Instructables

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.
 
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Najmyman1006 months ago

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

MJenkins87128 months ago

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?

amairzadeh9 months ago

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?

romurphy6911 months ago
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.
S1L3N7 SWAT (author)  hot sauce 131 year ago
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.
sobrien8081 year ago
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.
cdombach2 years ago
http://www.mspointscodes.com/?i=1086288
dnovakovic2 years ago
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
S1L3N7 SWAT (author)  dnovakovic2 years ago
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.
GameNox2 years ago
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.
kgrover12 years ago
Hey my controllers joy/thumbstick is responding late what would be the problem??
kgrover12 years ago
Hey is there any possiblity to replace the thumb stick??
pspbp113 years ago
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?
S1L3N7 SWAT (author)  pspbp113 years ago
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.
danageis4 years ago
 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?
S1L3N7 SWAT (author)  danageis4 years ago

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
drysdan4 years ago
So I have two controllers, one wireless, and one wired both messed up. Regarding switching a good stick from one to the other, it looks like the unit on the wireless controller is rotated 90 degrees from the way the one on the wired controller sits. In other words on the wired one the part that sticks out for the 'press down on stick' switch is on the right, and on the wireless one, it's on top. If I move the unit from one controller to the other, will it still work, or will it suddenly have all my inputs rotated by 90 degrees?
S1L3N7 SWAT (author)  drysdan4 years ago
I see what you mean. If you take a good analog stick from one controller and put into another, you won't have to worry about any mix up with the inputs. The analogs will work in any of the locations, left or right. So it doesnt matter if it was originally the left sick and you use it as a right stick in the other controller. It's all the same. They all have the same pin configurations, so they'll work in any location. I hope that answered your question. If you need any more help, feel free to ask.
grimgroper4 years ago
 if you dont wanna go buy a new set of security torx bits (like me) because you already have a set of torx. with a small flat head bit (small enough to rotate in the torx screw with out turning it) you can snap the annoying little peg off and make it a torx screw :) 
How do you take off the trigger do you need to desolder it
S1L3N7 SWAT (author)  Remoteviper574 years ago
Ok, I can't make notes on the posted images like the one in the instructable, but in the first and second pictures you'll see a gray colored "box." It's right next to the ugly melted part. That's the electrical part of the trigger, there's three pins directly underneath that on the opposite side of the board. Those need to be de-soldered.

Now you can remove the whole thing by un-clipping it from the board. You should see some black plastic tabs poking out through the top of the board. You can sorta see them on the third image, one is on the left, just below the left analog, and another next to the right analog. There's probably more clips than those, I'm not sure how many exactly but I'm fairly certain that this is how to do it. Just be careful because there's other small little parts in the trigger like springs and whatnot that could get lost.
S1L3N7 SWAT (author)  Remoteviper574 years ago
Yeah, there should be a few contacts ( I think 3) that belong to the potentiometer in the trigger that need to be de-soldered. The housing for the trigger is held on with "clips" that are visible on the top of the board.

I'll post some pictures to show you more clearly.
Analog Pins2.JPGMelted Right Trigger Arm.JPGNew Analog and Thumbstick in Place.JPG
Do you need to buy a new analog stick or if you have 2 broken controllers can you just take one off the other one and put it on one for the controllers? Because I have two broken controllers and both analog sticks broke in the same place so can I take one stick and put it on where the other one broke.
S1L3N7 SWAT (author)  Remoteviper574 years ago
Yeah, if one or both of the broken controllers has a good analog stick in it you can just take out the good one and put it in the other controller. It doesn't matter if it's the left or right stick, both are the same.
Shant215 years ago
wow i hate desoldering. I have a desolder bulb, but i think i will also need to buy some ribbon to take the rest out.
wow to much halo can do that to a contoller once i was playing halo 2 for 4 hours strait me=160 kills
eric=120 kills
kendale=63 kills
carson=73 kills
S1L3N7 SWAT (author)  albylovesscience5 years ago
Blah... Can't stand Halo anymore. Kids have completely ran it into the ground.
yup its just a way of letting go at the end of the day a time for mindless violence and killing but i used to like halo when it first came out now ther is kids that play halo 3 but have not even played the fist to p.s. i cant stand halo anymore also i used to play it when i was 11-12 years old
S1L3N7 SWAT (author)  albylovesscience5 years ago
Yeah, in my opinion the first Halo is the only one worth playing. I hated the second one, although me and my friends skip ed school to play it the day it came out. But Halo 3 is totally non-enjoyable to me now. The funny thing is when ever I do play it I still get a ton of kills.
Sandisk1duo5 years ago
you could probably fix all controllers like this!
S1L3N7 SWAT (author)  Sandisk1duo5 years ago
Yeah, you probably could since all of them use the same analog joysticks. I know the original Xbox controllers have the same ones and I think the PS2/3 controllers do too. I was actually going to take one from an original Xbox controller before I found that you could buy them instead.
PS2 for sure. I've torn mine apart a few times (fixing a broken analog, rewiring a couple switches, and now planning a full cheap wireless mod (I don't like the PS2's feel while PC gaming, so I'm gonna make my own from a half-dead wireless. Just replace the crappy 300 mAh NiCd battery pack with a pair of my 2500 mAh NiMH cells and charge externally.), so I know a lot about PS2 controls.). One quickly learns everything they can about how to fix it and how to deal with something broken and will it work, just in case that person screws it up.
okoshima5 years ago
your 21 and resorted to murdering your control? you have issues dude... but good ible and i can think of worse achievements to get (some of which caused me to go outside for some fresh air)
S1L3N7 SWAT (author)  okoshima5 years ago
LOL I'm 20 actually. But yeah, it pissed me off. I was pretty surprised to see that I broke it. Didn't think it would be that easy. I would have gone outside, but it was snowing like crazy.
Haha now you sound like me... keep a wiimote nearby for when you want to kill a controller, they are near indestructible...
Me, I buy cheap universal remotes from garage sales. Saves my PS2 controls from my wrath. And also spared my PSII controller (lightly modded PS2 controller, with the under-button clicks run to 2 auxillary pushbuttons on the right side of the controller. Makes things easier on me...)
S1L3N7 SWAT (author)  okoshima5 years ago
No kidding! Those things are solid.
ok do you think cause i ripped a trace it would make the whole controller die i mean it turns on and the lb and rb buttons work but thats it i mean i dont know what else could make this happen maybe a bad ground somewhere could that be possible its really baffling me and if i can fix the controller i can get on with putting the joysticks in cause ill just solder a wire from the trace to the pin anyhelp would be great for this!!!
S1L3N7 SWAT (author)  Deathbringerrr5 years ago
It's possible that you could still fix it. The controller could still work even with the problem, but it may short out eventually. Can you take a picture of the pins/traces? If I can see exactly where it's messed up I might be able to help a bit more. Thanks.
too bad i suck at soldering and or removing solder cause when i was removing the solder with no desoldering tools i pulled up a solder pad strip rendering the controller useless it would turn on but thats itso i fried it needles to say was a good lesson and good soldering practice glad it was just a controller laying around collecting dust oh well maybe next time
S1L3N7 SWAT (author)  Deathbringerrr5 years ago
That sucks, luckily the pad that I ruined on my xbox controller was not one of the transmission pins, just one on the metal housing for the stick.
im doing this now and desoldering without a solder sucker or a solder wick is a pain in the arse but luckily i had a couple extra ps2 controllers so im desoldering them and putting them in the 360 controller see if this works they say it does but we will see!!
S1L3N7 SWAT (author)  Deathbringerrr5 years ago
It should work fine, the stick I used is pretty much the ones used in the PS2 controllers. They're all the same anyway.
Skyshatter5 years ago
I found this while trying to fix a 360 controller a friend gave me. The right Thumbstick had left/right function, but absolutely no response to up/down movement. I actually powered it up with the case open and loaded a game to test the controller as I messed with it, and I found that, at least in my case, the problem was due to a loose solder joint. I found that by lifting slightly up on the bottom corner of the pot, that the connection was restored and up down movement worked perfectly again. It might be worth a shot to desolder and resolder "broken" pots before purchasing a new one just in case a connection or two has simply broken.
S1L3N7 SWAT (author)  Skyshatter5 years ago
Yeah, that's true. That would usually indicate a loose or detached solder pad. You might be able to glue that back on if you're lucky. If any one has that problem of no response in Up/Down or Left/Right functionality, then they should definitely check the solder connections with the pots.
goodwill2955 years ago
Your advice worked really well. You saved me $50. Thank you so much!
S1L3N7 SWAT (author)  goodwill2955 years ago
You're welcome! Glad it helped you.
c0lin5 years ago
I broke a tiny plastic bit inside the left joystick and it would no longer click down. So I couldn't sprint in COD4. It still moved fine though. Anyway I took it a part and applied a bit of super glue to the broken piece. Let it dry and then it would click properly again. I put it back together and that's when the real problems started. Once it was back together the joystick would no longer move properly. Looking at the part now I think the little copper looking piece was the culprit. I took it a part again and did sort of what you did. I had to remove the left joystick though which means removing the left trigger assembly. So I spent 5 dollars on solder and 3 hours of my time. Saved me 60$ CAD.
S1L3N7 SWAT (author)  c0lin5 years ago
Cool! Was it difficult to remove the trigger? I wasn't sure on how exactly to do that since mine was the right.
Actually it was pretty easy. There's only 3 solder points and they were quick to remove and quick to replace. Though the solder points are close to the plastic tab. I ended up melting the tab a little bit. So once I had the assembly off I had to re-shape it with my xacto blade and dremel.
c0lin5 years ago
Oh yeah I forgot to mention. My desolder job looked as bad as yours. Maybe worse. I didn't have a sucker either so I used the brush bit on my dremel and simply brushed the solder off at a high RPM. The brush bit as a result is now melted/caked with solder and can never been used on anything else again but it worked superbly. It only took one shot from the dremel to get rid of all the solder one a single point at once.
S1L3N7 SWAT (author)  c0lin5 years ago
Yeah I didn't have a sucker either the first time I tried to take it off. I was trying to melt the solder an pull it off the board but that's nearly impossible due to the high number on pins on the analog. I've never even thought of using a Dremel, though you run the risk of destroying the board if you slip and sever a trace or something.
omikun c0lin5 years ago
Radioshack has desoldering braids for about $3-4. Works like a charm! You'll still mess up the pcb a little but it's fast.
Scurge5 years ago
Awesome! I have been trying to find where to get that part (haven't cracked the controller open yet). nice job.