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Replacing Crazy Climber joysticks Part 1

Part 1 of a 2 part article by Chris Moore

Crazy Climber has been on my want list for awhile and when I had a chance to buy one locally, from a fellow KLOV’er, I jumped at the chance. The game was actually a mini/cabaret version that needed a little love. When I first saw the game I could tell the monitor would need a cap kit, the overlay was worn badly and needed to be replaced, the joysticks were loose making the game play sloppy and there was a bad metal speaker cover on the front of the cabinet. I decided to tackle the joysticks first and this is my tutorial for using Sanwa joysticks as replacements on my Crazy Climber.

In part one of the Crazy Climber joystick replacement tutorial I am going to cover;

Researching Crazy Climber Joysticks

After a bit of searching on eBay, some research in the RGVAC archives and discussions with fellow collectors, I quickly learned the the Crazy Climber joysticks are fairly unique.

Old Crazy Climber Joystick

Not a good thing as exact replacements would be difficult to find, NOS would command a premium (if they could even be found) and used sticks would come with the same problems I already had. These sticks seemed to have a bad rap as a poor design for such a joystick intensive game. Since exact replacement joysticks were out, I started looking for alternatives.

I didn’t want to drastically alter the wood control panel and prefered to use the mounting holes as is. This would make it easy to convert back to the original sticks if I ever needed to sell the game. Unfortunately this would also severely limit my options. After a bit of searching on BYOAC, I found reference to a few Japanese made joysticks. Hunting around I was able to find dimensions and specs for the sticks and decided that one made by Sanwa would be my best candidate.

I found a dealer in the US that sells the Sanwa, lizardlickamusements.com. They were very responsive to my questions and quick to ship. I ordered two of the Sanwa JLF-TP-8T 4/8 way adjustable joysticks and chose a 25mm white ball top.

New Crazy Climber Joystick Lizard Lick Amusements

The Crazy Climber mini image in the flyer shows the game with white ball tops, and I think they just look better.

Starting to repair the Crazy Climber Joysticks

Modifying the mounting plate

First I labeled all the wires coming off the joystick so I could remember what they were for. I took apart the Crazy Climber control panel and removed the buttons, joysticks, harness and all the misc hardware. I kept the harness and sticks complete without cutting any wires to make it easy to reinstall later if needed.

Both Crazy Climber Joysticks

After removing the base from the switch plate,

Joystick Switch Plate

I compared the sanwa to the old Crazy Climber stick side by side. I was pleasantly surprised to see that, while different, the depths were almost the same. This meant I could mount the stick directly to the old location without spacers or cutting the panel.

Profile Views of Joysticks 1Profile Views of Joysticks 2Profile Views of Joysticks 3

I tried matching up the mounting holes, but they didn’t line up. I could get the top two or the bottom two holes in place, but not all four.

Joystick Mounting Hole Alignment

Putting the top two in place correctly centered the joystick shaft so the bottom two holes would get chopped. I used my dremel tool with a cutting disk to cut open the hole. Wear safety goggles as lots of small metal fragments spray everywhere!

Cutting Mounting Plate 1Cutting Mounting Plate 2

Then I mounted the modified joysticks in place using washers on the two bottom holes and started to put the panel back together.

Finished Joystick Mounting PlateBottom Crazy Climber Control Panel

Crazy Climber Joystick tutorial part 2

In part 2, we’ll be adjusting the harness, testing our continuity and then making the final mounting adjustments to complete the joystick placement. Continue on to the Crazy Climber joystick tutorial part 2.

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