Cobalt Flux Revived

A few months back I finally ordered a pair of Cobalt Flux dancing platforms. I had been dreaming about those since I first got aware of their existence, probably about four or five years ago. I imported them from the manufacturer in the US and the prize was quite humane even if shipping overseas got quite expensive.

They arrived the 25th of August and I unpacked and tried them out that same evening! It was very nice to be back on a metal platform again after having used various soft pads since my old platform broke. Dancing with shoes is so much more interesting as you get a better grip and can do crazy moves without slipping so much :)

Then, the fateful evening of October 13th, I was getting the platforms out from under my couch to dance off with my neighbor. As I was trying to be careful with my back while lifting I somehow managed to get my leg in the way when I lowered it to the floor. On the front of the platform there is a VGA connector which you plug the control box into. The control box was still attached so during handling the plug and the VGA connector simply broke off. The plug had acted like a lever and I did not notice anything until I saw it on the floor, and the realization of what had happened was not nice

I immediately emailed the support over at Cobalt Flux and I was told that it can be fixed in-house, but I wanted to do it myself as shipping it back and forth to the US would be pretty pointless due to the aforementioned cost. As I was bummed by the incident and plenty busy with other stuff I let it rest.

But then just last week I got the idea that I wanted to bring them to a gaming night for the teenagers at Church. I talked to a friend about this and the night before the event he came over to my place and we tore the platform down and replaced the destroyed VGA connector. I will detail how we did it!

Disassembly

  1. Remove the screws for the top six panels, these many because we need to get under the baseplate which covers the entire platform, so to avoid bending it too much we dismount many panels. Removing even more panels gives more room for lifting/bending the baseplate.
  2. Remove the freed Lexan sheets including decals.
  3. Carefully pry off the panels which are fastened in the corners by circular pieces of Velcro. Under one of these, towards the center panel, there is a cable attached. Make sure to not pull it off when lifting the panel!
  4. Pry away the part of the Velcro that is keeping the wire attached to the panel. Write the color of the cable next to the Velcro on the pad, and also where the pad was taken from. This will make reassembly very easy!
  5. With the necessary panels removed it is time to pry away Velcro from the platform itself. It is possible to either pry off the part of the Velcro that is attached to the platform or the baseplate. We pried it off of the platform, except for the Velcro that held that ground cable, that one we removed from the baseplate instead due to the cable length.

Repair

  1. Now you should be able to lift the baseplate to uncover the cable trench! First we removed the broken connector by heating the hot glue with a heat gun and then getting it out with a pair of pliers.
  2. From here on it’s all about cutting cables, matching colors and soldering. We found a pin-out guide via Google which confirmed what we had written down. Note that the colors below are in the order as seen looking at the female connector, while the guide is the male plug, thus reversed.
    • Yellow, Orange, Red, Green, Purple
    • Gray, Black, Brown, White, Blue
    • Empty, Empty, Empty, Empty, Empty
  3. The replacement for the connector is an old monitor extension cable I had lying around which I gladly sacrificed, it had crappy shielding anyway. I made sure all the pins that were needed were working, the top ten pins, I did this by inserting a nail in the plug and checking if it was a complete a circuit. Then I cut it open and did the same thing again but to connect colors with pins.

Reassembly

  1. Make sure the cables are down in the trench where they should be, so they don’t get caught between the platform and the baseplate. Then let the baseplate down and reattach the Velcro pieces.
  2. Use your notes to place the panels at their original positions. Reattach the cable to the piece of Velcro it was attached to before. Then use toothpicks to align the panels by the screw holes, then just push it down on the Velcro.
  3. Place the pieces of Lexan on the panels.
  4. Screw in all the screws.

In addition we tested the functionality of it before reassembling. Something that had us puzzled was that one of the panels responded super easily and also when pressing other panels. After suspecting the soldered cables being the problem we finally came to the conclusion that it was because we had not put in the screws yet. The screws straightens the materials, I guess, and after we had completely reassembled it the problem was gone :)

The entire repair took us a whopping five hours, including a few breaks then. This mostly because the Velcro was really hard to pry loose, and it took out it’s toll on our fingers for sure. In the end it all worked out and the next evening became a very fun experience indeed! The DDR/Stepmania station was probably never empty :)

Below here is a gallery of pictures taken throughout the operation.

A small note. I have the Arcade kit on my platforms, which is the black covers on the corners and the metal holders in the middle. A regular pad goes without those, and for this repair it wouldn’t matter.

About Andreas Aronsson

Professional IT manager, spare time multimedia experimenter, in Sweden.
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2 Responses to Cobalt Flux Revived

  1. irriadin says:

    Thanks for posting this! I have to replace the same part, and with Cobalt Flux out of business, I have no option but to fix it myself.

  2. Ah! I remember when ordering that I wondered how they had been able to stay in business as they seemed to focus on niche products, I guess the crappy global economy was too much. A cobalt flux platform was my ultimate DDR dream for a long time, glad I managed to buy a pair before they closed >_> sad to see them go.

    And yeah, good luck repairing yours :) careful of the sharp edges! The damage I did to mine would have gone under warranty, but no way I would ship the platform back to the US from Sweden after just getting them, haha.

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