Introduction: Get the MAX Out of Your NES MAX Controller

About: Brad Bateman is a programmer, electronics hobbyist and classic Nintendo fanboy. He is currently dabbling in NES programming in 6502 assembly. He is interested in ANYTHING Nintendo related. When not busy wor…

There are many licensed and unlicensed controllers for the Nintendo Entertainment System.  In the licensed category one could argue that the original brick style controller trumps all, followed closely by the dogbone controller.  However, neither of these controllers have the much desired "turbo" buttons that all of the unlicensed controllers had.

The NES MAX is one licensed controller that has turbo buttons.  It is small, lightweight, comfortable, MADE BY NINTENDO, and natural in the players hands.  It would be a very good controller if it wasn't for one thing.  The slider.  Instead of a D-Pad, it has a red disk that slides around to the different directions.  This seems like a good idea, but for precision gaming, it is pretty useless.

This instructable will show you how you can upgrade your NES MAX controller for under $5 in under 10 minutes, leaving you with one of the best controllers you will ever use.

Step 1: Tools and Resources

You will need:
  • NES MAX Controller
  • Small Phillips screwdriver
  • Small Flathead screwdriver
  • Metal file or sandpaper
  • Replacement thumbstick (I chose red to match the buttons)
The thumbsticks can be sacrificed from pretty much any controller.  It was easier for me to order brand new red xbox 360 thumbsticks from ebay for under $5 shipped. ( I used the ebay search terms "red 360 sticks" )

Step 2: Disassembly

  1. Using the philips screwdriver, remove the seven screws from the back of the controller.  
  2. Remove the back plate and remove the controller board.
  3. Remove the rubber from the slider area and remove the slider mechanism.
  4. Using the flathead screwdriver, pop the 4 tabs on the slider and disassemble.
Now would be a good time to clean out any dirt or grime that has made it's way into the controller.  You may also want to look at the button contacts and make sure they are good and clean as well.

Step 3: Modifying the Thumbstick

The xbox 360 thumbstick is the same circumference as the original slider, however since it is dome shaped and not flat, it will need to be modified.  This can be done by simply stroking the bottom side of the thumstick on your file or sandpaper.  I have included a picture of a modified and non-modified stick for reference.  Keep checking to see how the thumbstick fits as you are sanding.  If you sand too far, the thumbstick will be too loose and will not be as effective.

Once the slider mechanism snaps closed without resistance you know you have gone far enough with the sanding.  The thumbstick should be held firm but still be loose enough to move slightly and rotate around if twisted.

Step 4: Conclusion

Now reassemble the controller and enjoy your MAXimized officially licensed turbo controller.  The nice thing about this, is if you don't like the result in a matter of minutes you can have your original unmodified controller back.

I would like to thank marvelous10 from the forums for the discovery of this modification.

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