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How to Fix a Broken Game Controller (Page 1/3)

Posted: January 21, 2006
Written By: Dan "Tweak Monkey" Kennedy

Sticking or Broken Controllers Can Be Fixed

In about 10 minutes you can fix a sticking or broken game controller.

Xbox Controller 'S'

If the controller for your new Xbox 360 breaks, you can probably swap it out at the retailer you bought it from or send it to Microsoft for replacement. Worst case it's only like $30 for a new one. But I've got some old consoles laying around including an original NES and a Sega Saturn which I know Wal Mart doesn't carry controllers for. I also enjoy fixing stuff, so when my Xbox Controller 'S' stopped working at 3 AM this morning, I took it apart and fixed the thing. In typical Tweak3D fashion, I decided to share the instructions for repairing your own controllers if you should run into the same problem.

Tools Required

This was based on an Xbox Controller 'S', the second generation controller shipped with Microsoft Xbox game consoles. However, I've used these techniques in the past on other controllers including the older Xbox controller, steering wheels, and keyboards - they're generally universal. The biggest difference is usually the tools required to disassemble the units and the number of pieces inside.

Tools Checklist:
- Screwdriver to disassemble controller (usually a long skinny phillips-head. If there are *star*-like screws you may be able to use a small flat head in the correct tool's place)
- Sink, water, dish or hand soap
- Towel to dry parts
- Optional: Rubbing alcohol, small file or fine sandpaper
A clean working surface and something to organize the parts is always a good idea, and if you've got canned air it'll help dry the parts. As you rip into the controller, you may need other tools like solder, a soldering iron, or even replacement springs and parts.

For now, you need to take apart the controller to inspect the damage. Once you determine how the controller works through examination, you'll probably find the exact cause of your problem or fix it unintentionally.

Next Page - Disassembling and Cleaning

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