Modding my Hori EX2 Stick


#1

Hello Everyone!

It’s been far to long since I last posted. I haven’t really been into the fighting game scene very much in the past year. A lot of things have happened in my life which has kept me both busy and away from the gaming scene. The biggest thing being that I just bought a brand new car. For those who care, its a brand new 2013 Scion FR-S in Ultramarine Blue.

But now that winter is coming, I’m planning on modding my Hori EX2 and getting back into SSF4. I’ve already ordered a complete set of the new silent sanwa buttons, a battop with shaft and dust cover, and a replacement GT-Y Octagon gate. I also ordered a set of quick disconnects to make my life easier in the future but a lot of people modding the EX2 don’t seem to do it because of space reasons. I’m going to see if I can come up with a work around if possible.

For now I would like to share my artwork with you guys. I just spent about an hour or so last night creating this. Considering I don’t really have any specific character which I play with, I thought this would work best for me. The buttons are going to be 3 orange punch buttons and 3 vermillion kick buttons with a black battop.

Feel free to comment if you like. If you would like to reach me via Xbox Live, you can find me via my gamertag: bneale.

Stay tuned for updates! As soon as the parts are here, I’ll be diving into the stick.

Ben


#2

The reply to your statement about Winter is coming.

http://virtualtype.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/winter-is-coming.jpg

Now about your mod project, it seems you are willing to invest alot to your stick with Sanwa Silent buttons.
So why mod one of the harder sticks to mod.

Don’t believe me, here some guides I quickly dug up
http://pineconeattack.com/2008/12/07/how-to-mod-the-hori-fighting-stick-ex2-with-authentic-arcade-parts-xbox-360-version/

Here is another one in French, I don’t understand French but the pictures give you an idea whats involved.
http://www.studiosushi.com/tutorial-hori-ex2-sanwa-mod-custom-art/

I honestly think the Hori XV (non-pro version) would be much better suited for this mod than the EX2.


#3

Thanks for posting Darksakul. But I think you’re assuming that I haven’t done any research on this at all. I’ve done PILES of research about this project and I have spent many hours looking at all of the failed attempts people have made. Including those failed attempts of the people on this very forum. Trust me when I say, I’m prepared to take this task on. I’m so prepared for this task that I invite you to ask me about possible problems and I will give you my ideas on how I will attempt to resolve them.

I’ve done my fair share of soldering in the past and I’m pretty good at it. So I’m confident I’ll be able to un-mount the boards using a solder sucker and mount quick disconnects. The only problem I can forsee right now is space. As others have said in the guides you posted, space is limited. But my plan is to bend the connections on the buttons 90 degrees to gain some more room and tape each connection with electrical tape so that nothing shorts out. I will also cover the bottom metal plate with electrical tape to also avoid any shorts coming off the PCB’s. Think of the electronics as being the meat of a burger surrounded by buns of electrical tape!

So in terms of the hardware department, the modding should be a peice of cake for me. Before I decided to take this project on, I was seriously thinking I might make my own Arcade Cab from stratch using a left over laptop my girlfriend wasn’t using. I’ve even gone as far as to rip the entire laptop apart and strip it down to it’s peices so that I can see how possible the project may be. This is the kind of person I am.

I just decided to not do the full arcade cab because the controls alone would cost between $150-$200 for a 2 player setup. And this doesn’t even cover the building materials needed for the actual cab and artwork. The total cost looked too high for me and I abandoned the project for now in favor of this. Almost all of the engineering for this idea is complete, the cost is why I stopped.

Ben


#4

I’ve modded 3 EX2’s with sanwa/seimitsu parts (JLF with PS-14-K/OBSF’s) and all i can say is that it is indeed pretty tedious. arguably its not that hard perse, it just tests your patience, a lot. the biggest problem here imo is the EX2 pcb. soldering issues are a given, its just, making the pcb ‘fit’ or connect well to the buttons is the challenge, considering all the space, or lack thereof.

And to make things worse, those things break easily. I found it easiest to just go out of your way and completely buy a new pcb/encoder entirely, something that would fit better. I guess what everyone else is trying to say here is that, these days, it’s just not worth the trouble, there are a lot more, easier and cost-efficient options. I’m not discouraging you, but get ready to be frustrated a bit.

here’s how i did mine, if it helps:
-buttons are pretty much the same as those tutorials…

  • to mount a Sanwa JLF stick, i had to get creative and do some ‘modding’.
    acquire a HoriTekken5Anniversarystick shaft. the stock ex2 shaft is short, and if you want to use shaft covers (I use LS-40 shaft covers), you’d want a shaft that’s longer. And I grinded away the JLF actuator to roughly around the same size as stock hori ex2 actuator. reason for these two steps is that with it, i dont have to worry about making a hole on the bottom metal panel. the T5 shaft is shorter than JLF.

  • grind away tabs of the JLF gate so bottom panel will fit.

but considering you’re not even gonna change the joystick, you don’t have to worry about these.

another thing to take note of is that it seems like EX2’s are kinda inconsistent with joystick microswitches, one of mine came with unbranded switches, but when I opened up my friend’s EX2, it had Omron’s by default. Pretty weird i’d say, but if you happen to get omron’s you’ve hit gold. stick should be fine as is.

i guess my biggest gripe is that after all’s said and done, the cost for me to force an ex2 with decent parts ended me costing just as much as a decent mid/high-entry stick (HRAP, TE)…


#5

If you want to go for it, go for it even if it is just for the sake of saying you did it.
I didn’t want to discourage you, but I felt that I only do a disservice if I did not say something.
Also if you didn’t purchase a Hori EX-2 stick yet there are easier options. I can’t assume if you have the stick or not, all I can assume is your intentions for the project.

Also, I found our that it is easier to assume someone have yet to do there research and bring up information, than to assume they know what they are doing and that person comes back saying how lost they are. You not believe how unimpaired some people are or how little someone understands what they are doing. You decently sound like you are ready and able to take this project head on.

I done similar mods to the EX-2 before and they can be challenging, but we all know some people like a good challenge. My big issue with the Hori EX-2 is the lack of space for the PCB, which you already addressed. And I agree with your idea putting down some insulation on the button terminals and bottom metal panel.
The top metal panel grinding isn’t that challenging to me as a Agetec stick, the Dreamcast Agetec required the same kind of modification to the top metal panel, but the button holes where alot smaller. I also had recommended other sticks as they are a walk in the park to mod in comparison.

Any ways, I like to see the finished product when you are done.


#6

Thanks for the words of wisdom. Your correct in that I’m not going to change the stick out. That seems like too much work to me and as you said, it would probably be easier to start with something else if I was going to go with a new JLF. If I didn’t already have an EX2 just lying around (got it for 37 bucks on Amazon!) I would seriously be considering building a stick from the ground up. If all else fails (or if I fail in my mod attempt) that’s what I’ll be doing next.

How can I tell what kind of Microswitches the stick uses? Or better yet, what should I look for? Is it something obvious?

EDIT: I guess I should say, swapping the microswitches for Sanwa or Cherry ones did cross my mind. But I thought I would try the stick first and then upgrade if needed.

I’ll do some google searching and see what I can come up with. Thanks for informing me though.

Ben


#7

Don’t worry, you didn’t discourage me or anything. No harm no foul. But as the title suggests, I do already have the EX2 stick. I got it pretty cheaply a long time ago when SSF4 launched off Amazon for 37 bucks. Hence the reason why I’m trying to mod it.

I also totally get what your saying about how people “think” they know what their doing but in reality, they really don’t. I work in tech support so I see this every single day. But yeah, I’m a technical person and with all the research I’ve done, I don’t even think I need to follow a guide. I’ve got a plan in my head of exactly what I’ll be doing already. Let’s just say I’ve read everything, digested it, and now I’m ready to tackle this project.

I’m glad to hear you say that the button holes are not that hard to grind. I’m going to have to do this by hand using a file and to be honest, this is the part I’m not really looking forward too.

I will post some pictures of the finished project when I’m done. I’ll also try and take some pics of the project a long the way. If anyone would like to make any requests, now is the time to do it!

Ben


#8

^well it would say “OMRON” on the switches labeling, its pretty obvious… but unlike the JLF switches, these do not have red engage tabs, just all black (i believe these are the same switches the use for other Sanwa buttons like bemani keys and OBS-30A)…
something like this

http://www.akihabarashop.jp/images/MS-O-3.jpg

the unbranded (less quality?) ones wont have much markings, just all black.


#9

Thanks man! This is perfect.

I’m not 100% sure but I think I remember the actual switch part being red. I’ll need to open the stick up again to confirm this.

But thanks for posting this. Really helpful.

Ben


#10

I’m pretty happy with my modded ex2. The button layout and stick position are perfect and it’s just about the ideal size for playing on my lap.
I used really short seimitsu buttons since sanwas are taller than the stock Hori buttons, and would have caused the pcb to push against the bottom plate.


#11

I’m pretty happy with my modded ex2. The button layout and stick position are perfect and it’s just abbout the ideal size for playing on my lap.
I used really short seimitsu buttons since sanwas are taller than the stock Hori buttons, and would have caused the pcb to push against the bottom plate.


#12

Awesome! I’m glad your happy with the EX2. I’m like you where I also play with the stick in my lap. It’s true, the size makes it perfect for this type of play space.

I almost ordered Seimitsu buttons actually. But the girlfriend likes the idea of the “Silent” buttons, so I choose those. Tell me though, do you think the problem with the Sanwa’s is because the connection prongs stick straight up/down? Because to solve this I was planning on bending the prongs 90 degree’s so that there is enough room.

Maybe you tried this already? Maybe not?

Ben


#13

Actually, the physical dimensions for both Sanwa (OBSF-30 and OBSN-30) and Seimitsu (PS-14-G and PS-14-GN) buttons are very similar.
I believe that kedawa above was talking about putting in the physically shorter Seimitsu buttons, the PS-15.
All of these buttons all have their prongs pointing downwards as well.


#14

Ahh i see. I was totally thinking about the PS-14’s. DURRRP!!!

Last night I didn’t have much time to open the stick back up. I planned on checking my microswitches but I got side tracked by work. When I get home this evening I’m going to have a peak at them. I’ll report back here once I’m finished.

Also, the parts are still on their way from Focus Attack but no updates yet to my shipping notice. I think they got delayed due to Hurricane Sandy! I can’t wait to at least put the Bat Top on the stick. It feels to short for my hands.

Ben


#15

I opened the stick back up last night and removed the square gate. Looks like I just have the standard black no name microswitches. No OMRON’s for me!

Ben


#16

If anything, this thread is making me WANT to mod the EX2 lol Im getting finished up with a full sanwa, MC Cthulu + 360 Agetec mod. Ive never done soo much alterations to a stick in my life lol but i enjoyed every minute of it.


#17

Also, i think you should re-do the artwork. I know it isnt my place to say that kinda thing but i think you can make it look a lil bit better, in particular the direction ring around the joystick hole. And we’ve all seen this picture online so i think you should give it a personal touch. For example, i used this once as my wallpaper on my desktop, and me being unhappy with stock stuff, i took this picture, and semi centered my 3 most used characters at the time, (Guile, chun, Bison) and greyed out all the others. It was pretty bad-ass. Now, im not expecting you to do that(although you certainly can), but i def suggest you give this background some kind of personal touch, you wont regret it. the button labels as well.


#18

Yes, I believe they were Seimitsu PS-15 buttons that I used. I could only find them in pink or bright green at the time, so I went with green, but I see there are many colours available now.
I also put a bat top and shaft cover/dust washer on mine. The shaft cover had to be made a bit shorter.
I did some other modifications too, like putting the guide and back buttons on the back, the start button where the guide button was, and the bumpers on the sides (for pinball). Where the four little buttons were, I put clear plugs and hot glued the LEDs in there. It worked out okay.
Now I just need to source some lubricant since my stick is getting squeaky and tough to move.

Here is how it looked before I added the white shaft cover/dust washer;
http://www.the-nextlevel.com/tnl/attachment.php?attachmentid=56798&d=1279015035


#19

So finally all my parts showed up last Friday (yay)! I had time over the weekend to start the modding process and everything went great. I was able to fully mod the stick with zero issues. Everything worked on the first try except the artwork. I did a test print and the buttons won’t line up with the stick / vise versa. So I’ll need to fix the template before its complete. But the hardware is working 100% flawlessly.

The only thing I really did differently was that I left the U shaped control board inside of the stick. Most people wire to the main board directly. But since there was more surface space on the U shaped board, it was easier to solder but harder to stuff everything inside. I still had enough room though. The other thing I did was instead of lining the bottom metal plate with tape, I simply used an extra magnetic sheet with constuction paper stuck to it. The magnet touchs the plate (inside of the stick) and the cardboard paper insulates the electronics. It’s nice because now there is more weight on the bottom of the stick and i always thought it felt light. Solved 2 problems at once.

Now for the pictures. Keep in mind that I still plan on fixing the art and maybe painting the case black

Ben


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#20

Nice work. I had the octo gate for a while myself, but after getting used to my friend’s TE sticks, I went back to the stock hori square gate.