Apple II Joystick Repair or cleaning

6 replies [Last post]
Joined: Feb 6 2015
Posts: 16

I have 3 Apple II joysticks. Two of them are the standard joysticks made by Apple with the thing stick and two buttons. The other one is a CH joystick with a button on top of the stick and two more buttons at the base. The CH stick also has a 2 connectors one it, one to plug into an Apple II and the other plugs into a PC.

Anyway, each one of these sticks has a problem, mainly, mainly with the buttons. The buttons don't work every time you push them or you either have to push them real hard.

I haven't taken them apart yet to check them out and I thought I would seek out some advice first. So here goes my questions. Will taking them apart and cleaning them up do any good? Is there anything I can do on my own to get them going again? Or do I need to get some replacement parts? If I do need parts, what would I most likely need?


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speedyG's picture
Joined: Nov 16 2011
Posts: 2377
Re: Apple II Joystick Repair or cleaning

some pictures would be usefull to recommendations....

in general also the switches at joysticks can be viewed / treated like
keyboard keys....
maybe a view to:
and followup pages turn out to be usefull ( also last page of that series )?

In general the buttons turn to be "worn out" meaning that contactplates have become weak
by amount of presses or corroded by age.

they are not specialized to this topic, but contain additional info´s that might
become usefull by better unterstanding of the function of some switches and
some parts of the joystick.

sincerely speedyG


In early days I had a lot of money but no time - now I have no money but a lot of time....
the second part includes less friends but a lot more joy on life....

Joined: Oct 9 2013
Posts: 365
Re: Apple II Joystick Repair or cleaning

The Apple joysticks are not difficult to dismantle. However, even without dismantling them a few drops of 99% isopropyl alcohol along the side of the buttons (so it drips down inside)
and then a vigorous working of the buttons will often help quite a bit. If the Apple ones are the style with the orange buttons they tend to wear out more than the Platinum version. The switches
don't seem to be as good in the Orange ones, at least in my limited experience.

Joined: Apr 24 2012
Posts: 251
Re: Apple II Joystick Repair or cleaning

I did a blogpost a long time ago on the subject:

Hope it helps.

Joined: May 27 2013
Posts: 792
Re: Apple II Joystick Repair or cleaning


If the joystick is jumpy or inconsistent or difficult to control on the screen then you can clean the pots and remove the oxidation on the metal inside the pots by disassembling them. Afterwards, you can finish them by applying axle grease and a little bit of WD-40.

Reconditioning pots in this way is the only reasonable option since the value they have is not commonly found and the only other alternative is to use one of a different value and then to mess around with capacitance.

I have personally tested pots reconditioned in this way and it lasts for years.

Now, I don't recommend cleaning tact switches to fix them.

The oxidation inside tact switches is difficult to remove unless the correct chemicals are used such as the old Brasso formula.

You then encounter the problem of reassembling them and that must be done mechanically since using superglue will ruin the contact again.

Always replace tact switches!

Omron makes three types of tact switches for the buttons on the Apple joystick so by installing a better one than Apple did, you will have a joystick which will last longer than Apple made them to last.

And remember, do not disassemble joysticks while your computer is on!

Joined: Feb 6 2015
Posts: 16
Re: Apple II Joystick Repair or cleaning

Yeah, they have the orange buttons with the skinny stick.

Joined: Feb 6 2015
Posts: 16
Re: Apple II Joystick Repair or cleaning

Thanks for everyone's help, I received a lot of good info.