Kowal actuator hole wrong size?


Hello all, I recently bought an octogate and Kowal actuator for my JLF.

I’m pretty pleased with this combination however I’ve noticed when pulling the stick hard into a direction it feels like something moves a bit further inside the stick.

On further inspection it seems that when the Kowal presses up against the gate it buckles slightly to the side this seems to be because the hole in the Kowal isn’t quite as snug against the JLF shaft as the stock actuator, so there is some extra play for the actuator to move around against he shaft.

Has anyone else encountered this with their actuator, perhaps this is how they all are?



That’s pivot jump, it’s normal, and that larger actuator augments it. When that happens, it’s a good indicator you’re pressing too hard.


Thanks for the reply! That sounds about right, you do have to push against the gate quite hard for it to occur. I try to play as gently as possible and not ride the gate but since I’m pretty terrible on stick (even after a few hundred hours on it) I still clamp down during matches if someone decides to put me in the vortex!

Good to know that it’s normal, I really like the feeling of the octogate compared to square which is all I had played with, but only when it has the oversized actuator in it, so I’ll stick with it and try to play more lightly. I’ll now run and hide from the square gate purists ;D


Hi Pulseammo,
I’m glad you’re enjoying that kowal actuator with the octagon gate!

The stock actuator with the octagon gate was probably the worst experience I ever had (cant dragon punch, throw distance to the gate edge massively too wide, corners FAR too notchy and FAR too much resistance!) but the kowal actuator turns the octagon gate from a 1/5 to a 5/5 to me, by combining exactly what I like into one system. I play a lot of games (not just a fighting game), and always liked square gates in fighters (easy to do (crouching) starting position ken/ryu DP’s) but I need 4 way primary control for games like Gauntlet, and it works great. I haven’t tried a LS-56 with an Octagon gate yet, but I’m very happy with the setup currently.

I haven’t experienced the problem you have with anything “moving” inside the stick when riding the gate hard, though! That’s both on my Qanba Q4raf (stock spring+Octo gate+Kowal) and Madcatz TE (LS-55 spring+octo+Kowal).

Are you using the stock ball handle?

The only problem I had with the kowal actuator and the octagon gate is when using the bat handle adapter, then I get that problem, and the stick actually gets unusable if you even so much as screw in the bat handle past the point where it just starts twisting off. No problem whatsoever with the ball top though, but the bat handle is virtually unusable with the kowal actuator.


Just to be clear, this is the phenomenon you’re describing, correct? I have a stock JLF actuator and a square gate installed for this video:


That’s interesting…
I don’t have that problem at all (at least with the octo+kowal)
(if that’s in fact what he’s referring to).
I don’t remember if I saw that on the square gate+stock actuator but no matter how hard I ride the gate on the Octo gate and Kowal actuator, it doesn’t do that (and I don’t want to try to force it and damage something).
I guess I would have to reinstall the stock gate and actuator to test that? I don’t want to open up my stick :(:frowning:


Don’t worry about it, if you’re not causing it to happen, that’s a good thing. I just want people to know that this isn’t a problem with their levers, it’s a technique thing. If you’re really curious, just pop the square back on and test- the sanwa gt-Y gate is so wide that it’s probably harder to trigger using it.


Wow so many replies! Ok where to start…

Exactly! The Kowal makes the throw distance much more usable for the octogate, my problem was for dashes, the distance of the throw was really making a rapid succession of dashes difficult.

Yup, stock Sanwa ball top.

Yeah I think this is what is happening. After you called it “pivot jump” I decided to look under the dust washer to see if my pivot was jumping when I felt the feeling of it going “that bit further” and you can see the pivot lift. Honestly I don’t think it takes much extra force to do it.

From the inside of the stick when the pivot jumps it kind of lifts the actuator and looks like it’s pushing it to the side a tiny amount which is why I thought it was an actuator issue.

I took a video of my Kowal vs my standard actuator on the shaft. If you watch the “thin end” of the actuator you can see the Kowal is able to move about on the shaft a bit more, where as the stock one is more stable. It’s hard to capture on video, and the video I’ve taken makes it look a bit worse than it is as there was a bit of left/right movement when I was trying to push the Kowal up/down. The Kowal is the second actuator in the video:

http://sendvid.com/7bmdyx83 <- Sorry don’t know how to embed this since it isn’t youtube.

I also tried my stock actuator on both the octo and square gate and I now get the same feeling - it is definitely the pivot jumping. I guess it’s always been there and now that I’m messing about modding my stick I’m noticing it more because I’m trying to see what configuration I like best. I suppose it’s like a placebo effect - I think something new is happening but it’s always done that.

Anyway, thanks for all the help, you went out of your way to make that video showing pivot jump @PresidentCamacho, I appreciate that. Looks like I need to learn to play lighter!

Edit: Just a note to say I see that two people have clicked “Disagree” on @PresidentCamacho’s thought that it is pivot jump, care to share your theories? :slight_smile:


I would also add that the worst thing that will happen from using excess force is actuator wear (easily replaceable) and dust (easy to clean), and maybe faster microswitch wear. Better to avoid excessive wear imo, but if you enjoy the feeling of playing a bit harder, go for it- just know what you’ll have to clean/replace more often.


Forgive the potato picture here, but does your joystick look like this diassembled?


That’s my stick with the Kowal in “assembly” order of the parts. One part is missing…a metal circle washer thing that I left on the mount, as there’s lube all over it. That metal thing goes “between” the white pivot thing and the “First” black actuator that the spring is inserted on. (the Kowal goes on after, followed by the E-clip).

I’m asking because even though my kowal “moves” like yours, it doesn’t “pop” or catch or anything like you’re saying. And I got some workouts with it in Gauntlet II (Atari game) with some nice gate riding and it never catches…

I just now took that photo for you, as I was wondering why you have that issue but I don’t.
(This stick is from a Madcatz Xbox360 SFxT TE stick, but my Qanba Q4raf stick performs the same way, I forgot if the Q4raf comes with that “Metal” thing I mentioned or not…I don’t remember seeing that metal thing, but it does not come with the second black dust washer. the madcatz does come with 2 dust washers (not shown; I removed the second one and put it on the Q4raf).


No, it doesn’t, because on a ball top if you push anyway from lower mid underside of the ball you can easily push the joystick UP. It doesn’t take much effort to cause a pivot to jump if you know how to do it. You can use a lot of excessive force pushing the lever from the top of the ball top downwards and never have the pivot jump.

By the gods, PLEASE stop peddling this excessive force causes pivot jumps bullshit. I swear, if I have to make a fucking video to show you why this myth you’re peddling is FALSE I’m going to have to choke a bitch. Do tech talk a favor, and stop.


Yup that’s correct, in my video I just took everything apart and put the Kowal on alone so that I wasn’t fighting with the spring while trying to demonstrate the play on the shaft.

That’s good to know, thanks for testing it for me!

So perhaps something to do with my joystick hold then. I use the regular two in front and two behind, I’d say when I go to the down position my middle finger is on the underside of the stick pulling up slightly so this might explain it.

Stumbled into the local on going debate it seems!

Good to know, the feeling of the pivot jumping was only minorly annoying really and I was hoping to eliminate it but it seems I should stop blaming my pivot and focus on my crappy execution instead ;D. I’m sure no matter how I play the stick will survive, I’m guessing these arcade parts will see far more abuse in a real arcade than in my stick seeing an hour or two’s use a day and like you say the parts are cheap anyway.

Thanks again for the help all!


Did you even watch that video? I was very careful to make it clear that I was pushing from above the mid line of the ball top. Also, in your last tantrum on the topic, you never explained why this only happens in one direction with my hayabusa lever, and why it’s a single direction in my 3 56’s and my 62. If I was lifting up as you say, it would jump regardless of the direction with any lever.


Yes, it boils down to how you play. You’re gripping the underside of the lever so you’re accidentally getting the right leverage needed to push upwards. With a ball top anything below equator in the southern hemisphere can accidentally allow upwards movements. Even a slight angle hitting it diagonally can have this happen, without much force. If you were playing using your palm from the top, you could hit it rather hard and not have it pop because there is no leverage to allow upwards movements. All the force is then downwards.

If you were to apply an upwards pressure above the equator in the northern hemisphere of the ball top you wouldn’t get a pop because there is nothing to give such momentum leverage, unlike the underside of the ball top that acts as a hook for your fingers.

Changing to a bat top could possibly alleviate this issue since there isn’t anything to really hook your fingers on, usually the slope of a bat top isn’t nearly as drastic as the curvature on a ball top. That doesn’t meant it can’t happen, just that it’s less likely. Plus, though you can wine grip a bat top, bat top also offers easier angled palm tapping. What you could try is wine glass for upward based movements and palm tapping for downwards based movements. By using the flat of your palm to tap the lever for downwards motions you leave less chance to force the pivot upwards and out of the socket.

Just practice how you play. Try less gripping and more tapping. Try other methods like using your palm for rolling motions rather than fingers to grip. There are tons of ways to play, but what you should focus on is simply hitting the lever horizontally rather than diagonally. You can press down but try not to press up.

You’re gripping the ball and pulling. It’s right in your video. It’s a 3 finger grip which is more than enough friction to pull on the ball top. You’re pulling, not pushing. I don’t know why this is such a hard concept for you to understand. As for directions when you play, a number of things can cause you to pull up. For example, if you’re hitting the up direction but pressing from below the ball top, you’ll get a pop. If you’re wine gripping and pulling the lever downwards, you could accidentally pull up on it. If you switch grips from down to up, such as pressing down with the curvature of your fingers from the top, but using wine grip to push upwards when pressing up, you’ll get a pivot pop with up but not down.


What controller did the joystick come in?
I think this may be a mounting or plate issue. I checked my actuator and it does not move or catch at all AFTER it’s assembled, and also, it’s VERY difficult to put the E clip on, due to the force of the spring pushing upwards and there being almost no clearance (basically if I remove the E-clip, there’s a chance the actuator and spring could go airborne).

There should be less than a mm of space between the E clip groove and the actuator, when its being fully pressed down. If there’s more space than that, perhaps that might be causing the issue. that’s just a wild guess, though. If I had this happening to me, it would drive me crazy.


Mechanically I do not see how it’s a mounting plate issue. The mounting plate has no interaction with the shaft assembly.
Only thing I could think of is the mount plate isn’t screwed down all the way. And the solution is simple, tighten the screws.

The JLF E-clip is far from the most difficult, its actually one of the easier e-clips to remove. Although I do see why people have issues with removing or replacing the e-clip.

That just wild speculation that leads to nowhere.

That should and would never happen, there no mechanical reason for this. If you put the shaft assembly together correctly and their nothing wrong with the spring and nothing snags (only reason being if there burs or damage to the shaft lever it self) the problem you describe will never happen.


If you’re still able to activate the switch and nothing is breaking, just go play the damn game.


The jlf video I posted right here shows it happening in all 4 cardinal directions, not only when I’m pulling, and again, if you watched it you would see that my finger tips are above the center of the ball top. And the levers I have that only do it in one direction always do it on whichever side that part of the main housing is rotated to- with my current configurations, the 56 in my cabinet does it when pressing up, the 56 in my panzer does it in the left direction, the one I just took out of my TE did it in the down direction, the 62 currently in my TE does it in the right direction, the jlf does it in all directions, the 38 does it big time in all directions, and my hayabusa does it in the down direction. With any of them, the jump only occurs when I use more force than normal. Even the 38 (which is just the 32 with a stronger spring, for those who didn’t know), a lever universally known for its pivot jump, is fine if I’m not pressing too hard against the gate. All I am saying here is that there’s nothing wrong with your lever if you notice this. You can use less force, or you can use some other grip technique to deal with it. To deny that it exists at all simply because you can prevent it from happening with the right technique is stupid, and will only lead people to incorrectly believe that they have faulty parts.


By the gods… :confused:


I think this is the best post of this entire thread.
And the entire thread ran it’s course (right into the ground).

Lets follow the Wisdom of @NENDO and play some video games.