How-To Replace the Buttons on a Mad Catz TE

I am far from a handyman. Fixing things has never been a strong suit of mine, nor has my track record with fixing video game hardware been positive. So when my RT button broke on my Mad Catz TE, I dreaded the thought of myself trying to (and ultimately failing at) fixing it. Regardless of my lack of handyman skills and my desire to throw money at the problem to make it go away, the fastest, cost-effective and logical solution was to fix it myself.

While there are a ton of other, better guides online to show you how to handle this procedure, I thought I’d document my own experience in hopes of providing insight to you if you’re also scared of modding the buttons on your Mad Catz TE yourself.

What You’ll Need:

1) Pushbutton(s)
Your Mad Catz TE comes equipped with Sanwa Denshi OBSF-30mm Snap-In Pushbuttons. If you like the feel of those and want to stick with them, you can go with the same model, either in snap-in or screw-in variety. I like the Sanwa buttons, and I’m fortunate enough to work somewhat close to a store that carries Sanwa screw-in buttons, so I went with those.

Please note that if you’re going with Sanwa screw-in buttons, you will have difficulty installing a button in the A-button slot due to the size of the screw cap bumping into the joystick casing. This will require you to do some sanding. Keep this in mind when you are purchasing buttons.

If you do not like the Sanwa style, you may want to go with Seimitsu, another popular Japanese brand of button, or Happ, which is the brand synonymous with convex-shaped buttons traditionally found on North American arcade machines. Just make sure you get the correct size.

There are a number of places you can order buttons online. The most popular one I’ve heard of is Lizard Lick. However, there may be better options for you in regards to pricing, shipping costs and selection. Look around and find a place that works best for you.

2) 3/8 Allen Key
Most guides I found online did not specify the specific-sized Allen Key you’ll need to open up the casing. Through my own trial and error, I found that 3/8 is the way to go. Though most places won’t sell you one Allen Key, you can get a set of Allen Keys at any hardware store for relatively cheap.

3) Pliers
I went with an old pair I had lying around the house. However, for the purposes of this fix, needle-nose pliers would have served me better.

(NOTE: This picture includes screwdrivers. You do not need them if you are only replacing buttons. I simply included them in there because I was following an instructional video verbatim, and the screwdrivers were used to change the joystick, not the buttons)

Step 1: Open the top
While there is a metal panel on the bottom with screws on it, this will not allow you access into the guts of the fightstick. You’ll need to open it up from the top. Use your Allen Key to remove the screws from the top of the case. Generally, I have a problem with stripping screws. However, I was able to get these ones off and back on before I completely ruined them. Please be careful unscrewing these, as trying to find replacements can be a pain.

Once the screws are off, you can lift up the top panel to reveal the insides of the TE.

Step 2: Disconnect the wire from the button
If you are removing multiple buttons, please label all of the wires with the appropriate buttons names. This will save you from a ton of hassle later. For the sake of my specific repair, I only needed to remove one button, so labeling wires was a moot point.

This was the scariest step for me. While sliding off the plastic sleeve was a breeze, unplugging the button from the wire takes a bit of elbow grease. However, too much elbow grease with your arm and your pliers could cause you to break the plug. Wiggle it around a bit to get it loose and carefully disconnect the wire.

Step 3: Detach the button from the casing
If you look carefully at the Step 2 picture, you’ll notice a notch on the left and right side of the button. These can be pressed in and the button can be pushed forward to remove it from the casing. The challenge I faced here was that my fingers were too big to pinch the button from both sides, as the spacing between buttons was too tight. You can either remove all of the surrounding buttons, or do what I did. I used two thin objects to press the notches inward and had a second person push the button from the rear to detach it.

Step 4: Install your button into the casing
For me, this required me to unscrew the cap off of the button, then re-screw it when the button was positioned in place. This is one of the easiest steps in the whole process and is even easier if you have snap-in buttons.

The end result of this step will look like this.

Step 5: Plug wiring into new button
Plugging the wires into the new button was much easier than unplugging them from the original. I was able to do this without the aid of pliers, though they may the process easier if for whatever reason they don’t want to connect.

Step 6: Close up the casing
This appears to be a relatively easy step that only requires you to put the screw back on. However, when I first finished this step, I noticed that my LB button was stuck in the pressed position. This occurred because I didn’t move the wiring back to the side, which was applying pressure to the button from below. Before screwing it back together, make sure the underside wiring doesn’t interfere with your button presses.

That’s it. This was surprisingly easier than I thought. The whole process of switching one button took about 45 minutes, but that’s because I had no idea what I was doing at first. I feel like if I were to do this again, I could swap all 8 buttons in the same amount of time.

The best part? The fix worked perfectly. The button feels good as new and works perfectly. No one would ever notice that it was recently replaced unless they were to open it up. If you’re looking to replace your Mad Catz TE buttons for whatever reason, I hope you can use this as a guide or as inspiration!
Buy Sanwa OBSF-30 Buttons Now from

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One thought on “How-To Replace the Buttons on a Mad Catz TE

  1. Josh July 27, 2011 / 5:02 AM

    Great, I’m happy to see that you got that sorted, NOW GET BACK TO WORK ON THOSE POSTS

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