The Optical Joystick Discussion


I noticed sometimes on the trading outlet, someone would sell an Ascii Optical that has been retrofitted with JLF parts. What exactly are the advantages to doing this? Reason being is because I want to get some sort of optical for my project, but I’m not sure if I will leave it as is or have it modified with JLF parts for athestics such as shaft covers and etc.


On the Dreamcast Ascii sticks the shafts are shorter. The Ascii spring is different between the different versions of sticks. I recently got a PS1 Ascii Joystick and the shaft is longer and the spring stiffer. A different Ascii I got had the shorter shaft and lighter spring.

JLF is getting what you know for a consistent feel. Ascii gates are Octagon by default as well. Most people prefer square.

The ascii base and gate has circle pegs and holes for the gates to snap on while the JLF has an ovaloid pegs. So a JLF gate will fin on a Ascii but an Ascii gate won’t fit on a JLF base. It is moot because you can swap the inner rings on both of the gates.


I just picked up a Capcom version Ascii DC stick and I want to appropriate the Flash clone inside. I gather most people replace the parts with Sanwa. Two questions to that effect:

1.) What all can be replaced? Everything but the PCB…?

2.) Are standard JLF parts used for the replacing?


  1. You can replace literally everything on the ASCII Answer (Optical) with Sanwa parts except the black joystick body, the PCB, and the plastic and rubber ring set. The last two you wouldn’t find on a regular Sanwa JLF anyway and the former can’t be replaced because if you do, the ASCII Answer (Optical) PCB won’t fit. Not like that matters, the black body aside from being made from a different (but still just as durable) plastic is functionally and aesthetically very similar to a JLF body.

  2. Yeah, all standard Sanwa JLF parts are used to replace everything.


Many thanks, Ikagi! Now to embark on this project (putting the ASCII inside a RAP VLX-SA)…


Speed Box

Some of you may have seen this. I thought it was interesting:

An unreleased, prototype optical joystick for Sega Genesis:

ebay item # 110566811219

So, did that thing use a HAPP?

I must say… innovative use of vinyl artwork on a stick in the early-mid-90s. Too bad it was never released. It could have changed the course of the industry, our hobby, etc.


That is cool.
I want that thing.
But the price of it though. :sad:


Must have been early 90s. Saturn & PS1 were already out by '95. That is cool.


This stick is WICO P360 (on 90%) and WICO (80%) or HAPP (20%) pushbuttons vertical microswitch


Sorry if this question has been asked before, but what’s the best way to replicate the tension of a FLASH1 with an ASCII + JLF parts? Standard JLF spring? Seems like it would be super duper loose…but never having used an actual FLASH1, I don’t know.

What is most peoples’ preference of spring with an ASCII? LS-55? JLF + LS-33, maybe?


I just wanted to vent that removing the octo gate on the Ascii was the most mind numbing and strenuous acts of God I had to go through. Had to sand down parts of the ends because they came out slightly bent and malformed from attempting to remove the gate.


I personally use a JLF and LS-33 spring in my optical.
I retrofitted mine with JLF parts as well.
Stick tension is all about preference.
Use whatever feels nice to you.


Most definitely, but I was hoping to replicate the FLASH1 experience as closely as possible, personal preference be damned. Just to see how they feel.


I hear you on that Winchester! ASCII’s plastic molding work is either the best, most tight fitting job we’ve ever seen or the worst modular design we’ve ever seen. :wasted:

Personally, I’ve gotten it pretty damn close to the feel of the official Sanwa FLASH 1 spring (which if I might add is freaking HUGE compared to the JLF spring) just by doubling up two JLF springs. But I haven’t found a spring combo which feels 100% like it since everything I’ve tried either exceeds the tension found on the official spring or falls just short. Two JLF springs are the closest I’ve gotten.


Thanks again Ikagi! I’ll have to see how two JLF springs feel.


One more ASCII optical question: Is it all about using a GT-Y for that authentic FLASH 1 style flava? What does a square gate feel like with this thing?

I’m curious why both Sanwa and ASCII went with an octogate for their optical sticks. Is finding directions a bitch on a square or something?


Can’t say I know the reason why, but Sanwa never explicitly said use an octagonal gate. They just packaged one in for whatever reason. In fact, it’s probably better not to use the Sanwa GT-Y octagonal gate. Sanwa’s octagonal gate apparently has inaccurate measurements that cause something weird with the throw or something (I don’t know specifically what, all I know is that there’s an issue). ASCII’s octagonal gate does actually address that issue last I heard. But truthfully, you do not need to use an octagonal gate to replicate the Sanwa FLASH 1 experience. There’s no documentation I know of that says you HAVE to use the octagonal gate and I’m pretty sure most arcade operators who dropped the cash for one of those joysticks kept the square gate anyway. So it’s your call. I’d frankly go the square gate route.


Excellent infos as usual, thanks! You’re probably right about Japanese arcade operators using a square gate on FLASH 1s. I guess I’ll go square for this project.


What size nuts are used on the area where the mounting plate and screws tie in together? I need to get the Ascii base to work with the mounting plate for a mod.


M3 Nuts.