What's DDR?

Dance Dance Revolution or DDR for short is a rhythm game that is played with a directional pad made for feet. Coordination and rhythm is tested by watching on screen dance notes making steps to the keys of the beat. It's a simple step on up down left or right and sometimes even combinations of steps. DDR has been very popular in arcades and on game consoles. Now-a-days, however, the game can be enjoyed with a clone games like "Beats" for android, "Stepmania" for the desktop, or even FFR (flash flash revolution) online. This tutorial generally explains how to go about building a wireless game pad on the cheap to avoid buy expensive adapters or pads. Bluetooth control with Bluefruit EZ-Key honestly works so easily for that there is very little to explain about the controller beyond what is covered in the Bluefruit tutorial. No programing required! As opposed to using a HID emulating micro like the Arduino Leonardo which would require some small bits of code and a wire.


A number of different materials could be used in this project for the dance pad component. Its all a trade off between reliability/quality, portability and cost. This tutorial prioritizes portability and cost. Using materials that might be found around the house or are affordable to get from the hardware store.

Cheapo method - As Shown

  • Sign board - plastic extrusion, large sheet at hardware store for under $10
  • Aluminum Foil - wrap leftovers, makes dance pads
  • Cat 3 cable - old telephone wire or whatever is available in 2'+ length
  • Packing foam - Trash that came in the "fragile" box years ago saved because it might be "handy"... well, now it is.
  • 4 AA battery holder with switch

Quality approach- Recommended

  • Plexiglas - Or similar nice pad surface. Aesthetic
  • sheet metal - Through hole and solder wires to sheets. Prevents disconnects with wear
  • rubber pad - To reduce floor movement. Increases playability
  • ? some sort of clicky type spacer ? in place of foam. Regular buttons are a bad idea because of the distribution of weight on the pad
  • Lipo battery and charge controller - In line solder/fasten a switch

Holding it all together

Duct tape, Foil tape (AKA actual metal duct tape not the plasticy gray stuff, although you need that too), hot glue, Velcro. More or less whatever it takes. In the following a lot of duct tape is use. There are likely more elegant ways to do it.


It is possible to easily do this with the Arduino Leonardo or Micro and some simple code for a wired set up, but using OTG with android can sometimes be a hit or miss affair and wires are cumbersome. For a similar price, just get a Bluefruit EZ-Key! No programing required and its wireless! Most Bluetooth projects and products are a nightmare. Bluefruit is a dream.

The Bluefruit EZ-Key HID is recommended as it makes this project super simple. For this project the headers were soldered on and the EZ-Key was placed on a breadboard stuck to a 4 AA power supply. One might also decide to power there project with a Lipo battery and Charge Controller combo. Follow the EZ-Key tutorial for a better understanding of its pins and power requirements. The simplified dance pad only requires the use of 6 pins. Vin, Ground, and 0-3

Pin cheat sheet for DDR
  • 0- UP
  • 1- DOWN
  • 2- LEFT
  • 3- RIGHT

This guide was first published on Mar 07, 2014. It was last updated on Mar 07, 2014.

This page (Overview) was last updated on Feb 28, 2014.

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