:: Construction ::
     
   - How they work -
     
    All three of these joysticks utilize microswitches  to send their response to the PC or arcade pcb.  An actuator on the joystick shaft contacts a button on the microswitch to close the circuit.
   

    The Super uses an activated microswitch, unlike the Competition and Ultimate which use a standard microswitch..
   

   

 

   
 - Joystick actuators -
     
    The Super has a round actuator that contacts the activation lever on the microswitch.  Both the Competition and Ultimate use a "floating" square actuator that contacts the switch button.

The Super's round actuator and levers allows for a very fluid motion when moving the joystick in a circular motion.

The square actuator on the Competition and Ultimate don't allow for quite as smooth circular motion, but the diagonal directions are more discreet and easier to "find".  I mentioned above that the square actuator "floats".  What I mean here is that the actuator is free to rotate on the shaft until it hits the microswitches.  This keeps the joysticks from having a blocky feel when moving across the diagonals.

   
Super Joystick

Competition Joystick
     
    The actuator on the Competition is different from the other two joysticks in that it attaches directly to the actuator sleeve, rather than sliding onto the shaft below the actuator sleeve.  Happ Controls refers to the actuator sleeve as a "Z-stop".  I believe there is an advantage to this particular design of the Competition's actuator that isn't found on the other two joysticks.  I will explore this in greater depth later.
     
   
 - Spring return-to-center -
     
    All three of these joysticks use a spring for the return-to-center action.  These joysticks were all ordered with the standard spring, although Happ does have an optional heavy spring available for both the Competition and Ultimate joysticks.

I measured the spring rate of  each of the springs.  First I measured the free length of the spring, and then I applied a known weight to each of the springs and checked the amount of deflection.  The spring rate is calculated by dividing the force (weight) by deflection, and is typically given in lbs/inch.  A higher spring rate indicates a stiffer spring.  Below are my measured spring rates for each of the joysticks.

Joystick Free length Spring rate
Super 1.375" 8 lbs/in
Competiton 1.438" 6.4 lbs/in
Ultimate 1.438" 4.9 lbs/in

I was surprised by the results of the Ultimate because according to Happ's website, they use the same spring as the Competition.  I am speculating that either the information on Happ's website is incorrect, or both of the springs are within Happ's acceptable tolerances.

     
   
 - Joystick shafts -
     
    I measured the height of the joystick from the top of the base to the top joystick handle.  Below are my results.
 
Joystick Height (Happ's) Height (measured)
Super (short spacer) n/a 3.19"
Super (long spacer) 3.41" 3.44"
Competition 3.66" 3.40"
Ultimate 3.66" 3.66"

Here I find that the Competition is actually about 1/4" shorter than listed on Happ's website.  The taller the joystick, the less effort that is required to move the joystick as you have a longer moment arm.

The knob diameter on the Super is slightly larger at 1.30" versus the 1.25" diameter found on both the Competition and Ultimate.  If you have larger hands, you will find that you can grip the Super a bit better.

Both the Competition and Super joystick use a 10mm diameter steel shaft and the Ultimate uses a slightly smaller 5/16" (8mm) shaft.  I can't see the reason for using a lighter-duty shaft on the joystick with the longest moment arm.  That is just the opposite of how you would think it should be designed.  Based on this alone, I would say that the Ultimate is the lightest duty stick of the group, but read on...

 

     
     
     
   

     
     
     
     
   

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