If your Sanwa JLF series joystick is generating a faint squeaking noise, it may be caused by an anomaly within the microswitches of your model's TPMA PCB.
Fortunately, there is a solution for this problem, and thanks to fellow customer Craig Dyar, we can share it with you. Please note that some of the steps regard owning a MadCatz Tournament Edition Fightstick (TE). Your Fightstick may be different, but still contain a Sanwa JLF joystick. The solution is courtesy of Neostoic's Arcade:
Firstly you must understand that the squeaking, could be due to several issues. You must also understand that the solution I will provide is a hands on solution, which will require you to actually open your stick and inspect what's happening. Here are the problems that may be causing the squeaking:
- Badly oiled stick. If this is the case, then you must use the best quality silicone grease you can find. either shin etsu [grease] G-30M or G 40m. You can also use dow molykoat 44.
- Badly placed gate. This would require you to take the gate off and fix it tightly to the stick. Just make sure that it's secure.
- Squeaky Microswitch. This is probably due to residue either from the grease or from the black plastic component. (This was the problem I was having.)
So far these are the most common causes that I have found, if there are any that I missed here, please do email me about it or comment.
Fixing the damn thing:
(PLEASE NOTE I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY DAMAGE YOU MAY CAUSE TO YOUR STICK DURING THIS PROCESS. IF YOU'RE NOT CONFIDENT IN YOUR ABILITIES DON'T OPEN THE THING.)
- Get yourself a hex-key and open up the front cover of your TE (Or whatever stick you have). Make sure not to damage the plexiglass whilst taking it off.
- Lightly lift up the cover and make sure not to pull any wires.
- Here's the first thing to inspect, look at the bottom of the stick itself. There you will find a square (or octo or circle) plastic gate. This restrictor gate is what keeps your stick from twisting into oblivion, make sure it is fitted properly, take it off and move the stick, if you can still hear the squeaking, then your problem is not from the restrictor so continue to step 4. If the squeaking has stopped try fitting the restrictor in properly or buy a new restrictor.
- Now you've moved on to the microswitches. The microswitches are the black blocks with the red switches coming out of them, the ones that click. They are attached to the PCB that is wired to the stick. What you wanna do now is to slide the microswitches out. Before doing this however, remember their position. Now whilst the microswitches are to one side, move the stick about, without the micro switches, if your stick continues to squeak, then either your washer needs oiling, or the main stick where the spring and pivot are need oiling, as stated earlier obtain some good silicone grease, and lube that stick! (Don't tug too hard though ;)
- If after removing your microswitches from their position, your stick continues to squeak (my problem), then your problem are squeaky microswitch. To fix this, all you have to do, is open the microswitch and clean the plastic button and the surrounding area with a small piece of cloth (I just used my fingers.)
- Now you should locate the squeaky microswitch. This should be pretty simple, if your squeaking when you press left, then the squeaky one is the switch on the right. In any case push it a couple of times to confirm this.
- To open the microswitch, take a flat head screwdriver, and their should be an indent in the side of the microswitch, place your screwdriver in their and push up. Push the microswitch up and open the microswitch. It should be easy to prop open, even though it looks like it is sealed tight, be gentle. Once it the top is propped open it should be really easy to just take off the cover.
(Photo Credit by Joey Wainwright)
- Remove the red plastic switch, It should slide out smoothly. Clean it and clean the area it was in, if it was squeaking, there will be some residue on it.
- Push the micro switch cover back on and it should just slide in.
- Put everything back together making sure not to damage any wires, then enjoy your squeakless stick.
If none of these suggestions helped your squeaky stick, then I suggest either take it back to the supplier or buy a new stick. If it is just one specific part of the stick that squeaks and you cannot find a fix for it, then I suggest that you purchase the said part from a trusted supplier. Parts are cheaper than buying a whole stick. You can get a micro-switch PCB for 10quid if you look.
Really helpful , thanks all the detailled info
I recently had this problem and was following this guide. Main issue is step #7. I have no clue where the indent is for the flat head to go in?
@james - I added some photos to help illustrate. You'll see them in the article.