Nintendo Joycon Drift Fix (Not Software Related)

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Introduction: Nintendo Joycon Drift Fix (Not Software Related)

About: Just randomly make stuff or fix things when I can.

After a year of heavy use, i started to notice that my joycon would drift when not touching the analog stick.

I tried re calibrating and blowing air in the analog stick but this didn't solve the issue.

I looked for a replacement analog stick but they are 25-30 USD so that is way to much, so went online but could not find anywhere on how to clean the analog stick so I went ahead and ventured on doing it myself and documenting it for everyone to try, if you're brave and patient enough.

Do not try if you don't like to tinker, the taking apart of the analog stick is super tedious, patience is key. Also you have to be super careful as thin fragile ribbon cables are involved in this.

DO AT YOUR OWN RISK. This will most definitely void the warranty.

Hope it helps and enjoy.

[Doing this for the L joycon, but you can try the R joycon too, slightly different opening procedure]

Step 1: Opening the Joycon

-Remove screws, on from first pic.

-Carefully fold open the joycon. ****BE CAREFUL, there is ribbon cables so don't pull too hard

-Carefully remove the battery with a plastic pry tool, dont use metal as you might damage/short the battery

*More hints in the pictures

Step 2: Removing Ribbon Cables to Access the Analog Stick

-Start by removing carefully the ribbon cable for the Z button, there is a small brown flap that you SHOULD flip up to allow the ribbon to come out easily.

-Remove the ribbon cable for the L button

-Carefully remove the ribbon cable for the analog stick after flipping the black flap

-Now to remove the screws of the analog stick, be careful with the L button ribbon cable that is over one of the two screws

-Wiggle the analog stick out being careful to not damage the small black dust guard. If you pop that black guard off, just place it back.

Step 3: Now the Fun Part,

-Loosen the clips on as on the pictures, use a small flat head screwdriver to get the metal to clear the small plastic tabs

-Super carefully, with a small flat screwdriver unclip from where the picture shows the metal clip. This clip is really tricky and super hard.

**Be careful as too much force might slip the driver in to the ribbon cable or you might stab your hand, also, dont want parts flying everywhere

*** This is where patience and strength are needed

Step 4: Now That It's Open, Lets Clean the Contacts

-Clean the contacts shown in the pictures with a alcohol infused Qtip, if you dont have alcohol, a dry one should be enough to get the dust off.

-BE SUPER careful with the 3rd pictures contacts, they are hair thin and get bent easily, i by mistake bent them twice and it took a lot of patience with a needle to shape them back to normal.

-Clean the brush contacts

-If there is dust clean that too, be careful as the plastic half is made of of many pieces and they all can jump out of place, mine fell apart so I had fun getting that puzzle back together to fit and work propperly

Step 5: Now, Lets Put It Back Together.

If you thought it was tricky, hold on to your bucks....

-Try to get everything to look like the first picture

-If you bent the metal trying to open the analog stick now is the time to straighten it up as much as you can

-Before clipping everything back together make sure that if you move the analog stick it moves the brush contacts smoothly and correctly, it should also kind of center itself.

-Make sure that there is the thin washer under the spring which should have the wide part in the bottom

-After checking and rechecking, clip the metal back to the plastic.

Please be super careful putting it back together, it takes patience as trying to clip it might make some pieces inside to pop off place and you have to start again to arrange and try to clip again.

Step 6: Check the Analog Stick

-Once you got it all back together, please check that the stick can move in all directions and then centers itself

-Now walk backwards on the steps:

-Place the analog stick on its place in the joycon

-Screw the analog stick

-Connect the ribbon cables remembering to move the flap to get the cable in and then locking it to secure the ribbon cables

-Put the battery plastic housing, then, place and connect the battery

Step 7: Lets Test the Joycon

-Before fully screwing everything together test to see if the controller and analog stick work (just click the controller in place)

-Click buttons in you joycon to wake it up

-Go in to your Switch "Controller and sensors" setting, navigate to calibrate control sticks, go through the calibration.

-And your sticks should not drift anymore.

-If they do or its not responsive, check you ribbon connections hopefully nothing has been ripped. Check the analog stick and see if the brushed contacts are not bent

-If all is working, go back and screw everything shut and enjoy.

Step 8: Hope This Helped You

Hope this saved you form purchasing a replacement analog stick or just purchasing a new joycon.

Cheers ;)

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    7 Discussions

    Thank you so much for this instruction. I think i could fix my problem with your help.

    Tipp: Maybe you could describe how to remove the ribbon cables for the L button and Joystick? I removed the screw behind the L ribbon cable by pushing the cable to the side. And i removed the the 2. Ribbon cable accidently :D - dont know how it worked^^

    1 reply

    Sorry, I think I was lazy not really documenting how to take the other Joycon appart.

    Might do it once they need anothe clean.

    Thanks! It was extremely hard and I spent about 2 hours but seems stick works fine.

    1 reply

    Yup, I took a while on my first joycon, but on the second, third and fourth I got better and better. The first time its super tense as I didnt want to loose any thing. And clipping it back together is super tricky while keeping everything where its supposed to be.

    Cheers

    Thank you so much!! It worked nicely but I did break one of the big "teeth" of the metal part of the analog stick. It did close nicely though. Maybe someone here can share more details on how to remove and put back the metal piece without bending it too much.

    Quick question; anybody else thinks we could skip the analog disassembly and just dip it in alcohol a few times instead? My guess it that it will evaporate in a few minutes. Ideas?

    2 replies

    UPDATE!: I was doing this at work (slow day) and friends saw me, so I offered to fix their joycons too for the sake of science. My experiment was: I followed the procedure here for one of them, and for the other three I just took out the analog sticks and flooded them with alcohol through the gap between the moving parts. I used a spray bottle and didn't stop until they leaked abundantly from one of the corners.

    Then I dried them with a rag, and carefully blew into a corner to push out the alcohol excess. Finally I let them dry for half an hour while moving them all around every couple of minutes.

    After reassembly, all four joycons have been working like new. Their terrible drift now seems to be gone.

    My conclusion is: While taking the whole analog stick apart is cleaner, it also represents a high risk of breaking or deforming the metal clips, and it's quite hard to do. On the other hand, flooding and draining the analog with alcohol might leave some of the dirt still inside, just in a different area where it doesn't affect functionality.

    Maybe my version of this fix will last less, but it's easy to do it whenever the drift returns and it'll save you the battle against putting the analog back together.

    Good luck!

    Thanks for the extra note, I do think it's a really tricky fix, but your solution I think will also clean the contacts but sometimes the residue is really stuck.

    I think stiring just the analog stick in a small container with alcohol should do just fine. Thanks for the comment.