Okay, this has been a long time coming. A lot of people new and old to joystick building/modding have questions about Sanwa and Seimitsu parts. Maybe they?re just new to Japanese parts or new to specific parts from either of these companies. Either way this FAQ is intended to be the one-stop thread for answering these questions so that I don?t have to see new threads asking the same questions : ) Let?s get to it then!
Let?s start with the VERY basics and go with some terminology:
Sanwa: The largest and most popular Japanese arcade parts manufacturer. Best known for their flagship JLF-TP-8Yjoysticks and OBSF/OBSN buttons. You can download their latest catalogue here (courtesty of TheRealNeoGeo and Akihabara Shop):
Seimitsu: The second largest and most popular Japanese arcade parts manufacturer. Best known for their LS-32/LS-32-01 joystick and their PS-14-G/PS-14-GN buttons. You can download their latest catalogue here (courtesy of TheRealNeoGeo):
Happ: The largest and most popular US arcade parts manufacturer. Best known for their Competition joystick and Competition buttons.
Joystick and Button Parts:
Microswitch: An electronic component found in both joysticks and buttons that when activated complete a circuit between the ground and signal connection.
PCB: An acronym for printed circuit board. Some joysticks have microswitches connected to a PCB and used pinned output instead of tabs or direct soldering to microswitches.
Mounting plate: Metal plate attached to the base of the joystick. This is mounted to the control panel with the use of screw or nuts and bolts.
Wire harness: A molex connector that is used on certain joystick PCBs. Sanwa manufactures JLF-Hand Seimitsu manufactures H5-PIN.
Restrictor/gate: Device that restricts the movement of the joystick to a specific pattern or shape.
Square restrictor/gate: The standard for joysticks. This has corner/notches in the up-right, up-left, down-left, and down-right directions only. Being a square, the distance from the center of the gate to the corners is longer than the distance from the center to up, down, left, and right directions.
Octagon restrictor/gate: This has defined corner/notches in all 8 directions. Each notched direction is equidistant from the center. Sanwa’s octagon restrictor for the JLF series is the GT-Y.
Circular restrictor: This has no defined notches making a perfect circle path. Every possible direction is equidistant from the center; however, this does not mean that the stick recognizes all possible directions. Sanwa’s circular restrictor for the JLW series is the GT-0.
Snap-in push buttons: The most common type of buttons that secure to a control panel with tabs that ?grip? onto certain material thicknesses. Examples are the Sanwa OBSF and the Seimistu PS-14-G.
Screw-in push buttons: These types of buttons are threaded and are secured onto control panels with a threaded nut for a stronger more versatile hold. Examples are the Sanwa OBSN and Seimitsu PS-14-GN.
Ground: The common electrical signal that must be connected to a signal connection for a switch to activate.
Signal: The electrical signal specific to each input.
Quick disconnect: A terminal that is crimped onto the ends of wires. These terminals then plug onto the tabs on a microswitch.
2-way: Movement that allows inputs of either left or right (also up or down).
4-way: Movement that allows inputs of up, down, left, or right. Many classic games like Pac-Man use 4-way joysticks. Many people equate 4-way movement with square gates, but this is INCORRECT as they are talking about two different principles/properties of joysticks.
8-way: Movement that allows inputs of up-right, up, up-left, left, down-left, down, down-right, right. Most modern games use 8-way joysticks. Many people equate 8-way movement with octagon gates, but this is INCORRECT as they are talking about two different principles/properties of joysticks.
Throw: A term used to describe the maximum distance/angle a joystick lever can be moved from the neutral position.
Engage: A term used to describe the distance a joystick lever must be moved before a switch is activated.
Deadzone: A term used to describe the area surrounding the neutral position where the joystick can be moved but not yet activate a switch. The maximum distance from the neutral position is obviously less than the engage.