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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.