How Bad is a X-Arcade Tankstick? / Custom Stick Questions

Hi everyone. Well, I got my first stick (a Brawlstick) last October and modded it with Seimitsus. And I gotta say, I love arcade sticks. Both for playing games and modding. The first stick was really fun to mod and customize and I’ve been wanting to buy another stick (for local multiplayer). I’ve been looking for an excuse to start working on another stick and that opportunity has come up.

A cousin of mine has been getting rid of his videogame stuff and is giving it to another cousin of mine and me. So I’ll soon be the owner of a Genesis, Dreamcast (Mahvell 2!), and a 360. My cousin also has a X Arcade tankstick (old model, no trackball) that he used for Dreamcast stuff and I’ve been thinking about whether I should get it or not. I’ve heard that it sucks, but how bad? It’ll be completely free for me but it’s kinda busted. The cable port thing on the Tankstick is bent, the sticks stick, etc. I also despise American parts so I don’t want that junk in my stick. So can I put Japanese parts in it? How bad is the PCB? How much would it cost to fix the cable port problem?

My second choice if the Tankstick sucks is to make a custom stick (out of wood preferably). Yes, I’ve read slagcoin and I got a lot of info from it but its a little overwhelming and I still have a few questions. So from you stick builders, what wood is best? Should I paint the wood or stain it? What kind should I use? Can I make it compatible with Japanese and Korean parts (side note: how good are korean parts for SF? I’ e been getting into tekken lately but I don’t want to use koreans if they suck on my old games)? Can I put plexiglass on top? Where should I get it from? Are 8 button or 6 button layouts better/ are vewlix or noir layouts better? What PCB is best? How heavy would one be based on the type of wood you recommend? Can I make the bottom metal? Can I unscrew the bottom once I make it or is it stuck like this forever? Can I make the cable disconnect…able? How hard is it to make a stick PS3/ PC/ DC compatible? Are Sanwas or that Crown Japanese Korean stick more durable?

So if you can answer at least a few questions, that would be great! Thanks!

The X-arcade sticks including the Tank takes Happ and IL parts as drop in replacements.
By majority consensus is that IL is superior to Happ although both have nearly identically style parts.

The Wooden construction it self isn’t bad at all, it is more than study enough for home use.

Any mod is possible with enough skill, resources, ingenuity and tenacity. I seen Japanese Parts installed in X-arcade sticks before.

a Sanwa JLW (not JLF) is a good alternative if you abhor American style Joysticks. It will take a bit of modding the inside of the top panel (Hollowing out part of the underside with a router or chisel.
It be more difficult to mod the buttons for Japanese style push buttons but it is not impossible.

Someone demonstrating a Seimitsu joystick installed in a X-arcade case. It also apply to Sanwa joysticks.

Here is a thread for modding a X-arcade

As for the PCB, Junk it, get ether a Toodles MC Cthulhu or a PS360+ Both supports dreamcast.

If you are making the case, it is all up to you.

Korean Vs Japanese Parts?
*Careful do not trigger a flame war. *
When it comes down to American vs Japanese vs Korean style parts, it all boils to personal preference.

American parts are made primarily for thick wooden panels and are built for durability and to take abuse, they tend not to be sharply precise as Japanese parts but American parts can be more forgiving of bad execution.
Japanese are made for thin plastic, metal and/or fiberglass panels, Japanese parts excels in precision but tend to lack durability of American parts.
Korean parts are somewhere in between, they can take abuse, they use rubber gromets instead of springs similar to some older Wico joysticks. Their buttons are 28mm

Now that’s interesting you bring up the Wico joysticks and a comparison with Korean makes… I DID have two Wico joysticks for a very long time (about a decade). They used the old Atari controller interface that was in use from the Atari 2600 and the old Atari computers through at least the Sega Genesis days. All told, I think at least a half-dozen console systems and personal computers were compatible with the Wico joysticks I had.

The videogame industry in its earlier days was a lot less picky about enforcing certain technical patents that it is today. Atari didn’t seem to care that other companies were using its 2600 interface on their machines. It meant Atari joysticks as well as third-party (2600-compatible like Wico) could be used on those machines. The number of lawsuits about controller interfaces today – the most infamous is the patent lawsuit brought against the “vibration” features of the Dual Shock and XBox controllers that lasted several years and through at least two console cycles(!) – is just ridiculous.

Yeah, if I need to gut the whole X Arcade, might as well just make my own case. I’m primarily a SFxT player but I’ve been getting into TTT2 lately. How good are Korean sticks for SF? And while I’m at it, how are sanwa buttons? I have seimitsus on my other stick.

I heard that PS1/2 pcbs are good but do I need to solder anything? And can I use adaptors? How is lag with those?

They are to a point (and what PS1/PS2 PCB you nab)

The majority of the good converters are made for PS2 controllers.

for converters, check the converters thread.
I recommend for sticks to just get a compatible PCB.

It varies from player to player.
If you are used to seimitsu the korean parts will not feel as “tightly controlled” But Alot of Tekken players swear by Korean parts.

So they’re looser? How are JLFs?

I like the Seimitsus I have (LS-32-01) but it’s kinda hard to hit diagonals. The throw feels OK but I guess it depends on the game. However, it feels a little too tight sometimes and a little too stiff. I also think that it doesnt return to neutral fast enough, making sidestepping pretty tough. Also, I havent been able to find a LS-32-01 shaft cover or dustwasher (the dustwasher I use is a little too big). Do I even need one?

Button wise, I’m pretty rough with my buttons. I like to press them really hard to make sure that it registers. Which are the best for that?

Happs or IL buttons if you are really Rough with your Push Buttons. (and Less modding of the case)
Otherwise I sat get ether Crown or Seimitsu buttons. (more case modding)

The Sanwa JWL is the only Japanese stick that was intended for both metal and Wood panels.

OK, well I guess I’ll make a custom. I did some research and I would much rather make a custom than mod an X Arcade. So which is better, PS360 or Cthulhu? Any soldering needed, lag, etc. on either? Can I make a disconnectable cable? Any tutorials? How do I mount the PCB? And what are the “size classes” or whatever for sticks? I’ve seen people say that their stick is “small”, “medium”, or “large”. How big is a medium stick?

PCB Mounting
It varies on person to person, case to case basis (pun is intended)

Zip ties and Zip tie anchors

This should be self explanatory, the Anchors are self adhesive and you zip tie wires, cables or PCBs to the anchors.
You can also use zip ties by them selves if you have a area that allows the zip ties to go around .

hook and loop tape (a.k.a. Velcro)
Known by its brand name of Velcro. Use this stuff to strap your PCB down or use sticky back or self adhesive hook and loop strips to hold your PCB in place.
(not recommended unless you get industrial grade)

Dual Lock (Recommended over Hook and Loop)

Similar to Hook and Loop tape, Dual Lock is made more so for hardware and electronics in mind. And Dual-Lock as a stronger hold than Hook and Loop tape.
Another bonus is both sides of Dual Lock tape is identical, it hooks together by having “mushroom” shape hooks caching each other

Double Sided foam tape

Self explanatory, great in cushioning PCBs and can used in combination with Dual Lock

PCB Feet

You Glue or screw in the feet into your board, then screw the PCB into place.
eTokki also sells PCB feet that clip on the corners of a PCB instead of screwing in place for PCBs that lack screw holes.

PCB stand offs

Similar to PCB feet, you have to glue or screw the stand offs into place, often made from metal, plastic or both.

Project Box
Placing your board in a project box or enclosure, with holes or opening made to allow wiring to poke though the box.
The Box it self is ether screwed or glued into place.

Straight up screw your PCB to the case.

Avoid Hot gluing PCBs directly to your stick case as its a pain to undo if you ever need to make changes or repairs.

It is also a case to case basis depending on who you talk to. Also weight factors in to the description. Like how the Injustice stick is consider small because it is a light weight stick despite almost being the size of a Mad Catz TE.

A Typical Mad Catz TE, Qanba Q4 Raf, or the Hori Real Arcade Pro 1,2,3, EX and VX/VS Pro is considered a normal or medium size stick.

An Hori Real Arcade Pro VLX , the Blaze Twin stick and the Sega Virtua Stick HSS-0130 (Saturn and Dreamcast versions) are considered Large.

A Small stick would include the Mad Catz SE, the Exar stick, The NES Advantage, the Namco PS1 stick and the Dreamcast Agetec.

The rest of your Questions are covered in the FAQ page. Check that for your questions as their tons of guides, Work logs, FAQs and threads that are linked there.