Joystick recommendation for Apple II

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Joined: Oct 9 2011
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What is the best joystick for an Apple II.

I mostly use the paddles or keyboard but I went to use pinball construction set and realized while I have a couple of old joysticks I really want a good one.

Thanks,
Corey

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transwarp II guy's picture
Joined: Mar 7 2013
Posts: 465
Re: Joystick recommendation for Apple II

The Apple style joysticks are okay, well they are great when they are working correctly. The two orange buttons are known for having problems.

I've been using the CH style joysticks and like them, still haven't broken down on me yet. I use the first gen CH joystick (16pin version) for my II & II+. However my CH mach III seems slightly more responsive (9pin); This may just be due to less wear however.

Also the joysticks that are rectangular shape, white, and built in Richardson TX. are supposed to be excellent. I can't remember what they are called.

I've heard ok reviews for the kraft joysticks, but I my self have had severe lag issues with them. Again this may just be due to wear.

Hope this helps.

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Joined: Apr 24 2012
Posts: 251
Re: Joystick recommendation for Apple II

I agree with the last post, the CH Mach III for me are the best, sturdy, responsive and durable. I have restored several and find them well constructed. That and the Apple Joystick are my favorites.
Cheers
Javster

transwarp II guy's picture
Joined: Mar 7 2013
Posts: 465
Re: Joystick recommendation for Apple II

Javster, when you said you restored several do you mean there's parts I can piece together to rebuild the guts of the joystick? If so could you please share? I've been using my first gen CH joystcik for 20+ years and it feels like it's lost a little of it's stick responsiveness. If there's a way (which I'm sure there is) I would really appreciate knowing where to get the parts to fix this slight problem. It would be nice to get it back to 110%

eeun's picture
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Joined: Dec 19 2003
Posts: 1891
Re: Joystick recommendation for Apple II

I think a 'best joystick' decision comes down to personal preference. I've tried the larger Flightstick-type sticks, and have owned several Wico sticks, but for me nothing was better than the small Kraft stick I used to have. There is a version of it available for the Apple, but it may be analog Apple and PC hybrid, whereas the Atari version I owned was strictly digital.

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speedyG's picture
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Joined: Nov 16 2011
Posts: 2376
Re: Joystick recommendation for Apple II

Corey986 wrote:

What is the best joystick for an Apple II.

I mostly use the paddles or keyboard but I went to use pinball construction set and realized while I have a couple of old joysticks I really want a good one.

Thanks,
Corey

Hello Corey,
to summary the truth - most joysticks from the Apple II ages have not been the very "strike"....
In fact the better joysticks entered the market with the IBM PC.....
Within that joysticks there is a wide range of choices possible....
It´s reaaly easy to make a "home-brew" adaptor between Apple II gameport and PC-Joysticks...
details can be viewed at:
http://www.harrowalsh.de/Elektronik/APPLEBOX/Gameport/appleboxgameport.htm
view - warm up the soldering iron - take about 15 minutes time, if the parts are present
and then - happy gaming.... besides this solution has a second advantage....:
pins from gameport plugs easily break off, if they are pluged / unpluged often...
with an adaptor and the DB15 out on the rear there will not be any pluging / unpluging at the gameport needed...
once pluged in, you just only use the DB15 at the rear... and it´s rather difficult to kill that plug...
sincerely speedyG

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Joined: May 27 2013
Posts: 792
Re: Joystick recommendation for Apple II

transwarp II guy wrote:

The Apple style joysticks are okay, well they are great when they are working correctly. The two orange buttons are known for having problems.

The problem with those joysticks are the little springs that are under the buttons that are too weak and small that they lose the required strength to push the tact switch underneath. Putting something solid in place of the spring will fix the problem but will make the buttons cumbersome to use since it then takes very little distance of pushing down to turn on the tact switch.

The CH products joysticks, mach II and III are good, but they often go out of alignment.

I got myself one of those Apple joysticks with the gray buttons. They do not have this problem, but mine had a rusted middle pole and even the plastic on the pole had been hit on the underside making a dent. On top of that, the tact switches were not working properly. Fortunately, Omron still makes them so I downloaded the catalog for those switches and found that Apple only used the standard model. I decided to use the middle range model which is rated to last a lot longer.

To repair joysticks are easy, only three problems really go wrong, the pots, the buttons or the cord. The pots can be usually cleaned, and the cord and buttons can be replaced.

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Joined: Apr 24 2012
Posts: 251
Re: Joystick recommendation for Apple II

Hi Trans,

In the past year I bought and sold Apple Joysticks from eBay. Just for fun. Got them cheap and in bad shape, restore them - most of them just by disassemble them and clean - and resold them in better condition.
I had most models of Apple Joysticks, plus CH Mach II and III.
The only parts I had to get were the bottom rubber feet, otherwise most Joysticks were very fixable.
If anything I would look for CH joysticks in eBay, there are some PC models pretty cheap, and use them for parts.
Hope this helps.
Javster

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Joined: Jan 24 2005
Posts: 356
Re: Joystick recommendation for Apple II

Quote:

What is the best joystick for an Apple II.

CH Mach II (2 buttons) or III if you like a button on the stick - these are the premium options.

Apple/TKC sticks are a close second.

Kraft made good mechanisms but their stick is awful to hold in your hand for any length of time.

Gravis made a few nicer models, but they aren't very common.

Almost everything else is dreck.