Sanwa Arcade Joysticks

The Ultimate Guide for Arcade Gaming Enthusiasts


When it comes to arcade gaming, having a high-quality joystick is crucial for an immersive and enjoyable experience. Among the many arcade joysticks available in the market, Sanwa arcade joysticks stand out as one of the most popular and preferred by arcade gaming enthusiasts. In this article, we'll explore what makes Sanwa arcade joysticks so special, their advantages over other arcade joysticks, how to choose the right one for your gaming setup, and tips for maintaining them for the best performance.

What are Sanwa Arcade Joysticks?

Sanwa arcade joysticks are high-quality joysticks designed specifically for arcade gaming. They originated in Japan and are known for their smooth and precise movement, responsive movements, and long-lasting durability. Sanwa arcade joysticks are designed to provide arcade gaming enthusiasts with a superior gaming experience and are popular among professional gamers and hobbyists alike. Unlike some other standard arcade joysticks, Sanwa joysticks use high-quality microswitches that provide a more tactile and responsive feel, making them ideal for arcade games that require precision and speed.

Why Are Sanwa Arcade Joysticks Popular Among Arcade Gamers?

Sanwa joysticks are popular among arcade gamers for several reasons. One of the primary reasons is their superiority in responsiveness over other arcade joysticks. The smooth and precise movement of the joysticks provides a more accurate and responsive gaming experience, giving gamers a clear advantage over their opponents. Additionally, the joysticks are highly customisable, allowing gamers to adjust the joystick tension, restrictor gate, and mounting plates to their preferences. Finally, many popular arcade games such as Street Fighter and Tekken are designed to be played with Sanwa joysticks, making them the go-to choice for arcade gaming enthusiasts.

Demystifying Sanwa JLF Joystick Product Codes

Understanding the product codes associated with Sanwa joysticks can often be a source of confusion. Here is a quick summary of the various part codes and what they mean.

This is the most popular Sanwa joystick model and features a flat mounting plate. Most arcade DIY enthusiasts will opt for this model. These fit in all our arcade cabinet kit control panels, including the upright arcade machine kits.

This is the same joystick as the one above, the JLF-TP-8YT, but this model has the mounting plate removed.

This model is identical to the JLF-TP-8Y, but it comes with a JLF-P-1S stepped mounting plate attached. We use this model in our arcade machines because it allows us to bolt the joystick from under the control panel. This is why we don't have any visible bolts on the top of our control panels.


JLF-CD Shaft Cover Set
When you add a black shaft cover set to any of the above models, the product code is suffixed with -SK. So for example, the JLF-TP-8YT model mentioned above which is fitted with a black shaft cover set will become JLF-TP-8YT-SK.

How to Install a Sanwa Arcade Joystick

Installing a Sanwa arcade joystick is a straightforward process that requires a few basic tools. To begin, gain access to your control panel and remove the old joystick. Next, attach the new Sanwa arcade joystick by either bolting it from the top or underneath of the control panel. Unlike some other joysticks where they have microswitches and terminal points, this joystick uses JLF-H cable. If you are connecting this to a JAMMA board, such as a Pandora box, you will need to crimp terminals to end of each wire. If you're unsure about the installation process, consult a professional or follow online tutorials.


Sanwa arcade joysticks are a must-have for arcade gaming enthusiasts looking for the ultimate gaming experience. With their smooth and precise responsive movements, and long-lasting durability, Sanwa joysticks have become the go-to choice for arcade gamers. Choosing the right Sanwa arcade joystick for your gaming setup and preferences doesn't have to be challenging, with the right research, you can find the one that fits your control panel. Remember to maintain your Sanwa arcade joystick regularly to ensure optimal performance and longevity. With these tips and tricks, you'll be able to take your arcade gaming experience to the next level. Happy gaming!