Introduction: PS3 Controller LED Swap

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1234 Player Status LED Mod

Controller Modification Tutorial

This is a reworking of a tutorial from our forums. It's simple in theory. Comprising of 4 parts:

1) Open Controller
2) Remove Old LEDs
3) Fit New LEDs
4) Close Controller - done!

This is a nice easy mod, but for the size of the LEDs! The hardest part is getting the controller back together at the end! Beware of that before you start and take note of how the controller goes together before you take it apart! Putting it back together can be a real pig!

Step 1: What You Need

Before you begin you will need to ensure you have a few basic items. All the links go through to a store which I own and run, so my recommendations are by no means impartial!

4 x 0603 or 0805 SMD LEDs (links through to shop)
Screwdriver (Small Phillips)
Soldering iron
Magnifying device (optional if you're a bit squiffy eyed)
Solder Braid (used for mopping up extra solder from the pads or board (optional for clean freaks))

Step 2: Opening the Controller and Locating the Very Small LEDs!

Opening the case

To open the controller you will need to unscrew five screws, all of which are in obvious positions.

The screws are on the back of the controller and are pretty obvious.

Once you have taken out all the screws turn the controller onto it’s back and gently pull the two parts of the case apart. Don’t worry you can’t break anything at this stage and there are no bits that will fall out and alarm you! The hardest part is getting the controller back together at the end! Take note of how the controller goes together before you take it apart!

Once you have the case removed you will see that the rumble motors are soldered to the board and stuck to the case and that the battery is attached to the board by a small plug.

Simply pull the plug from the socket.That's the battery out of the way. The rumble motors are a bit of a pain. You'll need to unstick them from the casing but don't break the wires. They're not massively difficult to solder back on but it's something you don't really want to do.

You should now be able to remove the board from the case. You can now locate the LEDs, your board might look different but the procedure will be the same.

As you can see in the picture above the location of the four existing red leds are marked out with the red box. Yup they're very small aren't they! I warned you!

Step 3: Wax Off (ok LEDs Off)

Removing the LED's

The best and easiest method to remove the existing lights is to bathe them in solder and then simply wipe them off the board.

To do this heat the iron and once at the correct temperature apply some solder to the tip of the iron to form a blob which you then place over one of the LEDS, from the side usually works best.

While the solder is still liquid use the tip of the iron to push the LED off its placement. Be gentile! Do not force or push hard, once the solder is melted the LED will just float away. Once you have done this remove any excess solder from the board and you should be left with two contacts on the board that are now ready for the new LED.

(first image above)

The black mark there is just burnt solder flux, you can remove it by rubbing over with your thumb.

Continue and use the same method to removed the three other LED's from the board.

(second image above)

Step 4: Wax On

Installing the new LED's

What is important to note about the placement of the new LED’s is the polarity.

If you look closely at the LED you will notice that the polarity is indicated by a green arrow or T located on the underside of the LED.

The direction the arrow or bottom of the T is pointing denotes the cathode so the LED should be placed with the point in the direction of the thick line printed on the controller board.

The image below clearly marks the direction of polarity.

Once you have the LED in place it’s time to solder it in location. To do this it’s recommended that you use either some fine quality tweezers or something that will enable you to hold the LED in place as you need to be able to ensure that the LED does not move while you apply the heat (we don't add any solder at this point).

To solder the LED you will need to apply heat to the pads of solder on which you have placed your correctly oriented LED. Whilst holding the LED in place apply the soldering iron to one side of the LED and wait for the solder to melt. Repeat this process on the other side and ensure that the LED has good contact to the circuit board.

We recommend you test each LED as you do them, and if at first the LED does not light apply a little pressure as it may light, showing that it needs a little adjusting or probably just the solder resetting around the pads. If the LED does not light after this, it's more than likely that you've got the LED the wrong way around! If it still does not light then chances are you've fried the LED due to a little too much soldering iron action.

All being well you should see something like the second image.

Step 5: Putting It Back Together - the Hard Bit!

Now put it all back together and admire your hard work!

You'll find that the triggers will cause you problems. Make sure that the rubber pads are in correctly and that the big triggers are clipped in place. Carefully put the bottom of the case over the triggers at an angle before clipping the case together. Test the triggers and bumper buttons at this point, if they don't work open up and try again. If they do work go ahead and screw the case back together.