Newb questions on modding 8bitdo NES30 Arcade Stick with Sanwa joystick


Greetings Shoryuken forums!

I just bought an 8bitdo NES30 Arcade Stick and have become interested in modding it (seems I’m not alone).

I’ve never done this before but the other night succeeded in re-arranging the quick connects in order to change the button layout to make more X-Input compatible games bearable (I have no idea why people prefer putting X on top of A, when so many run and gun games require you to hold X and hit A to jump…). This was pretty easy and infused me with the hubris and now I’ve gone crazy fantasizing about replacing everything with Sanwa parts.

Alas, this stick doesn’t have the typical 5 pin connector that can be hooked up to Sanwa style sticks but instead employs a weird 2 pin port for each direction, which on the other end has two .187 wires attaching to each of the four sides of the joystick (apparently this is used for American style sticks pretty often).

I’ve been browsing Focus Attack and I have an idea of what might work, but again I am inexperienced and fueled by hubris from being able to successfully rewire the buttons (hey it was a big deal for me). So let me know if this sounds nuts.

First, I’ll buy a 5-pin Female to 5-pin Female cable, which I’ll plug into the Sanwa joystick.

Next, I’ll buy a .187 to 5-pin conversion harness, which I’ll plug into the other end of the above mentioned 5-pin cable.

Next, I’ll also buy four of these “.187 harness for zero delay USB encoders”, as it looks like that ends with a two pin plug like the kind found on the 8bitdo.

You may have noticed a piece of the chain is missing, and it’s how to attach the two .187 cables’s female ends to each other to finally connect the 8bitdo to the 5-pin to .187 harness.

I’m guessing I’ll need to buy a male to male .187 adapter of some kind. I have no idea where to buy this and am surprised I can’t easily find such a thing, enough that it’s making me wonder if I’m making some fundamentally flawed assumptions here (what I’d like to buy looks similar to this I imagine):

My other big question is if reversing how the 5-pin to .187 harness flowed would work? Seems like it’s normally designed to plug an American style joystick like the 8bitdo already has into a 5-pin compatible board.

Sorry in advance if these questions are really stupid or I’ve broken any social mores of the forum with my inaugural post.

Will a sanwa octagon restrictor plate fit the blee?
8bitdo mod sanwa jlf stick

Can you post photos of the inside of that stick? For science? Also, do you have any crimp tools or a soldering iron?
This sounds like a lot more work than it needs to be.


I’ll steal some pictures from this Reddit thread.

Here’s what the joystick that’s in there now looks like:

Hunter K’s blog has some good pictures of the inside of the case (he also says it’s basically incompatible).

There was also a pretty great YouTube video that went over modding the stick, but the author of that also stated that using a Sanwa stick would be difficult.

I have no crimpers and can’t solder.

FWIW I could probably use a cheaper substitute stick and be happy since I know not the angelic touch of Sanwa but if there’s a way to make this work it’s worth it for me.


If you’re not down to crimp or solder, then here’s what I suggest:

Four of THESE, and
One of THESE.

The Seimitsu LS-40 is a fantastic joystick that rivals (and in some ways exceeds) the Sanwa JLF.

Oh and if the LS-40 does not sit high enough after mounting, you can swap the included flat mounting plate for THIS plate. However, I’m thinking that it’ll sit fine with the stock RE(flat) plate


Thanks for the recommendation. One general impression I’m seeing of the Seimitsu is that some people who prefer the Sanwa for fighters prefer the Seimitsu for shooters, which I’ll probably play more of. So I may just get the LS-40 since it will simplify my life.

Out of curiosity, if I was down for crimpin and soldering, would the crazy chain of components I described above work so long as I snipped off the .187 connects of the 5-pin harness and the 2-pin plugs and wired them directly to each other?


you could also use a terminal block like in the pic if you dont want to solder/crimp.
Hook up signals/ground to one side and the sanwa/seimitsu haness to the other side.


The LS-40 is what I call the compromise stick. Great for both fighters and shmups, that stick was standard in Neo Geo candy cabs in Asia. If dabbling in Seimitsu sticks, it’s the only one I’d recommend for varied use. If you play ONLY shmups, I’d also recommend the LS-56. That stick ain’t so hot for fighters though.

Honestly I’m not sure if your proposed config would work. Thinking about it makes my head hurt. Though, I’ve been in dumb meetings all morning and have had WAY too much coffee…so that may be the reason.

Assuming that the PCB is common-ground, you could get a JLF-H harness and just solder (to the underside) the appropriate directions and a ground lead (then daisy chain that ground connection to the other three ground leads on the board underside). Else you could get technical and get the same JLF harness, some JST XH pins and the appropriate crimp tool and crimp everything to match the previous config (except on the top with connectors, instead of the bottom of the board).

I might order one of these things and Sanwa mod it for the hell of it. If so, I’ll post a video here. Else I recommend going the Seimitsu route.


Hunter K’s blog said explicitly “THIS IS NOT A COMMON-GROUND PCB” so I’m thinking that could cause problems. Like one question I have is if the 5 pin always sends the ground through one wire, with the harness does the ground get split to the four black wires? How does that work?

I am probably letting perfect be the enemy of the good here as I bet the LS-40 would be just fine. So far my only experience with joysticks has been the 8bitdo and an old Agetc Dreamcast stick I got used, so I’m betting this will be an improvement.

That said… I look only and man, it’s too bad the 8bitdo isn’t using a typical 5 pin connector just to have options. Even most of the Seimitsu sticks use a 5pin instead, and I have a feeling I’d prefer an octagonal gate which is only available on the LS-56.

I’ll probably wait the weekend before buying anything and go with the Seimitsu. But I’d be interested if you figure out how to do a Sanwa mod, as I’m finding this all to be pretty fascinating.


Oh, didnt see it was not common ground.
If you wanna go Sanwa you can always get a cherry modded JLF. Not sure is PAS still has those in stock or not right now. I actually have one i was going to sell soon. just sitting in my parts bin. Or go with any other joystick. I suggest you try out acouple of sticks at a local gaming meet up to see what you like best.



Thanks for the suggestion Dezlab. I think in my Googling I saw someone else mention a terminal like that in a conversation involving the 5-pin harness.


Thanks japomo and dezalb for all your help on this.

My Focus Attack order arrived today so I thought I’d let everyone know how this turned out.

First off: if anyone out there is doing the same thing, you will need some kind of extension cord for the .187 to 2 pin cable. Three of them fit just fine, but the one that activates “right” is on the left side of the stick and is literally as far away from the 2 pin port as it could possibly be, so I couldn’t make it reach.

Turns out 2 pin extension cables aren’t common; my local Fry’s Electronics didn’t sell them, and I don’t think Focus Attack sells them either. However Fry’s sells .187 “tabs” (as does Focus Attack), which are just those metal things that stick out of the joystick and buttons which the .187 quick disconnect attaches to and a tiny hole for wire to go in.

I had thankfully bought an extra .187 to 2 pin cable, so I was able to cut off the 2 pin part, strip a bit from each wire and then crimp it into that .187 tab, basically turning my .187 to 2 pin cable into two .187 female to .187 male cables. I then plugged my last .187 to 2 pin cable into my two extension chords and got it to read from the joystick that way.

I’ve never crimped before so it took me several tries to get a solid connection (those wires are super thin and easy to break- at one point I was about to screw the bottom plate back on the stick when I realized I’d broken the crimp). I also wrapped the wires in gorilla tape a few times to hold them still. If I’m playing Dondon Pachi one day and find I suddenly can’t move right anymore I won’t be too surprised. :slight_smile: That said unlike pimpin’ crimpin is in fact easy and I’m glad I learned how to do it.

I went with the Seimitsu stick and got Sanwa buttons. I’m liking the Seimitsu so far though I’m taking awhile to get used to it. I love the resistance and wish I’d installed a heavier spring. It’s shorter than the stick the 8bitdo had (and apparently shorter than the Sanwa’s or Hayabusa). I’m not sure what I think about that yet but so far the parts are a big improvement on the stock stick.

After thinking about it way too long I decided if I was going to swap parts I should add a bit of flair to it, so I mimicked the Super Famciom’s colors scheme, but kept dark red buttons for all the shoulder buttons. I wanted the face buttons to stick out, so since SNES “A” was red too I got Vermillion, which loo is in between red and orange to make it pop. Turns out it’s a bit more orange that I expected but I’ll live.

The red buttons don’t have the same tone as the ones I replaced- to be honest, they rob the stick of some of it’s style. Personally I like the pop- but it is too bad that the dark red Sanwa buttons don’t look quite the same as the red buttons they replace. So if the look of this stick is what’s important to you be warned you may not be able to preserve that if you update the buttons.

If people are curious, here’s what the inside of the stick looks like:


The Seimitsu stick is shorter because you’re supposed to mount it with the SS plate that raises the stick body up towards to the top-panel.


Very nice work.
Some people would nitpick, but everything you did was text book.
Seriously good job on doing it the right way.


Good work! Thanks for the details on the mod. If you want the LS-40 a bit smoother 'round the gate, just unscrew (and save somewhere you’ll remember) the yellow secondary gate.


Thanks for the kind words everyone.

Hmm… ok now that’s bugging me a little. :slight_smile: I think jopamo mentioned it earlier and I probably should’ve bought it to be safe… oh well. Where the stick sits, it doesn’t hit the hole in the case so movement isn’t restricted, it just feels different since it’s so low.

jopamo thanks for letting me know what that yellow thing is, I’d seen the octagonal gates but didn’t suspect that was what it was. I’ll try removing it sometime to see if it’s preferable.


SS plate link


I made it.
8bitdo with Sanwa Arcade Joystick JLF-TP-8YT-SK + buttons using 5 output sanwa’s wires

Wires mod:

4 wires connect to the red, yellow, orange and green.

All 4 wires (other side) connect to the black.



There needs to be a PSA for photobucket use.


Use Imgur, they are free


Anybody has tips on how to remove the quick disconnects I feel like I’m going to break them.