Table of contents
Buttons practically last forever, so they are a good long-term investment. They also play a large role in the “feel”. Cheap buttons are prone to getting stuck.
Sanwa buttons (from Japan) feel the best, but can be expensive. This is the arcade standard. They come with Omron switches by default.
Samduck-sa buttons (from Korea) feel very, very close to Sanwa buttons, at a fraction of the cost. Most Korean arcades use these buttons. Some at-home players swear by these. Samduck-sa buttons can use the same springs as Sanwa buttons. These come with Gersung switches by default.
DJ DAO buttons, ISTMall buttons, and other Chinese-manufactured buttons feel very different from Sanwas. They often have slightly different internal dimensions, which means Sanwa springs will not fit (usually the springs will be too long to fit). They are also very cheap. These usually come built-in by default when controllers are purchased.
For most players, 50g Omron switch + 50N spring, or 50g Omron switch + 20N spring setup is recommended - more details here.
Omron switches (from Japan) are the arcade standard.
Gersung switches (from Korea) are cheaper alternatives to Omrons. The downsides are that they do not last as long, and only comes in 60g-ish weight.
Honeywell and other no-name switches are heavily recommended against; they are too light and/or prone to failure.
Compared to button and switch quality, springs play a relatively minor role in the “feel”, but they still do make a small difference.
Sanwa springs (from Japan) are the arcade standard, but can be expensive and difficult to obtain, depending on the weight.
ISTMall springs (no-name) are much cheaper, but they tend to be a bit inconsistent (each spring can be heavier or lighter than another, even though they are supposed to be the same weight). They are also slightly shorter, which makes the buttons sink a little lower.
It is recommended that you pair Sanwa buttons with Sanwa springs, since other branded springs may have different dimensions & you may not be getting the intended weight.
Most controllers will come with LED lamps built into the buttons. You can pull them out and transfer them to other buttons - e.g., if you bought a DAO controller with DAO buttons, you can pull out the LEDs and insert them into Sanwa or Samduck buttons.
Arcade LEDs operate at 12V, most home controllers like DJ DAO operate at 5V. YuanCon is a notable exception which uses 12V.
Some LED lamps work with both. Some only work with 5V, or only with 12V.
If you have an Omron switch, it’s written on the switch casing. Here is a cheat sheet:
- D2MV-01-1C1 = 10g
- D2MV-01-1C2 = 25g
- D2MV-01-1C3 = 50g (old LM standard)
- VX-01-1C23 = 50g (new LM standard as of CastHour)
- V-10-1A4 = 100g
- V-15-1A5 = 200g
Spring weights are harder. If you don’t know:
- Stock Sanwa buttons ship with V-10-1A4 (100g) switches and 100N springs.
- Stock Samduck buttons ship with 60g-ish Gersung switches and 30-40N springs. YMMV as they occasionally switch up the defaults.
- Stock ISTMall buttons come with 30N springs and Gersung switches, YMMV as they will occasionally switch up the defaults.
- Stock Dao buttons are 20g Honeywell switches and 40N springs.
These are official images for Sanwa springs. You can try to tell them apart by the density and the color (e.g., 60N springs are heat-treated, therefore darker).
Make sure you check the price and factor in the shipping cost to your country!
- In the past, Rakuten had an international storefront which allowed foreign buyers to access the Sanwa Denshi shop. This has been shut down in 2020, so you now need a shipping proxy to receive items within Japan and have someone ship them out to you. Buyee is one such option.
- ISTMall will ship international. If you have trouble with the website, try Internet Explorer (no, not Edge, Internet Explorer, really). Sometimes they sell out of parts, and get restocked months later.
- DJ DAO’s storefront charges a lot of money for shipping small things.
It is recommended that you buy the ones without LEDs, since they are much cheaper. If you do buy the ones with LEDs, note that they are meant to be used with 12V.
These are the “old lamp holder” design (vs. new “integrated” design), which is more commonly used in arcade and home controllers.
Sanwa buttons come with V-10-1A4 (100g) switches and 100N Sanwa springs.
- Sanwa OBSA-45UK-W-LN
- Sanwa OBSA-45UK-K/W-LN
Stock Samduck buttons ship with 60g-ish Gersung switches and 30-40N springs. YMMV as they occasionally switch up the defaults. These do not include LED lamps but are compatible with DAO and ISTMall lamps.
- Samduck-sa CWB 405
- Buttons in various colors.
- Samduck-sa CWB 406
- Square buttons for start / select
- IST 405
- Buttons very similar to CWB 405
- Comes with 30N springs and Gersung switch, and 5V/12V ISTMall LED lamp
- IST 406
- Square buttons for start / select, very similar to CWB 406
- Comes with 30N springs, Gersung switch, and 5V/12V ISTMall LED lamp
These are very common hobby electronics parts, you may be able to find them in your local small electronic components supplier.
- D2MV-01-1C2 (25g)
- D2MV-01-1C3 (50g - old LM standard)
- VX-01-1C23 (50g - new LM standard, more clicky than 1C3)
- V-10-1A4 (100g)
- Advertised to be between 50g and 100g, according to ISTMall. People commonly refer to this as 60g Gersung switches.
- OBSA-SP-20 (20N)
- OBSA-SP-40 (40N)
- OBSA-SP-50 (50N)
- OBSA-SP-60-K (60N)
- OBSA-SP-100 (100N)
These are cheaper alternatives. They come in 20N / 30N / 40N / 60N / 100N / 200N. See notes at the end of this page for compatibility warning – these are meant to be used with ISTMall buttons.
ISTMall lamps work fine in 5V, although a little dimmer than stock DAO lights.
Comet Pinball lamps work but can be a bit dim, but they are easy to obtain and come in many colors - YMMV.
- Can I use Omron switches with my Dao buttons?
- Yes, Omron and Gersung switches are compatible with Sanwa buttons, Samduck-sa buttons, and most Chinese buttons.
- Can I use Sanwa springs with Dao buttons?
- No, the springs will be too long.
- Can I use ISTMall springs with Sanwa buttons?
- ISTMall specifically mentions that these are not meant to be compatible with Sanwa buttons. Most of them will work, but it may not be 100% ideal (usually the spring will be too short).
- Can I use Sanwa springs with Samduck-sa buttons? Or Samduck-sa springs with Sanwa buttons?
- It might work but YMMV.