FAQ about DDR Solo Arcade Machines

by RyogAkari, 8 February 05

We have had a lot of questions recently about Solo Arcade Machines.

Since I have invested in a Solo Arcade Machine, and have spent numerous hours gathering information from others or exploring answers to my own questions, I think that it would be beneficial to make a thread dealing with all of the problems that I and many of you who are reading have encountered.

As more and more questions are addressed, I'll update this post's table of contents.

Table of Contents:

I. The DDR Solo Pad
II. I/O Boards
III. Fun with Upgrading
IV. Mapping Problems with Doubles Mixes on Solo Arcade.


Q. Why are there 6 arrows on the Solo Pad?

A. The additional upperleft arrow and upper right arrow are used in 6 panel mode with traditional ddr mixes. If you are near a Solo machine that does not have Solo 4th Plus, Solo 4th, Solo 2000, or Solo Bass installed on it, you will never get to use the upper left/upper right arrows.

Q. I heard that the DDR Solo Pad has a different amount of sensors in it.

A. DDR Solo Pads have two sensors that lie horizontally in the middle of the arrow instead of four lieing on the outside.

Q. I couldn't find the i/o board in the solo pad. I know its on the deluxe pad but where is it in the solo?

A. DDR Solo Pads have NO I/O BOARDS IN THEM. This creates a huge problem when one is trying to install a doubles mix in the machine. We will get to that problem later. The I/O Boards in the deluxe machines control the lights where as we believe the main I/O Board on the solo version controls the lights.

Q. The solo pad around here has no lights on it, and it just sits on the floor. Is it missing something?

A. Solo machines originally did not have lights. When Solo 2000 was shipped so was an upgrade kit for the pad. The old pad fits into a frame that has lights on the outside. This frame also can raise the pad up off of the ground. Not only that but it makes the pad able to roll on wheels. This version of the pad is called the "Deluxe Version".

Q. The arrows feel more wooden when I step on them. Not firm like on a doubles machine. Why is that?

A. The solo pad has rubber stoppers all along the sides of the inside of the arrow. It also sits on a metal panel that goes over the two sensors. This can make the arrows feel more "Gushy" and will also prevent the usual "Clank clank" sound that you get from stepping on a doubles machine arrow.

Q. How much does the Solo Pad weigh?

A. Approximately 400 Lbs, which quite fascinatingly enough is the same wieght of the DDR Solo Machine!

Q. One of the lights is out on the Solo Pad. What do I do?

A. The lights on the Solo Pad will commonly go out every once in awhile. Thankfully these bulbs are easy to replace. Take out the old bulb and go to your local walmart. Match the size of the part that screws in with another one in similar size. DONT GET ANYTHING ABOVE A 40 WATT. Preferably find a 30 Watt bulb to replace your old one.

Q. Someone bent our Solo bar.

A. Yes, the manufacturer did. Solo Pads come with a bent bar rather than the straight one. They also come in blue rather than red.


Q. Someone told me that the Solo machine has an analog board in it if it is not Solo 4th or Solo 4th plus. Is this true?

A. NO! I have no idea how this rumor got started. All Solo arcade machines, ALL SOLO ARCADE MACHINES (Including Bass Mix!!!!!!!!!) have a digital I/O Board. However, there is one thing that Solo Bass and Solo 2K lack and that is a 32 MB Flash Card.

Q. I compared pictures of a doubles I/O Board and a Solo I/O Board and all the wires are going in different places. Whats up with this?

A. The mapping on the Solo machine is completely different than on the doubles. I'll address more questions like this in the mapping the doubles machine section.


Q. I decided to upgrade but the error I recieved on the machine was something to the effect of "Check the Flash Card" OMGZorZ! I just spent 400 friggin buckz on this. Don't tell me it's H4x0r3d!!!

A. As long as you purchased a Fujitsu 32 MB Flash Card, it's most likely OK. The difference is that you most likely have the Flash Card in the wrong slot. Solo machines require that you put the Flash Card in Slot 1 instead of Slot 2 like on a deluxe machine.

Q. Then what is slot 2 used for?

A. Slot 2 is used for linking solo machines. When you have two solo machines that have the same mix installed on them you can link them together. This requires a link kit. The link kit comes with a wire and a flash card. The wire plugs into the sides of the machine joining them together and the flash card goes into slot 2.

Q. My upgrade isnt working!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I put in the first of the two cds (the install cd) and it wouldn't work. NOOOOOOOOOO!

A. This gets into the problem with the I/O boards not being present in the solo pad. Most 2 CD install kits WILL NOT WORK on a Solo machine. There are two exceptions. The legendary Solo 5th mix which is a two cd install, and one version of the Extreme mix that requires no security board. From what I know ALL ONE CD INSTALL KITS WORK ON SOLO MACHINES. I haven't come across a one cd install kit that has not worked on a solo machine. That being said, if you have a one cd kit, here is the instructions.

1. First make sure that you have all the necissary parts. Those parts are:
The CD
The Security Board specifically made for that mix.

2. Pop in the CD. Boot thy machine. It shalleth install upon your machine forever removing thy previous mix as far as the east is from the west.

3. One thy master hath been instructed that the installation was successful, thou shalt turn off thy machine.

4. Upon this point, and ONLY UPON THIS POINT shall ye removeth thy old rom piece and replace it with thy everlasting security board.

5. Switcheth not thy dip switches. For this be a grevious sin and forever shall your machine be cast into the darkness of Error 114.

6. Boot thy machine and cleareth thy CTR Ram when requested for it is the small button that is hence and forever shall be located near the dip switches.

Note: You wont have to change the CD like in a 2 CD installer, but you have to wait until the game is installed upon your machine before switching the rom piece for the security board.

Q. Well, then how does Solo 5th work?

A. Good question. Solo 5th will not work with a one cd installer security board. Those security boards are tied to a specific mix and will not work with other mixes. If you have a 5th mix security board, it might work with those. I have to use a doubles mix security board to boot Solo 5th.

Q. Um, like. Help. My security board doesnt fit into my machine. WT#$%$5??????

A. This can be a problem. There is a wire that connects on the digital i/o board that does not connect on a doubles mix. This is the problem that I have for Solo 5th. The way that I solved it is I bought some 32 pin adaptors. They stack like lego's and can fit into the rom slot and onto your security board. This will allow you to put your security board in over the wire. The problem with this is that you will most likely have to leave the metal top off of the board that has the cd rom attached to it. Simply unscrew the cdrom from the metal board and set it on its side next to the i/o board. It will work fine there since the cd rom should have verticle mounts. It would be best to check to make sure that they are activated though. Simply emergency eject your CD Rom drive with a paper clip and make sure that they are holding the CD in place.

Q. Ok smart guy, now how does Extreme work?

A. It took me quite a long while to get extreme to work on my solo. There is a set of 2 cds (installer and game) that you can get that does not require you to use a security board. Simply install the program. You will have to watch for the end of the installation though. Sometimes it doesnt give you the info 506 saying that the install is done but immediately reboots the machine. Quickly turn off the machine less you want it to install AGAIN. You'll know its done because the screen will go black and all of the lights will go on again. Change out the CD and put in the game CD. Now you will have to mess with your dip switches. Set dip switch 4 down. This makes the machine boot from the onboard. Now, let it boot. The onboard will come up as BAD, but it's ok!!!!!!!! This is common amongst all Extreme machines that boot from the onboard. Clear the CTR Ram just as it asks and you will be good to go.

Q. Can I upgrade and downgrade amongst mixes as I please?

A. Yes. You'll have to follow the proceedures as listed above to do so. I switch out mixes regularly on my solo machine for the local customers.


Q. What are the mapping differences when you have a doubles mix on a Solo Machine?

A. Listed Below:

1. Only ONE of the two sensors work in the Solo pad for playing DDR.
2. The other sensor in the Left arrow scrolls up on the roulette wheel. The other sensor in the down arrow scrolls down on the roulette wheel.
3. Deluxe Pad lights do not light up during song play but will have the lights that flash during the applause at the end of the song.
4. The two red tube lights on the top speakers will not light up.
5. The select left and right and start buttons will flash on and off with the other halogen lights at the top. This is actually kinda nifty.
6. Left select on 2P side (important for functions in the static test screen) is the up right arrow. Right is the Right arrow. (You will use these arrows to adjust things like the clock on the bookkeeping)

Q. Is it possible to enter the unlock codes for doubles mixes on the machine?

A. Yes. It's really hard but possible. First, the down arrow for player 1 which is used in entering the secret screen is also the right select arrow for player 1!!!!!! Use the left arrow to go to the options just above Game Options. Then have a friend hold down the down arrow without moving. Apply good pressure. The cursor will go down one to game options and will sit there and you will also be pressing the down arrow which is necissary for entering the cheat screen. Press the insert credit button and the 1P start button. You should be in the secret menu. Add the code using the left and down arrows and the start button. Then once you are done to get out of the secret menu to register the code have your friend stand on the left and down arrow at the same time. Then press the start button and you will see big bulky red letters saying "Registering". Follow the intructions to exit out of the screen then enjoy your unlocked songs

Q. Help! Free Play and Event Mode juz don woik right!!!!

A. This is a problem with having a doubles mix on a Solo machine. The solo machine always interprets 2P start as ALWAYS BEING ON. That means that when you start a game, you will only be able to choose versus mode. You will have to wait for the timer to go down because guess what!? YOU CAN'T PRESS THE 2P START BUTTON! WOOOT! WOOOOOOT!
This actually makes it impossible on 5th mix Event mode because when you get to the screen where you have to choose your player's character you cant select a character for the second player and time will NEVER run out. Woot! Also, on 6th 7th and 8th mix, you will automatically go into the options screen when choosing a song cause....GUESS WHAT!? 2P IS HOLDING DOWN HIS MAGICAL START BUTTON!!!!!! WOOOT! WOOOOOOT!

Q. I have Solo 5th/Solo 7th and the mapping works fine, but event mode is still buggy and the lights are still incorrect. Whats up with that?

A. Solo 5th/Solo 7th only remapped only the essential parts being the left and right select buttons and all of the sensors. As far as the lights, you'll just have to deal with it, and just press the insert credit button instead of using freeplay.

Q. Can the Solo machine be remapped?

A. Yes, yes it can. I don't know how to do it though. I also know that the wire for 2P can be cut so that it doesnt always have player 2 start being held down. I, do not know how to do that either. From what I have heard, it takes many many dedicated hours of work to do this.

I hope that this FAQ has given you some more information about Solo machines that you did not previously know. I'm sure that this will become a "living" document and will grow and expand as more questions and more information has been gathered.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask them here, and I will do my best to answer them, or others in the community might know the answer as well.