It is the nineties and it is time for the Battlestation II - thread!
The Battlestation II is beefy two player arcade stick released during the SNES/Mega Drive era. It sports an impressive list of compatible systems – Mega Drive (Genesis), SNES, NES, Master System, Atari, Commodore, etc. It was released by an Australian company called MCA. My understanding is that they had intentions of releasing it in the states but it just didn’t happen. In the past couple of years they have been surfacing as new old-stock around Denver Colorado – which is where they intended the US headquarters to be.
Here it is stock. The joysticks are MCA. They were used in Australian arcades whereas the joysticks in American arcades were predominantly Happ. I can’t say that I’m a fan. Fortunately they use the same mounting holes and the clearance is sufficient for a swaperoo. The buttons are concave which were common in the US. I prefer convex buttons which are more similar to those in Japanese arcades.
To open the stick, remove the 10 small black screws. The grey screws can remain. Once they are removed the top will slide up to separate from the base.
There are two considerations with replacing the joysticks.
The wires are soldered directly to the microswitches. You will need a soldering iron to heat up the solder and remove them. You can re-solder them to a different joystick but it’s a better idea to add .187 quick disconnects. This will allow you to easily replace the joystick in the future. Another thing to keep in mind is that there isn’t much extra slack on the wiring. Be confident that your quick disconnects are situated before crimping them to avoid mistakes.
The daisy chained ground is lame. It is a piece of non-insulated wire running along the base. It is also wrapped around the switches, making it difficult for removal. I snipped it using wire cutters then used needle nose pliers and my iron to get it off. I replaced this using a new piece of wire that was also crimped with quick disconnects.
Both joysticks wired up:
And a top shot:
Now we’ll swap the buttons. The cool thing with these guys is that they already feature Cherry microswitches. Unfortunately they’re soldered to as well in a very hectic fashion. It is fun trying to visually chase the ground wire around.
Since the microswitches are high quality, let’s just use them. That way there’s nothing to desolder until a switch dies. Press your finger against the side and then pull back to pop them out. The new buttons will slide back in. You should see a couple of the top connectors are bent down. Go ahead and do this for all of the buttons. This will keep them from bottoming out with the metal base.
All wired up!
There should be some masking tape on the base which is also helping to keep the buttons from bottoming out. I replaced this with electrical tape for extra reinforcement. Once you are done, I’d recommend trying it out before replacing all of the screws. It’s a pain to repeatedly remove and replace those 10 little screws. Get it right and then close it up.
Time to rock and roll!