How to Replace a Broken Analog Joystick on an XBOX 360 Controller.

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Introduction: How to Replace a Broken Analog Joystick on an XBOX 360 Controller.

Do you have an XBOX 360 controller just lying around collecting dust because you broke the analog joystick? Well if your answer is yes, then you're in luck. This Instructable will show you how to replace a broken analog joystick on an XBOX 360 controller while at the same time saving you the cost of a new controller. Please be aware though, that by "analog joystick" I'm referring to the actual joystick assembly, NOT the thumbstick. If you broke the thumbstick however, this Instructable may still be of some use to you.

To break the joystick actually requires a considerable amount of force/rage. I broke mine several months ago by slamming the controller face first into the floor, and then proceeding to stomp it a few times. Why did I do this? Well, for anyone who has attempted to get the "Mile High Club" achievement in Call of Duty 4 probably knows what I'm talking about. After about 25 times of almost completing it, frustration may ensue. The ironic part is, after I bought a new controller, I beat in 2 tries. Oh, well.

The controller still functions properly, with exception to the obliterated right joystick. The thumbstick was completely undamaged which is a good thing because that meant I didn't have to buy a new one.

If you happen to be one of those people who have a broken thumbstick, all you need to do is buy, or procure one from another, more severely broken controller and follow this Instructable up to STEP 2.

You can buy replacement thumbsticks here:
http://secure.llamma.com/catalog/index.php?cPath=73_97
You can choose between gray or black thumbsticks and even PS2/3 style sticks.

You can buy the replacement analog joysticks from SparkFun.com here:
http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=9032

They only cost $3.95 so it's a lot better than $50 for a new controller.

For those with broken analogs, follow all the steps.

Step 1: Disassembling Your Controller.

Tools Needed to Disassemble your controller.

1. Security Torx drivers. These are special torx bits that are designed for "security" torx screws. These screws have a peg in the center of them that won't allow you use standard torx bits. These can be purchased online, or from a hardware store but can be hard to find.

OR

A small flathead screwdriver (also called precision screwdrivers). These sets can be bought almost anywhere and usually only cost about $5-$8. If you don't plan on doing a lot of mod work, then your best bet would be to buy a set of these if you don't already have some.

Your controller may even have phillips head screws instead of the security torx ones. If this is the case for you then all you need is a small phillips head screw driver.

And that's basically all you need.

Ok, first you need to remove the 7 screws from the back of the controller. The first 6 are clearly visible, but the 7th is located in the battery bay (wireless controller) underneath the label. Use your fingernail and run it along the label until you feel a hole, that's where the screw is. Just punch through the label and take out the screw.

If you're using the torx bits and have discovered which one fits then your all set to remove the screws. If you're using a small flat head screwdriver then you need to find the right one from your set that will fit in the screw. This is a little tricky. You need to fit the head of the screw driver in between the pin in the center of the screw and the inner wall of the screw. You should be able to remove the screw using a small flat head, I use a flat head to remove mine so I know it works.

Refer to the notes in the images.

Step 2: Desoldering the Broken Analog Stick/replacing the Thumbstick.

Tools need to desolder the analog joystick.

1. Soldering Iron
2. De-soldering pump/bulb/whatever.
3. Any other tools you deem necessary.

Tools need to replace a broken thumbstick.

Good news! You don't need any additional tools to do this. You just need your new thumbstick. Pull off the old one, put on the new one. Reassemble the controller and you're all set.

Ok, now for those of you who need to replace the analog joystick. You'll need to remove the solder from the pins, thus liberating the broken analog joystick from the board. Heat the solder, and suck it up with your desolderer (is that even a word?). You may need to pry the joystick from the board by wedging a flat head screwdriver under it and working it up. Be careful to not break off the solder pads on the underside of the board that correspond with the analog. If these come off, you will not be able to solder the new one on.

As a side note. Be careful with your soldering iron! Make sure to be aware of the angle at which you're holding it in relation to the board. You may end up melting something, as did I during a previous attempt to fix it. Call it exploratory surgery. I melted the arm for the right trigger, which caused to to not operate correctly. I fixed it by cutting off some of the melted plastic. Just be careful. lots of plastic stuff in there.

If you need to replace the left analog, you will need to also remove the left trigger. Do do this you need to desolder the trigger from the board, then remove it (see pictures below). I'm not entirely sure how to remove it, but just by looking at it, it seems to be rather easy. Other than removing the trigger, the process will be exactly the same as for the right analog.

Step 3: Solder the New Analog Joystick to the Board.

Now you should be left with a empty space where your old stick used to be. Make sure the holes in the board are clear of any excess solder or other debris, and drop the new analog in.

The stick should be rather secure in the board so you can go ahead an flip it over to solder it in place.

Once you have soldered it in, place the thumbstick back on and reassemble the controller.

Step 4: Test the Controller.

Once you have the controller put back together test it out to see if the new stick works. If it does then congratulations! You just repaired a $50 controller for $4.

If it doesn't work, take the controller apart again and make sure you have soldered it correctly. If the connection to the board is poor, the stick will not work properly.

If you soldered it well enough it should work with out a problem. I didn't do a perfect job on mine and it works perfectly.

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    58 Comments

    do these sticks work on GameCube controllers because i have been struggling about 2 months to fix it

    I tried this got the broken one off and replaced with a working one, but when I test it it just goes off to the right constantly, Any ideas?

    hey i changed my analog stick (the right one) but for some reason it still does not work. its as if some one is pushing the analog stick to the right but the controller is not being touched. all other buttons work as they should. i even used two different analog sticks and for some reason it still doesn't work. any suggestions?

    wow only if I found u earlier I just bought a new one a week ago because of this

    I followed all the steps i soldered it all back in ( i replaced the left stick ) and now my controller won't power on. :( Any ideas?

    Will the Xbox 1 controller thumbstick work if I use it as a replacement for the thumbstick on the 360 controller?

    I recently replaced both sensors on an old controller because the push-button was wearing out, but now there is dead band in movement of the sticks in all directions (small stick deflections yield no movement on the screen when gaming). Has anyone else run into this problem? Is it just crappy pots in the sensors I got (from eBay) or could I have screwed something up when soldering? Any thoughts would be helpful. Thanks.

    1 reply

    Yeah, the pots or the springs in the sticks are probably bad or low quality. The ones I bought were from Sparkfun.com. You probably didn't mess anything up when soldering them since they only go in one way. If it's bothering you go ahead and get another set and try it again. If it still happens there could be a problem with the controller board.

    I thought I would add a jerry-rig suggestion since it worked for me... The plastic part that connects the thumbstick to the analog control is hollow (mine had just broken off but the analog control still worked) and a cut down toothpick fits perfects to merry the two parts together, you can add a drop of superglue if you want.

    http://www.mspointscodes.com/?i=1086288

    Hi... I have a problem with my left analog stick. When i release it my player keeps going to the left.All i need to do is push it a litle bit to the up or right and the player stops.Do you think that i can fix the analog by cleaning it or whatever or should i buy a new replacement on e-bay. Thank you

    1 reply

    You could try cleaning it out but that may be difficult since you may need to take apart the controller to properly clean the part. It sounds to me like the spring or plastic inside the analog is worn or broken. If that's the case then you'll need to replace the whole analog stick. You could try taking it apart and pulling the the tumbstick off of the actual analog to see inside to check for debris or broken bits. If that doesn't work, then you'll need to buy a new analog and replace it.

    I hope that helps you. If you need more help just ask.

    Great Instructable! But the "hidden screw" under the barcode worries me. If you open it, you void the warrnty, so Microsoft won't fix it, even if the warranty is over. They still fix it for about the same amount as this would take, it'd just take longer. I only point this out because I've had the same thing happen to me. I took something apart to fix it and then when I failed (yes, I am admitting failure) I took it to the store and thier like "Um, yeah you took this apart, so we'll see you later. Bye, Bye." Microsoft would be like WTF that kid took it apart. We're not going to fix it even if they pay.

    Hey my controllers joy/thumbstick is responding late what would be the problem??

    Hey is there any possiblity to replace the thumb stick??

    What do you use to desolder? I think its just the thing when you press down on the joystick and it clicks the button (xD) that is messed up, is there a way to fix that instead of having to put in a new joystick?

    1 reply

    I just heated up the solder and worked the part back and forth until it came off. It's not the most effective way, but I didn't have a de-solderer handy at the time.

    The button could be replaced, but you need to remove the plastic on the bottom of the analog stick. That's not a good idea because it holds in all the working parts and they're spring loaded so parts might go flying. If you do get it open you can replace the button.

    The best way to do it though would be to just replace the entire thing. That way you can be sure everything works.

     Hi, I really like this guide and would like to try it out, I was just wondering if you could help me understand something, as I don't really know how the inner workings of an Xbox controller work. When you say broken stick you mean that it doesn't work at all, right? Because I have a controller that works fine except that the clicking mechanism for the right analog stick has become extremely sensitive from dropping it. It has gotten so bad that sometimes when simply moving the control stick it registers as pressing down and 'clicking in' (quite annoying in call of duty when your character decides to spontaneously stab in front of you). I was just wondering if you knew how exactly the clicking mechanism in the controller is operated, and if by replacing the stick through this guide would fix it or if it can only be solved by purchasing a new controller?

    2 replies

    By "broken" I mean it's not functioning correctly. The analog stick has a small button in it, and can be fixed by replacing the entire analog stick. You can see the button in the picture. It's on the left. All you need to do is follow this instructable and you'll be all set.

    If you have any more questions feel free to ask.

    09032-03-L.jpg

    brother i have bought xbox 360 controller only 1 month before and i got in the problem which is that my right thumbstick is drifting down in y axis. please give me the solution that how to fix this. i am very thankful to you please help me this happened to me second time and i don't want to buy new controller please help me