Joypad and controller: how to solve the problem of analog moving by itself

With the landing of Nintendo Switch and of the new Sony and Microsoft consoles on the market, we have witnessed the proliferation of one of the most serious factory defects of all: drifting, often underestimated and the cause of many problems for many gamers.

The latter term refers to an erroneous reception of an input on the screen not performed by the user which, if not resolved, can constitute an invalidating limit for one’s gaming sessions. Many gamers, especially in the field of Nintendo home consoles, will have witnessed – even if only indirectly – to numerous videos reporting the problem, so much so as to require the mobilization of consumer associations against Nintendo Switch and the Joy-Con problem.
So what are the main things to do with a controller that features analog drift?


The first solution to counteract the drifting phenomenon is to calibrate the analogs of your controller. Very often, in fact, this is a symptom of a series of debris inherent in the controller and which, on balance, are also located in the analogue area. The movement and constant vibration during calibration are, most of the time, an effective method to safeguard your controller from the occurrence of the phenomenon. By doing so, therefore, the internal dust and dirt will be removed and one can be found total resolution – or at least partial – of drifting. In many consoles, such as the Nintendo Switch which allows you to calibrate or reset Joy-Con, there are special functions within the system options.

Cleaning the controller

Although the resolution method described above is often the resolutive one, it may happen that it is not sufficient to counteract the drifting phenomenon. At this point, a further alternative is to use cotton swabs, isopropyl alcohol (or any alternative, such as a can of compressed air, as long as it does not constitute a danger to the internal components of the controller), a microfiber cloth – and a lot of patience – to try to manually remove residues present on the surface of the analog. Although it is one of the operations that should be part of the routine of all gamers, this is an often overlooked element that can prevent drifting from occurring.

Replacement of the whole piece

The main source of problems for controllers and others is wear. Although the simple use determines the wear of all sorts of electronic instruments, the use of a cloth to protect your joypad – when not in use – from the entrance of the dust it allows to safeguard it and to prevent the problem, with what is on balance a very simple foresight.

However, it may happen that all of this is not enough: at that point, if there is no longer coverage of the guarantee and there is the capacity to do so, you can opt for hardware disassembly and the replacement of the whole analog. There are many guides on the net that document the procedure step by step, but we reiterate to do so only if you are able.

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