1981 Artic Cabaret Arcade Cabinet. Part 5

After using the new IL joysticks and buttons for some time I found the buttons a bit cheap, too clicky and the joystick had pretty much zero resistance, basically it all felt a bit too new and cheap.

I decided to revisit the original joystick which was completely shot when I got it. The ball top was cracked due to the rust on the shaft swelling, the rubber gromet had broken and completely perished to nothing. I found it dificult to identify the joystick, I saw a post on MikesArcade.com and the closest thing I can see to the one I have is a Nintendo upright. It’s mainly made up of metal parts, has a rubber gromet and a metal guide inside which produces a metalic sound as you move it around.

In the picture below, you can see the metal guide. The joystick needs stripping, inspecting and cleaning up.

As you can see in this picture, it looks like the joystick’s had plenty of abuse over the years.

Here’s a picture of the joystick from underneath, it’s the type that has metal paddles attached to activate the microswitches, as you’ll probably know, it weren’t uncommon for ops to solder wires directly onto the spade connectors.

I stripped the joystick down, here’s a few pictures of it as I take it apart. you’ll notice what used to be a gromet, it was completely worn out and there were barely any rubber left at all which probably meant that people continued to try to use the stick even though it was broken.

Rusty joystick shaft broken ball top
Internals of metal joystick broken gromet

I threw the parts into the tumbler for a couple of days to clean them up a bit. The deeper rusty parts had to be sanded.

Everything cleaned up now so time to re assemble, I did buy a rubber gromet after measuring up and found the Wico gromet the closest match.

I reassembled the joystick and it felt really stiff with that new rubber gromet on, the resistance was a little too much, however, after some months of use it feels like it’s either loosened off a bit or I’ve gotten used to it, I like it more than the newer IL stick though, it just feels much more original and much higher quality.

The ball top was one I bought from China, it’s 40mm Diameter and has a 10mm Thread which I drilled out slightly and glued onto the original shaft. I find the larger ball top much more comfortable to play, it feels much better.

I also cleaned up the original buttons and put those on, even with the patina that comes with them they feel better and look better, I think anyway.
All in all, I’m really happy with this arcade cabinet, I spend many hours playing it and wouldn’t want to be without it.

Author Tony
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