Instructables
Picture of Loose Nintendo 64 thumbstick  repair
Well, if your reading this, then your about to learn how to fix that old Nintendo 64 controller with the analog stick that flops around. All Nintendo 64 controllers eventually get their loose analog sticks after a while. How do you tell if this epidemic has hit your poor controller? The thumbstick will not return to center position, it'll flop from side-to-side when you move the controller. It'll feel loose, without much resistance when you play. Look at the picture for more info.
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Understanding why your analog stick is loose

Picture of Understanding why your analog stick is loose

I'm taking this from my site, http://gamesnjunk.weebly.com, because that's where I originally posted it and now I figured it was time to share it with the world on Instructables. So, here we go:
Open up any official Nintendo brand controller and you will be confronted with this site: There will be a big brown-ish tan circuit board in the top part of the controller. You will see that the left and right handles on the controllers are actually hollow. The middle handle has a white or gray box in it (Depending on your controller). This gray or white box is your analog box. Ontop of this box is your "Z" button. If you were to open the analog box, you will see a white bowl, with a gear on the right and a gear on top. Sitting on the top gear is a circuit board.
This circuit board is an important part of this controller. The circuti board is actually optical, meaning it has little lenses in the board that read the gears. The gears have a series of lines and holes on them. The lenses read these holes, and translates this into actions on your game. Now, the main reason that these analog sticks fail after a while, is that the holes get dirty from the dust that is caused by the insides of the controller grinding (More on that later). This causes the controller to act all screwy, coming out of calibration, not working, or not working in certain directions.
Okay, this is how the analog stick gets loose. Inside the afore mentioned white bowl with the gears attached, there will be a black bow shaped plastic piece with a gear bit on the end. This moves one of the gears attached to the white bowl. There is also a black bow shaped piece on the other half of your analog box, this one is a little smaller then the one in the bowl, but just as important. Now, if you were to put this half back ontop of the other half (Partially), you would see that these bow shaped pieces rest ontop of eachother, and when you move the analog stick with the halves of the analog box still partially together, you would see that these pieces grind against each other. This is what causes your controller to get a loose analog stick.
When you opened your analog box you would have been confronted with some gray powder. This is the worn away powder from the black bow shaped pieces. This is very messy, and may hurt you if you breath it in, so don't. This dust gets into the black gears attatched to the white bowl. The controller "Sees" the dust in the lines and holes, and translates this into your game incorrectly.
Okay, boring part over. Now we get to the fun part: Fixing this thing!
Open up any official Nintendo brand controller and you will be confronted with this site: There will be a big brown-ish tan circuit board in the top part of the controller. You will see that the left and right handles on the controllers are actually hollow. The middle handle has a white or gray box in it (Depending on your controller). This gray or white box is your analog box. Ontop of this box is your "Z" button. If you were to open the analog box, you will see a white bowl, with a gear on the right and a gear on top. Sitting on the top gear is a circuit board.
This circuit board is an important part of this controller. The circuti board is actually optical, meaning it has little lenses in the board that read the gears. The gears have a series of lines and holes on them. The lenses read these holes, and translates this into actions on your game. Now, the main reason that these analog sticks fail after a while, is that the holes get dirty from the dust that is caused by the insides of the controller grinding (More on that later). This causes the controller to act all screwy, coming out of calibration, not working, or not working in certain directions.
Okay, this is how the analog stick gets loose. Inside the afore mentioned white bowl with the gears attached, there will be a black bow shaped plastic piece with a gear bit on the end. This moves one of the gears attached to the white bowl. There is also a black bow shaped piece on the other half of your analog box, this one is a little smaller then the one in the bowl, but just as important. Now, if you were to put this half back ontop of the other half (Partially), you would see that these bow shaped pieces rest ontop of eachother, and when you move the analog stick with the halves of the analog box still partially together, you would see that these pieces grind against each other. This is what causes your controller to get a loose analog stick.
When you opened your analog box you would have been confronted with some gray powder. This is the worn away powder from the black bow shaped pieces. This is very messy, and may hurt you if you breath it in, so don't. This dust gets into the black gears attatched to the white bowl. The controller "Sees" the dust in the lines and holes, and translates this into your game incorrectly.
Okay, boring part over. Now we get to the fun part: Fixing this thing!
 

Cato AlexerratusT made it!1 month ago

Once everything is unscrewed, you can lift the analog box to free the circuit board. It gets tricky when you go to open the analog box. (Front has hooks, back does not). I held the back in my left hand while using the fingernails of my right hand to pry the two hooks on the front, which need to be pulled back simultaneously. Then I used one of my left hand fingers to push the top of the case up at the back. This is when it sprang apart and I got hit in the face with a black piece. If you can get someone to hold the box with you, that may be preferable. In any case, reassembly was tricky since the spring, white ring, and two black pieces need to be held down all at once while aligning them. Once they're all lined up, putting the top of the case back on is fairly simple.

There was plastic powder everywhere, and it took a while to brush all the powder out of the grooves, but an episode of Gotham helped pass the time. :D

I found this DIY simple because it only fits back together one way so there's nothing to mess up, and the biggest challenge was holding many small parts at once, but it wasn't too complicated.

Be sure to have your silicone gel at hand (you can get it in the plumbing section for $3) so you can clean and reassemble at the same time, and as always, mind your circuitry and don't fry it while you're in there with since it probably isn't grounded when you're working on it.

DSC02981.JPGDSC02985.JPGDSC02984.JPGDSC02990.JPG
Citizeno4 months ago

Don't put WD-40 OR petroleum jelly on your plastic parts!!!

These lubricants are good for a bit then they deteriorate the plastic. Use a silicone or lithium lubricant if you want long term usage and want to avoid literally melting your plastic parts over time. Actually I think the petroleum jelly isn't that bad except that most have added moisturizers and other such things.

Otherwise, thanks for the post, lots of good information. :o)

Try splitting up your steps into smaller segments so that you don't end up having too many words for the fix step. "less is more" pictures would be more specific and helpful for each "smaller step" that way.
to take pictures off a dsi you need an sd card and much copy the pictures to it
I believe your post has been copy and pasted once too much... you repeat in the beginning in the middle:
1st

"I'm taking this from my site, http://gamesnjunk.weebly.com, because that's where I originally posted it and now I figured it was time to share it with the world on Instructables. So, here we go:

Open up any official Nintendo brand controller and you will be confronted with this site: There will be a big brown-ish tan circuit board in the top part of the controller".

2nd

"This dust gets into the black gears attatched to the white bowl. The controller "Sees" the dust in the lines and holes, and translates this into your game incorrectly.
Okay, boring part over. Now we get to the fun part: Fixing this thing!

Open up any official Nintendo brand controller and you will be confronted with this site: There will be a big brown-ish tan circuit board in the top part of the controller. "
mwwdesign3 years ago
You need to put more pictures on here - no one wants to read blocks of text like that for an Instructible!

Also, I think a better solution would maybe be to put use some epoxy resin to give the part thickness (and sand down to shape if needed), instead of tape, which I see being very prone to wearing/slipping and making a mess quite quickly.

Good concept for an 'ible tho - I need to fix some of my controllers for this very same problem!
videogamemaster (author)  mwwdesign3 years ago
Okay. Yes, I apologize for the lack of pitures- I haven't taken any yet of the actual inside of the analog boxes. I will be adding more, though, of the actual internal analog box.


Epoxy resin? Well, it would have to have some good stick, and not be very pourus when it dries. Why? Because I've tried everything besides tape thats sticky around the analog stick (Including Silly Putty!) and the lubricant will get into it.

And thank you. Best of luck with your controllers, and again, more pics coming.
Hey it's me from the knex toilet just want to know were u serious about the knex house if you were message me. Everyone feel free to check out my knex toilet
videogamemaster (author)  Music man3 years ago
PM me if you want to do a collaboration of some sort.
videogamemaster (author)  Music man3 years ago
Hey, Music Man. You would need an a lotta K'nex. Unlesss....... We make it piece by piece. (Please ignore the other reply where I said there was a lot of mis-spellings. I had it underneath my first comment above, but somehow it did a switch)