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kikaso

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I picked up a supergun earlier this year and went down a rabbit hole of arcade sticks to pair it with. I had a couple laying around and picked up a couple too and figured I would document the refurbishment for others.

The first stick is an oldie but a goodie and probably will end up being the most straightforward refurb. I picked up a Neo Geo AES stick off eBay since I stupidly sold my modded AES stick last year. I sold it as a package along with my consolized MVS after I picked up an MV1FZ for my cabinet.

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What was done:
  • Full disassembly and deep scrubbing of top and bottom case
  • full disassembly of joystick and deep scrubbing followed by re-greasing the pivot
  • new 24mm Sanwa buttons
  • new 30mm Sanwa balltop
  • tidy up wiring including adding .110” quick disconnects to the button terminals
  • a light coat of 303 Aerospace Protectant on the case
  • new rubber feet
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The original buttons, while functional, didn’t feel great. I typically prefer Seimitsu but Sanwa just felt better on this application. In order to use the quick disconnects, I had to bend the button terminals otherwise the case wouldn’t close. An alternative would be to solder the wires directly to the terminals but I prefer the simplicity of quick disconnect terminals.

I had originally replaced the spring in the stick with a new LS-56 spring but it caused some issues. The new spring tightened up the feel of the stick, however, it caused the microswitches to stick when moving left or down. For example, when I moved left on the stick and let go, the microswitch would remain depressed. I tried two different brand new springs but the results were the same so I just cleaned and re-used the original spring.

The original balltop was cracked just like on every other AES stick so I replaced with a new 30mm. Some folks would prefer a 35mm as that is what cabinets typically use but I wanted to keep the dimensions close to original.

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In the end, I am really happy with the results and look forward to using this with all of my non six-button games when using the supergun. I have three more sticks to refurbish and will update the thread as I progress. The next stick is my Sega Virtua Stick HSS-0136.
 
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rtw

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Very nice work! What did you use to clean the select and start button ?
 

kikaso

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Thanks! My goal was for any mods to be completely reversible as well.
Very nice work! What did you use to clean the select and start button ?
Thanks! Just isopropyl alcohol. The stick wasn’t all that dirty which was a welcome surprise. I thought about eliminating the PCB for start and select but decided against it as that wouldn’t improve anything.
 
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djsheep

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It's cool that you used the original sized balltop too. I did that on my Neo Geo 4-Slot cab... the standard sized balltops made the cab look super funny!
 

kikaso

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It's cool that you used the original sized balltop too. I did that on my Neo Geo 4-Slot cab... the standard sized balltops made the cab look super funny!
Yeah the 35mm just looks odd here
 

kikaso

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The next stick I was going to work on was going to be the Saturn Virtua HSS-0136 stick but that project grew in scope. It’s coming together nicely but not done yet.

A couple of years ago, I picked up a pretty nice Namco PS1 stick and figured it could use a good cleaning.

The first thing I noticed was that I really liked the feel of the stick and the buttons. The stick might be a re-branded Hori and is on the lighter side—kind of like a JLF. Recently, I‘ve been leaning towards the lighter sticks. I used LS-32’s in my cab but recently swapped them for LS-40’s. Might go with JLF’s eventually but liking the LS-40 for now. I pulled the stick apart and gave it a thorough cleaning. I picked up new JLF pivot and spring to replace worn parts. I tried out the stock JLF spring but it was too light and the 1-1/2lbs. spring felt too stiff. I followed @Thchardcore advice here and instead went with the stock spring but fitted a JLF washer. The tension feels really good now; definitely less play than before.

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The stock buttons also felt really nice. Shaped like Seimitsu’s, (flat plunger) but softer, however, not as soft as Sanwa’s. I was going to do a full button swap as the stock buttons are 30mm but the buttons are soldered to the PCB. I thought about running wires from Sanwa buttons to the PCB since the Sanwa micro switches don’t line up but the stock buttons feel too good. I decided on a middle ground; I put the stock switches in the convex Sanwa buttons I love so much. Honestly, the stock switches are probably my favorite. They’re a tiny bit more firm than Sanwa’s but can’t really tell unless you’re testing side-by-side.

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One final thing I did during re-assembly was to crimp quick disconnect terminals onto the stick harness as it comes soldered to the microswitches stock. Other than that, this refurbishment was mostly cosmetic:
  • Scrub case
  • apply 303 aerospace UV protectant to case
  • replace balltop
  • grease any screws going into plastic

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One word of advice I would give when rebuilding sticks; use good grease. On the Neo Geo AES stick I previously re-built, I used common silicone grease I had in the toolbox but found it had gotten really thin this summer. I hadn’t really used the stick much and was surprised to find the grease had “leaked” and gotten everywhere. I didn’t feel like paying $25US for a tube of Shin-etsu so I picked up a small container of high temperature Molykote 44 grease for $10 which I’m told is just as good as the Shin-estu. The 14g container will probably last me a lifetime.

Lastly, wanted to get suggestions from folks on other high quality sticks out there; I’m looking to pick up another one. I’ve thought about the Konami Hyper Stick as it originally came with all Seimitsu parts. What do people think?
 
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Thchardcore

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Looks ace. Well done and neat trick with just swapping the switches - never thought of that.
 

triple_lei

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I think I did pretty much the same microswitch-swapping mod with my Hori Tekken Tag stick, only I chose not to solder back to the PCB (I think that was the problem in the first place):

https://twitter.com/triple_lei/status/1352054179871694848

Been using the stick for shmups, which never use a full six buttons anyway, so all's well.

EDIT: The stick also works on my HAS supergun with an Arthrimus PlayStation To DB15 Controller Adapter. My Hori Real Arcade Pro (the first version with green buttons/balltop and mirror panel) doesn't work with that adapter, though my HRAP-styled Tekken 5 10th Anniversary stick does.
 
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kikaso

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Nice clean mod @kikaso
Thanks! It’s such a nice stick; I’m glad everything is easily reversible.

The stick also works on my HAS supergun with an Arthrimus PlayStation To DB15 Controller Adapter. My Hori Real Arcade Pro (the first version with green buttons/balltop and mirror panel) doesn't work with that adapter, though my HRAP-styled Tekken 5 10th Anniversary stick does.
I’m using the same adapter. I didn’t know there were sticks that weren’t compatible.

Looks ace. Well done and neat trick with just swapping the switches - never thought of that.
Thanks! The switches felt too good to not keep using.
 

kikaso

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Next up is the Konami Hyperstick for the PS1 released in 1996; a really cool stick that came with Seimitsu buttons and stick when new. I couldn’t find confirmation but I believe this is one of the first if not the first sticks to come with ”genuine arcade” parts. It’s a compact eight-button stick measuring about 12x8x2 inches Or about the same footprint as the Namco stick previously featured above.

Sadly, the stick I got had seen better days. I purchased it knowing the stick wasn’t working but when it arrived I noticed the buttons, top, and left sides had severe UV damage.

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I disassembled and confirmed this thing must have been left next to a window since 1996. Check out the difference!

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Further disassembly showed rust under the top panel where your right palm would rest. Pretty sure the person who used this stick would sweat. A lot.

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The joystick that came in these is an LS-56 but one of the switches in the stick had gone bad so I decided to install a new one. For anyone looking to do a similar swap, be sure to use the original shaft and dust cover as the shaft that comes with replacement sticks is too long to fit. The stock LS-56 in these is shorter than what you can get now.

I wasn’t going to replace the buttons given they’re Seimitsu and soldered to a PCB but the UV damage is so bad. The button switches were also pretty loose and far from the firm press associated with new Seimitsu buttons.

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Sanwa makes a button that matches the blue of the case almost exactly, (or at least the blue when the stick was new—more on this later) so I picked up six OBSF-30 buttons in black/dark blue, two in black/dark gray, and matching balltop. Like I mentioned earlier, the stock buttons are Seimitsu, (PS-15 low profile) but they’re soldered to the board. The pins on these soldered button switches are different from what you’ll find on replacement Seimitsu or Sanwa buttons making it impossible to solder without heavy modificarion to the PCB and/or switches. After watching a modding video from the great YouTube channel, Scanline City, I decided to run wiring with quick disconnects from the stick‘s PCB to the buttons. The wiring may look messy but it’s functional, and, more importantly, easy to swap the buttons in the future or completely re visible to stock. The new buttons are taller than the stock low profile ones so the button terminal needed to be bent over to fit the PCB as seen in the photo below.

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The wiring in the photo above is wrong—punches and kicks are swapped—don’t be like me. Additionally, the PCB fits fine sandwiched between the buttons and bottom case but I had to tape a piece of cardboard to the solder side so that the solder points don’t short against the case bottom which is metal.

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The end result is a pretty solid stick. The PCB inside does not rattle and the new stick and buttons feel great. The button layout is a bit unorthodox with the L1 and L2 buttons left of the rest of the buttons but this feels pretty natural on six-button fighting games.

As you can see from the above photo, the buttons and balltop no longer match the color of the case due to the UV damage. Honestly, I’m fine with it especially considering the condition the stick came in. What bothers me more is the rust underneath the faceplate but I haven’t decided if I want to sand and repaint or leave as is and not risk the Konami and PlayStation branding.

Here’s one last photo of the bottom case which doesn’t have UV damage and illustrates how well the buttons match.

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kikaso

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So I went back into the AES stick to swap some more parts.

First, I followed @Joko3 advice here and reinstalled the metal plate over the four buttons. Removing the plate gave stick a bit of an unbalanced feel especially when resting on your lap.

Second, I again followed advice from post linked above and swapped the joystick’s microswitches and spring with those from an LS-58. The switches still work but at least one was sticky and didn’t always spring back quickly. The spring also tightened up the feel as the old one had gotten a little soft. The LS-58 is between an LS-56 and LS-60 in terms of feel. I’m happy.

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The only remaining issue is that the stock actuator has a small groove worn into it from a long life of riding the restrictor gate which isn’t a major issue but can feel like a tiny click when pushed to the limit. Can’t really think of a solution given the shaft in these sticks is much shorter than Seimitsu sticks so I’m calling this job done.
 

nam9

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@XianXi offers an Octo-gate for the Neo Geo controller if you want to go in that direction...
Might eliminate the click too as the edge is different - plexi vs formed metal...

gotw-wht-pre.jpg
 

kikaso

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@XianXi offers an Octo-gate for the Neo Geo controller if you want to go in that direction...
Might eliminate the click too as the edge is different - plexi vs formed metal...

gotw-wht-pre.jpg
Thanks for the advice but all of the sticks I have and use are square gate and while I can probably get used to octo gate just fine, I don’t know that I could easily go back-and-forth.
 
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