Image 1

Kowal 1mm Oversize Actuator for Sanwa JLF Series Joystick

$4.25 (USD)
0.04 Ounces
Ships within 2-3 business days
Calculated at checkout
Max Qty
200 unit(s)

Why is there a quantity limit? Learn more. new-window-icon.png

Other Details
  • Product Description

    The KOWAL™ 1mm oversize actuator is a simple, economical, and non-invasive performance modification for Sanwa JLF joysticks.  It replaces the original Sanwa JLF-Series actuator, offering a shorter throw (-1mm), plus faster engage and diagonal (+1.5mm), while retaining the original neutral zone - a critical area that allows the joystick to properly return to center and set up the next direction.  

    Moves such as Mortal Kombat 9's "Instant Air Gas Blast" for Kabal, or Guilty Gear's X's "In Air Dash" are greatly improved.  Other moves such as jump cancel specials (canceling the pre-jump frames of a super jump into a special attack, common with UMVC3) are easier to perform.

    Actuators, zones, throws, and engage distance explained


    In the diagram above: Neutral Zone (area where actuator doesn't touch switches) is indicated in BLUE; Dead Zone (area where actuator presses begins pressing switch) is BLACK; Activation (are where switch is pressing down) is RED. KOWAL™ actuator retains the neutral zone.  This allows switches to perform normally.

    Beware of actuators that decrease the neutral zone by simply making the entire actuator larger.

    • Neutral Zone is area in which the actuator does not touch the switches.
    • Dead Zone is the area that the actuator begins pressing the switch.
    • Activation Zone is the area where the switch is pressing down.
    • Throw is the maximum distance/angle the shaft can be moved in a particular direction.  Longer throw means that it takes longer to return to neutral for the next move.
    • Engage Distance is the distance or angle between neutral and the engagement of a given switch or set of switches.

    It's important to remember that Dead Zone and Neutral Zone are not the same.  Actuators cannot use the neutral zone for faster engage because the switch must have this area in order to function properly. The KOWAL™ actuator factors in the neutral zone so that it doesn't block the switches' own plungers. This allows the switches to function normally, enabling the actuator to correctly bounce back to the center upon release, ready for the next directional move.

    Size Matters

    There are other oversize actuators on the market.  However, many of them do not properly factor in the Neutral Zone.  Instead, they simply enlarge the entire actuator, cutting off the Neutral Zone and affecting the proper activation of the switches.  This messes up the Activation Zone as well, and works against the intended goal of speeding up engage and shortening throw.  If you see 1.5mm actuators or larger, keep this in mind -- anything larger than 1mm starts to mess up the proper function of the standard 200gf (operating force) JLF switches.  Anything less than 1mm won't shorten engage distance effectively.

    Compatibility, Design and Origin of the KOWAL™ Actuator

    The KOWAL™ 1mm actuator is tested on both square and octagonal gates and best used with the stock Omron 200gf switches that come with the Sanwa JLF. It is designed in a lightweight nylon material, and its non-tapered shape allows the actuator to engage switches consistently. 

    Kowal is the name of a well-respected member on forums and elsewhere in the arcade community.  He has extensive knowledge of the inner workings of many control devices.  Kowal originally introduced the oversized actuator as a performance enhancement for SHMUPs (horizontal or vertical space shooters like Gradius, DoDonPachi, etc.) but was later found to work great with many fighting game titles.  With his permission, we introduce the KOWAL™ brand of performance solutions that highlight accuracy and compatibility above all else. 

    Bundle and Save

    Option bundle the KOWAL™ 1mm oversize actuator with a Sanwa JLF-TP-8YT Joystick, or Sanwa JLF-TP-8Y-SK Joystick (No Plate Installed) for just $3.95!

  • Product Reviews


    Write A Review

    1. I'm so happy!

      I've never thought about "modding" my Madcatz TE, i've just been playing with it for over 10 years, I love it, but one thing always bothered my about it: it's lever.

      The Sanwa JLF lever has quite a significant gap between the stock actuator and the microswitches, causing the shaft to wobble in its neutral position. An other consequence of this is that the neutral zone is too large, increasing the chances of miss direction inputs because you have no feedback letting you feel where you are before you actually hit in input.

      I eventually decided to change the whole lever, when i found out about this 4 bucks custom actuator, so i gave it a try.

      And man o' man, this is beyond my expectations! This little piece just fixed all the issues I had with the Sanwa JLF. No adjusting required, it immediatly felt A LOT better in game.

      I also got an aluminium shaft to make the lever feel lighter, and a dab of grease to lubricate the pivot after complete cleaning of the lever.

      Now i don't feel like buying a new lever anymore, my JLF just feels perfect!
      on Oct 12th 2021

    2. Shorter Throw? No Problem

      Adding the Kowal 1mm Oversize Actuator with the 2lb Sanwa spring and the Kowal Octogate really helped me when i'm playing Ultra Street Fighter IV with either Ken, Ryu, Sakura, Sagat and Poison along with a lot of fighting games either on my consoles or my PC emulators with my Hori RAP4. It's my first time trying out the shorter throw and even though I switch sticks sometimes with Qanbas with the JLF I'm really happy with how the RAP4 Hayabusa stick works now. on Jun 23rd 2021

    3. Fewer missed inputs

      I've been using this for about a year now and it's great. I tried taking it out recently to see if it made a difference--it did. on May 22nd 2021

    4. Makes a big difference

      This is one of those items you really NEED to try if you haven't already. Absolutely a game changer.

      on Nov 20th 2020

    5. Good addition to the Sanwa stick

      It does exactly what it promises. There's less distance to travel to hit directions, so it feels much better to use. on Oct 6th 2020

    6. Like a short-shift kit for your Sanwa!

      LOVE what this piece did for the Sanwa stick on my Hori EX. I did a bunch of upgrades at once, and the stick is in top-form now. I also added the Octo-gate, 2 lb. spring, and new switches, and the stick is as good as any I’ve played. The oversized actuator really cuts the travel between switches and makes the stick much more responsive. Highly recommend it as an upgrade-I found it quite by accident, but when I read the description, I knew I would not regret getting it. on Sep 3rd 2020

    7. It just works

      The less throw on the stick is helped even further with a heavier spring, but it does its job incredibly well. on Aug 24th 2020

    8. Perfect accompanying piece

      Paired with Kowal Octagonal gate for Hayabusa lever, performs better than stock imo. on Jul 8th 2020

    9. Quicker response

      I can definitely tell in both my sticks that have this actuator are "quicker" than other sticks I have. on Jun 10th 2020

    10. Works much better with octagonal gates

      Personally, it does not feel good with the stock square gate that comes with the JLF stick. It feels best when matched with an octagonal gate made by sanwa or kowal gate for Hayabusa sticks. If you want less throw, this is most likely what you're looking for. on Mar 27th 2020

  • Product Videos

    • - KOWAL Oversized Actuators for Sanwa JLF Joysticks
      A step-by-step video detailing the installation of the new ove...
    • Tech Corner: Sanwa JLF Maintenance
      Episode 1 of Tech Corner features the the Sanwa JLF-TP-8YT joy... - KOWAL Oversized Actuators for Sanwa JLF Joysticks

    A step-by-step video detailing the installation of the new oversized joystick actuators designed by KOWAL, brought to you by Check out the video for more details. For more custom joystick parts and fighting game related products please check out: Follow me: Thanks for watching and happy modding!
  • Find Similar Products by Category