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This is how a DualSense with drifting problems on the analog sticks should be repaired

When will my DualSense stop working?

DualSense PS5

That a remote control that costs 75 euros (less than 56 euros now with Amazon’s current offer) will stop working in the future is something that hurts and annoys to know. But it is pure reality. In iFixit they have wanted to demonstrate the origin of the DualSense drifting problems, and they have confirmed that it is not their own error as such, but an error inherited from something that we have known for a long time.

And is that DualSense uses the same electronic components related to the analog sticks that we can find in the DualShock 4, and the Xbox One controls and Xbox One Elite controller. This means that no matter how much extra technology it includes, DualSense will continue to suffer one of the most common problems in recent years, and it is all due to a component that does not finish evolving.

ALPS joysticks

Repair DualSense Sticks

The company behind these components is ALPS, and it has been selling its products for years to Microsoft and Sony, but also Nintendo, as these sticks are also present in the Switch Pro Controller. It is a magnificent product, however, it has a very serious problem, and that is that dirt and prolonged use end up affecting its potentiometers.

The potentiometers are responsible for calculating the exact position of the stick by measuring the variation in voltage that occurs when moving the pieces. These potentiometers are made up of carbon tracks and moving parts that produce the contact and the corresponding current flow.

This friction is one of the problems that cause the appearance of inaccuracies in the controls, since, after a lot of use, these carbon tracks can deteriorate and lose conductivity, which translates into inaccuracies in the voltage reading. But as pointed out in iFixit, not everything falls on the durability of the sticks themselves, external agents also come into play, and we are obviously talking about dirt.

Beware of the cheetos

Repair DualSense Sticks

As much as you avoid it, dust and dirt end up entering the depths of the controller, and how could it be otherwise, one of those secret corners are the internal holes of the stick potentiometers. Any type of obstacle that gets in the way of the enhancer will cause misreading, so this could be another problem with those phantom movements caused by the analog stick.

Does the DualSense have an expiration date?

Repair DualSense Sticks

Taking these factors into account, iFixit has gone through the official ALPS documentation to verify the durability of its components, and as they have been able to find out, the sticks promise a durability of 2 million cycles, which according to them would translate into a 400 hours of gameplay. This figure could be a bit alarming, since calculating an average of 1 hour a day of play (quite a small amount), the controller would stop working after 400 days, a rather low durability considering that it would not reach a year and a half of lifetime.

How to clean the DualSense?

Knowing that a good cleaning could extend the life of your remote, you are probably wondering how to clean it, and this is where we find another problem. The internal part of the analog sticks are soldered to the internal plate of the controller, so it is not possible to remove it easily, either to clean the contacts or to change it for a new one.

In that case you will have to desolder the points (14 no less) to be able to dismantle the components and access the carbon track. One stroke with a cotton swab dipped in isopropyl alcohol should be enough to fix any stagnant dirt, although getting to the site will be the worst.

Some tutorials published on YouTube teach how to strain the swab between the pieces, but you must bear in mind that you could split the plastic and permanently lose your control. It depends on you.


Youtube Videos

*The article has been translated based on the content of https://eloutput.com/noticias/videojuegos/dualsense-limpiar-reparar-sticks-video/ by eloutput.com
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