Fix Any Video Game Controller





Introduction: Fix Any Video Game Controller

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
Screw DesignTri-wingTri-wingTorx T8Small Phillips
Small Phillips
# Physical Analog Inputs6064
# Physical Digital Inputs
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
XboxAnalog TriggerSparkfun

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

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

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

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      (please read BEFORE commenting):

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

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