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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
8 unit(s)

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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. 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

    2. 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

    3. there's a difference.

      Coupled this with octagonal restrictor and 4lb tension spring on Sanwa JLF, much easier to do fire balls, dragon punches, sonic booms, slice kicks. Only thing I would change, get 2lb tension spring, 4lb just a bit much.. still doable. on Mar 11th 2020

    4. Love it

      Love the change in feel and responsiveness of my JLF from this actuator. 100% worth a try if you are curious yourself. Gets the Sanwa JLF closer to Seimitsu-style actuation distance without making it as unforgiving as an LS-40 for example. on Feb 3rd 2020

    5. Indispensible, will never go without one again.

      Installed in tandem with a 2lb spring on my Sanwa JLF-TPRG-8BYT-SK. The difference was night and day.

      The biggest problem IMO with the standard Sanwa JLF is that the neutral and dead zones are simply too large. This item fixes both problems and makes the JLF feel more responsive.

      Double QCF motions became much easier and accurate and instant air attack execution improved. These are problem areas most players struggle with. While this problem doesn't solve the execution issues you may have, it does make them easier to work with.

      I will be upgrading every lever that can accept it with this item going forward.
      on Jan 21st 2020

    6. A must have upgrade for Sanwa jlf

      The Kowal actuator is a must have upgrade for my Sanwa jlf sticks. Also works well with the Hori Hyabusa stick when used with the Kowal octagonal gate. Does exactly what the description says and now I can’t go back to stock actuators. on Nov 20th 2019

    7. If you already have 4lb springs this isn't a huge difference

      I put 4lb springs also bought on this site in my 4 player arcade cabinet and then also added these. The 4lb springs made a HUGE difference. I am not sure I can tell much of a difference with theses added on top fo the 4lb springs. They aren't bad, but the 4lb springs was the real upgrade. on Oct 2nd 2019

    8. 1mm make the difference

      Installed on a hayabusa stick, fill perfect and yes, I can notice an upgrade in the motion execution. on Aug 29th 2019

    9. Consistent Inputs

      I'm very happy on how this worked out for me. Neutral positions feels solid and I feel that my inputs are more consistent when performing half circle motions. Can't see myself having a stick without one anymore. on Aug 25th 2019

    10. If you don't have one try it out

      Try it out for yourself and feel the difference.

      Highly recommend getting if you've never used one before.
      on Aug 22nd 2019

  • Product Videos

    • Focus Attack KOWAL2
    • Tech Corner: Sanwa JLF Maintenance
      Episode 1 of Tech Corner features the the Sanwa JLF-TP-8YT joy...

    Focus Attack KOWAL2

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