Converting a Zippyy Micro-switch Joystick To A 2-way Leaf Joystick

The Zippyy stick is very inexpensive but the action is not as precise as a real Defender joystick since it has simple microswitches instead of true leafs.  Finding a real Defender/Joust/Moon Patrol joystick is not easy or inexpensive nowadays.

Here is a modification to make a zippyy stick play great!  It does take some time and effort to do this precision process, so take your time, enjoy the process, and do it right.  The humanoids of Defender will thank you.


  • Zippyy long or short shaft joystick, depending on your heighth preference
  • Rolley leaf switch conversions – see ParadiseArcadeShop
  • #6 – 3/8th inch long sheet metal screws
  • drill bits- 1/16th , 3/32th, 1/8th, 9/64th
  • dremel tool with a cylindrical sanding disc
  • drill
  • Phillips screwdriver

Disassemble the Zippyy stick, remove the microswitches.

Gently use the dremel to carve out clearance on the rolley base.  see silhouette below.


Once the clearances are carved out properly the leaf should just touch the green actuator on the stick.

  • Use a pair of needle nose pliers to pop off the little blue tabs on the zippyy base as they get in the way.
  • Take care to center the actuator toward the center of the rolley’s white plastic friction plate.
  • Keep the rolley leaf perpendicular to the movement of the joystick up and down.

Drilling mounting holes.

  • mark an area on the rolley base that has clearance for the screw head.
  • drill a 1/16 starter hole
  • switch to 1/8th bit, gently and slowly
  • switch to 9/64 and drill backwards to start the hole, then very slow drill it out.
  • Place the switch back on the zippyy base and mark centering holes with sharp pencil
  • On the base, drill a 1/16 starter hole (Precise and exact, please!).  Then switch to 3/32 to finish
  • Screw the leaf to the base with the machine screws. gently, gently, gently to avoid stripping out the thin base plastic. Snug not gorilla tight!


Repeat on both sides


Add black tape so the leafs don’t short out on the metal coverplate.


Add the metal plate, taking care to line it up since the alignment tabs are no longer used.

When replacing the restrictor, only use the 2 bolts shown.  Trying to install the other bolts will damage your new leafs.


Look sideways into the joystick to ensure the leaf contact clearance is still appropriate.


Alternate Zippyy mod courtesy of Jim Bowley:

Stage1 zippy mod is simply to flip the switches, simple mechanical advantage reduction cuts the reset distance. You will need to make a new 2way restrictor (or rotate the metal plate). This has the added advantage of twisting the joystick away from the reverse button. for 4way you will need to cut the lever arms.

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