Don’t buy new, repair/customize.

As an avid gamer, particularly of the Street Fighter franchise, I’ve been playing Ultra Street Fighter 4 on my Playstation 3 using a Mad Catz joystick.

This joystick is a pretty basic, entry-level affair.  It’s light (you really do want a heavier stick if you’re playing on your lap) and the stick and controls are of a fairly cheap quality.  The markup on these things for Mad Catz is fairly ridiculous!

After a few years of thrashing about, the buttons and stick finally gave in.  After doing some fairly quick research online I discovered that most joysticks these days are created using standard sized buttons and sticks.  Further research has uncovered a wealth of easily available info for creating your joystick from the ground up only buying parts here and there.  A good example can be found at slagcoin.

The maker revolution, the new movement whereby anybody can create what their after, provided their happy to spend a little time and get their hands dirty truly is in effect.  There are plenty of hobbyists out there that are willing to help those just starting; the satisfaction gleaned from creating or modifying your own stuff cannot be understated.

For those particularly interested in my Mad Catz tinkering, here’s my notes on how to modify the Mad Catz Street Fighter 4 Arcade Fightstick:

  • Seimitsu or Sanwa are the manufacturers to look for when replacing joystick parts.  They have a great build quality, are world-renowned and their parts are used for arcade machines where they truly get tested.
  • The best stick to replace the Mad Catz original is the Sanwa Joystick JLF-TP-8YT.  Most other Sanwa sticks have their power plug connector in a less ideal location as they will cover the space where the buttons are. Make sure to get a cable with the Sanwa joystick so you can replace the setup properly.  If you don’t, and your existing cable is faulty you’ll have to create a new one which will involve soldering.  I had to do this, but again you can find some great info at shoryoken.
  • Typical button replacement options would be the Sanwa OBSN-30s.  You’re basically looking for any button that has the 30mm sizing dimensions.  The threaded Sanwa OBSN-30’s (screw-ons), Seimitsu PS-14-KN 30mm Pushbutton (pretty clear ones), Seimitsu PS-14-GN 30mm Pushbutton (solid colors) all work just fine with the exception of the button that goes in the “x” position (Light Kick) will need to have the “lugnut” around it sanded or grinded down a few millimeters.  I found this useful info over at icrontic.

Happy modding!


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