The Big Arcade Stick / Fightstick Pushbutton Guide

The Big Arcade Stick / Fightstick Pushbutton Guide

If you’re building your own stick or modding an existing one, replacing buttons is probably on your to do list. But with so many buttons out there, what do you choose? This guide will attempt to assist you with making that choice, focusing on advantages and disadvantages of the most common brands.

Button Basics

A pushbutton seems simple, but there is some terminology and such that’s useful to know. The video below covers this, but some main things to know about:

  • Button hole sizes: Most sticks will use 24mm, 30mm, or 28mm.
  • Mount format: The usual methods are snap-in (uses tabs for a pressure fit) or screw-in (uses a locking nut).
  • Plunger type: There are flat, convex (curves up), and concave (curves down) style plungers. Modern buttons tend to adopt a convex plunger; old American-style arcades favor concave buttons.
Zero 2 Fightstick All About Buttons

Sanwa

OBS Series

Sanwa OBSF

The default button of many pre-built sticks and for many builders, the OBSF (available in 30mm and 24mm in both screw-in and snap-in configurations) is the go to pushbutton for many. It’s cheap, it works well, and it’s readily available. Like the JLF lever, the OBSF has a number of mods available for it.

These are the buttons for you if:

  • You like light touch, fast response, precision buttons.
  • You like snappier buttons.
  • You need a variety of color and format options.
  • You want something relatively inexpensive.

These are NOT the buttons for you if:

  • You like to rest your fingertips on the buttons or otherwise don’t want very high sensitivity buttons.
  • You need softer touch buttons.
  • You want quieter buttons.
  • Most variants are snap-in, with a limited selection of screw-in options – if you need screw-in buttons in certain variants you’re out of luck.
  • You want something less expensive.

Other Notes:

  • Snap-in tabs for the OBSF are notoriously fragile (especially on metallic variants); it’s recommended to use a purpose-built extractor tool.
  • You can replace the switch if it fails.
  • OBSF is for solid colors, OBSC is for translucent colors, OBSJ is for metallic colors, OBSFE is for silent variants, OBSN is for screw-in variants.

Seimitsu

PS-14 & 15 Series

Seimitsu PS-14

Often considered the alternative to Sanwa in both levers and buttons, the Seimitsu PS-14 is their mainstay button series. It’s available in multiple colors and formats.

These are the buttons for you if:

  • You like the Japanese button feel but want something more forgiving.
  • You’d like the above, with the option for more resistance by adding springs.
  • You want a Japanese-style button, but want more screw-in options than Sanwa.
  • You want some sweet Astro City colors.
  • You want something less expensive.

These are NOT the buttons for you if:

  • You want a silent button option.
  • You want the (slightly) lighter touch the Sanwa OBS series offers.
  • You’d like more modification options available.
  • You want metallic options.

Other Notes:

  • Variants include (according to catalog):
    • PS-14-K is translucent color in snap-in format, 30mm. KN is the equivalent in screw-in format.
    • PS-14-G is solid color in snap-in format, 30mm. GN is the equivalent in screw-in format.
      • A GN-C is a hybrid of this; transparent plunger in a solid body.
      • The Keiko-GN series is a special series of the GN in neon colors.
    • PS-14-D is solid color in snap-in format, 24mm. DN is the equivalent screw-in format.
    • PS-14-DNK is translucent colors, in a screw-in format, 24mm. There does not appear to be an equivalent snap-in format button.
    • PS-14-DNC is the 24mm variant of the GN-C.
    • PS-15 is a slim format snap-in format button in 30mm; all colors are solid.
  • Internal springs to increase resistance are available for the PS-14 series (PS-14-K-1.25 and PS-14-K-1.5).

Crown

SDB-202 Series

Crown SDB-202

The Crown SDB-202 (AKA the 202, or the 202 MX) is a keyboard switch-based button that’s very popular (post GamerFinger more or less imploding). It is more extensively covered in my guide to these kind of buttons.

Qanba

Gravity Series

Qanba Gravity

The Qanba Gravity series is another keyboard switch-based button, released in late 2021. Currently they’re only available in a convex, 30mm, screw-in configuration. (Update: Now available in snap-in configurations in both 24mm and 30mm) Color selection is currently somewhat limited, with a selection of solid, translucent, and “clear” colors. For more details, see the guide link above.

Qanba Standard Buttons

Qanba has a few lines of standard buttons in 24mm and 30mm snap-in configuration out there. This includes black, clear, and white with LEDs as well as metallic color variants. These are pretty much the same buttons used in their pre-built sticks. Keep in mind that LED-equipped buttons will require power.

Gamerfinger

HBFS Series

Gamerfinger HBFS

The subject of at least thirty “how do I get these?” posts on /r/fightsticks per week, the HBFS series is a favorite of the keyboard switch-based button crowd, but has become notoriously difficult to obtain outside of Japan. The HBFS is made in both 24mm and 30mm sizes, as well as snap-in and screw-in formats. The body has three different colors (white, crystal, and smoke), while there’s a number of color options for the plunger cap. A quiet button by default. More info in my guide (including how to obtain them), linked above.

Industrias Lorenzo (iL)

PSL Series

iL PSL-L
iL PSL-L

The PSL series is an American-style button available in various configurations and colors including solid colors, translucents, and metallics. These are 28mm screw-in buttons, but will fit 30mm size holes. Note that even the short stem variants are quite long with switch installed, so won’t fit most cases.

  • PSL-L is the long stem variant.
  • PSL-C is the short stem variant.
  • -CV will denote convex top plungers (so PSL-C-CV will be short stem & convex).

These are the buttons for you if:

  • You grew up on American arcade hardware and have no intentions to change.
  • You need exceptionally long buttons (usually more appropriate for arcade cabinets than fightsticks).
  • You’re a hardcore Marvel vs. Capcom 2 fan.
  • You really like giving your fingers a workout with the pressure these need.

These are NOT the buttons for you if:

  • You want speed or precision.
  • You don’t have a lot of room in your case.
  • You can’t or don’t want to use screw in buttons.
  • You need smaller buttons (24mm).
  • You can’t re-terminate or make 6.3mm quick disconnect connections.

Other Notes:

  • Zippy and Cherry brand switches are common (I recommend the Cherry D44X).

Conclusion:

The iL lineup is rather niche, but some players may find this is the option for them. If you have American-style arcade cabinets (including Arcade 1Up machines), it’s likely going to be compatible with the iL series.

Other Brands/Models

Hori: The Hayabusa buttons are available in a low profile snap-in configuration in 30mm; their distinguishing feature is the matte surface.

Suzo-Happ: While most American button enthusiasts favor iL buttons, the original player in this space is (Suzo-)Happ with their Competition (convex plunger) and Arcade (concave plunger) series. There isn’t much to say about these; they’re similar to the PSL-L, but regarded poorly nowadays.

Wico: Not active today, but collectors often seek out the Perfect 360 buttons for their optical accuracy. Keep in mind these require power.

 

One Response

  1. Geneaux says:

    I’d like the mention that the Qanba Gravity switches appear to be derivative or clone of Omron B3K series of switches, which most of us know as Logitech’s Romer-G switches.

    https://deskthority.net/wiki/Omron_B3K_series

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