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Upgrade a DDR cab with Stepmania / ITG / OpenITG software

The goal of this tutorial is to upgrade an existing DDR machine with existing boards that ranges
from 1st mix to Supernova series (in other words all DDR cabinets produced until 2008) to a PC
based machine with software that can supply all original board features. These machines must have
a standard Konami “JAMMA” input connector, a standard Audio amplifier with 2 pin-jack output
and a standard arcade 15khz monitor, so we have to match those specs in our conversion project.

DDR Supernova Arcade cabinet DDR 1st Mix Arcade cabinet

Actually you need…


0 – To read my disclaimer
1 – The right cabinet
2 – The right hardware
3 – The right software
4 – A lot of patience… (it’s surely not a month work but it’s not even a 5 min job XD)
Step 0: Disclaimer
I worked in Arcades as Chief Technician for over 15 years and I can say that working with high
voltage can be dangerous! If you don’t know exactly what you are doing please STOP THIS
NOW!!! An Arcade cabinet works with high voltage that ranges to 110/220V for main power to
25kV for Monitor Cathode Ray Tube illumination! It can be fatal put hands where they should not
be! Call a qualified Arcade Technician if you want he makes the job for you!!! I’m assuming also
you are familiar with Windows or Linux systems. Again, if you are not sure, don’t go further!
Also if the cabinet is not yours… ask the permission for ANYTHING you have in mind to do!!!
Arcade Machines are not cheap!!! If you broke something of a 9000$ machine the owner may be
not happy. Always work safely, don’t leave wires or electric cables free or un-isolated!!!
All I wrote worked for me and it’s supposed to be right, but if you broke something maybe it’s your
fault, or maybe you worked with different hardware, in both cases don’t tell me I didn’t warn you to
read what is previously written and to double-check all you are doing carefully! I’m not responsible
for anything you can damage! Thank you for understanding ^^
Just two words about isolation transformers…

The Monitor chassis present in the cabinet that you use MUST have an isolation transformer to
work safely for cabinet itself and for operators. If you don’t have an isolation transformer probably
all the monitor chassis is under tension, because the voltage line required is generated by the
passage from one line to the ground. In the below figure, for example, it’s represented how from
high tension through facility substation it’s generated the 240 AC, that can be split in 120 AC
connecting one Hot point to Neutral point (Ground). This means that if your cabinet doesn’t have an
isolation transformer all the metal monitor chassis (that is grounded) take back the 120 AC
voltage!!! If you touch it and you are grounded, current will pass through you! IT CAN BE VERY
DANGEROUS!! Although the worldwide arcade manufacturers clearly respect laws and put in their
cabinets monitors with isolation transformer (so the cabinet neutral ground results to be isolated
from the electrical pole ground that provides electricity for your line), Korean engineers seem to
ignore this point and nearly all cabinets (including old DDR mixes) mount an Hong Seung monitor
WITHOUT ISOLATION TRANSFORMER. PLEASE CHECK THIS IMMEDIATELY ON
YOUR CABINET!!! Also your PC board can be damaged through video ground connected on your
video card and Jamma adapter, so you MUST INSTALL AN ISOLATION TRANSFORMER in
order to go further. If you are not sure you always can install an High Power Isolation Transformer
(1000watts or more considering it have to supply all tension required) for the whole cabinet.

An Isolation Transformer
Check if is present an Isolation Transformer on Monitor Chassis

Example of an Isolation Transformer installed over the Main Power switch of a Cabinet
Step 1: How I find the machine?
Well… if you are planning to convert a Konami cabinet it’s obvious you already got one or you are
doing it for some arcade owner that have one. But if you want to buy DDR machine for your home,
to crack your floor with 300kg of weight and deaf your neighbors with the genuine Konami
amplifier… in that case be sure to match the right working voltage (110v for Japan/USA/Korea –
220v for Europe/China/Australia/South America). There are DDR machines ready for all countries,
also Europe (the so called Dancing Stage machines). For experience I can say that the best cabinets
are the genuine Japanese DDR. Only thing STRONGLY BE AWARE from the korean DDR
machines, because they didn’t have a monitor chassis with isolation transformer, it’s very
dangerous for operating and it could damage the PC hardware for the reason explained above.
Those are the coin door control panels for easy identification. Notice that if you use a 220/110
Transformer to the whole cab for operating a 110AC cab in 220AC countries it will works
obviously also as Isolation Transformer device

Japanese door control panel Korean door control panel


Step 2: Which sort of PC I have to put in?
To be honest Roxor was the first company tried to make an “all in one” solution for upgrade DDR
cabinets, selecting either hardware and software choices for that (some good, some not). We refer
below to “Dedicab” as the custom cabinet Roxor made with the Korean Andamiro company (it’s a
stand alone cabinet, not sponsored nor endorsed by Konami, with inside a pc sometimes called
Original ITG Boxor) and we refer to “Upgrade Kit” best know as the “Boxor kit” as the pc-box
made for update Konami DDR cabinets. Obviously you can proceed to build your pc also without
know the Roxor solutions, but from the moment we are made the same thing, I think some
knowledge about this can be useful, but let’s continue…
Original ITG1 Boxor

Original ITG2 Upgrade kit Boxor


Keep in mind that an Arcade machine works for almost all the day and the night… it means that it
must stay powered on for at least 15 – 20 hours for a day! A normal PC board manufactured “as is”
usually is for domestic use: so you have to do little modifications for avoid overheating and voltage
bumping. You also must firmly secure the board to the cabinet wood slot where the old board was
and supply a right protection from all external things that can damage (metallic objects – liquids) or
dust the board; I have direct experience and I can assure that in an Amusement hall everything can
happen! From children that throw ice-cream or tea into air ventilation socket to little bitches girls
that think is “funny” stomp on the arrows panels or push the start button with their nerdy-style 5
inches high heels… You need also a board that self-power up any day without pressing any button!
Consider to buy an “all in one” PC board that can easy fits in the original Konami board space, can
be easy ventilated and can be easy protected with some aluminum or plastic shield: for
compatibility issues with OpenITG software that you probably want to put in I suggest a
motherboard that have an Nvidia graphic board built in; original ITG Boxor features a P4 2.4Ghz
with an AGP Geforce5 5200 FX graphics, and ITG2 Boxor kit mounts an MSI K7N2GM, featuring
an AthlonXP 2800+ with Geforce4 440mx built in but it’s difficult to find one of those board at
present time and you surely can choose better in terms of CPU and graphics. Roxor kit had 512MB
Ram, but at actual time 2GB Ram should be enough. Keep in mind that the graphic adapter is the
most important thing. For all those reasons you need a board that supports a CPU with at least
2Ghz+ CPU and genuine Geforce4+ graphic series (it was tested with series 4-5-6-7-8-9 and works
great). For find the right one you must read carefully all tech specs of every board you consider to
buy and possibly try also to find one that has high quality capacitors (in overheating situations
some types of the switching circuit capacitors may blown up and leak acid): If don’t know exactly
what buy… for a system “all in one”, well, at actual time I recommend two models:
1 – The Asrock 939n68pv-glan: This is on the chart a good board, high quality capacitors, Athlon64
processor support and integrated geforce 7 (nv44 chipset) graphics. Unfortunately is the 7050 series;
it means it is the “cut” series (I think it lacks in some pipelines or shaders but I didn’t investigated
too much). In fact this is not a great problem for running OpenITG with any theme (it just has some
lag with r35 theme but it’s only in the start/select style screen), and it’s faster than original Boxor,
but when you try to put the Geforce7 drivers under Linux… it magically crashes! (obvious, Linux
drivers “talk” directly with hardware, so any interrupt without response can create a system crash!)
Under Windows there’s absolutely no problem, so I recommend it if you search a simple ed
economical solution
The 939n68pv board…
2 – Although I don’t have tested personally it, many people recommends the ECS C51GM-M,
featuring Geforce6 series and drivers that are working correctly either for Windows and Linux
systems

The ECS C51GM-M board…

…in all of his beauty, not surely for leading technology… but it’s what we need!

Once You got the right board you also need an adapter that converts the output signals of your PC
(usually serial inputs) into the signals for the “Jamma” connector (it has parallel inputs). The Jamma
connector drives the dance pads and the panel buttons. There are a lot of converters but I
experienced that any ps2 keyboard interface may create some lag, so I strongly recommend a
genuine USB Jamma converter. This is for inputs, for the lights (if you want the lights of your
cabinet work…) you need another controller that obviously “drives” the lights (it can be integrated
in the first controller or it can be stand alone). Lights are anyway by passable and you can play
clearly also without those cabinets strobes effects, but, if you plan to don’t use the lights connectors,
remember from this moment that you have to apply a little modification to your DDR cab input
pads boards (as I will explain you further) and your cabinet won’t accepts anymore Konami original
boards. Anyway this is totally reversible if you plan to replace old DDR boards.
I’m showing below all the possible solutions I know. I worked with any of them, and them work,
but obviously some are the best some are poor, that depends also from the money you want to spend
(and there is a considerable difference of price between 50$ and 400$ !!!).
1 – The Minimaid adapter: this is the definitive choice you can pick for any DDR cabinet! It was
made by fans for fans in the dance gaming community, it handles Jamma, Lights and Video (it
combines and reverts the VGA sync so it can be easily step down to 15Khz), it’s 100% compatible
with DDR cabinets and there’s no need to add or modify a single wire! Simply unplug the original
Konami board and replace it with this excellent controller! It has drivers for Windows and Linux,
works great with any version of Stepmania and ITG/OpenITG with no lag time! With Stepmania
3.9+ redux and ITG/OpenITG it controls directly Jamma and cabinet Lights with absolutely no
problems! On the other side… a custom device has a custom price… original price was 300$ (plus
shipping), but the last I bought a year ago (5th reprint) it took me over 400$ (including shipping and
customs…). Also consider that it has not an industrial rate production. This adapter is sold only
through Zenius I Vanisher forum with limited preorder! Some people sold it in e-bay at some crazy
price (800$ - 1000$) but if you are really interested I suggest to contact directly the Zenius I
Vanisher forum ^^

The Minimaid adapter with all connectors plugged in


2 – The original ITG-IO adapter: This is the original adapter the Ultracade company made
exclusively for Roxor for their build and release of In The Groove series upgrade kit. It’s basically
like the minimaid, other features are only a better protection against voltage overload and a stereo
pin jack output. This adapter controller handles Jamma, Lights, Video and Audio inputs, Jamma are
on USB bus and Lights on the other serial connectors present in this adaptor, with the same pin outs
of DDR boards (so you don’t have to modify nothing in your cabinet). Unfortunately it’s out of
stock from many years and it’s too expensive for those sell it (it’s nearly a collector item) and (not
last) it has no known official drivers! I’m explaining better: it was made only for ITG series so
Roxor didn’t make any driver for that! Simply Roxor made the ITG executable “talks” directly with
the controller (it was for Roxor a good solution considering it was made only for that). This is the
reasons why it supports only Linux ITG/OpenITG build (original ITG runs under Linux) and you
can forget to use this under Windows. Someone tried to make an “abstract” driver through a filter
HID device, but also after days of testing I didn’t make it to work anyway under windows. Not last,
you can use it only for ITG/OpenITG, so forget also to use it like a common USB game device,
because… no drivers, no work! So, considering that under Linux works fine, in the lucky case you
own one of this (maybe from a faulty ITG Boxor), it’s the second best adapter you can use, but, as
explained before, you have to build a Linux machine.

Original ITG-IO board used in ITG2 Boxor Kit

3 – Jpac adapter: this is a Jamma adapter made by Ultimarc for connect gaming devices to PC. It
was build for emulators (MAME – Daphne and so on), but you can use it also under any version of
Stepmania – ITG/OpenITG as it has either Ps2 keyboard inputs, USB inputs and Video inputs for
combine and revert VGA sync. When it is connected with Ps2 connector simply it remaps the
Jamma inputs with the equivalent letter of the keyboard (they can be edited), when you connect in
USB mode Windows will recognize it as an HID devices (in this mode you can enable the
“dedicated buttons” function to avoid players accidentally scroll the song list pressing the arrows).
You can find a Jpac adaptor for 60$ - 70$: It’s cheap and reliable, but it suffer of a small lag (timing
can be anyway tuned in Stepmania – ITG/OpenITG software) and it lacks of the lights inputs! I
strongly suggest to connect it through USB connector, in this mode is slightly faster and doesn’t
suffer of key-jam problems. Although it has not Lights inputs, this is the best stand alone jamma
control choice considering price, performance and the USB connector. I’ve installed a lot of them,
giving me no problems.
“Jpac” USB based Jamma interface

4 – The JammASD: This is another interface made for MAME and others emulators, it’s an Italian
project (like MAME), it is made for standard game cabinets. If you plan to use only in DDR
cabinets take note that it lacks of USB inputs and this can give a small delay (you can any mode
tune the timing under Stepmania – ITG/OpenITG). Anyway has a lot of features: it has a circuit to
check and give the correct video sync, it also disable the video output if it’s not correct, protecting
the monitor; it has also a built in stereo amplifier (useless in DDR cabinets, they have their solid
high power amplifiers!) and has a sensor for light-guns (useless too, otherwise you plan to release a
custom Stepmania build where you have to shoot at the arrows XD). So why I included this in
adapters list? Simply, it’s a great adapter for general purposes and enough cheap to afford (about
55$), so if you have nothing else but this, you can give a try, saving some money.
JammASD interface adapter
5 – Other Ps2 Jamma adapters: There are a lot of Ps2 Interfaces, like the Jamma-MAME interface
(one of the first Jamma-PC interfaces made). They usually have only Ps2 keyboard inputs, and a
mono amplifier, with the awful time lag of 0.1 seconds. Maybe it can be good for 1980’s games but
now I don’t recommend it neither to modern fighting games, obviously nor to bemani! Nothing else
to say, I put those on the same level of other cheap USB adapters. I used some of them, giving me
inaccurate timing! You can fortunately adjust Stepmania/OpenITG timing but for the games don’t
provide timing tune... good luck! I’m mentioning it because just in the case you have some of those
for free… (they were very popular in first multi-games pc boards), well… you can use one of them
for free… (and tune the time lag with a lot of patience…). As I said, I would use one of that ONLY
FOR FREE (and I’m not 100% convinced yet…)

Ps2 based Keyboard “Jamma MAME” interface

6 – Other USB Jamma adapters: There are also a lot of USB Jamma gaming interfaces, most of
them recognized under windows as gaming devices. I didn’t test all of them obviously, but they
occasionally suffer of lag time, reset themselves, lost USB carrier signal, and so on… simply
because they were not made to work all the day. this is the reason because I would not spend money
on something I’m not sure to work properly! If you can find one of those for something like 20$ –
30$ you can always give a try, but I think also time has a cost (if you waste days and days for
making one adapter to work “decently” where’s the catch?)

7 – Pac driver adapter for lights: For all the boards without light support you can always add an
external light adapter. The only commercial I know is the Pacdrive made by Ultimarc (the same
company of Jpac). It’s quite cheap (30$) and you can handle up to 16 led, but It’s not made to drive
directly the bulbs and neon in DDR cabinet! It cannot handle high voltage neon and 12v bulbs! So
you have to connect neon and other lights through an optocoupler board (20$), you can made the
same thing with relays but they are quite noisy, big, and not exactly made for use in a 200 times in a
minute switching… The good news? You can bypass neon and lights if you want XD
Pac Lights driver with Optocoupler board

In conclusion remember:
- In my opinion the Minimaid and the Jpac are the best you can use, depending of your money
budget
- All in one solution are the best, accurate timing and you don’t need Light board, but they are
quite expensive.
- USB solutions are faster than Ps2 connection with less delay, it is usually recognized as a
HID device and it accepts common Windows or Linux drivers.
- With USB devices you can exclude keyboard inputs in Stepmania This is very useful for
select only pressing panel buttons and not also arrows on dancing pad. This prevent players
accidentally switch song wheel by press foot arrows.
- Also remember to use USB cable as short as possible with electromagnetic shield (a
shielded cable will cost you only 1$ or 2$ more) because USB is a very weak signal and it
can be lost.
- Lights can be by-passable if you don’t plan to use it.
- Adapters that have keyboard outputs to Jamma interface don’t require any driver to work but
it occasionally suffers of delay timing converting and your signals may key-jam.
- So… have at you!

Then you need an Hard Drive: in 2006 Roxor put in a 40 Gigabytes slim with 5400rpm. It was
enough for add also custom songs, but now times are changed… and also the prices.
If you want to buy a mechanical HDD I suggest a slim model because it won’t overheat too much,
you can always add a fan for get it cooled. Using a 2+ Terabytes 10000+rpm HDD is partially
useless, because the cabinet I build with the most number of songs (approx 5000 including videos
and custom themes) was not bigger in terms of space than 60 Gigabytes (including operating
system). So I suggest: don’t spend in space, but in quality! You can also consider the SSD solution.
Solid State Disks are quite expensive but price is lowering and you don’t need too much space, as
explained before. 64GB or 128GB should be enough, so you can choose this solution. The only
thing I recommend for any SSD disk is to set to zero any swap file; as you probably know swap file
has to be written and erased continuously, and this is no good for any flash memory, including those
used in SSD drives! This is the reason because I said to build a machine with 2GB or more RAM,
so you will not run in “out of memory error”
Not last… you have to buy a power supply with the right wattage output and a good ventilation;
depending of the power required from the motherboard you choose and the space you have in the
cab you may be oriented to buy a little sized one. I suggest anyway to make a good ventilation
system with genuine high tension big fan because you can pick voltage from the main line and
without overload power supply. For wattage I guess that with a 500+watt PSU you should have no
problems ;)

A Spark power supply: little size but is 300W max! An Universal 110/220 7 inches fan

Will my monitor support the PC VGA output?


Of course not! All cabinets I know have a Nanao monitor (Japanese cabinets) or Hantarex
(European cabinets) that for the times were made (about 1998 – 2002) operate only with CGA –
15khz frequency! I really don’t know which type of monitor were mounted on overseas cabs (Usa –
Australia) but I honestly think were on the same tech specs and frequency from the moment the
DDR boards have all the same video output! Once again… Don’t panic! There are several program
for Windows (the most common is the so called “Soft15khz”) that override that problem. Linux has
the 15khz mode configurable inside the X-mode initialization files (if you know of what I’m
speaking, you can understand it). Please remember that some high frequencies can kill your monitor
so don’t play with them! Usually only DOS or the Windows/Linux loading screen low frequencies
are accepted without damage a standard arcade monitor (31khz horizontal – 60hz vertical).
You can also consider to put a whole 29” VGA Arcade Monitor into the cabinet (Sega Naomi uses
Nanao VGA monitors), but they are quite expensive (and quite heavy!). If you don’t make a way to
see the screen (also using the 15khz Linux or windows configuration, due to incompatible
hardware), consider to buy an hardware “31khz to 15khz” converter, it’s relatively cheap, easy to
install and safe!
If you are not an arcade puritan you can also change the Cathode tube monitor with a Flat screen
monitor. In this case remember that they are all 16:9 screen instead of original 4:3 screen! This
means it cannot fit perfectly at the same place of your old monitor so you need to find the best
position to mount it. Also remember that in a DDR cabinet the biggest you can fit is a 24 inches
16:9 (instead of original 29” 4:3). This will result in a smaller image. Some recent build (OpenITG
r35 encore) will support 16:9 resolution but remember also the view angle of a LCD or LED
monitor is less that a Cathode monitor, so if you put it at the same angle of the glass, children and
little players will see nothing!
Again, have at you! I suggest if all is working, why replace a working monitor?
Anyway in the case your original monitor is broken and you must change it, you have to choose
between a LCD or LED monitor (although a Plasma monitor would be a great choice, unfortunately
any Plasma monitor is too big to fit in a DDR cabinet so it’s useless). Personally speaking I used
with no problems the Samsung T24C350EW monitor: it’s a LED monitor, it has VGA and HDMI
connectors with no lag, it fits almost fine in original monitor space and accepts either 110v and
220v voltage input! Notice that I experienced LED monitors has less lag than LCD.

A VGA (31khz) to CGA (15khz) converter

The Samsung T24C350EW monitor

You need finally a simply Audio Mini-jack stereo male to Double Pin jack female adapter, for
connect the audio output of your PC to the DDR amplifier; you can use a cable one or a plug one,
depending of your amount of space into the cabinet and from what you like to use.
Double Pin Jack to Jack Mini adapter Plug Double Pin Jack to Jack Mini adapter Cable
Step 3: Which kind of software shall I use?
You are lucky ;) since 2004 there are many software that simulate a DDR software very well, but
the best as now that also include all features from original Arcade based one is surely the awesome
Stepmania: It supports coin mode, lights and attracts, is totally free and open source and counts
amount of thousand and thousand of all genres songs, including original DDR songs steps that were
converted. It has also (from release 4.0) online features so, for example, you can link two or more
cabinets for tournaments. Plus is totally customizable: it means you can easily change or modify
almost all program features and options (there are hundreds of custom themes already done). It also
has binaries ready for Windows, Linux and Mac. Not last it can simulate also the Pump It Up game
series (I suggest in this case the 4.0 release because it counts the freeze steps as combos exactly like
Pump It Up and it’s the same build used for Pump It Up Pro, but that’s another story…)
All the graphics in Stepmania (bitmap or meshes) are rendered through OpenGL engine, making it
highly flexible. If you intend to use Stepmania graphically as a clone of DDR machine I suggest the
3.9+ Redux release. In fact this is the best version of Stepmania that looks-like a DDR software. If
you install also the Extreme theme will be really hard recognize it from a real DDR Extreme
machine. Otherwise if you want to use your machine to the best... well, continue reading the next
step!
Stepmania 3.9 in all his glory ;) Stepmania 4.0

Step 3.95 ;) What is In The Groove ?


In The Groove software series is a direct evolution for arcades of Stepmania, it was developed by
Roxor company in late 2005: it enhances OpenGL engine featuring 3D Arrows and introducing the
“rolls” steps. Also for the first time in the dancing games history players can bring not only the
steps but also whole songs from home in a USB drive for playing in arcades. For all those features
it represents a custom build of Stepmania know as 3.95 unofficial release. You can find the original
ITG2 HDD ISO image for a direct cloning of HDD but, taking apart legal reasons, you must match
the original ITG2 hardware, including the Input/Output board, so I don’t recommend for a custom
hardware build. Anyway… although Konami acquired the In The Groove legal rights, a complete
open source project of this software has rebirth in a totally new build called OpenITG. OpenITG
has all features of original ITG and much… but really much more either for home use and for
arcade use including online features ;) Definitely recommended as the best software you can use for
replacing DDR boards I strongly suggest to use OpenITG in conjunction with Linux: with the right
hardware in this mode you will have a replacement that is light years ahead better than original
DDR board you ripped off, including the latest DDR releases (that in my opinion really suck XD)
and is always upgradeable with new custom songs.
In The Groove software showing his 3D features on arrows

Step 4: I have all stuff I need and my DDR Cab is waiting to be played…
Ok… The first thing to do is to remove the old DDR board (if present). Arcade Cabinets may be
different internally so just open the rear side of your Cab and you can easily locate either the DDR
board and the sound amplifier. Obviously… DISCONNECT POWER CABLE BEFORE DOING
ANYTHING!!! And always be careful !!! (Have you read my disclaimer XD ?) Check ALL
connectors you unplug and eventually take note of every connector, including lights and inputs, and
be careful of all wires and connector leaved unplugged (for example power supply connectors you
will not use). You should secure them and do not let go “flying” maybe in any fan hole or short-
circuit the electronic board!!! For basic inputs outputs you need only the Jamma connector so from
now, if is not yet wrote on the connector itself, use a felt tip, or an adhesive tape to identify the right
side of that connector to be plugged in. Components side is usually the side that goes in the part of
the board has the components (chips, capacitors and all the electronic stuff), Solder side is the other
side where they usually are the solder points.

A Jamma Connector, remember the right orientation, because if you invert the connector you
can damage your board!!!
An old DDR 1.5 System, Audio Amplifier (on the left) with DDR board (on the right)

A piece of History: an original Konami 573 Digital Board, featuring DDR Extreme
The Cab after removing the DDR board: notice the long black Jamma connector on the right

After removed the original board, screw off it from the wood section where is locked, because you
need that wood plank to put all the new hardware you got. I always prefer a clean polite job with no
“flying” wires and connector around, (use plastic wrappers to secure them together, avoid metallic
wrappers) where is possible don’t remove original protection boxes, especially for power supplies,
also make sure the screws you are using do not make a short circuit under the board and make sure
the wood board will fit without problems in the space where was the DDR board.
This is how it should be look, a clean and polite job without “flying” cables
Be sure to place the Jamma adapter in the same place where was the original connector, also
lock and secure any add-on board you put into the motherboard

Once you put the Jamma connector in the position where was the original board connector
(otherwise maybe the cable may don’t reach it, they are not so long) be sure to plug in the right
orientation, this is very important or you can damage permanently the interface and/or the PC.
I repeat, it’s STRONGLY recommended you use an adapter with USB features! Ps2 Keyboard
signals inputs with Stepmania/OpenITG sometimes go into key-jamming, and can activate
randomly some switches (from test mode to input pads), USB inputs don’t suffer of key-jamming.
Also check that metallic objects or liquids cannot reach your hardware or they can short circuit
something and broke it. You can use rigid transparent plastic to isolate the components, obviously
leave a hole for every cooling fan, don’t choke them with plastic. I know that all this it’s a manual
job that can take some hours, but better you do this from now, better it will works in future!!

I don’t have a Light controller, and honestly who cares of lights, can I use only the Jpac?
Yes, if you don’t plan to use lights inputs you can ignore them but due to Konami hardware wiring
(I think is for testing purposes or to use lights together to some inputs, but it’s not important) the up
and right arrow sensor of both players are grounded together to lights inputs. It means that if you
don’t connect the lights inputs, the up and right arrow will not work. Don’t panic!!! Screw away the
2 metal panels of the dance pads on the cabinet that cover the pad control boards off of the pad. The
first is located to the up right of 1P Up and the second to the up left of 2P Up. Now Look carefully
the two control boards, you will see 4 pad connectors, 1 power connector and 1 main connector
running to each board. Use a small length of wire to bridge pin 1 (black) with pin 3 (white) of the
main connector. This will allow the Jamma interface to control the entire pad now, not just 4 of the
8 arrows (some people also call this configuration the “reset mode”). You can now re-assemble the
pad. If you don’t want to solder the wire, just unplug the connector and insert the bridge wire into
the holes of the pin 1 and 3, then re-plug connector with wire inserted.
Note: in this mode Konami software cannot check if lights connectors are plugged, so original DDR
boards will not boot anymore. If you plan to move again to your old board, you have to remove the
wires. If you frequently swap boards I suggest to buy a USB controller with Lights input.
You just finished the hardware session of work!
The 1P controller board is under the metal panel on the right of 1P UP arrow
The 2P controller board, it’s under the metal panel on the left of 2P Up arrow
Locate the “Main connector” that is in the bottom right of the board
Use the “Konami” logo as point of reference
Final Round: All is ready and connected, what’s going on now?
Well, now that the Cabinet is ready, if you used an hardware 15khz solution you just have to
connect a CD/DVD drive, a keyboard and a mouse, because the video output should be clearly seen
in you arcade screen. In case you plan to install software solution, as said before, an arcade monitor
will not outputs a standard VGA frequency, so, for this time, (because software solution are
installed after operating system) you have to use an external monitor to see what is going on.
Connect obviously also in this case the CD/DVD drive a keyboard and a mouse. Did you set
everything? Ok.. 3… 2... 1… Engage! If all is going fine you should see the motherboard splash
screen. Did you saw it? Congratulations! System is up and running! Now you can enter in your
motherboard Bios setup and set time, date, shared memory, etc. etc. etc… but the two important
things are:
- Set the CD/DVD drive as first boot device
- Enter in Advance Power Management options enable the field “Restore on AC power loss”
(common options are “power on” or “last state” but they may vary from board to board). In
this mode every day the machine will be powered up the pc will auto start.
At this point there’s the nerd user versus standard user dilemma! you must install an Operating
System. It’s not my goal to tell you if you have to install Windows or Linux, or tell you to prefer
Stepmania instead OpenITG or vice versa, once one time more… have at you! Just notice that I
didn’t tell you to install an operating system before you screw your board to cabinet because it’s a
good time for testing all the components ;) if the system is stable also during install and working
time it’s a good sign. For direct experience I can say that Stepmania/OpenITG gives his best under
Linux based machines (if you know how to do), but if you want to install Windows, at least use the
Windows XP Professional or XP Embedded system! Under Windows 7 and so on you can
experience security problems if you put software into the “Programs” folder (ridiculous but true!)
Notice: Just for remember… Windows is a copyrighted software!!! You need a valid license
especially if you want to put in a public place!
For Linux systems there is no copyright problem! You can use the always good and universal
Debian or (like some people did) the Arch-Linux distribution: in fact this distro is more essential
than a complete Debian distro (maybe less simplex or user friendly, but it works). If you have
experience in Linux systems I suggest you this choice. Please reefer to the excellent Amegon Linux
tutorial for Arch Linux distributions.
Installed Operating System? Have you installed too Stepmania or OpenITG? All is running? No
crashes? Ok, let’s begin with some software tuning steps:
1 – You must set a resolution, set video mode to 640x480 resolution, 32 bit, for OpenGL 3D
features set no Anti Aliasing, 60hz refresh, Vsync wait.
If you use the standard CGA monitor of your cabinet it will display at best a 640x240 non interlaced
resolution. Due to the fact that VGA mode starts from 640x480 any solution you made for convert
signal from 31khz to 15khz will result in an “interlaced” output that will make possible to see the
640x480 windows mode. Going further in high resolution will result in unclearly and small
“chomped” image. Some graphic adapters (especially Nvidia) let you to select all those settings
directly from operating system, and will force any software to set to this configuration, so let’s do it.
Also set audio mixer to 50% power of all voices and let the cabinet amplifier tune the volume.
2 – In Stepmania or OpenITG enter in Operator Menu (pressing the “Bloc-Scorr” key) and check if
video output is right (640x480 resolution, 32bit, noAA, 60hz, Vsync wait), then go to “input
option” and assign any pad input to relative button: 1P & 2P up, down, left, right, select left, select
right, start, operator button, coin button, and so on... when done go to “test input” and you can test
if every button works properly. Depending of Jamma interface you used maybe you have to add
some wires, for example some version of Jpac do not have the Operator or Coin button directly
connected to Jamma connector (for legal reasons using it with MAME software). In that case you
have to manually solder the missing wire to another input of the board and remap it. Jpac and many
others adapters may have the “shift” function enabled, (hold pressed 1P start will enable other
functions pressing other buttons, for example credits). This can be useful in MAME but it’s not
recommended for arcade use, so remember to remove it (refer to your adapter’s manual to
reprogram it)
3 – Set offset for correct sync between your adapter and game timing: the best way to tune your
adapter timing is to manually adjust the offset value in static.ini and play to see if you need to
increase or decrease the value, you need to have accurate timing too for a perfect tuning.
In static.ini under “Options” add the value GlobalOffsetSeconds; The default value for Jpac I used
is -0.030000. For example:

[Options]
GlobalOffsetSeconds=-0.030000

4 – If you want players use USB drives (for saving data or custom songs) you must add a USB
HUB to your cabinet, specifies of USB connectors locations may vary from board to board so you
must find manually where is the USB connector for plugging the HUB itself. Notice that it’s
required a 4 port USB HUB, usually the first is the 1P port and the last the 2P port. As said before,
use the shortest USB cable. Now you must disable the “Autorun” function, why? Because scansion
of USB drives takes time and Autorun can carry to you pc viruses! The way to disable Autorun
function depends of your Operating System, I’m just showing the shortest way for doing it under
Windows XP and in common Linux distros. If you experience some problems you have to edit
manually your Windows Registry or Linux X-mode interface configuration, (KDE/GNOME etc.
etc). Note that in Linux systems, considering diffusion and use you are doing, the risk is almost zero.
Under Windows XP:
- Open the Run box by clicking the Start button then select Run. Alternatively, you can press
the [Windows Key] + [R]
- Type in gpedit.msc and click OK
- Underneath Computer Configuration, double-click Administrative Templates
- In System in the menu scroll down the right side and search for Turn off Autoplay function
- Select Enable, then All drives from the drop-down menu, then click OK
- Reboot (note this will not prevent to play Audio CD but you don’t need a juke box XD)
Under most of Linux X-mode desktops:
- In your Menu go to > system tool > system setting > detail > removable media
- Check the box: never prompt or start program on media insertion.
Ok, now we can continue to USB setup: if you want players to play custom songs you also must
enable them in “operator menu”
You also need to assign specific USB ports to each player for memory cards
You need to set all the following settings in the Static.ini under “Options”; for example:

[Options]
MemoryCardOsMountPointP1=
MemoryCardOsMountPointP2=
MemoryCardProfileImportSubdirs=In The Groove
MemoryCardProfileSubdir=In The Groove 2
MemoryCardUsbBusP1=
MemoryCardUsbBusP2=
MemoryCardUsbLevelP1=
MemoryCardUsbLevelP2=
MemoryCardUsbPortP1=
MemoryCardUsbPortP2=
MemoryCards=1
SignProfileData=0
Notice that the letter of the memory card is the letter your USB hub will assign.
In Windows, you will need USBDLM in order to assign a drive letter for any port, to use as the
MountPoint program for assign a specific USB port a specific letter (so there are no mistakes).
In Linux, you just need to set the OS mount point folders to where the memory cards are mounted
by /etc/fstab (or your portable device daemon). You can get the correct Port settings with System
Diagnostics. Place a device into the port you want to set, and a line will come up. The first part of
the line has two numbers, "x-y": 'y' is the port number to set.

Original ITG USB HUB

Generic 4 ports USB HUB


USB ports to be used in Original ITG2 Upgrade kit, but it may vary from board to board.

5 – Let the Operating system can correctly check the integrity of system partitions. Consider that it
will never be “gently” turned off by normal procedure, simply the owner or you switch off the
machine. This can corrupt sometimes system partition integrity or generate unreadable clusters if
power off happens when Hdd is in use or in writing mode. Linux don’t suffer of this problem
because has separate partitions for boot, operating system and swap files (for knowledge there is the
fsck function but rarely I had to use it), but Windows XP needs regularly to check file system For
this reason simply made a batch file (for example Checkdisk.bat) with the content:
@echo off
echo S | chkdsk.exe /f C:
Put this file in the startup section so every time system is powered will execute a disk check and
will correct any error.
6 – Remove any type of screensaver, auto-updates, monitor sleeping, HDD sleeping and so on
(remember to disable also the Windows Keyboard Shortcuts and the Windows Error Reporting).
Disable also any system swap file if you use an SSD drive. Your system must be ready to stay up
and running h24 without a single second of pause. With Windows Xp Embedded or Linux this is in
most options yet configured. While under Linux X-Mode is stable and transparent for the system, in
Windows XP the “Explorer” shell may sometimes create some crashes. If you want to disable it
you can simply kill the process with the “Taskkill” command. Like checkdisk made a batch file (for
example “Explorerkill.bat”) with the content:
@echo off
echo S | taskkill.exe /f explorer.exe
Again put this file in startup section so every startup the Explorer process will be killed. Note that if
you exit from the program you get a screen without desktop, so if you want again to load the
desktop you must re-enable the Explorer.exe process from the Task manager.
7 – Not formerly last, you may want Stepmania or OpenITG will auto-load on every boot: Under
Windows you can put the executable in the startup menu folder or edit the “Run” field in Registry.
Under Linux there are startup options too under all desktop managers, or you can create a script
(again… if you can understand what I’m speaking of, you can do it).
Otherwise if program crashes, maybe you want it reloads automatically: in this case Linux arcade
build has the “reboot-on-crash” option enabled, but under Windows it’s not a function actually
implemented. Theoretically you should modify the source code, then compiling your own build to
make auto restart possible, or simply disable the dialog error to allow an external program detects
the program crash and will restart it automatically... yada yada… life is too short! If you really need
a professional arcade build with auto-restart build a Linux machine! Anyway if themes and songs
scripts you use are without errors it’s very rare that Stepmania/OpenITG crash!

Now the system should be ready to be played! If all input tests were positive just insert a coin or
press coin switch to start. All is working? No system or program crash? Congratulations!!!

Custom note:
Stepmania is highly flexible and totally customizable, but you must have a minimum of knowledge
if you plan to change something, so refer to Stepmania/OpenITG tutorials and forums for basic
functions like add songs, custom themes, etc. etc.

My USB Jamma interface occasionally disconnects but when I reboot seems to work properly.
If you experience problems with USB memory cards or USB connections, avoid USB connectors
stay near the power transformers (including isolation transformer), because the magnetic tension
inductance can make interference to USB signals, (usually you can notice this in IO troubles during
play or in Memory card USB data read or write errors). Usually main transformer is at floor level in
the cabinet, and monitor transformer is in his chassis so the only transformer can make interference
can be the Marquee lights transformer. If you cannot get rid of this you can simply disconnect the
Marquee transformer because as mentioned above probably it’s the only transformer that can be on
the way of your USB cables.

A Neon Transformer
Thanks and Regards go to:
- Vyhd for OpenITG project leading, for all the precious information he gave me and his big
patience to explain me a lot of things about Stepmania and ITG.
- Amegon for the excellent Linux OpenITG software tutorial step by step.
- The whole BoXoRRoXoRs, BemaniStyle and Stepmania community, you’re simply the best!
- The “Randy Fromm’s Arcade School” for detailed information about Coin Op tech specs.
- Anyone who contributed to this tutorial, and anyone will make it better to understand!

I Wrote this for the community, feel free to distribute, but please include the whole
document with disclaimer, Thank you.
Rev. 1.2 Update 2015

Yoshi