Updated 2010-05-02 (added a picture of the screw, extender and washer I use)
Most EGRET II owners (or any Japanese cabinet owners) swear by their SANWA or Seimitsu sticks (I used to do that as well), but then I read someone @ the shmups forums write how awesome the SUZO 500 is for shmups, because of the extremely short throw and the lightning fast engage, so naturally I had to try them.
The trouble is though, these sticks don’t come with a threaded metal shaft that you can fit any ball top you want to with ease, like you might have grown accustomed to with your choice of quality Japanese sticks. Instead you get a pretty sad looking moulded shaft cover/ball top combo with a dust cover thrown into the mix as well.
The SUZO 500 can be found in many popular part shops under a couple of different names:
Ultimarc (Euro-stik) | Groovy Game Gear (Omni-Stik Basic) | Arcadeshop.de (Multi-way Joystick)
As you can see, this thing isn’t a straight fit for a standard metal panel and will need a little extra work, but it’ll be worth your while. If you have access to a metal shop and know a thing or two on how to use a lathe, you can whip up a custom shaft yourself using the guide below:
You can use a standard SANWA JLF sized washer with this shaft and it will have the same look as a SANWA from the outside, yet to the touch it’s completely different.
As an alternative to getting a custom shaft done yourself, Groovy Game Gear sells these:
Versa-Ball Mirrored stainless steel Ball-Top However, you can’t fit a Seimitsu or SANWA ball top on these, as the threading differs. :/ They work as a “quick and easy” solution though.
The SUZO 500 though has a pretty big flaw… The microswitches aren’t properly seated until you tighten the screws that pull the restrictor against them, and while you’re doing that, they might move around still and not end up where they’re wanted. With a joystick as sensitive as this, you can’t have any “wiggle room” as it will totally ruin the experience.
When I first had mine installed in the panel and started to test it, I was going crazy as the stick was superb, yet kept going by itself in one direction without me touching it and what not. Like getting involved with a crazy, sexy chick. 😀 It took a while to figure out, and some fine tuning to get perfect.
When mounting the stick to your TAITO or SEGA panel (I’ve never tried this though), you will need:
4 pieces of M4 threaded extenders (the height depends on how much clearance you have under the control panel), mine are 18mm tall
4 pieces of M4 machine screws, 16 mm tall
8 washers for the M4 screws
Now, you put 4 of your washers and the threaded extenders on the mounting screws that are welded onto the bottom side of your panel, but don’t tighten all of them all the way. Then you put the remaining 4 washers between the SUZO’s body and the extenders then put the machine screws through them both. These washers are very important, because the SUZO 500 won’t sit straight unless you have these. When you tighten the screws the extenders will get tightened as well.
As you can see, the “collar” dust washer that’s moulded to the JLF actuator fits well under the panel now. The top side (when using a With a ball-top and SANWA washer) will look like this:
If you have an original wire harness in your panel, you will need an extra harness as the SUZO 500 doesn’t use the 5-pin JST connector that SANWA JLF’s and Seimitsu LS-32-01’s use. Check my article on an easy way of doing that as well.
How did you hold the microswitches in place while tightening the restrictor? A second set of hands?
As you tighten one screw, you use a flat screwdriver to push the switches in that “corner” towards the center. It can only go so far. Repeat with each screw but don’t tighten them 100%. Now you move the shaft around to “feel it out”. If it feels right, you tighten it up to 100%.
The biggest flaw of the SUZO 500 is that the pivot part (the round black plastic that sits between the “collar” and the base) is a bit too small, so the shaft has way too much wiggle room. This results in it being off-center. :/
I ended up pushing them as far to the edges as I could. I just had too many problems with directions getting stuck otherwise =/ I like the stick still
Also, do I need to keep the adjustable restrictor pieces on if I’m just sticking with 8-way?
I’m not sure they’re needed. Possibly the screws might compromise the base if they go in too far, but I’m not sure. I removed them on my stick, but I have a custom 8-way restrictor I had made. The guy who made it said it was a nightmare, as the shaft kept moving off-center.