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Stick Drift

Have you experienced stick drift on a controller?


  • Total voters
    186

Kev Kev

Gold Member
I've had issues with pretty much every controller I've had.. From the cheapest to the most expensive, I can't see a difference in "quality" in this context.

But the issue is actually simpler to explain than you would think. MS and Sony and others actually tend to buy the same off-shelf third party products for their controllers. Mix this with the eye-opening fact that the cycle limit of the sticks is often reached within 400 hours of gameplay and you'll understand that issues are eventually par for the course..

Here’s Why PS5 Joysticks Drift (and Why They’ll Only Get Worse) | iFixit News
good article. that explained a lot to me. thank you.

this part stood out...

"No device, rated for 2,000,000 cycles, especially a vessel of frustration or obsession, can maintain perfect performance forever. They should be designed with that reality in mind. Nintendo, for all its extended silence on Joy-Con drift failures, at least chose an easily replaceable joystick secured by Phillips screws and a flexible cable, not 16 solder joints. And even if a joystick needs the stability of solder beneath it, it’s possible to design a “breakout board,” such as we often see on phones and other portable devices. A smaller circuit board would hold the joystick and its necessary wires and chips, then connect to the main board with a detachable cable."

not that i would attempt a repair on my own, but it would be nice to know that i wouldnt have to go out and buy solder gear (i actually do know how to solder pretty well), and attempt to replace them myself,. but even then, soldering can be tricky and one shoddy joint can throw off the whole thing. being able to just unscrew it with a philips is super appealing, considering it seems to drift problem wont be going away anytime soon.

the replaceable circuit board is a good ida too,.

aahhhh *sigh* what a bunch of anti consumer bullshit. games companies need to get their shit together, im sure they could put more money into the tech, or at least offer an easy way to replace sticks. and gamers need to be more pissed off about this. its bullshit.
 

Dream-Knife

Member
I've had it with several PS2 controllers, and recently with my original left joycon.

N64, GameCube, and OG Xbox are all fine and each have more hours on them.

PS4 is fine too, but only has about 2000 hours.
 
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Kev Kev

Gold Member
Literally never. Maybe I'm very lucky.
apparently i have been very lucky for about 20 years. but now all the sudden its two controllers in one year. and from the responses itt, its happening more with new gear than it did in the past. however there are a number of people claiming its been happening their whole ives.

maybe i need to make a follow up thread asking how long ago they experienced drift...

A - within last 5 years
B - within last 10
C - within last 15
D - within last 20 or more

something like that...
 

Excess

Member
Just as I was playing around with my Elite from 2015, all of a sudden the left bumper fell off... It just... fucking fell off... How... I don't even..

i cant believe it boston celtics GIF


This thread is a bad omen, and I blame OP.
 

DigitalScrap

Gold Member
JoyCons are the only “modern” controllers I have had drifting issues with. I think prior to the Switch, the last time I had an issue was with the Dual Shock 2s.
 

LostDonkey

Member
My Dualsense is fucked. Just drifts off the the right constantly on the right stick. Bought a new one and put it to the side for now.
 

Rat Rage

Member
I've never understood why the industry hasn't moved to optical sensors for sticks.

Because "the industry" are greedy assholes. They've been selling you overprice gaming controllers since the very beginning. At least in the past they've had the decency to actually use some fairly good components, so that you could enjoy your overpriced controllers for years. As a long time gamer I didn't even know what Stick Drift was until Nintendo released the Switch.
 

Kev Kev

Gold Member
I didn't even know what Stick Drift was until Nintendo released the Switch.
same. and since then ive been hearing about it more and more. these days im hearing every controller on every console has it. and im sorry but people saying its always existed and always been as bad as it is now, i dont buy that. i think this did happen in the past, but not at the rate which we are seeing it today.

and i know my experience is anecdotal, but after ~20 years of gaming with controllers that have analog sticks and never seeing this problem, never even hearing about it, to now where i suddenly have it happen to me twice in one year...? nah man, they are cheeping out more than ever, and its time for this shit to stop, especially if it actually has been going on since the N64 days. we shouldnt be okay with this and i think gamers need to keep raising hell about it.

which ever side of the story is true, the issue clearly seems to be getting worse when it should be getting better.

and i think we can all agree on that.
 
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PhaseJump

Member
Xbox One Duke controller from Hyperkin has both sticks drifting. I used it less than 20 hours.

Garbage controller. The camera was swinging around on the right stick in some games I tried playing with it.
I tried playing Forza and the left stick is throwing me off the road while launching the car from a stop.

I've reseated the cable, I've plugged it into different Xbox consoles and PCs. It's the same.
 
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RGB'D

Member
2 dual senses and one dual shock and 4 Joy cons. My xbox controllers get the most use and haven't had any problems so far (knock on wood)
 
I play overwatch daily on ps5 my controller drifts a lot, both dualsenses... melee attack is used a lot and I suspect thats the cause pushing on that stick..
 

Larxia

Member
Hello, sorry for the bump but I didn't want to create a new thread just for that.
I just started having a problem with my controller (xbox series) today while playing Red Dead Redemption, the camera would always automatically move up to the sky.
I did tests in the controller properties in windows and noticed the Y axis keeps being pushed for no reason when the stick isn't perfectly in the center.

I always thought stick drift was when the stick didn't come back to it's perfect center location, which could led to analog directions if the dead zone isn't large, but what I'm getting is different so I'm wondering, is this actually stick drift?:

The axis is very unstable and keeps being pushed progessively almost to the max, even if the stick is still in the middle, just not perfectly centered.

Is that what is usually called stick drift or is this something else?
Thank you. Very frustrated by this, just started playing red dead redemption :( And I don't have another controller, this one was already replacing my old dying old 360 controller.
 

Rubik8

Member
I had severe stick drift on my switch and some dead spots on a PS4 controller. Both were completely fixed with a little electrical contact cleaner, and the issues never came back.

edit: left out switch
 
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Tschumi

Member
I think i remember an og xbox controller i bought in China doing it once

I haven't experienced it yet on ps3, 4 or 5 but i guess it's a possibility.

I'm not saying you did this but most of the controllers I've seen with stick drift were clearly thrown across the room to so bugger them up lol
 

Banjo64

Member
Sorry for the bump but probably not thread worthy.

My fucking Dualsense has drift on the right stick! Absolute piss take! I’ve never had drift on a Sony pad before.

Only games I’ve completed are GoW and Astro, and I’ve played on eFootball for about 15 hours.

I’d noticed it on eFootball but thought that it might be more sensitive on a football game.

Just started Uncharted Lost Legacy on my day off and the fucking camera is panning around non-stop! What the actual fuck man. Absolute bull shit. £59.99 for a replacement if I want to play today 🤬🤬🤬
 

Skifi28

Member
Sorry for the bump but probably not thread worthy.

My fucking Dualsense has drift on the right stick! Absolute piss take! I’ve never had drift on a Sony pad before.

Only games I’ve completed are GoW and Astro, and I’ve played on eFootball for about 15 hours.

I’d noticed it on eFootball but thought that it might be more sensitive on a football game.

Just started Uncharted Lost Legacy on my day off and the fucking camera is panning around non-stop! What the actual fuck man. Absolute bull shit. £59.99 for a replacement if I want to play today 🤬🤬🤬
In my experience, a good 50 to 60% of drifting can be fixed rather easily as it's dirt related rather than a hardware defect. But you do need to open your controller up and clean the track the potentiometer runs along at inside the stick.
 

Kev Kev

Gold Member
In my experience, a good 50 to 60% of drifting can be fixed rather easily as it's dirt related rather than a hardware defect. But you do need to open your controller up and clean the track the potentiometer runs along at inside the stick.
Know any good videos showing how to do that, would be a good place to post something like that.

I have had some success using rubbing alcohol to clean the sticks from the outside, but opening up the controller I had (Xbox) required a special tool that I didn’t have 😞

What a pain. I still contend this became more of a problem this last gen, despite those saying it’s always been an issue. Never had it happen and heard of it happening so much u til the last 7 or 8 years.
 

Skifi28

Member
Know any good videos showing how to do that, would be a good place to post something like that.

I have had some success using rubbing alcohol to clean the sticks from the outside, but opening up the controller I had (Xbox) required a special tool that I didn’t have 😞

What a pain. I still contend this became more of a problem this last gen, despite those saying it’s always been an issue. Never had it happen and heard of it happening so much u til the last 7 or 8 years.


This is a great video as it shows in detail the inside of the stick and how it works/ how the issue presents itself. It's for a PS3, but all modern controllers have the exact same analog sticks so nothing really changes. Just find a video for disassembling the controller you want and then follow this guide for cleaning. I've fixed several DS4s over the years and recently a Dualsense this way. A few times the problem reappears very soon as there's damage in the track rather than just dirt, but more often than not it's been fine for like a year where I just had to repeat the process.

For the more tech-savvy you can always buy extremely cheap replacements sticks and solder them yourself, but that's a discussion for another time.
 
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Kev Kev

Gold Member

This is a great video as it shows in detail the inside of the stick and how it works/ how the issue presents itself. It's for a PS3, but all modern controllers have the exact same analog sticks so nothing really changes. Just find a video for disassembling the controller you want and then follow this guide for cleaning. I've fixed several DS4s over the years and recently a Dualsense this way. A few times the problem reappears very soon as there's damage in the track rather than just dirt, but more often than not it's been fine for like a year where I just had to repeat the process.

For the more tech-savvy you can always buy extremely cheap replacements sticks and solder them yourself, but that's a discussion for another time.
Cool thanks!

Yeah I considering soldering in a new stick, but again I would have had to buy a special tool plus all the soldering gear (at least I know how to solder tho!).

It would have probably cost more for all that than to just get a new controller. But after getting two controllers with drift, and one of them new, if it happens a third time I will seriously consider it. Hopefully the industry gets a handle on the drift issue this current gen.
 

Skifi28

Member
Hopefully the industry gets a handle on the drift issue this current gen.
Maybe whenever Sony releases the new Pro controller, though I highly doubt it's going to have hall effect sensors for the sticks. Best chance would be the controller is fully customisable and you can easily replace the entire sticks wtih no extra tools.
 
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Banjo64

Member
Sorry for the bump but probably not thread worthy.

My fucking Dualsense has drift on the right stick! Absolute piss take! I’ve never had drift on a Sony pad before.

Only games I’ve completed are GoW and Astro, and I’ve played on eFootball for about 15 hours.

I’d noticed it on eFootball but thought that it might be more sensitive on a football game.

Just started Uncharted Lost Legacy on my day off and the fucking camera is panning around non-stop! What the actual fuck man. Absolute bull shit. £59.99 for a replacement if I want to play today 🤬🤬🤬
Just an update on my experience with Sony support in the UK. I only managed to send my controller to them a week ago last Thursday, 10 days ago, they’ve sent me what looks like a new controller today :messenger_ok: no cost to me at all.
 

Lasha

Member
I've experienced stick drift on every console since the N64. The parts inside analog sticks are just small and fragile so they wear out. Even back on the Atari 5200 the contacts would wear and not register correctly. At least on that console you could easily take the controller apart and clean everything. Cleaning corrosion from contacts with a pencil eraser was a common activity with that lousy controller.


The industry needs to make controllers easier to repair. Optical sensors won't fix the problem because sticks, buttons and triggers on controllers are still mechanical so eventually they're going to wear out. Having to buy a whole new controller because a mechanical part breaks is crap.

Soldering is a useful skill to pick up. Analog sticks are really easy to replace on modern controller.
 

blacktout

Member
Got a switch earlier this year, playing some Mario kart on it and my character keeps drifting left and right. "Oh ffs HERE WE GO, brand new and I've got the stick drift gaf is always talking about. Just my luck".

Turns out I forgot to turn off motion controls on the kart select screen

mfw

This exact thing happened to me recently while checking out the new tracks from the booster pass. I even closed out of the game and checked the stick calibration before realizing the real problem.

Though I have also had actual drift with multiple joycons. I think I've sent three or four joycons back to Nintendo for repairs since I got my Switch in June 2017. One started drifting as early as December 2017, I think.
 

Doczu

Member
The only controller i never had any drifting issues is my OG Gamecube launch day controller. That thing is unbreakable!

All other consoles had at least 1 controller with drifting issues. Worst was the PS4 one, i'm currently on the 4th gamepad.

I would love if the sticks were replacable parts, as i : take out, put in. I'd rather buy a repair kit for a few bucks than a new pad..
 

Griffon

Member
All my controllers got pretty heavy and intensive use since the PS1.
And no, I haven't experienced drift on PS1/N64/DC/PS2/GC/Wii/PS3/360 controllers.

PS4 controller tho? I only played Bloodborne and FF15 on it, and shortly after the stick was fucked.
While my old GC and PS3 controllers are still in perfect condition and used regularly, the GC controller is more than old enough to vote and still works perfectly.

So, yeah, I think something is fucked up with current gen controllers, I think they skimped on component and build quality, all the while upping the price threefold.
 
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Robb

Gold Member
I think I’ve had it on most systems I’ve owned. Usually it’s been temporary though, I’ve never had to replace a controller due to it always drifting.
 

Chronicle

Member
Maybe I got lucky or take extra care of my controllers but I have never experienced drifting sticks.
Same. Been gaming for decades. Never had it. Then again I don't exaggerate when I'm speaking either. Most people claim they take care/take it easy on their shit. Apparently not.
 
Same. Been gaming for decades. Never had it. Then again I don't exaggerate when I'm speaking either. Most people claim they take care/take it easy on their shit. Apparently not.

Ahhh, the typical "if it hasn't happened to me, everyone else is either lying or is an idiot" train of thought, c'mon man...

I've been pushing buttons on joysticks/gamepads for 3 decades now and the the XONE/XSX gamepads are the only ones that have given me trouble - and I don't exaggerate when I'm speaking either.
Shit, i've had people telling me that "welp, it's a joypad/peripheral, you shouldn't expect them to last more than a year", i mean, goddamn if that isn't some fucked up logic (not to mention, privileged).
By that stupid logic :
- I should replace my motorcycle's handlebars/clip-ons every year 'cause, you know, they get get heavy usage.
- I should replace my car's steering wheel every year 'cause, you know, i drive a lot and shit breaks.
- i should buy new shoes every couple of months 'cause i also walk a lot.

Meanwhile, every other day there's a couple of new posts regarding stick drift, broken bumpers etc on the usual internet places regarding Xbox controllers.I don't have a switch nor a PS5 but i suppose the myriad of posts about 'em (stick drift specifically) must also be lies.

Fun fact : my original Xbox Duke and S controllers still work fine, as does my X360 one and...DualShock 2 (last time i tested it 6 months ago).

Shit just isn't made like it used to - and this goes for pretty much everything, still, i'd expect the main way of interacting with a console (the joypad) to last more than a few damned months, this shit it used to be built like friggin' tanks, nowadays ? not so much.
 

Lasha

Member
I have a strange thing happening to me.
I seem to experience more drift on certains games than others...
I also had a problem with an old controller where certain games did not understand my input when i pushed the joystick diagonally, making the character move really akwardly up and then left but not "up-left".
I don't kown if my ps4 is haunted or if each game has its own settings and that is why, but its freaky.

The games probably have different deadzone settings. The smaller a game sets the deadzone for a controller the more pronounced drift will be.
 

Chronicle

Member
Ahhh, the typical "if it hasn't happened to me, everyone else is either lying or is an idiot" train of thought, c'mon man...

I've been pushing buttons on joysticks/gamepads for 3 decades now and the the XONE/XSX gamepads are the only ones that have given me trouble - and I don't exaggerate when I'm speaking either.
Shit, i've had people telling me that "welp, it's a joypad/peripheral, you shouldn't expect them to last more than a year", i mean, goddamn if that isn't some fucked up logic (not to mention, privileged).
By that stupid logic :
- I should replace my motorcycle's handlebars/clip-ons every year 'cause, you know, they get get heavy usage.
- I should replace my car's steering wheel every year 'cause, you know, i drive a lot and shit breaks.
- i should buy new shoes every couple of months 'cause i also walk a lot.

Meanwhile, every other day there's a couple of new posts regarding stick drift, broken bumpers etc on the usual internet places regarding Xbox controllers.I don't have a switch nor a PS5 but i suppose the myriad of posts about 'em (stick drift specifically) must also be lies.

Fun fact : my original Xbox Duke and S controllers still work fine, as does my X360 one and...DualShock 2 (last time i tested it 6 months ago).

Shit just isn't made like it used to - and this goes for pretty much everything, still, i'd expect the main way of interacting with a console (the joypad) to last more than a few damned months, this shit it used to be built like friggin' tanks, nowadays ? not so much.
So here's my train of thought then. You claim I'm being dismissive of a larger problem and that it is in fact a big issue. Then, you proceed to say it only happens to you on XONE AND XSX. Well you've been gaming for over 30 years! How many controllers on those systems did you own? Even if it's seven between the two that's pretty good odds that's it's not a major issue.

So the question is how many controllers between those two systems had stick drift? I bet it's not more than two per system.

Not saying your rich or that you deserve to pay more than others but that's pretty decent for 30 years of gaming. I'll leave it here if you wish to respond.
 
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