Replacing tactile switches in Atari-style joystick

This is a bit different from the audio stuff I write about but since I was messing with some electronics, I have decided to post this here. A while ago, I have purchased a cheap Atari style USB joystick on Ebay. Made in China, $15 delivered and looks like the original Atari joystick. The problem is that it doesn’t perform like the original. The action is crappy and it takes a lot of force to actually press the fire button. All because of the metal plates that the joystick uses instead of tactile switches. So $1.36 later (cost of 20 tactile switches delivered from China to US in about 3 weeks), I was ready to perform the replacement.

Here are the original springy metal plates that act as switches.

I had to remove the translucent plastic tape that was covering the switches, scrape a bit of a trace so I have area to apply solder to and clean everything with isopropyl alcohol.

Test with the switches positioned in the middle of the switch area. I had to cut one leg so it doesn’t short and used superglue to affix the tactile switches to the board. Solder alone may not be enough for constant use.

And the actual joystick after the operation. Right now the action is a lot better and the force needed to push the button is a lot less than it was before. Good thing is that I did not need to cut or file any parts of the actual joystick. This is because the new tactile switches are only 0.5mm high. They are actually pretty small measuring just 4x4x0.5mm.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *