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IIDX Controller modding Rate Topic: ***** 2 Votes

#1 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 01:16 AM

lol, I'm modding the PS2 beatmania IIDX controllers. Currently, i'm doing Zetsu's (and soon Waddles' too) IIDX controllers. I originally did the 'normal' mods (slippery turntable and cardboard under the buttons to reduce key travel), but felt that I wanted the arcade feel badly enough to try something that, as far as I know, hasn't been done before. I saw an auction on ebay for a surplus of microswitches (turns out they're Cherry E63-00H model microswitches). Fortunately for me, these are the absolute perfect size (no joke) for, as I found out today, two basic setups. The first setup was used in my original controller, and I'm gonna try the second now.

First setup has pictures, because it's finished and proved to be working. Note that I have the switches wired in parallel (either switch triggers the button press), so idk if it'll be as good with a serial (both have to be closed in order for the button to trigger).

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Microswitches in the surplus bag I recieved them in

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Hotglued together in formation

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Gotta clear out the circle backings on the bottom of inside f the key tray

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Switches inside the cleared out circle, do this for all seven keys

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All 14 microswitches in their place

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The plug, I'll make a schematic drawing later

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All wired up and ready to be tested

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If you remove the key caps, you can see the microswitches inside.

Pros and cons.....
Pros: arcade-like feel, sensitive response. Keys hit the microswitch case so they don't fall down due to lack of pcb. You can tune the key travel required to trigger thet switch by bending the microswitch levers. Only requires cuts (albiet a lot) on the bottom casing.
Cons: dunno wtf to do with the pcb and rubber contacts now...keys are loud when hit, because it's hard plastic hitting hard plastic instead of rubber. Microswitch levers can be tricky to tune so they trigger the switch at the right time. Because spring action is in the middle, keys sometimes stick.

Turns out for this setup, the E63-00H's were perfect. The blade type switch meant it had a wide area of contact that the IIDX controller key could press on and activate.

Second setup (experimental, will install in next controller)

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This is a crude drawing of how the switches were aligned inside the key in the first setup. The black rectangle is supposed to be the key, and the grey rectangles are supposed to be the microswitches (I guess this makes the most sense as a bottom-view). Clearly, the circular plunger actuates both of the switches. All very good, but this has a few problems as outlined above. however, in the new one....

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This is the positioning of the switches in revision 2. Notice that the plunger (circle thing in the middle) doesn't come in contact with the microswitches at all. How does this work?

If you look at the datasheet, there's the white pin that's the actual switching mechanism. I took out the lever using a small flathead screwdriver, and if you position the microswitch correctly, the rectangle edge of the key will be able to trigger it.

This should solve the key sticking problem, because it's pushing directly on the edge of the key instead of in the middle, where it can lift irregularly and cause a stuck key.

In fact, you can put switches all around the key, if you're crafty. You can fit four on the sides (if you stagger them between adjacent switches) and two each top and bottom, so that makes for an 8-microswitch key. If that isn't reliable, I don't know what is. However, for my design, I will use two (possibly three) microswitches...one each on the top and bottom, and maybe one in the middle. I really would like to do an 8x7 design, although I didn't order nearly enough microswitches and at if you can't get your switches at wholesale price, it will get very expensive very fast.

Speculated pros/cons:
Pros: Easily scalable for addition of supporting microswitches. Reduces/eliminates key sticking. Possibly smoother
Cons: Small issue with a screw post, I'll cover that tomorrow. Might be more difficult to wire if you don't plan properly. Have to make dremel cuts on both top and bottom cases. Unable to adjust (much) key travel required to activate switch.

I'll post more pictures and finish explaining tomorrow...
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#2 User is offline   Bass GS 

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 04:13 PM

Wow, awesome work [email protected] It looks so cool when it's all wired up without the cover on. :D can't wait to hear more about it!
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#3 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 01:16 AM

Okay, here's the continuation. For Revision 2, I decided to take out the actuating levers.

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the Cherry microswitches, two intact and two with the levers removed.

Removing the levers is easy, although it may fly out. Just pry open the casing with a small watch flathead screwdriver, and you should be able to wiggle the pin on the lever out of the hole in the case.

Now, for the explanation diagrams I've mentioned earlier.

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This is the first setup, R.1, that I used in my first microswitch swap. This is what it looks like all lined up on the inside. Second drawing has reference lines in it (I didn't line it up perfectly to the camera's perspective, sorry)

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and this is my planned setup, R.2. Again, lines in the second image are for the purpose of showing where the switch lines up when the key is seated.

I started the installation tonight, but was unable to finish. I estimate progress at around 25-30%, so there's quite a bit more to do. That said however, there was quite a bit already done...

First off, I noticed a problem.

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The screwpost above the middle black key has these fins, one of which interferes with the placement of the microswitch. also, there's another problem...

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If you've seen what I did in the picture, I tried to place the microswitch in the correct place but the top part won't close properly. This means I have to cut both the top and bottom pieces to make holes so the switch can fit.

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Here's the final product after finishing the cuts... about a half an hour and two sore hands later (that's eight cuts and four Xacto trimmings per key!), it was done. Sorry if it's hard to see, the white bits are the stressed plastic that I partially trimmed away...the remnants of the walls.

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Detail of both the top case being modified, and the troublesome screw post fin removed.

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and the fruits of labor finally start to appear. As we can see here, the microswitch fits properly. The reason why there's so much cut away is because that's where the thicker plastic of the case meets the walls. It was just easier to cut all the way to the lid instead of making delicate cuts halfway. You may have also noticed that I broke the tabs that held the lever off, you don't have to but I think it helps make the design more robust (slightly less likely to go wrong) because you don't have solid plastic that could possibly get in the way.

Even more later this week, I'm not sure if I can update tomorrow because I have lots of stuff to take care of. All that's left is to do is wire up all the microswitches, hotglue them in, and connect the plug(s) correctly. I decided to use magnet/enamel wire this time instead of ribbon cable, because in this close quarters even ribbon cable is difficult to work with (I had to make folds in it in order for it to route properly last time).

ps. Updated pros/cons of R.2
Pros: More evenly distributed switch pressure, easier to add more switches to the design. Smoother feel, doesn't require tuning. Keys shouldn't stick at all. Don't need to bend the legs on the microswitches in order for it to fit (in fact, it fits perfectly with the legs as they are!)
Cons: Key only touches actuator part of microswitch, perhaps causing it to wear faster. Because of the spacing, design isn't as compact as the first one. Requires more cutting (twice as much, to be exact...LOL EMO PROJECT) of the casing. Keytravel is a little farther than how close you can tune the R.1 setup.

pps. I didn't label which side the lever is attached to in the drawings, in both cases they're at the end farthest away from the plunger (transluscent circle). In the second drawing however, the lever is removed and the pin is pushed directly.
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#4 User is offline   Bass GS 

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 10:38 AM

wow awesome keep up the good work. looks interesting,must have taken a long time to finish it up...
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#5 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 20 October 2007 - 09:29 AM

Update on the R.2 project... it turns out that you can put the Cherry microswitch under the Start and Select buttons as well... it just takes some (quite a bit) of modding the microswitch.

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First off, you have to bend the solder lugs to a right angle as close to the body as possible (like R.1 buttons). Then, you have to cut off the posts where the lever was mounted. I found that this was not enough however, and it required some sanding of the microswitch casing so the whole thing was flat (I suppose if you're buying new switches, it would be easier just to get some E63-00A switches instead, I got a bulk of E63-00H so I had to improvise). I hope you have a dremel handy (I didn't) because these little things make the absolute worst noise in the world when you file them. It sounds like you're stepping on an animal or something... D: Anyway, you want it as close to level as possible (see the difference between the sanded switches and the ones where I just broke the tabs off).

You cut a hole in the side of the circles that support the start/select buttons and mount those in there, I'll post up pictures when I perfect the design. Oh yeah, and the cuts have to be made to the top casing as well... it can be quite difficult to line up properly but when it does, it feels great.

Oh yeah, because this requires the pcb to be removed, you have to desolder the plug(s) and resolder wires to the pins. I made a wiring diagram yesterday, here it is for your benefit:
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The blue areas are where the pads are connected, there's a lot of sneaky connected pins that might be hard to see. Note that there's a NC pin. :D Thank you Konami for being so nice to us~! This means that if you wanted to, the NC pin in the socket (controller-end) can be connected to the power source (I believe it's 3.3v) coming in from the PS2. Then you can connect the NC pin in the plug (keypad) to a resistor-LED network. (Note that the resistor may not be necessary, as many superbright LED's have a forward voltage of around 3.2-3.3v). I haven't tested this yet though...

Updates when I finish them~
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#6 User is offline   Bass GS 

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Posted 25 October 2007 - 04:41 PM

How has this been going shonen? make any progress since last time?
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#7 User is offline   zetsumei 

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Posted 25 October 2007 - 09:49 PM

wow thats awesome, i wanna try it out when u finish it XD
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#8 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 25 October 2007 - 11:30 PM

It's been going well, I just haven't gotten around to update the topic yet. R.2 is complete, here's the rest of the photos from the construction:

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This is all the switches hooked up with magnet wire. For the ground side, I used the thicker wire (these are the ones from the Radio Shack 3-spool pack, I originally got these for winding Xmod motors). This had an added bonus of being thick enough to physically support and keep the switches aligned.

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These are all the switches placed in the proper place and ready to be soldered. I made the switch NO pole green, and left a little tail to solder the bus to. In hindsight, I should've done this with the ground wire as well, but it all worked out okay.

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Now comes possibly the hardest part...removing the sockets. Yes, sockets. If you want your keypad to still be reversible and look unmodified. I found it easier to add more solder to the joints before desoldering, the flux probably helps as well. Having a sharp-tip 15W soldering iron is a necessity, unless you want to make solderblobs all over the pcb. When you do get it off, hotglue it into place as such (make sure the fins are pushing against the edge of the case).

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Now would be a good time to check to make sure that the switches work, lol it will save you a huge headache later if something's not working.

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This is how the case should look when the cuts around the start/select buttons are made. It's hard to see, sorry.... and the pushbuttons picture is the kind of switches I used for the R.1 board. It's just mounted on top of a spacer, and everything is hotglued into place (pics later, if I remember).

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Hotglue the switches in one by one, making sure the top case will close properly. Once the cover has been placed securely, I used a 12v 80mm fan to speed the cooling process of the glue. Once all the switches are tacked down, add more glue to secure the switches.

I gotta do this to all the switches, including the start/select ones. Let it dry, and then you can check clearances (and add hotglue accordingly).


Anyway, I got my new batch of switches today. They are Honeywell 11SX21-T microswitches. They are EXTREMELY small...half the size of the Cherry ones. I'm gonna see if I can mount them straight to the pcb to negate the need to make cuts into the case.

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These are the new switches I got. They are very small, but surprisingly have a decent required actuation force. The only possible problems I can see is the small pin size (which will require a new flat key plunger bottom for it to be robust and withstand repeated poundings) and the fact that since it's so small, if it doesn't mount on the pcb it will have to be boosted up somehow because it will definately not reach the keys from the bottom. Also, the pin has a short travel so it will require precise measurement of placement...but that will result in a more sensitive key.

Speculated pros/cons:
Pros - Short key travel, will require only one microswitch per key, mounting holes give more mounting options in case of height issues, 'clickier' feel
Cons - Short key travel requires closer tolerances, small size may prove difficult to mount, pins are pcb solder-in type, not the best for hotgluing to another surface at the tips.
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#9 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 31 October 2007 - 01:12 PM

Okay, I finally got Waddles' controller and modded it (traded his keypad for my R.2). Also, Konami's soldering is horrible...

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Anyone who's taken Masuhara's class will know that this is crappy soldering, and you'd get no points at all for it...especially on the two mounting pins.

Either way, I was gonna try out R.3 on this controller, using the new microswitches I got. These were really tiny, so I had a bit of a problem... they weren't quite small enough to solder directly to the pcb, but they were too short to just hotglue in place like before. I decided to desolder the plugs and see if I got any inspiration.

Unfortunately I wasn't at home (I was at work, eheh...) and didn't have my own tools with me. The only soldering iron I had was this one
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If you can tell the wattage from just this picture...go get a life. For those of you that can't, this is a 40 watt iron. Very hot, but it's all I had, unfortunately.

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I was desoldering the pins, and I managed to burn a pad clean off the pcb. The problem with high-wattage soldering irons is that they abuse the pcb and copper traces; the high heat destroys the adhesive that holds the copper to the fiberglass, and the trace lifts and becomes useless.

Anyway, I managed to desolder the plugs fine (that was the only trace I burnt off), and I did indeed get some inspiration on how to mount the switches. I originally was going to use sheet metal to make a sort of bolt-on spacer for the switches (using the mounting holes) but I realized I could do something much easier. The actuating pin on this microswitch is extremely small, so I figured that it would be a good idea to put a sort of large area flat surface under the key plunger (the plunger is a hollow cylinder with cross reinforcement). I could make the flat surface a spacer, and it turns out that the spacer had to be 3/32" (measured from stock dimensions, the rubber pad sits 19/32" up from the inside of the base). I tried, but it turns out that a nickel, which is approximately 3/32", was too thick, and the switches were being pressed when the case was screwed back together. A penny (or dime) is thinner, so they worked. When I got back home, I realized that metal hitting hard plastic will create quite a bit of noise, so I decided to swap it with cardboard. That had two advantages, first one obviously being that this revision is compatible with people who have done the cardboard mod for the plungers...no need to remove them, as they would have had to do if they wanted to do R.1 or R.2. Second one being, cardboard is a bit cheaper and more easily obtained than coins, and I truthfully felt bad when I glued President Roosevelt to the key. D: Instead of cutting out the cd spindle hole sized cardboard pieces, I was lazy and just used a holepunch to get small circles I could glue to the appropriate place. That's all you need, really. That should provide everything: the required spacing, the flat surface area needed to depress the microswitch, and also some cushioning for the key. (Note that with a hole punch, make sure to punch in the right area of the corrugation...the box I used was the mailing type, and was corrugated in a well-spaced manner. I suppose that a smaller box (ie. for candies) will have smaller furrows, but just make sure you punch in the right place. If you punch between the corrugation, the halves might fall apart.

Now that the key spacing has been solved, now it's time to move onto the wiring... this counts for the vast majority of the work on this project, the soldering and everything (including taking pictures) took the better part of four hours.

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Even though the pins on these switches were clean, it couldn't hurt to pre-tin them anyway. Also, it makes life easier when soldering on the wires as you don't have to apply solder while attaching them to the switch, which is good because that will take three hands (or four, if you don't have a clamp).

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Like last time in R.2, I'm gonna use a magnet wire bus that attaches to the keys by a tap. In hindsight, I would have made the ground (copper colored) wires a bit longer, because as you'll see, I had to make a sort of zigzag pattern which may interfere with the key presses. These pictures are of the soldering, I lined them all up in my clamp to make working on them easier. You probably noticed that I haven't attached ground wires to two of the switches in the photos above, and that's because those two are for the start/select buttons.

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Fortunately, I could use the ground magnet wire as a sort of exoskeleton, it was rigid enough to hold its shape. Because of that, I could use it to measure the distance and make bends accordingly.

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If you're wondering where the wires are gonna come out, look closely...the start/select buttons have three guides that they can go up and down in, keeping the button aligned in the case. The connecting ground/signal wires go out the back (closest to the left side of the case) and the main ground leaves on the bottom right opening. There's a slight space between the top and bottom cases because of the missing pcb, but I didn't want to risk pinching the wire. The green signal wire is sticking straight up because I didn't solder it in yet.

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This is the bottom case after everything has been hotglued into place. Notice how my ground wires aren't quite long enough to allow a straight passthrough of the ground bus....better to make the wires too long than too short (within reason, of course). Now it's time for...

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Yes, hotglue. The modder's best friend. I can't tell you how many sticks I've went through with the multiple Xbox/PS2/Xmod projects I've done...I can however tell you that I've gone through three sticks with the R.2 microswitch swap alone, so get a lot of hotglue. It's handy because it solidifies quickly, can be repositioned (all you need to do is reheat by holding a soldering iron closeby), and if worst comes to worst, usually easily removable. Just grab a bunch with needlenose pliers, and rip it off. Only problem with hotglue is that it's..well, hot. Get a low-temp gun/glue cause if you mod for long enough, you will glue yourself from time to time.

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This is the board after I've finished wiring and soldering everything. Note how I put the green signal wires underneath the ground bus 'net'. This wasn't originally intentional, as I put the ground bus there first...I realized that it will hold the green wires in place, though, and routed everything underneath. The only exception is the two wires for the start/select signals, I decided to route them on the top of the case since it would be shorter that way. I secured those with a small blob of hotglue (after I took the pic). If you have good eyes, you may have noticed that I put a lot of hotglue around the switches... I was really paranoid about them being hit and falling down. I don't suppose you need that much, but better to be on the safe side huh?

What you can also do is hotglue around the plug pins to shockproof them...AFTER you've checked that all the wires are in the right places by playing a round of IIDX. (It would be monumentally stupid to glue them without checking...)

That pretty much concludes Revision 3, it took half the time that the other mods did primarily because I didn't have to cut the case to make room for the switches (the pin is almost exactly in the center if you butt it against the circle), and because I am now quite familiar with the workings and construction of the keypad.

I have ordered yet another batch of switches, Honeywell model 11SM707-H58 (currently unavailable on Honeywell's website for some reason, it's apparently a replacement microswitch model for 11SM701-H58.) However, that is unavailable as well, and the only documentation that Honeywell lists is a page with a blueprint drawing. However, the person I bought it from says it has a more sensitive actuation force...compared here.

Type	R.1	 R.2	 R.3	 R.4 (speculated)
=====   =====   =====   =====   =====
Single  27g	 90g	 70-140g 56g
Actual  ~50g	180g	~100g?  56g

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#10 User is offline   Bass GS 

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Posted 31 October 2007 - 04:19 PM

Wow that's neat, how many more are you going to mod shonen?? that's three already! doesn't it take a long time to do eah one? the switches all lined up looks cool. :D
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#11 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 01:19 PM

Yeah, it is time consuming, but I like it. It gives me something to do other than putter at my laptop all day, and plus I can blast music cause I work on it outside. Takes my mind off things somewhat, and I have a finished product to show off after I'm done.

Updates to the R.3 because I forgot I had more pictures:

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This is the final wiring layout, I deliberately show the entire thing because this was actually taken when I had a mix-up of the pinouts. When testing the keypad, the right half of the keys were all dyslexic. :P Fortunately, I went back and fixed it so now the R.3 keypad is complete.

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This is more detail on the cardboard holepunch method I used. Simply get a piece of cardboard you don't mind throwing away afterwards, and punch a lot (more than seven) of holes. The reason being, you will probably lose some (I did) or some will fall apart when being glued (happened to me). I actually used a shipping box (a box that a microwave came in) because the outside is relatively hard and glossy, which will be good as it will resist major deformation due to the small pin size. The noise dampening characteristic is noticeable as well...I was playing IIDX with my friend the other day, he using the R.1 keypad in my old controller, and me using the R.3. His keystrokes were at least twice as loud, and that was him sitting six feet away. Perhaps I'll go back and put padding on the R.1 keys as well... As for R.2, Waddles has my controller now so I don't really have modding access to it anymore. It was somewhat quiet though, being that nothing actually hit stationary plastic (unless you hammer the key and bottom-out the pin). Instead of cardboard, you can use anything relatively thin, although cardboard is great because it's cheap, smashable, and stiff enough for this application.

ps. there's tons of punches because the first ones I did ended up falling apart due to the lack of corrugation between the layers. XD;;

Also, I didn't take pictures of it, but apparently I didn't press down firmly enough when I glued in the Start microswitch, as it was being depressed when the case was screwed together. Solved that by dremeling a little off the tip of the pin. Note that if you do that, don't dremel too far because then the pin won't be able to be pressed past the trigger point anymore... the key will hit the case and you'll be stuck with a nonfiring key.

My newest batch of test microswitches should be here either today or tomorrow, and the IIDX controllers for gba and shin as well, so I can start on R.4 and decide which one is best.

Updated pros/cons for each of the revisions...

R.1: Cherry E63-00H - lever x2
Pros - Most sensitive switch layout so far, quiet unless key hits switch case, keytravel can be tuned, microswitch pin isn't placed under full physical abuse (case takes some of it).
Cons - Noisy under normal play, switch levers have to be tuned (factory tolerances, etc.) before working perfectly, difficult to replace switches in the event of failure, recurrent key sticking.
Verdict - Would work well if padding was placed on the microswitches, although that will require 14 small pieces of padding material attached to the right place...somewhat daunting for something so minor. Aside from the noise, sensitivity is great once set up properly. If the keys didn't stick from time to time, this would be the perfect layout. If I were to do this again, I'd make the plunger go closer to the pins on the switch (for slightly better push action, ie. less sticking) and make the start/select buttons microswitches as well.

R.2: Cherry E63-00A (or modified E63-00H) - pin x2
Pros - Switch can be triggered easily by hitting the top/bottom, somewhat quiet, no sticking keys.
Cons - Requires a bit more force to activate if hit in the middle, somewhat muddy feel because of it...tons of cuts required in case to make switches fit, no real keytravel tuning.
Verdict - Possibly well feel better under break-in, as I haven't played with it nearly enough to make the microswitches softer. This is the quietest keypad design if you don't hammer the keys, as the only thing making noise will be the spring/leaf inside the switch. The only two problems for me with this revision is the keypress force required (bit much for my liking), and the immense amount of cuts and alignment required for the switches to fit as they do. It was a nice exercise and turned out well, but I'd rather not do it again...

R.3: Honeywell 11SX21-T - pin x1
Pros - Very crisp click feel, quiet operation thanks to the dual-purpose cardboard circles, compatible with premodded cardboard KOC's because of it, great feel, no cutting required (even for start/select). Only one switch, which simplifies wiring and replacement.
Cons - Doesn't feel exactly like the arcade due to the click of the Honeywell. Wiring is difficult (although you can cut/melt a door in the tray circles to get around this). Requires a lot of hotglue to make sure that the switches stay up, since they are by themselves.
Verdict - This revision has the best balance between feel, simplicity and construction ease. I'd happily do this again if someone requested it, and I think it will feel closer to the arcade once broken in properly.

R.4 (speculated): Honeywell 11SM707-H58 - pin x1?/pin x2?
Pros - Similar to the R.3 switches, although a bit taller so I will have to omit the cardboard and/or cut the pins to make them shorter. They have 1/3 the actuation force, so they will be quite sensitive...may have to double them up like in R.1. Because they are more sensitive, they will probably make less noise than R.3 (dunno about the dual setup though). Can still use the 11SX-series microswitches for the start/select buttons so I won't have to cut those circles.
Cons - They are bigger than the 11SX-series switches, so they will probably require case cutting for the plunger to sit in the center of the switch pin. Pins are pcb-solder type again, so soldering to them if cut will be quite difficult.
Verdict - Unknown yet, still have to make it and find out! :)

ps. I was also thinking about doing a turntable ballbearing mod (I have tons of b0rked hdd laying around, which means tons of high quality sealed bearings/shafts. They don't seem to be direct-swappable, I'm looking more into this as well. For now, my slippery turntable mod includes gear grease in the moving parts which makes it marginally more slippery than just waxpaper. I took the spring out as well, which helps a lot.
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#12 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 06 November 2007 - 07:09 PM

Update on the controllers...the new ones haven't come in (yet) but I have been playing with the old ones (particularly R.3). So much in fact, that the bottom leftmost white key's microswitch got pushed in too far. It's probably a defect in manufacturing though, since all the other keys are working just fine.

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This is the switch before and after I replaced it, notice how the pin is stuck in the 'down' position, which is bad. After replacing it, it was noticeably sharper than the rest of the keys, which means the other ones are broken in already, which is good. :3

The other thing I was gonna do is elaborate on the R.3 Start/Select button setups. The way I have it is the microswitch facing exactly horizontal, which is important.

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The first two photos are of the way it's supposed to be done, notice how the cross in the middle of the start/select keys are aligned with the x and y axis. This means that the cross will contact the pin on the microswitch and work properly. The second two shots are of the keys inserted incorrectly, the cross is not directly up/down. Because of this, when you put the case back together, the pin is not being pushed on, and the key sinks into the hole. Pushing on it won't help either, since the pin isn't in the line of fire of the cross. The plastic is resting on the case of the microswitch, and that is not what you want. Note that if you position the switch in a different way (diagonally), you will have to align the key accordingly. Cartesian-plane axiswise was the easiest, that's all.

Also, my new batch of switches came in yesterday (a lot more than I expected, too...around 30x2).

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As you can see (especially in the third picture), the new Honeywells are just as tall as the other Honeywells (not counting the pins), and just as long as the original Cherry switches. This means that I will have to cut the case if I want to make a design similar to R.1 again, but since the Cherry switches fit perfectly inside the circle by themself, if I do a modification of R.3 I won't have to cut. This is good news, as cutting takes a lot of time... Also, the short pin in the middle is the NO contact (the one we want). The two longer ones are the C and NC. Doesn't matter, however, as clipping the pins will render them all the same size. It's interesting to me though, that the outer pins are zinc plated and the one in the middle is copper/brass.

Updates when the new controllers get in and I finish a new revision.
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#13 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 26 November 2007 - 01:19 PM

Well, the fucking guy who I bought the new controllers from took his goddamn time, finally recieved the package about a month (not kidding) after I paid him.

Anyway, that means I could finally start on R.4, my (probably) final design. It is, as you will be able to see, surprisingly similar to R.1, which is good since it was the overall best design. Anyway, I also did a photodocumentary on it so anyone can see what it's like...

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This is what the switches look like... even though I already posted a pic. They're as long as the Cherry switches, and as wide/tall (not counting pins) as the other Honeywells.

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However, I had to cut/sand the pins in order to make them fit inside the case...fortunately, the cuts on the pins had to be made exactly where the rings on them were. I dremeled the pins afterwards in order to make sure they were smooth/flat on the bottom. The last pic is of the switches after they've all been cut/sanded.

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Now I had to tin them, in order to make the solder stick better when I attach the wires. This particular batch was in quite poor condition (the pins, anyway) but fortunately the rosin in the solder took care of most of it.

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(taking a break) looks familiar doesn't it? Also, I decided to use two of the tiny Honeywell switches for start/select, the pin is usually off-center which results in a lopsided-feeling button. However, this means it is quite hard to push, but that's good I guess so you don't hit it accidentally. Also, you gotta sand the pins down quite a bit in order to make them able to fit without binding (and give some margin of error for misalignment when gluing).

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Now I actually had to attach the wires, which while not difficult, is extremely time consuming (I need a thermal stripper...). First I had to scrape off the enamel on the end, tin it, and attach it to one of the pins. Then I had to scrape off enamel where the wire would touch the other pin, and tin/solder that as well. Counting all the connections and pins in the whole controller, I have to repeat this process 54 times (not counting the socket pins). Just the soldering of the wires takes about three or four hours, easily. The physical process of modding the case/removing the sockets from the original pcb (which is friggin hard, btw) only takes about an hour and a half, including the cosmetic adjustments, and hotgluing everything perfectly right before I start soldering takes five minutes, tops (including cooling time). So yes, this is quite a huge investment of time, each controller takes me one or two entire afternoons to complete. (side note: it's also highly likely that you will burn yourself with the iron, working in such close proximity to the soldering contacts. I actually stabbed my finger with the iron when my clamp failed to maintain its grip on one of the switches...it was only a splitsecond contact, thanks to reflexes, but the sheer heat of the iron actually split my skin at the point of contact, even though I didn't feel anything.)

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Anyway, this is another mod that requires the cardboard on the keys (so you don't have to perfectly align the switch actuators with the plus on the bottom of the plunger). In actuality, all of my mods with cardboard could have just used some stiff paper or something, since cardboard (no matter how thin I thought it was, and how large the gap seemed) was always too thick, and I usually end up scraping off everything except the last layer. It does do some good for noise damping, however, so I wouldn't recommend using something thin and hard, like sheet metal or plastic packaging.

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This is a closeup of my new ground bus arrangement...I made the leads from the switches longer than it had to be, so I could group them (requiring less solder joints). There are nine switches altogether inside the keypad, so I did them three at a time. Although this is probably less reliable in the long run, it shouldn't make a difference unless you regularly throw your controller across the room or play with it when it's on a paint shaker, so I don't think it should cause any problems.

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And here's the finished product. Sorry bout the bad quality of the picture, my camera's ccd isn't the best at nighttime/under artificial light, and this was taken at about 10pm. The spiderlegs ground wires look kinda cool XD and it's actually quite helpful, as it keeps the more fragile green signal wires from being squashed by the plungers. just make sure that the solder joints aren't touching, or your may end up with adhd keys later on (complete with dyslexia if you cross pins!).

This pretty much sums up R.4, I liked it in the first run (first seven pictures were from R.4a, it had a more traditional ground bus) that I built another (the rest of the photos). It's very quiet and sensitive, the only problem that I can come up with is that it requires a lot of hotglue (but then again, so does everything else). It was worth the sum 12 hours it took to finish them, and this is probably my new favorite one (sorry R.1...). Fortunately, I still have quite a bit of switches left over (I bought two batches of 30 for the new ones) so if someone else wants me to mod theirs, I have the supplies.

Also, I've been playing with the R.3 enough to break it in properly (even the replaced switch), and I must say that it's a lot softer (feeling) and somewhat quieter than when I first finished it. It feels more like the arcade now, although it will probably continue to progress after more playing. I'm giving this one to Shin in his controller.


Finally, the last revision of the pros/cons and comparison of the revisions:
  • Revision 1: Cherry E63-00H - lever x2
    • Pros
      Sensitive, requires no cardboard modding, dual key setup is a semi-failsafe in event of switch failure, key height adjustment is possible, microswitch actuator doesn't take full force of the keystroke.

    • Cons
      Somewhat noisy (especially if hit hard), keys can stick, keys tend to stick, levers must be tuned before use to negate the differences in factory tolerance/gluing error.

    • Verdict
      Like I said before, I'd do this again if I had the chance, except move the switches a bit closer so the actuators are next to the plunger (more force, less sticking). Zetsu currently has R.1, so he can report moar about it.

  • Revision 2: Cherry E63-00H - pin x2
    • Pros
      Somewhat quiet, keys don't stick, easily triggered at top/bottom of key. Doesn't require uniform bending of the microswitch pins.

    • Cons
      Requires a monumental amount of case cutting, and modding the actual switch if you don't have E63-00A's...also, actuation force is a bit high for my liking, and wiring is difficult.

    • Verdict
      Waddles has the controller now, so he can provide additional feedback, but I think it's a nice poundable setup...but I wouldn't do it again. The case cutting needs to be so precise, and it took a huge construction time for a less desirable feedback than other setups...

  • Revision 3: Honeywell 11SX21-T - pin x1
    • Pros
      Requires absolutely no cutting! Also, compatible with the common cardboard key mod for the KOC. Keytravel is kept short.

    • Cons
      Microswitch actuation is a bit too sharp for me, and it requires a moderate amount of force as well (but the force required goes down after break-in). Requires a lot of hotglue to maintain the upright posture of the switch, as there is only one microswitch per key.

    • Verdict
      Looking back, the trade-off for the relative ease of construction is the fact that it's not the most arcade-accurate feeling keypad, but it does get better after being played on a lot. The tons of hotglue wasn't really great either, but I'd rather have that than duplex the switches and have a rock of a controller. The keytravel is shorter however, but that's due to the spec of the switch. Actually, looking back on it, these microswitches are best used as the start/select buttons, as the feel of those aren't as important as the main seven keys, and since they're small they don't require case cutting over there, where space is tight.

  • Revision 4: Honeywell 11SM707-H58 - pin x2
    • Pros
      Very sensitive, and also surprisingly very quiet (the silent switches AND cardboard probably helped this). This is probably the closest you can get to arcade, although I do suspect that it will get softer over time.

    • Cons
      Not much, really. It does require case cutting and switch grinding, but nothing too major. The benefits really outweight the extra time required as compared to R.3. It's even compatible with the cardboard mod, albiet you'll probably have to pull off most of the layers.

    • Verdict
      This is probably the one I'd recommend to other people that want to do the same, the only problem really is finding a reseller of these switches for a low price. I was fortunate to find them on ebay for ~$20/60pc (actually, all of my projects were ~$20/40-60pc for the switches from Synergetics)...Either way though, this is the way to go. Having constructed R.4 twice, it's probably the best design, although personal preference may beg to differ. This is my final design for both my own controller, and the one gba ordered.

Hope someone reads this thread and gets inspired to build their own... I posted a link to this up on Bemanistyle, hopefully they'll provide me with some feedback.

We should have a IIDX get together!
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#14 User is offline   zetsumei 

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Posted 26 November 2007 - 08:12 PM

winter break is comin up, mayb we can have a iidx get together then.
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#15 User is offline   zetsumei 

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Posted 01 December 2007 - 07:44 PM

dam 2 of my buttons r gettin stuck once in a while and its messin me up, lol as u remember me complainin 2day. its mostly the middle blue but the 2 from the right white button gets stuck too. got any advice on how i can fix the problem w/o havin to ask u to take the controller apart again sho?
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#16 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 01 December 2007 - 10:21 PM

Well, key sticking affects all the controllers regardless of button type...the only way to remedy the problem is to take apart the keypad and clean the keys off. Maybe some light lubrication will help as well.
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#17 User is offline   Bass GS 

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Posted 03 December 2007 - 04:31 PM

ooh you've finally finished them all! that's awesome. looks like lots of hard work went into those, hopefully the people you're giving them to will aprpreciate that. :P
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#18 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 29 December 2007 - 01:35 AM

Update on the projects, I have actually dismantled Shin's R.3 controller, because those Honeywell 11SX submicros have proven too unreliable (the one that broke when he was using it was the fifth one that I have seen fail). I actually withdraw everything positive I've said about them before....I've cracked several of them open when taking them out, and I've discovered that the internal design is...well, poor. The reason why so many of them failed was because the pin on the switch presses directly onto the spring, and the spring is held in place with another spring, with a dismally tiny contact area with the microswitch case. My guess for the broken switches is that the smaller spring got dislodged (upon inspection of the cracked ones, I'm surprised that this design even works at all), and the assembly fell inwards taking the pin down with it. I'm not even using these for my Start/Select switches anymore, even though they are the perfect size for the job. ): Even the ones I've put in R.4's Start has failed, and that's not even under heavy use. I've since substituted the Honeywell 11SM's into the Start/Select, which makes it quite sensitive and nice feeling.

Anyway, R.5 photos will be up as soon as I get around to cropping/adjusting them and uploading them. Should be up by tomorrow.
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#19 User is offline   Bass GS 

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 04:00 PM

wow tha'ts too bad about the ones that broke...hopefully none of the other ones prove to be that unreliable.
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#20 User is offline   katsu 

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Posted 28 June 2008 - 04:50 AM

Ho goddamn. Guess how I came about this thread? Through bemanistyle. Small world.

Anyhoo. I was thinking, how the hell are we going to put arcade buttons into the USKOC? Thing is, I don't think you can without actually making a box for it. The sanwa buttons I've seen are too fucking expensive. [min. order 100, min. order $200] The buttons are too big for the actual case the KOC comes in. GRAH Just when I finally get an idea caused by insomnia.

Anyhoo PART2:
Lights!! From what I understand, by looking at the controller I have, is that the L.E.D.[-G]'s are going to shine through the cracks of the actual buttons and not shine THROUGH. Unless the L.E.D.'s are fricken bright as hell or something. I'm electronic illiterate. I've actually took the time to read through a lot of the 11 pages on BMS and the entire page here. God. Playing at Brian's on the actual arcade system made me want real buttons. These on the KOC are fine, except it feels like I'm hitting too hard even when I'm just tapping. [lol waddles.] I am contemplating buying a djDAO controller, but if we could get the KOC's to feel the same, then we save a shetload of money and Sho can feel super accomplished about making controllers that feel just as good as the arcade.

...Anyhoo PART3:
The turntable. From what I've seen in the arcade, the turntables are super heavy. Since I want to have the arcade feel in my KOC, I was thinking about how to make it heavier. I mean, I still want the slippery feeling of the turntables that come with the KOC's, but I want to make the turntable have that heavy feel with out losing the slippery-ness.

God dammit, I told Sho on msn I was gonna sleep 2 hours ago. wth. it's 5AM now.
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#21 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 28 June 2008 - 02:05 PM

If you want the tt to be heavier, you can just glue weights underneath it, but make sure to balance it cause an unbalanced turntable is poo. I was also wondering wtf to do since the KOC keys are two parts, the opaque frame and the semi-translucent outer key. Gotta figure out what to do.
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