We often get a lot of inquiries regarding the classic Sega Virtua Stick, namely the HSS-0136. To help create a more convenient resource for owners of this product, we have created a FAQ below that should address most general questions about this arcade stick.
Q: Can I put different pushbuttons in the HSS-0136?
A: The short answer is no - the existing holes in the HSS-0136's control plate are just slightly under 30mm, so even the average Sanwa OBSF pushbutton will not directly fit. You will have to use a file or dremel tool to grind down the holes to where a standard pushbutton will fit properly.
Q: Okay, that's kind of a pain, but it's do-able. That's all it takes to install pushbuttons, correct?
A: Not quite. There is a daughterboard that the factory pushbuttons are connected to, and the buttons must be desoldered from it before they can be removed (solder points circled in red):
Once the pushbuttons have been removed, you may use the tool of your choice to enlarge the original button holes. From there you can use any Japanese style pushbutton you like.
When installing your new pushbuttons, the daughterboard only has to be reinstalled if you are intending to use the original arcade stick PCB. If you are switching to something like a Brook PCB, then you can do away with the daughterboard entirely. If you plan to use the daughterboard, Sanwa pushbuttons would be your best choice as the pins of the switches line up rather easily with it. Otherwise, you will have to solder wires from the main PCB where the white ribbon cable is connected.
Q: Is it possible to change the joystick without destroying the art?
A: Not really, unfortunately.
Q: What can I do about replacing the joystick? It doesn't feel good and I'd like something better.
A: The older model of the HSS-0136 used Seimitsu parts, but the ASCII model is more common. Unfortunately, due to the mounting pattern used, Seimitsu levers are more easy to install than Sanwa ones. The easiest joystick to install is the Seimitsu LS-56, just remove the mounting plate from it and use the 4 center screw holes to mount it.
As of this writing, the easiest way to install a Sanwa JLF is still the same: you would need to weld the JLF mounting bracket to the control panel.
Q: I am having trouble telling which version of the HSS-0136 I have. Can you help?
A: We can! Please check out this other knowledgebase entry that covers this topic.
This space will be regularly updated with more information.