Arcade Buttons. You know, the standard convex colourful plastic type that you get on pretty much all candy cabs and modern console ‘fight sticks’. They are one of the few items in the arcade game hobby that can still be considered a cheap, easily availbale, part. But, with a standard 2 player control panel having 14 of them (including start) it’s still an expense.
It doesn’t take that long for a button to start to not rebound quickly, stick or even fail to register a press now and again. This is amazingly frustrating when youre going for a 1CC on whatever is the game of the month. They fail even quicker if your kids spill a popular branded fizzy drink over the control panel and then not tell you about it for a weekend.
Thankfully, servicing these types of buttons is dead easy, very cheap, and results in the button feeling as if it were new again. I found this method via a video from Luke Morse (link here) . This is simple a pictoral version of me doing what he describes in the video in the hope that the more places this information is available, the more people will be able to fix their own gear.
The buttons shown here are standard Sanwa OBSF-30 ‘push in’ buttons most commonly found on japanese candy cabs. In my case, player 2 side of a Blast City Control panel. Anyway, to get your buttons working again…
First up, Remove the buttons from the control panel itself. Disconnect the wiring for the buttons from the pins (They Pull straight up and off). These are wired in pairs (button x + ground) It doesn’t matter which wire of the pair goes to which pin but you will want to note which pairs got to which button so they can be re attached in the right order. NOTE: I know the pic below are two different pannels… It was easier this way!
Now you can remove the buttons. These are push fit so simply apply pressure to the two tabseither side of the button (one side shown below) and the button should pop right out of the control panel.
With the button out we can see the damage and goo thats acumulated and stopping it from working great. We need to get rid of this gunk.
We’ll need to clean inside and out so, turn the button on its side. and notice the two clips keeping the top of the button in place. Gently, with not too much pressure, push these tabs free of the main housing and remove the top. NOTE: You could snap these off if you push too hard.
Now, with the cap off we can see theres a good deal of gunk on the cap itself and on the inside of the botton housing. THis is causing excess friction and messing up the correct opperation.
We have one more thing to remove before cleaning. The microswitch itself. This is a black rectangle at the bottom of the housing. Easy to remove. Turn the housing upside down, press on the two clips either side of the switch and it should pop right out.
Now, to clean the housing and cap, simply use a soft cloth (I use a dishcloth) and some standard cleaning spray (I used kitchen surface cleaner) Spray the plastics and wipe off any of the dirt. Careful with the microswitch, just use a damp cloth on this.
With the dirt off it would be tempting to just re-assemble and put back together but, to get that super smooth action, grab some bike chain lube (Dry lube recomended) and dab some on to the edges of the button cap. With a clean cloth work this around the edges of the cap. Repeat for the inside walls of the housing. Now, when reassembled, the two pieces of plastic that are likley to touch have lubrication. I’ve found this to be very hard wearing and lasts a long time.
Now assemble in the reverse order by putting the microswitch back in the housing, the cap on the button, the buttons in the pannel and then the wiring back on the pins. You should have a fully working, highly responsive button.
Now you should go play some games with the responsiveness of a new button 🙂