Microswitches - which ones to buy

I’m customizing two sticks and I’d really like to learn more about microswitches. This may be running over some of the same ground, as has been covered in the past… but I’ve dug through all the related posts in the forum. it doesn’t help matters, with Happ changing the switches it uses, and there being different models of Cherry’s switches…

Can anyone basically explain which microswitches are needed for pushbuttons vs. for
joysticks, and why?

As a starting point, maybe we can be specific about

Switches for Sanwa JLF sticks?

Switches for Happ/iL sticks?

Specific info about operating force, how much is function and how much is preference, whether anyone had any particularly good or bad experiences with various switches… and of course, whether there are different switches for pushbuttons?

Input (and some consolated easy to reference info) would be awesome. In the meantime, I’ve ordered a bunch of Happ and iL stuff, both buttons and switches, and I’ll be happy to post comparisons.

Every joystick and button has some form of microswitch.

A joystick is just a lever with 4 switches to respond to the 4 cardinal directions of UP, DOWN, LEFT and RIGHT.
All joysticks on the market (with the few exceptions like Analog or optical) uses 4 micro switches. Some joysticks like Seimitsu uses leveled micro switches while Sanwa JLF and Happ/ IL uses non-levered.

Here is an example of a Cherry brand Microswitch that could be used for joystick applications


Here is a Levered Microswitch

Microswitches in different styles.

As you notice these switches have 2 or 3 tabs. 2 tab switches are usually very straight forwards so I going to cover the 3 tab switches instead. As you see on the image of the Cherry Switch you have a Com or Common , NC and NO tab. Common is short for common ground, and that is where your ground wire goes to. NO or Normally Open is where you want your other wire to go to, for your signal. Normally open is when the current is OFF when the button is not pressed. NC is Normally Closed, and we only used that if we want the circuit to be in a ON state until some press a button. NC is not used in most arcade applications so we will ignore it for now.

This is the underside of a Happ joystick, as you can see 4 switches are positioned around the shaft (part that is connected to the “handle” of the joystick) on the end of the shaft, we have a actuator, it has 2 jobs, retaining the spring that returns the stick to center, and to press into a switch to activate it.

Here is an example of a Happ button with a microswitch underneath.

No all buttons use that style of Microswitch.


Here is an example of a microswitch for a 30mm Sanwa button, Seimitsu buttons uses a very similar switch. Note there is only 2 terminals or tabs and a grove to fit the plunger (part of the button that goes up and down).

Switches for Happ/IL Joysticks and Buttons:
they used the same style micro switch. Like the Cherry switch you see above.
The Default switch brand for happ is E-Switch

Sanwa JLF series:
By default Sanwa JLF joysticks use Omicron switches, although Sanwa sticks are compatible with other brands such as Cherry (as Above) or E-Switch (not recommended) Most Sanwa JLF sticks now have therestock switches installed in a PCB.
And the switches take a 5 pin wire harness instead of having every switch wired up.

Helpful Links

A user rating of various US, European, Chinese and Japanese Microswitches Very informative. Unfortunately its in Polish, so you might have to run it trough Google translate first.
Mikroprze??czniki V (Polish)
Google Translate (Google Translate to English)

Darksakul, very cool, good intro information!

Do you know whether the same cherry switches that are used for Happ/IL sticks are also used for buttons? They look the same,but I suspect the operating force might be different.

On Akihabarashop.jp the have the Omron switches for the JLF.


It’s all a matter of preference.

At first, I was gung-ho about the JLF on Street Fighter IV and Marvel Vs Capcom 2, BUT when I went back and tried to use the same joystick on the older CPS-2 and SNK games I own on PS2 and Saturn it never clicked for me. Too loose for me in stock form and a bear to move when I tightened the tension. (It’s a lot like playing with oversized tennis rackets and widebodies; never could get the feel of those and coordinate them with my natural motions.) I could never get around the problem I had with the throw and all the mods I’ve read suggested that I’d be better off switching to LS-32/LS-40 altogether. Definitely prefer Seimitsu’s gated microswitches on its stick line.

I go back and forth on the buttons but my general feeling on the buttons is that for many of them a retrofit with SW-68 will make most buttons that use PS-14D switches feel like the Sanwa 30mm OBSF/OBSN’s. I wouldn’t bother with changing the PS-14D’s on the Pearls. They feel pretty soft as it is… Swapping the switches in the PS-15’s definitely makes a huge difference!

That basic ability to swap components has me looking my next few art mods with Skeleton (PS-14-K) buttons…

You get the best of both worlds when the hardware manfacturers aren’t cooperating with your needs 100%.

Different switches have different activation forces.

For instance, JLF switches have an activation force of (iirc) 200g, while Cherry switches are 75-80g.
According to kowal, OBSF’s SW-68 are 30g, OBSF-RG are 40g, Seimitsu PS-14 are 50g.

Paradise Arcade Shop sell a 20g switch by Zippy (for use in sticks or non-Asian buttons).


You naughty, naughty boy.



You naughty, naughty boy.


lol…that’s funny, I think he means cardinal. but either way…good catch dev.

Cherry D42 is whats used in IL Joysticks (I believe ) and it has a blue plunger
KWJ Cherry were used in the past for both Happ Joysticks and Push buttons (Soft)
Cherry D44 are simular to KWJ but are harder

Omron switches are very hard, great for sticks, too hard for buttons.

I have no idea how much Force it takes for each button.
Slag Coin has the force to actuate listed.




The thickness of plastic, shape, and height of plungers also affect button response/sensitivity, too.

The PS-14-P Pearls and PS-15 thin buttons use the same microswitch. However, the plunger on the PS-15 sits a lot higher – much higher than the both the Sanwa OSBF-30 series and the PS-14-P – and what feels like a gentle touch on PS-14-P feels like pounding fingers into bricks until you break in the PS-14D switches on the PS-15 a bit.

((You have to see a PS-15 lined up against the PS-14-P and Sanwa OBSF-30 to appreciate that plunger height difference. It’s very noticeable when they’re lined up together!))

Same microswitch… very different containers!

On the other hand, swap in SW-68’s into that same PS-15 body and cover up/align the plunger on top, and the PS-15 feels close to a Sanwa once you get used to it and the plunger settles onto the SW-68 switch.

The PS-14-K’s and PS-14-K-N’s are technically supposed to be similar button lines except for the fact that the PS-14-K-N’s are screwed onto faceplates. However, at least 2 different people have told me that the PS-14-K’s have noticeably less plunger resistance than the PS-14-K-N’s.

Looking at Akihabarashop.jp’s site, I kind of see why the difference. They DON’T use the same microswitch. Older-style PS-14X line Seimitsu buttons (PS-14-P, PS-14-K, PS-15, PS-14-D, all 24mm Seimitsu buttons) use PS-14D microswitches. Newer-style, “flat pushbutton” Seimitsus (PS-14-G, PS-14-K-N) use the PS-14-G microswitches.

And yeah, Seimitsu uses the designation “PS-14D” and “PS-14-G” to describe both button and switch series! Weird… at least Sanwa standardized around the SW-68 for most of its buttons.

Anyone here using buttons without springs? Does this affect your microswitch choice?

american style buttons with out the springs make them feel alot more like a seimitsu button

what´s the difference into Omron switches and Zippy ultra light switches?

Omron makes multiple models of switches used in joysticks…to which one are you referring?