) crew for putting up with my various tests on the machine (I STILL HATE DAIKENKAI!), and Konami for producing arcade DDR.

Thanks for reading.