Japanese Buttons with Cherry Switches

RoboKrikitRoboKrikit nuclearJoined: Posts: 1,943
Finally got some free time to sit down and mess with something I've been wanting to try for a while now: putting Cherry ("American-style", "clicky") microswitches in Sanwa and Seimitsu buttons.

Enter the OBS-30A and OBS-30B buttons.

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You might have seen these on Akihabarashop, tucked away under Arcade > Buttons > Special. The buttons themselves are identical to the standard OBSx-30 button, but come fitted with the OBS-M-1 switch assembly (available separately). These use a high operating force Omron microswitch that has been riveted into place, so it is not easily removed. This is a very stiff switch, tested at ~75g on the RipOmeter. Works great in a Start or Select button, but it's pretty hard for a standard action button, unless you really like them tough.

Again, the OBS-M-1 switch is available by itself; you don't have to order OBS-30A/OBS-30B buttons if you already have OBSN/OBSF buttons, or other small-switch buttons (see Compatibility, below). Even separate from the buttons, they are still sold only with the riveted-in Omron V-10-1A4 microswitch, and are unfortunately a bit pricey at 380¥.

Luckily the microswitch is in the standard "miniature snap-action" form factor we're used to from western arcade parts, so if we remove the rivet, we're free to swap in whatever other switch we like.

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Little bastard.

Disassembly

Core out the center a little bit with a 3/32" drill bit. Go slow, it is soft aluminum and will give way pretty easily. Something grippy between the clamp and the switch helps keep the slippery plastic from sliding away. I used some shelf liner.

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That's the stuff.

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Once you've removed several mm of material, step up to a 7/64" bit. Stop after a few seconds and pull out. If you're lucky, this will separate the riveted end from the rest of the bolt.

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If you're not lucky, you'll have to manually tear away the remains of the rivet, but nothing should be damaged if you didn't go buckwild on the poor thing.

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Once the riveted end is taken care of, poke out the bolt with a paper clip or something. Here's a lucky vs. unlucky mangled jerk bolt.

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With the switch freed, you'll see the separate plastic housing and plunger components. 380¥ each to get these pieces of plastic. Maybe Per or another nice person can get Sanwa to do a run of these—sans switch—at a lower price. :D

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The offset switch and plunger setup allows the plunger to be firmly centered over the actuator, giving you essentially direct contact to the switch. This is an improvement from Happ and similar buttons, which center the switch housing, making it necessary to actuate from the side of the plunger.

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Of course the Sanwa plunger lacks the auxiliary spring of the Happ button, so the feel is different entirely. More on that in a sec.

Reassembly

Since we killed the only thing holding all of this together, we need something to bolt it back together with. Some #4-40 x 3/4" machine screws and nuts do the trick. I ended up using a nylon set with thumbscrews for later testing, since they were easier to get on and off.

The easiest way to install these is from underneath with the original switch removed, and the plunger already in place. Find the slot and pinch the assembly to get it in. It should click into place.

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All set.

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Compatibility

I found that these install flawlessly into Sanwa 30mm and 24mm buttons, and work pretty well in Seimitsu PS-14-K as well. The cutout in the Sanwa casing is ever so slightly tighter than the Seimitsus; you may need to work it a little in the PS-14-K to get it to seat firmly.

These do NOT work without modification in the low-clearance PS-15 buttons. The inside of the PS-15 where the switch assembly should sit is a little too thick. This could be probably worked around by removing a little material, but I haven't tried it yet.
Update: You need more than 3cm clearance below the bottom of the button casing to fit them into your joystick case. Make sure you factor in the additional clearance of any wiring or quick disconnects.
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These almost, almost fit in a stock Mad Catz TE. The ground post hits the horizontal plastic panel with the button holes in the center. You could probably get the top screwed down, but it's definitely in need of a couple millimeters of wiggle room. I think it might work with a thicker replacement plexi, but I don't have any to test with. You could also cut out some of the inner panel, like people have done with Happ mods.

I installed these in my HRAP2 SA test stick without issues. Haven't yet tried them in any other sticks.

Naturally you need .187 quick connect terminals to mate with these switches; the .110 terminals in most Japanese sticks like the HRAP and TE are too small. For testing purposes you can do this with .110 terminals:

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Switches

Keep in mind that Sanwas don't have a spring in the plunger like Happ-styled buttons do, so the feel will be quite different from standard American arcade buttons. There is a certain similarity to them, but gone are the pinngggs of the spring, and the feel of each switch is lighter in comparison. Depending on the switch, the action can be even lighter than a typical Sanwa, or significantly heavier.

The actual feel of the switches, even when the force required to bottom out the switch is similar to stock Sanwas, is very different. In most of these microswitches there is distinct feedback felt when switch is actuated, with an audible click sound. The force required is usually higher at the top of the press, before the click, and softer afterward. This is in contrast to stock Sanwas or Seimitsus, which tend to increase a bit in force as you bottom out, and there is no feedback at the actuation point.

I tried out a few models of microswitches. These are my personal and entirely biased touchy-feely thoughts. Switch photos from Kowal's page on microswitches.

Cherry KWJ
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The overall resistance of these switches is not very different from Sanwas, but with noticeable feedback and 'give' after the actuation. They actuate very near the top, then collapse immediately to bottom out. The click is audible. They feel a bit like Sanwas with clicky sounds. Unfortunately these switches are no longer made, but if you have any old Happ buttons around, they likely have this switch installed.

Cherry D44x
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Medium resistance, similar to a Seimitsu or brand new Sanwa button, depending on how you think about it. It engages medium to medium-high, a little lower than the KWJ. Unlike the KWJ, there is still some resistance after the actuation, so there's a little cushion in the fall. This is what gives it a Sanwa-ish feel, however the buttons are much less sensitive than the Sanwas, requiring more force like Seimitsus. You can rest your fingers on these without pressing them, but they are not slow to respond.

E-Switch LS (image via LizardLick)
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These are what come in Happs now that Happ has dropped Cherry. They seem to be reaching for a Cherry KWJ feel. The resistance is very similar, but the actuation point is a LOT lower, like almost near the bottom. The click is there, but happens about the same time as the clack of the button itself, so it is masked. Lacking the distinct click, these seem kind of like a snappy Sanwa.

Zippy 20g, "Groovy SST" (image via Paradise Arcade)
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I ordered these from GroovyGameGear, where they were labeled as the Groovy Standard Soft-Touch, and pictured with an embossed Groovy name, but I received what appears to be a Zippy 20g switch that looks identical except for the embossed name. Guessing they are identical to these.
These are extremely light switches that feel like heavily broken-in Sanwas. The actuation point is lower, but they are so light that it is easy not to notice. They do not work well in the PS-14-K, as the heavy plunger will fail to return to the top if it encounters any friction at all.

GroovyMicro Premium Soft-Touch (does not work)
I got these from GroovyGameGear also, marketed as their premium switch. I believe these are only available as an option with their line of buttons. They're marked "VASCO", and while they feel like they require a tiny bit more force to depress and are smoother, the return is so light that it does not work even with stock Sanwas. The plungers are too heavy to return. Too bad, they seemed nice otherwise.

I tried the Versa Micro adjustable switch as well, but only on one setting so far. It seems easy to adjust to actuate at the top. I only have 2 so I haven't messed with these much.

My favorites are the KWJ and D44x, though I'll probably try the Zippy 20gs again. They're kinda fun. They're pretty easy to switch out so it's not so bad experimenting. D44x might be the best all-around switch for this, and it doesn't hurt that they are readily available.

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Anyway, I hope this encourages someone else to try these out. They're pretty fly. The new stick I'm working on will have .187 connectors for these, so I'll experiment more with them once that is finished. Let me know if you build any of these yourself.
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Comments

  • RoboKrikitRoboKrikit nuclear Joined: Posts: 1,943
    Reserved for absolutely no reason.

    Bedtime!
  • NerrageNerrage STICKS for JOY Joined: Posts: 3,349
    Very cool! You did this for Clicky Buttons Thread? Man, you really DID have a Post!
  • d3vd3v Coughing DAT PINK SPIT Joined: Posts: 36,738 mod
    Interesting, mind if I post an article linking to this on my site?
  • ARSTNEIOARSTNEIO Joined: Posts: 37
    Are the Omron switches that come with the OBS-30A that hard to press? I'm not sure how heavy 75g is...

    Also, is there anywhere you can still buy Cherry K switches?

    I wonder if there's anyway you can DIY the plastic housings instead of buying OBS-30As...

    Anyway, thanks a lot for this thread! I'll definitely look into doing this to my stick.

    Edit: I seem to be able to find lots of people selling Cherry KWB switches, and some KWH and KWKs (after a quick search in Google Shopping). The Cherry homepage doesn't really make clear what the difference between the K-series switches are, and it seems that they all have similar internals. What's the difference? Will they all work? Some of them only seem to have 2 prongs instead of 3. I'm assuming they'll all feel like KWJs, since the cut-out image of the internals is the same on the Cherry website.
  • CSword123CSword123 oh god OHGOD! why did I think this was a good idea? please... just- I'M SORRY!! Joined: Posts: 1,214
    Nice job there! You got some guts to take apart that delicate and expensive casing.
    KI: Jago
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  • TakahashiTakahashi Epileptic Videogamer Joined: Posts: 474
    Are the Omron switches that come with the OBS-30A that hard to press? I'm not sure how heavy 75g is...

    I do not find them hard to press, then again it is my favourite switch.
    If you use a keyboard with Cherry MX switches in it, it feels like that.
    I use them under my Seimitsu PS-14-D buttons, I only use 24mm buttons on my joy sticks.

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    What keyboard is that RoboKrikit?
    Ninja Pizza For The VictoLy!
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  • jdm714jdm714 Blue Blue Glass Moon Joined: Posts: 12,830
    Filco Majestouch Tenkeyless with keys from a geekhack.org groupbuy.
    J&J SoCal Modding: http://shoryuken.com/forum/index.php?threads/113434/
    Visit J&J SoCal Modding's Blog for review of new Arcade Parts: http://jjsocalmodding.blogspot.com
  • RoboKrikitRoboKrikit nuclear Joined: Posts: 1,943
    Very cool! You did this for Clicky Buttons Thread? Man, you really DID have a Post!

    I had the pics ready to go and was planning on doing a writeup this weekend, and it just happened that was posted yesterday. When I saw the subject line I thought I'd been scooped. :)
    Interesting, mind if I post an article linking to this on my site?

    Sure, I don't mind.
    Are the Omron switches that come with the OBS-30A that hard to press? I'm not sure how heavy 75g is...

    Also, is there anywhere you can still buy Cherry K switches?

    They're not outrageously heavy or anything. If you've ever typed on an IBM Model M buckling spring keyboard, that is 70g. It's heavy for a Japanese button. You could play SF with it, but it doesn't really lend itself to precision multiple-input methods like plinking or sliding. I actually like the way they feel, but think they're a bit hard in gameplay. Since there's no way around purchasing them to do this now, you do at least get to try them out if you try this mod. :)

    About the non-KWJ Cherry K* switches, I'm not positive on the differences. I've always used KWJs since they came stock in Happ buttons. I know Kowal was excited to get a 50pc order of the last KWJs in his area after they were discontinued, and he knows his switches pretty well, so I imagine the other models are not close enough.
    Nice job there! You got some guts to take apart that delicate and expensive casing.

    Thanks. I am a warrior and will stop at nothing, because Tech Talk.
    I do not find them hard to press, then again it is my favourite switch.
    If you use a keyboard with Cherry MX switches in it, it feels like that.
    I use them under my Seimitsu PS-14-D buttons, I only use 24mm buttons on my joy sticks.

    It does feel like a Cherry MX tactile keyboard, though the OBS-M-1 is definitely heavier at 75g. I don't have my notes where I am, but if I remember right, the Cherry D44x was about 55g, which is close to the 50g of the Cherry MX Blues.
    What keyboard is that RoboKrikit?

    JDM is correct. :)
    Filco Majestouch Tenkeyless with keys from a geekhack.org groupbuy.
  • spenzaliispenzalii Joined: Posts: 2,017
    I've got a set I'm saving for another in my long list of procrastinated projects. Never thought of trying to swap the switches for cherry, but I might now.

    I can also confirm those switches will work on Rollie/Ponyboy buttons as well
    And we build BALLER SHIT! (c) Matskat
  • JebitronJebitron Hermit Joined: Posts: 138
    I've already modded my JLF to fit the Zippy 20g micro switches and I can barely tell there's a switch in there. I have very weak hands and they work awesomely. They're a bit loose when you put the gate over them but nothing a few pieces of tape on top can't fix. I would love to try the Zippy 20g's in some OBS-M-1 switch assemblies and have thought of doing it since I got used to playing with the Zippy's. They are no doubt the most sensitive micro switches I've messed around with. I used to use D44X's but switched a month ago to Zippy's. If you like the American OG feel, stick to the D44X's or the KWJ's. They're still more sensitive than Omron's. Zippy's also have an anatomy very similar to the Cherry's and use a spring in them as well! I'll show a photo. Nevermind the mess or the pieces of paper sticking out of where the plastic switch tab goes as I was playing around with them but you can see the spring inside there and how it's similar. I tried using the Omron tabs to rid some of the wigglyness so that's why you see red tabs on some of the other ones. It didn't work, by the way but I managed to find another way to have absolutely no play at all and I ditched the paper idea. I instead cut tiny pieces of electrical tape and put them on the end of the tab that is inside the micro switch. Very cool thread. I'm glad to see I'm not the only one screwing around with Micro Switches.
    Zippy20g.jpg
    There is no such thing as Existence but Existence it's self.
  • DarksakulDarksakul Your lack of faith disturbs me Joined: Posts: 23,367
    I did not know I could transplant the bottom half of the button assembly like that.
    Awesome work RoboKrikit
    “Strong people don't put others down... They lift them up.”
    - Darth Vader, Philanthropist
  • RoboKrikitRoboKrikit nuclear Joined: Posts: 1,943
    I can also confirm those switches will work on Rollie/Ponyboy buttons as well

    Cool, I had wondered, but I don't have any yet.
    Very cool thread. I'm glad to see I'm not the only one screwing around with Micro Switches.

    Interesting setup with the 20g switches in the JLF. I just ordered a levered 20g Zippy setup like that for the LS-32 to try out.
    I did not know I could transplant the bottom half of the button assembly like that.
    Awesome work RoboKrikit

    Thanks!
  • RoboKrikitRoboKrikit nuclear Joined: Posts: 1,943
    He looks kinda like Servbot and Sentinel had a baby.

    HY-PER MICRO-SWITCH FORCE

    ¡click click click click click!
  • DarksakulDarksakul Your lack of faith disturbs me Joined: Posts: 23,367
    Now only someone made a aftermarket holder fir microswitches.
    Then we could convert our Sanwa, Seimitsu and Rollie push buttons to be OBS-30A and OBS-30B without having to order an entire button for just the holder
    “Strong people don't put others down... They lift them up.”
    - Darth Vader, Philanthropist
  • jdm714jdm714 Blue Blue Glass Moon Joined: Posts: 12,830
    They already can be bought separately at AkihabaraShop.jp site.
    The Microswitch of course will be included and riveted secure.
    J&J SoCal Modding: http://shoryuken.com/forum/index.php?threads/113434/
    Visit J&J SoCal Modding's Blog for review of new Arcade Parts: http://jjsocalmodding.blogspot.com
  • RoboKrikitRoboKrikit nuclear Joined: Posts: 1,943
    Yup, they are available separately as the OBS-M-1 switch assembly. I ordered them that way since I already have plenty of Sanwas. I mentioned it but only briefly.

    I added an extra blurb about the OBS-M-1 to help prevent any confusion.

    The OBS-M-1 is still pretty expensive. If we could order just the 2 sides and plunger, without the Omron microswitch, that would be ideal.
  • DarksakulDarksakul Your lack of faith disturbs me Joined: Posts: 23,367
    Nvm I found the OBS-M-1 on AkihabaraShop.jp
    “Strong people don't put others down... They lift them up.”
    - Darth Vader, Philanthropist
  • RoboKrikitRoboKrikit nuclear Joined: Posts: 1,943
    Ikagi-chan asked about the clearance required. Looks like you need more than 3cm below the bottom of the button casing.

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  • TheBeyonder_R5TheBeyonder_R5 Joined: Posts: 10
    I wonder if the response on the buttons are more reactive with this mod?
  • RoboKrikitRoboKrikit nuclear Joined: Posts: 1,943
    I wonder if the response on the buttons are more reactive with this mod?

    The response depends on the microswitch that you use; see my info on Switches in the original post. You have to be careful not to use too light of a switch or the button will go down and not come up on its own.

    I'd say it's more about feel than responsiveness. Standard Sanwas are pretty responsive.

  • TheBeyonder_R5TheBeyonder_R5 Joined: Posts: 10
    Yea I started the mod and tested the buttons an they feel amazing! I appreciate it RoboKrikit!
  • VOLDOMVOLDOM Joined: Posts: 142
    edited May 2013
    RoboKrikit wrote: »
    Very cool thread. I'm glad to see I'm not the only one screwing around with Micro Switches.

    Interesting setup with the 20g switches in the JLF. I just ordered a levered 20g Zippy setup like that for the LS-32 to try out.

    I approve the use of 20g Zippy microswitches, those are the same switches that came installed on the old Megadrive Arcade Power stick controllers (only the japanese version) those feel great on the joystick but I never tried them on buttons.
  • W00P MstR FresHW00P MstR FresH Making stuff is fun Joined: Posts: 824
    putHtT3.jpg
    Been using d44 cherries in my ttt2 b15. I like em
  • kuradoberijamfrkuradoberijamfr Joined: Posts: 57
    Do you believe we can use the same trick to remove the rivet that keeps the microswitch closed ? (Omron V10,V15 or Saia XG as examples...)
  • MoonchildeMoonchilde Resident tech talk double poster Joined: Posts: 4,837
    I'm going to be posting soon a version of this mod for PS-14-GN buttons. If you didn't know, you can't simply plug them in because Seimitsu decided to put in a completely different switch from the snap ins. Pricks!
  • JayduckyJayducky Stupid Questions---> Joined: Posts: 737
    I am really interested in this mod! I like the idea of having a Japanese styled button with an American feel.
    Here are my biggest hurdles:
    1. Will these buttons fit in a Hori VLX? I currently use OBSN -30 RG buttons in my VLX so I think they will fit.
    2. I don't like the .187 quick connect terminal size since Hori VLX uses .110 size.
    3. This mod could get pricey after experimenting with different microswitches and you may ultimately decide that this mod isn't for you...
    Step 1: Put a hole in the box.
  • TheUtilityGirlTheUtilityGirl Joined: Posts: 155
    jdm714 wrote: »
    Filco Majestouch Tenkeyless with keys from a geekhack.org groupbuy.

    Oh same KB MXBlue.

    <Markman> No one will die as long as I'm around
    <Markman> I parry armageddons with my finger
    <Markman> I can also parry your girl with my finger
    <Markman> Hold that
  • MoonchildeMoonchilde Resident tech talk double poster Joined: Posts: 4,837
    Jayducky wrote: »
    I am really interested in this mod! I like the idea of having a Japanese styled button with an American feel.
    Here are my biggest hurdles:
    1. Will these buttons fit in a Hori VLX? I currently use OBSN -30 RG buttons in my VLX so I think they will fit.
    2. I don't like the .187 quick connect terminal size since Hori VLX uses .110 size.
    3. This mod could get pricey after experimenting with different microswitches and you may ultimately decide that this mod isn't for you...

    1&3 - Yeppers, it is a very expensive mod and for the PS-14-GN ridiculously complicated more than it needs to be. I'm thinking about designing my own micro harness and kick starting it. The cost of molds for plastic isn't cheap, so it's not something I could do on my own. Only question is, would there be enough interest for such a thing?

    One question though, why don't you like .187 QD? They aren't all that different, functionally.
  • JayduckyJayducky Stupid Questions---> Joined: Posts: 737
    Moonchilde wrote: »
    One question though, why don't you like .187 QD? They aren't all that different, functionally.

    Oh, nothing wrong with .187 QD's. I was just thinking I would have to cut off the .110 QD's on the stock wire harness of the VLX and crimp on .187 QD's. I really don't want to do that. I could always use a custom wire harness for this mod and preserve the stock harness....

    Step 1: Put a hole in the box.
  • PaperTigrePaperTigre すごい!!!!! Joined: Posts: 2,200
    You don't necessarily need to do that... If you want to leave the original wiring intact you could rig up small jumper wires with Male .110 QDs on one side, and female .187 QDs on the other.
    More work in my opinion but if you don't want to cut the original qds it'd work...
  • JayduckyJayducky Stupid Questions---> Joined: Posts: 737
    PaperTigre wrote: »
    You don't necessarily need to do that... If you want to leave the original wiring intact you could rig up small jumper wires with Male .110 QDs on one side, and female .187 QDs on the other.
    More work in my opinion but if you don't want to cut the original qds it'd work...
    Great idea! I may try that. Thanks PaperTigre
    Step 1: Put a hole in the box.
  • MoonchildeMoonchilde Resident tech talk double poster Joined: Posts: 4,837
    Actually, at one point I used .110 QD's on the side like RoboKrikit did and it was fine. I played like that for about 4 months.
  • JayduckyJayducky Stupid Questions---> Joined: Posts: 737
    GillResurrection2.png

    So after some time, I finally got my parts in to do this mod. I'll update with my impressions once I drill out the rivets.
    I had Gummo wire me up a VLX wire harness with .187 quick connects. (Thanks Gummo!) Also got some D44X Cherry micros.
    Looking at getting some KWJ cherries as well.

    IMG_1645.jpg
    Step 1: Put a hole in the box.
  • MoonchildeMoonchilde Resident tech talk double poster Joined: Posts: 4,837
    I actually liked the stock Omron V10 that's in the harness. I had slightly weighted buttons though, about 5 grams.
  • PinoyPrydePinoyPryde Rhythmic Button Mashing Joined: Posts: 1,183
    edited August 2014
    I think that the stocks were nice for music games and STGs. Too heavy for FGs imo, but then again thats where the cherrys come in play.
    I mash buttons and stomp my feet to music

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  • MoonchildeMoonchilde Resident tech talk double poster Joined: Posts: 4,837
    It's only a 25 gf difference. I actually prefer the faster snap back to neutral from the extra tension. I guess I just have strong fingers, all these not-sensitive-enough-wusses yo.
  • MoonchildeMoonchilde Resident tech talk double poster Joined: Posts: 4,837
    Yeah it's an extremely cost prohibitive mod. They feel nice but the cost is too high.
  • RoboKrikitRoboKrikit nuclear Joined: Posts: 1,943
    Awesome VLX mod @Jayducky‌, the harness looks OEM.
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