Suzo Joysticks, the arcade model revisions



The original "Arcade" joystick from Suzo went through a number of small, technical design revisions during it's lifetime. The changes with each version are small, some are improvements, others are cost cutting measures. There are at least 4 different technical model revisions known (by me) despite the color scheme. It does not include the arcade turbo joystick. The two incarnations of the 22-2602 have the same board, but they can either have a microswitch or a leaf switch fire button.

The Arcade, board revision 22-2600 (microswitch, soldered wiring)
The Arcade, board revision 22-2601 (microswitch, internal wiring connector)
The Arcade, board revision 22-2602 (microswitch, internal wiring connector)
The Arcade, board revision 22-2602 (leaf switch, internal wiring connector)
Button differences
Centering rubber differences
Stick differences
Final thoughts







model revision 22-2600 (original model)



The 22-2600 revision is the oldest revision of the arcade. This model always has a microswitched firebutton. The joystick cable wiring is soldered directly to the pcb, wich is something to take in mind when you're dealing with a broken joystick cable. If you're handy with a soldering iron, you should be able to replace it quite easily if you ever have to do so.

The centering rubber in this model is made of a soft, dark grey rubber wich has a nice feel to it, and seems to be more flexible then the white rubber ones in the later revisions. Also, it's got slightly better wear and tear characteristics in my experience.





Firebutton design: microswitch only

Joystick wiring: soldered directly on the pcb

Centering rubber: soft, dark grey

Pressure ring color: black

Manufactured from: unknown to: unknown

Special notes: oldest model



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model revision 22-2601 (internal wiring connector)



The 22-2601 revision is not much different from the 22-2600, but has a few minor changes. This model always has a microswitched firebutton. The joystick cable wiring has a connector, wich makes it easier to replace a broken joystick cable. This whas a major improvement over the orginal revision. This model sets the standard for all later suzo joysticks, because all later models use this connector and the white nylon pressure disc and white rubber centering ring.

The centering rubber in this model is made of a harder, white rubber, wich is slightly stiffer then the black rubber, I do not consider this small change to be a real improvement, because this type of rubber is more susceptible to wear and tear, and it may get brittle due to evaportation of the softerner (like an old garden hose). This is not really a big issue, but still I'd think you should know, because it smells funny too. Besides that, my joystick from 1986 still works fine even with slight cracks in the rubber.





Firebutton design: microswitch only

Joystick wiring: wiring with connector

Centering rubber: stiff, white

Pressure ring color: white

Manufactured from: unknown to: unknown

Special notes: second model



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model revision 22-2602 (leaf or microswitch firebutton)



The 22-2602 revision is a weird one. It marks quite a change in the construction of the fire button, as it was the first suzo arcade joystick to feature a leaf switch, wich was most likely a cost cutting measure. The funny thing is, that not all 2602 models have this, as the pcb is designed to support both variants. I guess they couldn't make up their mind or they had some old stock of microswitches left, and graduatly phased them out. I consinder this model to be a transitional revision. I'm not really sure what there intension was, maybe they where afraid that leaf switches has quality issues by forehand, and the designers played safe by desgining the board so that a microswitch could be fitted if costumers where reporting problems. I really don't know the story behind this, so it's just an educated guess. I really like to know about it.

Maybe some people where not fond of microswitches, since they make a lot of noise, and leaf switches can be bend and are much quiter, and faster (shoter travel). Anyway, if you have one of these with a leafswitch and it needs fixing, you can swap it out for a much more durable microswitch. The centering rubber again is made of the stiffer, white type of rubber.





Firebutton design: microswitch or leaf switch

Joystick wiring: wiring with connector

Centering rubber: stiff, white

Pressure ring color: white

Manufactured from: unknown to: unknown

Special notes: third model



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button differences



Most models of the suzo arcade have microswitched firebuttons, but the later ones have so called "leaf switches". The difference is the feel, the sound and the wear characteristics. Microswitches are quite noisy because of the clicking sound, and leafswitches are silent. It is possible to find out what model version you have by pressing the firebutton. If it clicks like the way the stick clicks, you've got a microswitch. This still doesn't rule out any model number, as all three revisions can have microswitches. If it doesn't make a loud clicking sound and it feels mushy, you've got a 22-2602 with a leaf switch.

If you have several individual joysticks of different age, you can guess the model revision. The oldest (22-2600) model has very loud microswitches and a nice, soft springy feel to the stick. The latter versions have different microswitches wich make less noise. The stick also has a different centering rubber, so it's spring is a bit stiffer.

But to be really sure, you'll have to open the joystick(s) and compare them. Joysticks with a leafswich firebutton also have an additional bit of plastic mounted on the button. (see photo).





centering rubber differences



As I mentioned earlier, the centering spring of the stick comprises of a rubber ring with a hole in it. In most models of the suzo joysticks, this is a white rubber ring, wich is kind of stiff. This mechanism is very simple but works really well and has proven to be very durable. However they can get cracks after a lot of abuse. What I find interesting is that oldest models (the 22-2600 version) use a slightly different kind rubber wich is dark grey.

This seems to be a nuisance, but I feel that a makes a difference. The dark grey/black ones are softer and a bit more flexible. You can defenitly feel the difference if you compare different sticks by "spinning" the stick. The vibration feels different. The white ones vibrate less, because the rubber is stiffer. Also, the dark grey/black rubber has less tendancy to crack, it almost seems to be a better quality rubber. I wonder why they changed it for those white rubbers. Is it cost cutting? Who knows. But I find it remarkable.





stick differences



Now let's have a look at the actual buisiness end of the joysticks, the stick it self. On the two images you'll see 5 sticks. The first one we're going to ignore as it is the stick of the arcade turbo/prof competition 9000 deluxe. What's quite remarkable is the red stick, wich is from an prof competition 9000 (a competition pro sucessor) as it's all made of plastic while the other ones contain a metal core. Believe me, the plastic one sucks. It's very un-suzo like, yet they did make these. The actual joystick it comes from was built around 1992-ish and they where probably one of the last build year. Why did they comprimised the quality so much is beyond me.

Enough nitpicking, let's move on to interesting bit, the difference between sticks (2/3) and 4. They're all from the "arcade" model, and from different revisions. The brown one a and the first black one (3) are from the 22-2600 revision, and the second black one (4) is from the 22-2601 revision. What's remarkable is that the older one has a smoother (curved) join between the ball and the tapered base. Also the texture is/feels different. Is it just me or is it the same stick as used in the black leaf switched competition pro model? I've seen images of it and it sorta looks like it. But I cannot confirm this as I don't own any competition pro's.





final thoughts



Well that pretty much wraps up all the technical details you need to know if you're a suzo joystick collector, and have bunch of "the arcade"'s laying around. I'd never thought that a product like this went through so many revisions, you'd think they design just one version and stick with that, but they probably had guiniene reasons to change the design from to time to time. This may have something to with cost, user feedback or availability of certain components. I find it quite fashinating. If you can tell me more (if your an former product designer or test engineer from suzo) then I'd like to the know the story.