The fighting craze is back in an upturn for the mainstream but you can take advantage of this trend by picking up some of the best joysticks out for the North American market. Hands down one of the best joysticks out right now for the North American market is the Madcatz Tournament Edition fight joystick with 100% Sanwa arcade joystick and buttons. Of course such awesomeness does come at a hefty price tag of $150.
The problem is that not everyone can justify the hefty high price tag for an expensive joystick to play Street Fighter IV, Blazblue or King of Fighter XII so many have opted to pick up the cheaper Madcatz Standard Fight Stick. Good news! This guide will show you how to get your cheaper standard fight stick up to arcade standrads by upgrading the components yourself, which can save you some money or at very make it so you don’t have to come up with $150 immediately.
Of the cheaper joysticks at are readily available in your retail chains, you basically have a choice between the Hori EX2 and the Madcatz standard fight stick. I’ve already shown you how to replace the buttons and joystick on your Hori EX2 in past walkthroughs with Sanwa parts and I even shown you how easy the Madcatz fight stick can be upgraded with Sanwa joysticks and buttons in my video, but now I would like to kick up notch, so to speak, by really making this Fight Stick into something truly original and bad ass by staining the casing, adding custom artwork, installing Seimitsu joystick and adding art in your Seimitsu buttons. By replacing the stock joystick you will also avoid the headaches with substandard suicidal Madcatz quality parts.
The one thing that I freaking LOVE about the Standard Madcatz Fight Stick is that it’s so damn easy to modify. You do NOT need to have any soldering skills to replace the joystick or push buttons to improve the Madcatz Fight Stick’s reliability and performance. A lot of forward thinking was used to design this stick and you can get it up to speed with the expensive $150 Tournament stick big brother by replacing the buttons and joystick with minimal effort or go hog wild and customize it to your heart’s content.
This walk through will show you step-by-step on how to disassemble the standard Madcatz Fight Stick and get it ready for staining as well as applying custom joystick art, walking you through adding art work in your Seimitsu push buttons and the little quirks on getting a Seimistu joystick to work with the existing wiring setup. Please understand that my goal in this how-to walkthrough is to provide you with plenty of pictures with a “by the hand” approach to present the most complete and comprehensive guide so anyone from beginners to the experts can mod their own joystick with ease.
Attempt at your own risk!
DO NOT ATTEMPT unless you have some technical skills and can follow instructions. This walkthrough is as simplified as I can make it so if none of my instructions makes any sense then please DO NOT ATTEMPT.
This project will void your warranty.
[Pineconeattack.com will not take any responsibility if you kill your joystick.]
This is the part list to complete this mod of course you could always ignore some of these items if you decided on not staining your case, replace the stock art or just going with Sanwa button parts.
1- Madcatz Standard Fight Stick (PS3-$70/ X360-$80)
1-Seimitsu LS-32-01 Joystick ($25)
8-Seimitsu PS-14-KN 30mm Push buttons ($4 each)
1-Small flat head screwdriver
1-Razor blade/exacto knife
Your custom lami-labled (laminate with a sticky back) artwork, which can be printed up at any Kinkos/Fed-Ex, pf course you’ll need to use this template to make your art.
1-Roll of masking tape.
1- Spray can vinyl dye (color of your choosing)
Why vinyl dye? Why not just paint it?
Vinyl dye is made specifically for plastic parts. Vinyl dye is design to penetrate the plastic instead of just coating the surface like paint. The color will actually seep into the plastic so when you scratch the surface the plastic will actually be stained because the color has penetrated deep past the surface.
So what does this mean for you? Since you stained the plastic, the color will be brighter and more durable which means that it will not chip or crack over time. The plastic will feel more natural and the colors will be more vibrant. One of the benefits of using vinyl dye is that there is almost little to no prep work. Just make sure the surface is clean with no residue and spray away. There is no sanding required. Just make sure you apply light coats evenly and let the dye dry in a 24 hour period.
Step #1: Clear off your work area. Make sure you have something underneath your stick to prevent the hard table from scratching up your casing and buttons. The bigger the area the better.
Step #2: Using a Phillips screwdriver, remove the six screws. Place the screws and the four (4) black feet into a container for safekeeping. Use a flat head to break the warranty seal. This will be the point of no return. Once the seal is broken, you will be out of warranty.
Step #3: Remove the metal base and set aside. Above are the components to the Madcatz Fight Stick.
*Please note that the PS3 version of the fight stick will be missing the headphone jack.
Step #4: Remove the joystick assembly by removing the four (4) screws that have been marked in the picture above. You will see a white plug that has been glued to the joystick’s PCB, carefully wiggle the connector and it will come loose with hardly any effort.
Step #5: Each button has been color-coded. Unplug each wire from the Madcatz buttons. If it doesn’t want to come off, use a flat-head screwdriver to pry off the each wire. Disconnect all eight (8) buttons.
Step #6: Now it’s time to remove the buttons. Using a small screwdriver, press in on the tabs to release the Madcatz stock buttons. There are two tabs, make sure both are pressed in to remove the button from the fascia.
I would suggest hanging on to these buttons for and emergency set. You never know when you may ever need a emergency button, just saying.
Step #7: Now that the stock joystick and buttons have been removed, lets remove the stock artwork. Flip the joystick casing back over revealing the stock decal.
Step #8: There are many methods on removing the decal from these sticks. I would suggest starting at the weak point between a random button. Using a small flat head, you can pry away at the decal without damaging the metal surface. Carefully remove the artwork by slowly peeling away. Take your time, you want as much of the glue to stay on the decal and not the metal surface.
Step #9: With the sticker decal removed, you will have some residue left over on the surface. Worry not, there a simple easy solution in removing this mess!
Step #10: It’s call friction. By rubbing your thumb over the glue, you will generate heat causing the glue to loosen. I was able to remove all of the excess glue in less than 5 minutes. It’s really that easy.
Step #11: Now that the residual glue have been removed you will be ready to remove the metal fascia but WAIT. We want to stain this case so we are going to have to tear down the joystick casing a little bit more. Flip the joystick casing back over to remove the remove the start & select PCB, headphone jack and control module.
Step #12: There are two (2) screws holding the start & select PCB in place. Remove the screws and place the two (2) screws, two (2) membrane & (2) white plastic buttons into your container. KEEP THE BOARD PLUGGED IN. There is not reason to disconnect the start & select PCB from the wire harness.
Step #13: There are two (2) screws holding the headphone jack. Unscrew the two (2) screws and place them into your container.
Step #14: To deinstall the control module from the casing, just unscrew the two (2) small outer black screws. The module will separate from the casing. DO NOT DISCONNECT the wires from the PCB.
Step #15: Flip the casing back over to the clean metal fascia. Unscrew the five (5) screws holding the fascia in place.
Step #16: Separate the metal fascia from the plastic casing. There may be some glue holding the metal plate underneath the angled wrist rest. Gently pry the two pieces apart.
Step #17: Use the masking tape to secure the PCBs so they do not flop about inside the casing, then tape off every opening that the dye may penetrate. Make sure you have tape over the top of the casing, the start & select opening as well as the headphone jack.
Wipe the exterior down with mild soap and water and let air dry. Make sure there is no residue on the surface of the casing or the stain will not be able to penetrate correctly.
Step #18: In a well ventilated area, apply thin light coats onto the casing to prevent over spray. Keep spraying to you have achieved the desired effect & color. Let the casing dry for 24 hours.
Step #19: While the casing is drying, trim down the custom artwork.
Due to not having the template outlines over my artwork, I needed to be creative trimming down my art work for the perfect fit. I prefer it this way because it give me some wiggle room in the decal so I can trim everything down for the desired look.
By simply using the metal fascia as the template, I marked the back of the decal by holding it up to a lamp so I can mark my lines for the edges and control module window, then after getting everything lined up, I poked several holes into the center where the joystick shaft will be as a point of reference. All of this can be avoided if I just kept the template lines in place over my decal. I regret nothing.
Step #20: Trim down the excess and using the previously poked holes in the joystick opening, line up your lines and use a very sharp blade to cut along the metal fascia for a perfect custom fit. By using the metal plate as your template, you are ensuring the artwork will fit exact.
Step #21: Now that you art work has been trimmed down to proper size, with a fresh new blade, trim the corners down by using the metal fascia as the guide. This will assure that you will not have ugly corners. Now overlap the art to the faceplate and make sure everything is 100% perfect. If it isn’t, then keep trimming until it finally is.
Step #22: Assuming 24 hours have past; your case should now be dry. Remove the masking tape to reveal a beautiful custom stained case. Now it’s time to apply the art and begin reassembling your stick.
Place the metal faceplate onto the casing and screw down with the five (5) screws.
Step #23: Install your decal; I prefer to start at the top. Peel back the top corners and make sure they are lined up perfectly. Double check your corners and the top edge, if everything looks good then press down to secure. Slowly rub along the top to remove the potential of any air bubbles from getting trapped underneath your artwork. Keep peeling and rubbing until the art work is finally in place.
Treat yourself and enjoy a little break. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em. I don’t so I’ll enjoy a cookie (ohm nom nom)
Step #24: Now that you decal is secured, use a sharp blade and slowly cut out the control panel window as well as the joystick hole. Leave the push button holes alone.
Step #25: Reinstall the control module in the newly cut out window and secure it with the two (2) small black screws.
Step #26: Dig up the start & select buttons as well as the two (2) rubber membranes. Place the nipple of the membrane into the back of the both the start & select buttons.
Step #27: Place the buttons with membrane inside of the start & select holes. The buttons can only go in one way.
Step #28: Slide the start & select PCB back into place. Secure the PCB with the two (2) screws with the large built in washers. You may have to adjust the membranes because they may have moved during the install. Test the buttons and verify that they bounce back when pressed.
Step #29: Install the headphone jack* in place and secure down with the two (2) black screws.
*Remember, PS3 version of the fight stick does not have a headphone jack, move along.
Adding art to the Seimitsu buttons.
The Seimitsu PS-14-KN 30mm push buttons are cool arcade buttons because you can add artwork inside them. It’s not very difficult to do as long as you have the patience and the determination for some baddasery, which in the end makes the extra dollar that you paid for them (each) worth it.
Step #30: With a small flat head screwdriver, press in on the tabs near the two (2) openings on the side of the Seimitsu button. This will release the button cover from the switch.
Step #31: With the cover off, you can clearly see the tabs more clearly. A white cap sits inside the cover. Separate.
Here’s what a Seimitsu looks like mostly disassembled.
Step #32: With a sharp blade, carefully slice away at your button openings. I would STRONGLY suggest doing one button at a time to avoid confusion. Keep the art work intact.
Step #33: Install the Seimitsu base. Try to keep the white tab in a vertical position.
Step #34: Screw on the threaded washer until it becomes tight.
Please note the button in the first position like in the picture above will be the most difficult button to install. I had to hold the washer in place as I twisted the button inside the stationary washer until it was finally snug.
Step #35: Verify that the white tab is still in the vertical position.
Step #36: Place the white cap in the center of your push button art and mark a circle around the cap using an ink pen.
Step #37: Remove the white cap to reveal your cut line.
Step #38: With a pair of sharp scissors, cut* along the circle.
*Another method(not pictured) you can use by simply taking a sharp blade and run it across the base of the white cap to cut the perfect circle.
Step #39: Stick the perfectly trimmed art onto the white cap and verify that the white cap with art will match your design. Now slip the white cap with art into the cap cover. Just press down onto the vertical tab on the push button to install the newly design button. It’s that simple!
Step #40: Repeat steps #32-#39 for the rest of your push buttons. Mix ‘n Match. Using this method give you more freedom on where you can place your art design.
Now hook up your push buttons. Here’s the correct wiring setup if you were looking from the back or just refer to the photo in Step #3.
Yellow, Green, Orange, Red
Blue, Purple, Brown, Black
Step #41: The Seimitsu stick can be a little tricky to install and even more tricky to get working but don’t let that discourage you from using one of the best Japanese joystick out on the market.
The first thing you will notice is that you will need to mount this joystick sideways. Make sure the connection is facing down towards the main PCB near the headphone jack. Secure the joystick with at minimum two (2) screws.
Step #42: Now that the joystick is secured, remove the rectangular blue restrictor plate by unscrewing the two (2) screws.
Step #43: Now it’s time to adjust the joystick PCB. Remove the four (4) screws that are holing down the PCB. Pull the metal cover off to reveal the micro switches.
Step #44: Now that everything is exposed, lift straight up and rotate the PCB one quarter turn counter clock-wise so the connector is now in the upper right corner. Place the PCB back down.
Step #45: Now secure the joystick PCB by reinstalling the cover plate down with the four (4) screws.
Once the plate has been installed, attach the rectangular blue restrictor play and screw it down with the two (2) screws.
Plug your white plug in but make sure it is plugged in UPSIDE DOWN.
Step #46: Install the dust washer and screw down your ball top.
Step #47: Almost done. Now flip the controller over and reattach the metal base, Screw down with the six (6) screws and install the four (4) rubber feet onto each corner.
Congratulations! Now your joystick is truly a work of art and it will forever be YOUR joystick. I hope you found this walkthrough informative and helpful. Better late than never, I guess.
A BIG special thanks goes out to Brian Castleberry for coming up with the art design.
For more information please check out these great sites that helped me with my walkthrough.
If you have any questions please post them in the comment section below or just email me at Pineconeattack (at) Gmail (dot) com. For more tech related articles check out Pineconeattack’s “How to” section.