Absolute Question and Answer Thread (ASK YOUR QUESTIONS HERE!)

Obligatory link to the original thread.

Please check out this thread for a comprehensive list of quality posts.

If you have execution questions then please check out this thread.

Intro by Starcade RIP.

Welcome to the world of arcade sticks!

Many fighting game fans, both casual and competitive, decide at some point to ditch the pad for an arcade stick. At one time, the options for American consumers were very limited, but following the release of Street Fighter 4 and subsequent revitalization of the fighting game scene, many new products are available on the market.

Why use a stick in the first place?

Simply put, most fighting game fans find them to be the superior control method. The stick itself is generally considered to be more precise and fluid than a d-pad. Having access to six (or eight) buttons on the control panel is also extremely useful for many advanced techniques in a variety of games. Some of the older, grizzled veterans also prefer them as they grew up playing on arcade parts. The ?authentic feel? is very important to them.

That being said, when most people first change to a stick from a pad, they find their execution suffers in the short-term. This is totally normal! It takes most people a few weeks of practice to get used to playing on a stick. Spend some time in training mode before considering going back to pad, or altering your stick in some manner. You will adjust.

What is the best stick?

The truth is there is no ?best? stick. The answer is subjective. The important thing is understand the differences, so you can make good decisions for yourself.

What is the difference between Japanese and American parts?

In short, Japanese parts tend to be more sensitive and responsive. American parts typically require more effort to move and engage button commands. People generally view Japanese parts to be of higher build quality. That doesn?t mean they are necessarily ?better.? Most of the top Japanese and American players use Japanese arcade parts.

On top of that, these days pretty much all of the commercially available off-the-shelf arcade sticks use Japanese arcade hardware, so they are easier to find.

What is the difference between Sanwa, Seimitsu, and other manufacturers?

Sanwa and Seimitsu are the two largest producers of Japanese arcade hardware. Which should you get? Ideally, try both out and decide which you prefer. If that isn?t an option for you, just get a stick with Sanwa parts. The Madcatz TE stick is full Sanwa stick and buttons and most of the Hori Real Arcade Pro (HRAP) line has a Sanwa stick at minimum. Seimitsu parts also have a lot of fans, but really, you can?t go wrong with Sanwa.

As far as American parts go, ironically the best American parts currently come from a European company, ?iL.? If you?d like to know more about Sanwa, Seimitsu, and the other arcade part companies, consult the essentials thread.

What stick should I buy?

There are basically three price ranges sticks come in: around $50, around $100, and $150+.

Around $50

Get the Mad Catz SE

In the $50 range, you first need to understand that these sticks do not have real arcade parts in them. They use knock off parts. If you want an entry level stick, or aren?t sure how serious you are about fighting games as a hobby, they are good options.

Why the Mad Catz SE? It?s very easy to mod. If you ever decide you want to move on to real arcade hardware, Sanwa and Seimitsu parts more or less drop right in.

Around $100

The around $100 range generally features sticks with arcade parts, full or partial. The big sticks to look out for here are from Mad Catz and Hori.

Mad Catz offers the TE stick, which features a Sanwa stick and buttons. Hori offers the Real Arcade Pro (HRAP) line, which comes in a few flavors. Normal HRAPs have a Sanwa stick, but have Hori (read: knockoff) buttons. HRAP SAs are full Sanwa, stick and buttons. HRAP SEs are full Seimitsu. Both the Mad Catz and Hori lines are easily modded with other parts, so those knockoff parts in the HRAP3 line can be easily dealt with. The HRAP and TE lines also have slightly different button layouts.

You can?t really go wrong with any of them. The one thing the Mad Catz TE has going against it is the lack of backwards compatibility with playing PS2 games on the PS3. Most people don?t use the PS3 for serious play of PS2 games anyway. Other than that, the TE is a solid choice. There are certain specialty mods (dual console modding) that are much easier to do on the TE than the Xbox 360 HRAP line.


The $150+ range is generally reserved for custom builders. There are a number of excellent custom builders lurking around SRK.

Sticks in this price range are for people who aren?t satisfied with off-the-shelf sticks, or want to have something unique. If you are just getting started in the arcade stick world, these might be more than you want to pay for. They are worth every penny though!

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Im trying to keep these as brief as possible while still being relevant. I understand that most of these could have much longer answers. Please contribute.

Q: Whats the difference in American and Japanese sticks? Which should I choose?
A: This site has a bias toward Japanese sticks and buttons. Japanese parts are also used in every commercially released stick for this generation of consoles. Theyre also used by most tournament players. That being said, theres absolutely nothing wrong with using an American stick. If youre trying to recreate the old arcade feel get a Street Fighter 15th Anniversary stick and upgrade it with Happ/iL parts (or a custom like Arcade in a Box).

Q: Should I use a Sanwa or Seimitsu stick?
A: Theres no right answer to this question. Its a matter of preference. Sanwa sticks are generally preferred for fighting games and are what the SF4 arcade cabinet and Mad Catz TE stick use. Seimitsu sticks are also great for fighters and are widely used in the shooter community due to their harder spring and shorter throw. Try both if you can so you can form your own opinion.

Q: What about buttons? Sanwa or Seimitsu?
A: Same as above: Sanwa are used on SF4/TE. That being said, Sanwa buttons are fairly sensitive. If youre used to resting your fingers on the buttons then Seimitsu offer more resistance.

Q: Whats the different between a Square and Octagonal gate?
A: The gate restricts the movement of Japanese joysticks. If youre initially shocked by the square feel of a Japanese stick then you may want to give an octagonal gate a try. It will have a rounder feel. This also boils down to preference. Most people recommend practicing enough with a square gate to get used to it since it is the norm. Try both to see which you prefer.

Q: Can I use a bat top on my stick?
A: The Sanwa bat top fits on both Sanwa and Seimitsu sticks.

Q: What parts should I use to upgrade my Mad Catz SE stick to match the TE?
A: Sanwa JLF-TP-8YT-SK Ball Handle Joystick and Sanwa OBSF-30 Pushbuttons

Q: Can I use my PS3 stick on the 360 or visa versa?
A: No, the 360 has a security scheme that only allows licensed controllers. Wired 360 controllers will also not work on the PS3 because they are not HID (driverless) devices. There are converters available from XCM that convert between the two systems but they are not recommended for fighting games due to compatibility issues and dropped button inputs.

Q: What type of stick should I purchase for PC use?
A: Most PS3 and 360 sticks will work fine. Microsoft provides Windows controller drivers for the 360 so these normally work without issues while the PS3 sticks may require workarounds. There are also plenty of PS2 to USB converters if you own an older PS2 stick.

Where would I be able to find modders that will help me with the whole LED wiring/modding thing?


Nice FAQ Kyle !

Maybe second line you could link to the Tech essentials thread

How does one tell if a soldering iron is crappy? I bought one for 5$ and the tip won’t melt anything, only the shaft will melt. I’m trying to dodge expensive irons, what’s a good one? Thanks

Is there anything I can do with my bare SE?

I’m modding an arcade stick for the first time. The arcade stick I’m modding is the Agetec arcade stick for the DreamCast with Sanwa parts. What I’m wondering is how well will either of these two joysticks work with the arcade stick, the Sanwa JLF-TP-8YT-SK and the Sanwa JLF-TP-8T? Also, which of those two arcade sticks are of higher quality or are they the same? Lastly, can you remove the mounting plate from either of the arcade sticks?

All Sanwa JLF are the same; some just have different prefixes to show what is added on.

Here the six variations listed in Sanwa Catalog ('07~'08):
JLF-TP-8 is Base JLF.
JLF-TP-8Y is Base JLF with the TP-MA (PCB) rotated 90.
JLF-TP-8T is Base JLF with JLF-P-1 (Flat Mounting Plate).
JLF-TP-8YT is Base JLF with the TP-MA (PCB) rotated 90 with JLF-P-1 (Flat Mounting Plate).
JLF-TP-8S is Base JLF with the TP-MA (PCB) rotated 90 with JLF-P-1S (S Mounting Plate).
JLF-TP-8Y-SK is Base JLF with the TP-MA (PCB) rotated 90 with JLF-CD (Shaft Cover).

Of course other variations can be done too:

I’ll just add this for completeness, since it is JLF:
JLF-TM-8 can do; JLF-TM-8T, JLF-TM-8T-SK, JLF-TM-8S, JLF-TM-8S-SK.

Removable, yes.
Unscrew to do.


What iron are you using? I use a 15 watt cheapo from Rat Shack that works fine for PCBs. I’ve bought two of them in the past three years. Not exactly a heavy investment.

Is it a gutted case? Add a stick, buttons and a PCB?

Hey, anyone know the exact size of the the TE for art work? I’m gonna order plexiglass that will take up the Bezel from Art Hobbies. Anyone?

Well you just print the Template at 100%, No Scale, 300 DPI and you will get exact size.

I like the way you cleaed some things up for happ/iL based sticks. There are still a contengient of people that prefer the american styled sticks, which can get the idea they are looked down on. Hate to have prople discouraged and say their american style stick is crap. Personally, the lack of a happ based stick kept me from buying one for years. With the help of this forum, I was able to make my own and am quite happy.

what does adding a spring to your JLF do?

More tension.

Just one last question before I make the order, which button has a smaller base width? The OBSF-30 or the OBSN-30 or is the base width of both of them the same?

30 means 30mm.
24 means 24mm.

24mm is smaller than 30mm.

30 is in both OBSF-30 and OBSN-30.
So both has to be the same.

But then I don’t really know what you mean by base width.

Base as in the part that is pushed into the plate on the stick. I guess I just took the measurements the wrong way. I thought the measurements were talking about the width of the top of the button that you play with.