Shuriken PCBs: Mod Like a Ninja
This article explains what the Shuriken PCBs are, how they came to be, and how they work.
The Shuriken JLF PCB was our first successful product in the FGC. In fact, it was so popular even the prototype was selling out. We were the first to create the concept and it was collaborated on with Blunderbuss Designs. No one else on the market at the time had a hot swappable switch PCB for joysticks. It helped us gain acceptance as a legitimate parts maker and earned us a place as an online retailers.
Switch In, Switch Out
The TPMA PCB assembly that comes with the Sanwa JLF joystick has 200gf switches that are directly soldered on. This is not ideal because if one switch goes bad (often the case when always playing on one side, typically the left side), you need to have really good soldering skills to make a replacement. Often, players would have to swap the entire board out. With the Shuriken JLF PCB, you can easily swap the switch out with no soldering and choose a gram force ideal for your preferred sensitivity. The Shuriken concept was extended for (most) Korean levers as well. Shuriken Korean PCBs were created for the same benefits. Though it is possible to have a solderless installation with a typical Korean lever, the benefit of not having to deal with wiring harnesses is a big win for many stick modders.
The Shuriken JLF PCB V1 is (at the time of writing in September 2022) being phased out for a V2 that has a wider range of switch options. The V1 was only able to accept 0.250in tab width switches, but the V2 now accepts both 0.250in and 0.187in tab width switches and includes the option for silent Omron switches as well. The V1 was stylish with its aluminum core but due to increasing costs of metal during the parts shortages we designed the V2 a bit different. The V2 instead uses a black core PCB with matte black finish to keep its stylish appearance. The terminals are also much more robust and can be bent into place for better contact using pliers. The Shuriken Korean PCB V1 is not being phased out at this time but a V2 may be hitting the market sooner rather than later for the same cost and sourcing reasons.
Keep It Original
In any market, even a niche one, there are bound to be copycats. I am all for more product offerings but unfortunately other versions of the Shuriken make little to no improvement to help the market overall. Worse yet, these copycat products even include the manual we created for our version! Remember, when you support a small shop, you are investing in their future to create better versions as well as other types of products. Copycats (meaning little to no improvements from the latest version) usually are going for the money grab. In general, going for the original is a good rule of thumb.
The Shuriken PCBs are meant for easy swapping of switches while giving a stylish look to your stick overall. Bit Bang Gaming LLC is the original creator (championed alongside with Blunderbuss Designs). It is the product that put us on the map as far as arcade parts makers go. Copycats exists and often time offering no improvement and marketing with our very own documentation. If you support makers like them, it only hurts little stores like us trying to raise the bar in arcade controllers and fight sticks. Thank you to everyone for giving us chance in the beginning, we appreciate it!