Introduction: Fixing a Flaky Xbox Analog Stick

Picture of Fixing a Flaky Xbox Analog Stick

This is the way to fix an analog stick that stops working while using it, usually causing you to move the stick around and back to where it was to register it.

This issue usually manifests when clicking the stick to run, and suddenly you stop running or you stop moving all together.

This fix is specific to the stick randomly cutting out in a certain position.

NOTE: You will need a soldering iron for this fix, but you won't need soldiering skills.

Step 1: How the Analog Stick Works, and What the Problem Must Be.

Picture of How the Analog Stick Works, and What the Problem Must Be.

The analog stick works by turning one X and one Y potentiometer. A potentiometer provides different electric resistance depending on how far or how little it is turned.

Your analog stick in the resting position keeps the potentiometers right in the middle or their range. This means that if you are pushing the stick forward, the potentiometer is at a high or low limit.

Because of how the stick is assembled, it can't "slip" to the middle position when it's in the forward position without the stick being completely broken. If the stick is forward, the potentiometer is turned.

The problem we're having here, is that the stick suddenly registers away from the forward position, then works when moved around again. The only way this makes sense from a troubleshooting perspective is by the controller losing contact with the potentiometer.

This actually indicates a rather common problem in electronics of a loose solder connection.

This possibility seems even more likely when you consider that you are probably pushing down pretty hard on the stick while you play.

Lucky for us, this problem is easy to fix.

Step 2: Good and Bad Solder Connections

Because this is factory soldering, and it was working before, it seems likely the issue is a good solder connection pushing off of the surface contact point.

Good soldering requires the heating of the element (in this case, the arms that stick out of the potentiometer), and the surface contact point on the board.

Fixing this issue is as easy as reheating both contact points, and letting the existing solder re-bond to both.

Soldering is a bit of a skill, but in this case, all you have to do is jab at the existing connection with a semi-fine point.

Easy peezy.

Step 3: Fix It!

Picture of Fix It!

1. Take apart your controller (there are plenty of links that can help you do this)

2. Locate the potentiometer that rotates when you move the control stick in the direction where it has problems. Mine was the left analog stick pushed forward.

3. Locate the leads for the potentiometer. They're the three solder points directly under the potentiometer.

4. Rest the circuit board securely on a flat surface or in a vice, and heat up your soldering iron.

5. Push your heated soldering iron into the soldering joint, making sure to contact the area of the circuit board already covered by solder AND the pin that's hidden under the solder. The solder will melt almost instantly, and you'll feel your iron contact the corner made by the circuit board and the pin.

6. Count to two, and remove your iron from the solder and wait a sec for it to harden.

7. Repeat for the other two pins.

8. Make sure none of the solder from each pin leaked over to one of the other pins or other soldier points nearby.

9. Reassemble your controller, and test it out!

Comments

NoumanT (author)2017-08-02

I have an issue with my sticks and trigger that the potentiometers throw more
signals than required causing the controller to read threshold values even though the sticks are still in middle.

For instance during calibration using windows, the calibration bars gets filled all the way even though my sick is still in middle of its way from center....

any fix for that ?

FletchINKy (author)NoumanT2017-08-02

Sounds like one of the axles in your stick is broken and not turning the pot. Gonna have to replace it or get a new controller. :(

hwrd_jae (author)2014-09-27

I have different problem where my gamestop wireless GC controller will pull up or pull down wildly.

When I turn on the controller nothing happens but once I move the analog stick (up down left right, it doesn't matter) I start to get sporadic pulls upward or downward (depends on which direction reacted to the analog movement first).

I've got some solder, a soldering iron, and de-solder pump in the mail. Hope this works.

This is caused by dirt in the controller for the most part. you can try canned air, or take it apart w/ q-tips and rubbing alcohol.

awanderingspirit (author)2016-02-19

I just registered here exclusively to say.. THIS WORKS!

i was about ready to take a hammer to my controller. (i had thought it was a game and had deleted all data.. hundreds of hours of play and ofc that did nothing bc it was a hardware issue)

a quick note- apparently not all security h8 screws are made the same. I read about using a very small flat head screwdriver and using it to brace against the center pin that makes it a security screw. Well i did that, but the amount of torque on the screws essentially meant that i broke out the center pin of the security screw. Did this on all of them, and it was a charm to remove and then reinstall using a normal h8 driver.

just fyi.

BryanR12 (author)2015-08-25

Wow this is much easier than what I did. I ordered a new joystick and de-soldered the current one and replaced it. I wish I'd seen this first I definitely would have tried this first.

hwrd_jae (author)2014-09-27

I have different problem where my gamestop wireless GC controller will pull up or pull down wildly.

When I turn on the controller nothing happens but once I move the analog stick (up down left right, it doesn't matter) I start to get sporadic pulls upward or downward (depends on which direction reacted to the analog movement first).

I've got some solder, a soldering iron, and de-solder pump in the mail. Hope this works.

Lyza336 (author)2014-09-11

Fingers Crossed, I hope this works! :D

freakingwilly (author)2013-12-26

I literally made an account just to post this.

Thank you!  This worked brilliantly!  I honestly couldn't believe that the solution was so simple, but it was!  I had problems with an aftermarket PS3 controller (PowerA Mini Pro Elite) where the left analog stick would reset to neutral when held in the up direction (Ex: Moving my character forward and the character would suddenly stop and continue moving forward again).  Redid all the old solder points for the potentiometers on both sticks since I was already inside the controller and now I have zero problems! 

Thanks again!

FletchINKy (author)freakingwilly2014-02-21

Brilliant! I made this one a while ago, and it just kind of sat here untouched, so I'm glad to get confirmation that I helped someone out!