How to Make a Backlit Xbox One Controller Mod




About: I love coming up with new projects to challenge myself and to express my creativity. Make It is about me sharing that passion with you!

Create a controller unique to you by adding a back light!

I like to customize my things so that they stand out from what everyone else has. With basic soldering skills, this project will show you how to give your Xbox One controller a back light!

Don't know how to solder? Read through the beginning of the project! Order a different colored shell from eBay and customize your controller that way!

Step 1: Video Tutorial

Watch this video instead of the written tutorial, or use it to see the steps performed while following along!

Step 2: Materials and Tools

Step 3: Taking the Controller Apart

Side Panels:

The hardest part about opening an Xbox One Controller is removing the side panels.The kit I have linked for the screwdrivers contains a pick to help. You have to use a lot of force the first time taking the panels off. Don't worry about being forceful, it's the only way to get them off. Once they have been pried away the first time, they become loose and easily removable.


There are 5 security screws holding the controller together. 2 are located on each side underneath the side panels. The fifth is beneath the sticker in the battery compartment. Once all of the screws are removed, the back comes away without a problem!

Step 4: Preparing the New Case

The new case doesn't come with prongs for the battery, so we have to use the ones from the old case. Pull the tabs on the back and then push it through on the other side. The metal piece will pop right on the new case with little force.

Step 5: Preparing the New Case Continued

Test Fit:

Place the new case on the controller. The only thing you have to watch for is to hold down the triggers while you fit it on. It's important to screw the case back together so that you can find the problems with the case.

Grinding Triggers:

The old case has a channel on the screw holder for the trigger to move through. If the new case doesn't have that, it'll feel like the trigger is rolling over something. To fix this, take a file and create your own channel on the screw holder.

The old case also had a rubber pad for the trigger to hit against. I added my own make shift pad with hot glue and then molded it into place when the glue was almost done cooling.

Sticky Buttons:

I didn't deal with sticky buttons in this project, but with another controller that I put a white face plate on, the X button kept sticking. I fixed this by filing the hole to make more room for the button to move through.

Step 6: Electronics

Now it's time to work on the electronics!

We'll start off by cutting and stripping wire to these lengths: 8 cm, 9 cm, 11 cm and 13 cm. Next, twist all 4 wires together at one end. Then, we're going to cut one end of the 47 ohm resistor down to a centimeter. Tin the end of both the resistor and the four wires spun together and solder them together. We'll protect that connection with a small piece of heat-shrink tubing.

Step 7: Electronics Continued

Positive Connections:

Take one of the LEDs and cut the positive (long) lead down to a centimeter. Tin one of the 4 wires attached to the resistor. Before we attach it to the LED, we're going to cut a piece of heat-shrink tubing and place it on the wire we tinned. After that, solder the positive end of the LED to the wire and cover the connection with the piece of heat-shrink tubing. Repeat this step for the other 3 wires.

Negative Wires:

We now need to strip and cut 4 more wires for the negative connections. The lengths are: 7 cm, 8 cm, 10 cm and 12 cm. These wires will attach to the corresponding lengths of the positive connection wires. That would be (7-,8+) (8-, 9+) (10-,11+) (12-,13+). The LED with the 8 cm positive wire has the 7 cm negative wire etc.

Negative Connections:

Cut down the negative lead on one of the LEDs to a centimeter. Tin the end of the wire that corresponds to that LED and then solder it to the negative lead. Cover the connection with some heat-shrink tubing and then repeat this step for the remaining 3 wires.

Step 8: Soldering to the Board

Hook the lead of the resistor around the positive (bottom) battery prong and then solder it to the board. I had to take a screwdriver and hold the lead down while the solder cooled. The remaining wires from the negative leads of the LEDs are going to be attached to the ground pads for the right control stick. Look to the diagram I've included in the pictures. Keep the LEDs with the shorter wires on the left side because they're closer to the battery terminal.

Step 9: Attaching LEDs to the Case

Temporarily put the case on the back of the controller to see where you would like your LEDs to face. I marked the 4 points on the case with the sharp point on my file, but you could use a needle or pencil. We're going to use hot glue to attach the LEDs. When I made this, I started with the LEDs on the left side of the case. This made it hard to work on the right side because the wires were so short. So learn from my mistake and start with the right side LEDs to make your job easier. Once everything is attached to the case, tuck the wires towards the bottom and place it on top. Screw the case back together and put the battery in!

Step 10: You're Done!

Show it off to your friends and test it out on some games!



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    14 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Ive tried to do this but it doesn't work I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong. I've soldered the wires up and tested the LEDs and they work fine but when I connect them to the controll pad they don't light up I'm pretty sure I'm soldering them to the right connections. Any ideas why this is? Thanks


    2 years ago

    Im planning on making on but i dont know where to get the clear shell for the controller. Where did you get yours?

    1 reply
    MakeItYoutube MarlonO6

    Reply 2 years ago

    I'm going to have to update the links, sorry about that. I got mine on ebay.


    They're connected to the battery, so as long as it's in, they're on. I tried to find a trace that would only power when the controller was on, but I couldn't find one. If someone were to find one I'd like to know.


    Reply 3 years ago

    Is there one from the light on the top of the controller (guide button). I would imagine a switch would be a nice addition I heard a common complaint from PS 4 owners was the glare off the TV from the light was annoying. Or you could wire up a second pair of leds, red maybe, to the motors so they flash when you get shot lol.

    MakeItYoutube mrandle

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    I pads near the guide button didn't supply enough amperage to power 4 LEDs. There may be one on the front of the circuit board, but I didn't check. I've heard that about PS4 controllers too haha, but the LEDs in my controller face down and back. I just wanted the under glow, so no glare on this! I've wired to the rumble pads on a Gamecube controller, but it didn't supply enough energy for both the LEDs and the rumble motors, so you'd have to choose one or the other. I'd imagine I'd run into the same problem with the Xbox controller. Especially because the Gamecube controller uses 5v and the Xbox controller uses 3v


    You might be able to use the voltage from the guide button to trigger a transistor or very small relay that allows the voltage from the battery to flow through the leds. Same with the motors I imagine.


    Reply 3 years ago

    I know this is old, but might still be useful information. There is a soldering point labled TP9 on the back board next the the left joystick. When looking from the back, it is the joystick on the right. Provides a switched power when wired and batteries only when controller is powerd on.


    3 years ago

    i made this however the battery drains fats how can i fix this

    1 reply
    MakeItYoutube DominickB2

    Reply 3 years ago

    That's great to hear that you made one! The battery is draining faster due to the increased load from the LEDs. That being said, you could add a larger resistor to limit the current draw! I use a play and charge kit with mine, if you don't have one already, I would recommend it!