Hori Saturn Stick Needs Troubleshooting

I just got a Hori Fightingstick SS (the one with the green buttons and black balltop) and the joystick inputs aren’t working right. Been using shmups to test since they show real time input.

When in the up/left position, the game only registers the “up”. When in the up/left corner, the actuator does activate both microswitches. The stick does move left by itself, but once the up switch is activated, the ship/avatar only moves up.

Also, sometimes the movement will be jerky (in any direction). So if I hold right, about 5% of the time my shmup ship will move as if I am tapping right. Most of the time the movement is smooth.

I don’t see anything physically wrong with the stick or the microswitches. As far as I can tell, the buttons work correctly. But, the second time I plugged the stick in it would not respond at all and I found that the plug into the console is pretty sensitive. I have to wiggle it a little bit to get it to work. So this might be a factor in the jerky movements, but not the up/left not working.

Any help or ideas to point me in the right direction would be great. Thanks in advance.

If you have a multimeter, check the wiring on the connector cable to be sure that there is electrical conductance through each wire in the connector cord.

If the connector cable passes the test, then the issue is with the joystick or PCB. Check to see that all the wires are properly soldered/connected to the microswitches. Do conductivity tests with their lines, too. You may have to take the joystick completely apart to see if there’s an issue with the pivot, the spring retainer, or actuator. Pop off the E-ring retainer to see if the parts are okay. If that stuff checks out – no broken pieces of plastic or spring issues causing the joystick’s bad behavior, then something on the PCB is broken or worn out. IF your stick is broken – worn microswitches or other issues --, you’ll have to mod existing in-production parts to fit OR figure out a way to fit a small replacement stick into that cramped base. JLF’s and LS-32’s will definitely NOT fit into the SS case. The microswitches should be easy enough to replace… Just find similar construction switches from Sanwa (JLW series) or Seimitsu (no -01’s).

Sounds like your problems are a little bit of both the connector cable – it shouldn’t be malfunctioning like this at all – and the joystick. Possibly the PCB is broken some way. Don’t know what to tell you if none of this checks out negatively other than that the Hori PCB may be shot. In that case, you have to ask yourself whether the stick is worth saving for a mod. The case is very shallow as it is and it would be hard to fit anything larger than a Cthulu-series PCB in it let alone a dual mod with a 360 PCB.

For what these SS sticks generally go for now, I would say get another joystick. SS mods are involved and not much in-production hardware can be fit into the cramped case space without some plastic cutting.

There are definitely some people who might buy the case off you. At least you can recover some money there. Those guys use it as a Neo Geo stick stand-in after some serious modding…

I had one of these SS sticks, too, and never felt it was a comfortable stick. I always felt the Ascii Saturn stick had far more comfortable buttons although that stick base is even less moddable than the Hori SS Stick. At least with the Hori SS Stick you have the ability to fit in quality 30mm buttons if you just widen the existing button holes a bit – not that I seriously think it’s worth the effort.

Thanks for the detailed, informative reply. Good info for anyone that might search “trouble shooting” in the future.

I just got home from work and messed with the stick some more. Sadly, I only had a few minutes to play with it before work. I isolated the problem to the plug. Holding it in the right spot cured all of the issues. So I tried cleaning/buffing the contacts in the plug, and that seemed to help a lot, but sometimes a steady joystick input would act like it was being tapped. So I heated up the plug a little bit (it’s plastic without the metal sleeve the normal Saturn jack has) and then closed it a little bit when soft, so now the plastic holds the plug’s contacts to the contacts in the Saturn with a little more grip. Now the “tapping” and missed input are gone. Just played a game of Radiant Silvergun, and had my best game ever and there were no joystick issues.

I want to get a custom stick for Saturn, PC, and X360, but the Hori is for the meanwhile. I’ll check out the Ascii based on your suggestion George. I have seen it locally for cheap but didn’t know if it was decent or trash like the US Virtua Stick.