Q: I have an American Capcom "Big Blue" cabinet, but I want to replace the American style controls with a set of Japanese Style ones. What are my best options?
A: As far as pushbuttons go, screw-type long barrel style pushbuttons will be your best bet - the Big Blue control panel consists of a thick piece of wood measuring roughly 3/4" with a sheet metal backing. Control panel depth is less of an issue, as the wood is only for support around the edges of the control panel - so go with the style you prefer in pushbuttons, be it Sanwa or Seimitsu - just make sure they are screw type.
Levers make this situation a bit more complicated. The easiest way to install a Sanwa JLF is to find the more obscure model Sanwa JLW and bolt the entire JLF assembly (with bracket) to the slots on the JLW bracket. This will allow the levers to bolt up to the original control panel directly. Your next best option is to either remove the original mounting studs & re-weld them to meet the measurements of a JLF bracket, or find a friend who is familiar with metal work and have them fabricate a new sheet metal panel for you.
This article won't go into heavy details, but once you have gotten your new equipment mounted, all that is left is re-wiring the old .187 connectors for the levers to your new Sanwa/Seimitsu 5-pin harnesses. Your pushbutton wiring will work the same as it did before. If you're feeling adventurous, you can throw in extended shafts for a taller balltop handle height. Happy mashing!