Fix Any Video Game Controller

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Introduction: Fix Any Video Game Controller

About: I am a sophomore in college studying Computer Science and Electrical Engineering and an alumn of a FIRST robotics team. I also love to tinker on my own, which is mostly inspired by the amazing people on this...

Video games are awesome. Buying a $40-50 controller every time something small breaks is not. This Instructable will show you how to fix various problems with your remote!

Use the flowchart in the pictures above to help diagnose your problem.

Disclaimer:I am in no way associated with Sony, Microsoft, or Nintendo, nor do I claim anything created, designed or manufactured by them as my own. This Instructable is purely for informational purposes.

Step 1: Anatomy of a Controller

The first step to fixing anything is to take it apart and understand its components.

Taking apart the controller is as simple as removing a few screws. See the "Screwdriver" row in the table below to find the screwdriver needed.

Now, we've got to learn about what's being taken apart:

Controller Facts

GameCubeWiiXbox 360PlayStation 3
CompanyNintendoNintendoMicrosoftSony
Screw DesignTri-wingTri-wingTorx T8Small Phillips
ScrewdriverFlathead
Flathead
Flathead
Small Phillips
# Physical Analog Inputs6064
# Physical Digital Inputs
12121517
Motion SensingNoYesNoApparently
Output TypeTumbleLED/Tumble/SpeakerLED/TumbleLED/Tumble
Power Usage Battery--3V (2xAA)3V (2xAA)3.7V (Li-ion)
Power Usage Wired5V--5V5V

Step 2: Controller Won't Turn On?

A typical reason your controller won't turn on is because it's not being supplied enough power (if any). The potential causes of this problem are numerous. Here is how to identify and fix it:

Testing Connections

Tools and Materials

  • Multimeter
  • Soldering iron/solder
  • Wire stripper

How To

  1. Use a multimeter's continuity testing feature to check certain connections (see pictures)
  2. If there isn't any signal through a certain connection, you may need to strip that wire and replace it
  3. If all the connections are fine, try the tests below

Testing For a Short Circuit

A short circuit is when the power and ground connections come in contact. This could lead to very bad damage to the controller's core parts or the battery.

Tools and Materials

  • Multimeter

How To

  1. Unplug everything and take out the batteries if possible
  2. Using the multimeter's resistance testing feature(Ω), place the probes between the controller's power(+) and ground(-)
  3. If the resistance is 0Ω or close to it, there is a short in the system. There are many ways this could've happened. They are very hard to fix, so you should check out step 8

Testing Voltage

Tools and Materials

  • Multimeter

How To

  1. Plug the remote in or put in the batteries
  2. Use a multimeter's voltage testing feature(V) to check the voltage coming from the console/batteries
  3. Compare the voltage to the ones on this table
  4. If the voltage is less than it should be, there is something wrong with the console, and beyond the scope of this Instructable (I have no experience with fixing consoles)

Step 3: Joysticks/Triggers Aren't Working

The joysticks of most controllers are analog components. They use potentiometers to change the resistance based on their position. Triggers are usually also analog parts, but some controllers (PS3) use a digital push button instead.

Replacement parts

ControllerInput TypeLink
XboxJoystickAmazon
XboxAnalog TriggerSparkfun
PS3JoystickAmazon
GameCubeJoystickAmazon

Tools and Materials

  • Soldering iron
  • Desoldering pump/solder wick
  • Replacement part (see left)
Replace the Joystick/Trigger
  1. Desolder all of the leads at a high temperature using the solder pump/wick
  2. If it can't be desoldered fully, you might need to rip it out (try not to damage anything else in the process)
  3. Solder in the new part chosen using the table above

Step 4: Vibration Motor/Speaker Is Broken

Some controllers have vibration or "tumble" motors in them for physical feedback. Others (like the Wiimotes), contain another source of output, like a speaker. These both are usually connected to the controller with thin wires, so they break easily. Yet, they are both easily replaced because they only use two wires!

Replacement parts

ControllerOutput TypeLink
XboxVibrationEbay
PS3VibrationTinyDeal
WiiSpeakerEbay
GameCubeVibrationEbay

Tools and Materials

  • Soldering iron w/solder
  • Desoldering pump/solder wick
  • Replacement part (see left)
Replace the Output Device
  1. Desolder the two wires from broken output device
  2. Solder the replacement part on (orientation doesn't matter because it's not polarized)

Step 5: Charging Port Is Destroyed

A friend of mine had a PS3 remote whose mini-USB port was completely mangled. A small plastic piece came off, making it impossible to bend things back into place.

To fix this, I ripped out the mini-USB (it was too small to desolder) and soldered a JST connector onto the power vias.

Then, created a USB to JST cable by soldering the USB's power wires to the JST's wires. Be careful—don't switch the connections!

Step 6: Customization

While your remote is apart, why not make it look awesome?! You can buy custom parts or just spray paint what you already have.

Buy Custom Parts

Example Parts

ControllerPartLink
XboxAllEbay
PS3AllAmazon
GameCubeJoystick coversAmazon

How to

    1. Disassemble controller (see this table for screw type)
    2. Take out existing components
    3. Replace them with purchased items

      Spray Paint Existing Parts

      Tools and Materials

      • Spray paint
      • Newspaper
      • Outside workspace
      • Body of controller

      How to

      1. Disassemble controller (see this table for screw type)
      2. Take out parts you would like to be spray painted
      3. Put layers of newspaper down, just to be safe
      4. Spray away!
      5. Wait for the time recommended on the spray can (1 hour in my case)

      Step 7: For General Problems, a Few Tips

      • Sugru can fix various types of physical damage to you controller
      • Double check the battery voltage
      • Simply taking it apart might help you easily spot your problem, but it can create issues, too (just be cautious and you'll be fine)

      Step 8: Last Resort: Reusing the Parts and Buying a New Controller

      Sometimes, a problem can be complex enough that it's not worth fixing, or is just too costly. But there's hope!

      Inside every kind of controller, you can find useful parts to reuse in future projects! Examples of potential projects are listed below.

      Where to buy a new controller:

      Step 9: Conclusion/ Problems Already Solved

      If your controller still isn't fixed, be sure to leave a comment (with a picture), so you can get answers! I plan to update this Instructable with each new problem that arises, no matter the type of controller.

      Thanks for reading! =D


      Common Problems Solved in Comments

      (please read BEFORE commenting):

      I've officially stopped answering questions on this Instructable (80% of comments are now answered above).

      Please feel free to continue posting comments and HELP EACH OTHER out by answering them =D

      2 People Made This Project!

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      217 Comments

      Please read the notice above before commenting. Thanks!!

      -Nodcah:-)

      I took apart a brand new generic USB gamepad for PC (Chinese). It worked well before taking apart. After taking apart, I disconnected the analog sticks and wired it up to a gamepad-like handheld I made so that all buttons can make contact with ground when pressed. When I connected it back to my PC, it didn't work! What is the reason?

      i have mocute 050 bluetooth game controller for android, it is working fine then but after a while it doesn't respond well. I dunno if it is because when I try to connect it to my pc through usb, it didn't work, then i tried bluetooth, still don't work. after that I connected it on my android,it connects but it doesnt respond right. it is recognized as keyboard. then the keys x, a, y, b, up, down, and so on, now responds as 1, 2, 3, 4,... and so on. (my opinion is maybe the scripts been changed) please heelpp guys!!!, what should I do?

      i have mocute 050 bluetooth game controller for android, it is working fine then but after a while it is not recognized as gamepad but keyboard, the buttons should respond as x,y,a,b, up, down,etc.. but it says, 1,2,3,...

      my controller power on's but none of it buttons work, none of it.my controller is redgear pro series wired gameplay can u please help me fix this thing

      i have logitech f310 controller. the controller can power on but it seems none of the buttons work ( O, X, D, A, menu and so on..). can you help me figure out what wrong with it please?

      Hi, I'm Texsy. I have a single joy stick pad which works perfectly, but i have a Twin Joy stick pad which i have not used for a year now connected it but the system couldn't Detect it. please what can i do to fix it?

      Hi am zeb, I have an controller joystick which is wired and all the things are good wiring is good no shortcircuite etc but it is not working even the current is not coming on it .hope you will help me.

      loved the instructable but I had to ask about spontaneously combusting controllers! How do I fix that? jk:)

      The joystick of my gamecube controller stopped working partially, it only works up/down but not left/right. I thought it was a problem with the potentiometers and replaced them. It is still not working left/right. Id really appreciate any help! Thank you in advance!

      my controller stopped working while i was playing. it just stopped suddenly, what wrong?

      ive got a xbox 360 contoller. I used to play with it on wondows 10 pro, i stopped playing for a couple of months due to health issues.

      i took my controller out and when plugged it in it barely works for two minutes

      i updated all drivers. now the controller works but it often freezes and RT sends messages to the pc continously even when i don't press it.unplugging and replugging works as a temporary solution.

      please help!!

      I have a Logitech gamepad F310 - AP. Its RB button is not working properly. I have to press it really hard to make it work. Is there any solution for this or i just have to buy a new controller?

      1 reply

      You may need to change the switch, they are dirt cheap, you can find them online.

      i have a usb dualshock pc game pad that i bought 2days ago all of a sudden the second pad stopped working for games. the first pad works fine. it shows in the "set-up usb game controller settings page in the control panel" but it doesn't still work i've tried calibrating it but it's not responding. it didn't fall and nothing poured on it neither was it exposed to direct sunlight what should i do?

      I'm not sure, but try putting it back together and seeing what doesn't work. Also, look to see if there's a similar piece anywhere else that can show you what it's used for

      I just bought a Dual gamepad for my PC a month ago to play PES2016 that i recently installed to the PC. When ever i plugged in the gamepad while charging a message used to displayed at the bottom right conner saying "USB DEVICE NOT RECOGNIZED", the gamepad doesn't function anymore but if i unplugged the system from charging everything works fine. I'm frustrated when ever i whant to play the game i have to fully charged the PC before i can play the game, i need your help guy's.

      1 reply

      Change the charger

      Can someone please help me with my controller? It is a Tier 1 PS3 wired controller that I plan to use on my PC. Initially, I plugged in the controller and attempted to run it on my PCSX2 emulator. I couldn't set up the controllers, as there was no response from the emulator as I pressed the buttons to setup the controls. I tried to see if the PC was getting anything at all so I tried to check through the control panel to see if I could identify the problem. The troubleshooter gave me a pretty useless answer (that there was something wrong with my USB port, something that I knew was not true) I checked he controller settings and attempted to calibrate my controller. I found what could be the problem. For some reason the L2 button looked like it was being pressed down, even though the actual physical button itself was unpressed. I honestly have no idea how to fix this and would like some help finding a solution, I know my controller works and I opened it up and found nothing broken (albeit, a short examination, with no actual cleaning or thorough checking of parts) What should I do?