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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. Perfect for SHMUPS and even Robotron

      This along with the 2lb spring is SHMUP heaven. Your scores will drastically improve and gameplay will improve. So much more fun.

      I also also put this combo in the JLF's on my Robotron/Smash TV cab and in my opinion, it's better than the OG 8 way WICOs.
      on May 9th 2024

    2. Need Reduced Throw?

      I'd recommend using this with a 1.5lb, 2lb, or Yellow Spring on a JLF to really maximize the effectiveness of the actuator.

      I coupled this with an Otto V5 and it's definitely one of the best JLF setups I've ever used.

      I would avoid using this on the standard Sanwa square gate as you may get accidental inputs. Squircle or Octogates are heavily recommend with the Kowal.
      on Apr 9th 2024

    3. High quality. Works perfectly. Check it out,Great Job!

      Everything's seems fine. Great even. on Aug 17th 2023

    4. Had to file it down

      The top lip of the wider (base) cylinder had to be filed down because it was making contact with the gate. This was causing a slight impediment to moving the stick in certain directions, depending on the orientation of the actuator. The original sanwa actuator has a shorter base that is more rounded at the top. on Jul 17th 2023

    5. Noob review

      I'm no expert nor have I had years of experience trying out different parts but this seems to feel better doing quick back dashes or forward dash. Especially having to run forward and then instantly hitting back to block a zoning tool. on Apr 12th 2023

    6. Slightly decreases joystick throw

      It’s an extremely minor change. I thought it would be thicker and rest on the sticks switches but there’s still a good amount of space to throw. Not a bad product, just not what I personally expected. on Dec 28th 2022

    7. Great Product

      I use the actuator with a stock square gate and it cleaned up my inputs and movement. on May 23rd 2022

    8. Great mod for Hayabusa lever

      This actuator works great on the stock square gate of my Hori Hayabusa lever. I've read that you have to sand or file off just a bit off the base of the actuator for it to work with the square gate of the Hayabusa, but I didn't have that problem. I also added a 2lb spring. With the oversized actuator and 2lb spring, the lever feels much better imo. Thanks FocusAttack! on Apr 22nd 2022

    9. A Subtle Change for the Better

      Not a very big difference from the stock actuator but if your looking for reduced throw this is something you'll need. on Dec 15th 2021

    10. 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

  • 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!
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