Many people seem to be wondering these days whether or not the HRAP2 is as easily modifiable as the HRAP1–it’s not posted very clearly anywhere what the inside of the HRAP2 is like or how to mod it. I finished modding my recently purchased HRAP2 so I thought I’d give a quick breakdown and show everyone what the inside of this thing looks like.
Opening the HRAP2 is just like opening the HRAP1–unscrew the 8 outer screws, unscrew the nuts which hold down the top faceplate, then unscrew the 6 nuts that hold down the top faceplate. For the nuts, you can either use a 7MM nut screwsriver or just use some skinny needle-nose pliers. However, there isn’t much space around a couple of the nuts so I would really recommend getting the nut screwdriver. The faceplate then lifts right up, giving you access to the innards.
Inside of HRAP2. As you can see, it is conveniently equipped with quick disconnects just like HRAP1. The joystick also uses the same connector plug as HRAP1. However, on the HRAP2, the joystick connector plug was hot glued into place. This was kind of annoying, as it took a few minutes to peel it all off so that I could unplug it.
Close up of joystick quick-disconnect:
Really hard to unscrew screws:
So, I borrowed a Japanese friends screwdriver and it happened to fit perfectly. However, the screws were a BITCH to get out, I had to hold the screwdriver down with one hand and with the other hand use a pair of pliers to loosen each screw. However, once I got each of them loosened up a bit, they came out quite easily.
Now, here is the stick I want to put in my HRAP2. It was recommended to me by TRY (the store in Akihabara where I bought all of the parts) as the best/easiest Seimitsu stick to put in an HRAP. Cost was only about 1800 yen per stick, about $16 each (I bought 2). Turns out it was infact the best stick, as it’s a fairly new model and does install relatively easily into the HRAP2 (and probably HRAP1 as well). It wasn’t problem-free though, either.
Here’s the pic, it’s a Seimitsu LS-32-02.
Unfortunately, the metal mounting plate that came with the joystick was screwed on in such a way that I’d have to install the joystick sideways in my HRAP2. Well, I wasn’t having that, so I simply unscrewed the four gold screws on top of the joystick that hold it on, rotated it 90 degrees, and screwed it back on. Problem solved.
So, now the joystick fits nicely inside of the HRAP2, but since the metal plate had to be rotated 90 degrees, you have to screw it into the HRAP2 on the sides instead of the top and bottom like the Sanwa was mounted. However, this was a slight problem, as the universal joystick connector gets in the way of one of the screwholes as you can see here:
There’s four screws, and apparently one is supposed to go in each corner, but there is simply no way to screw in the bottom left screw without breaking off or damaging the Seimitsu’s universal connector, and I’d much rather use that than have to screw in the joystick and then go through the hassle of soldering. So, I simply screwed in the fourth and final screw into the middle left screwhole instead of the bottom left. I think it ought to be fine.
Finally, the (almost) final product!
Looks pretty smooth as you can see. I got a blue balltop for it and I’m getting some pink Seimitsu PS-14-GX buttons to compliment it (same buttons used in the super-rare special edition HRAP1). I had to special order the buttons from TRY since they only carry Sanwa buttons. I really wanted to go all out Seimitsu with this one though (FYI: Most Japanese fighting game cabinets use Sanwa OSBF-30 buttons).
My other biggest complaint about the HRAP2–which I noticed immediately after trying out the joystick initially–was the awful placement of the L1 and L2 buttons. On the HRAP1, they didn’t get in the way since they were to the left of the main six buttons. The HRAP2 goes for a button layout to exactly match the Japanese cabinet layout, which is great, but they had to fudge it up by putting L1 and L2 RIGHT NEXT to R1 and R2 which are typically Fierce and Roundhouse, respectively.
Even when they’re not mapped to anything, they’re quite annoying, and since they’re so close I could easily see myself wanting to push them or something by accident thinking they will do something. Also, in games like Guilty Gear where they might be mapped to something dangerous like Taunt or Memory, these buttons would be hit far too much and far too easily. Think about how many people paused at Evo, and multiply it by several times.
Fortunately, I remedied this by getting some button-fillers, also from the store “Try” for only 100 yen each. They’re quite nice, and it makes the HRAP2 overall feel much more natural. I think that this is definitely the most important mod for HRAP2 owners.
Now, L1 and L2 are out of the way and the button fillers are almost flush with the HRAP2 itself. The other great thing about the button layout after modification is that your hand is now farther away from the select and start buttons, which has never been a problem for me but apparently some people love to hit them, especially at big tournaments and in the middle of important matches.
I gave the stick a good test run after finishing these two mods and it’s already GREAT. I always had a problem playing on HRAPs with Sanwa before, as far as doing links consistently (particularly double fireballs) and what have you. Also, doing any custom combo in CVS2. I discovered that this was because almost all game centers infact use Seimitsu joysticks, not Sanwa, for games like 3S and CVS2. Other games IIRC such as Tekken, VF4, Guilty Gear and the like all use Sanwa, but I can play all of these games just as well on a Seimitsu (not the other way around, however). So, for me personally, the Seimitsu stick is the best solution for a joystick for PS2 usage.
The non-mirror top on the HRAP2 is also tons better than the HRAP1 that scratches if you breathe on it. Also, when your hands rest on the HRAP2, it feels natural like an arcade cabinet instead of having the feeling that your hands are sticky/glued to the mirror-top (which was one of my biggest gripes about HRAP1).
The buttons, after I received them, were replaced just as easily as replacing buttons in the HRAP1. Simply remove the quick disconnects (might be easier with pliers than just your hands), pop out the buttons, snap or screw the new ones in depending on which buttons you bought. Easy!
Final Review score of HRAP2:
(Out of 10)
Before modding: 7.0 (great joystick, but still equipped with crappy Hori buttons by default, and bad placement of L1 and L2 makes the joystick lose major points if you leave the joystick unmodified).
After modding: 10.0! I think this will be the last joystick I ever need. Finally, having Japanese arcade-perfect parts along with the right size, weight, and feel–I think I will be much more comfortable when I go back to playing in console-based tournaments next year.
The finished product:
The end! Questions/comments welcome.