These joysticks are manufactured by a company called ALPS and have been used by other controllers such as the PS4’s DualShock 4, Xbox One and Xbox Elite controller and Nintendo Switch Pro Controller.The specific model number used in the DualSense controller, RKJXV, has a lifespan of two million cycles, while the lifespan of the center slider function is around 500,000 cycles.
IFixIt mentions that although this number can vary greatly, depending on how often you play games and what types of games you play, these parts can exceed the lifespan by just over 400 hours of playing time. This “back of napkin math”
However, it is assumed that there are no driving problems experienced before then. Like the Nintendo Switch, there have already been cases of problems with DualSense operation, and lawsuits have been filed against Sony for these problems.
However, IFixIt mentions that ALPS is most likely not to blame for these drive problems and “probably not the villain in this story.”The main reason for drifting actually seems to be related to the potentiometers, which help to understand what type of movement a player is trying to achieve.
Each joystick has two potentiometers in it that are perpendicular to each other, and they measure both up and down and left and right.
Potentiometers are a three-terminal system that uses voltage to measure the joystick. The third terminal, known as the wiper, slides around a semicircular track. When you move the joystick, the position of the wiper – relative to a neutral, central position – lets the controller know where and how you are trying to move.
There are two other parts that can potentially cause problems, a spring that returns the joystick to a centered, neutral position, and one that allows the thumb rods to be pushed in.Over time, spring can stretch and create a new neutral position outside the city center. This will cause the potentiometers to believe that the thumb is moving the joystick, even if you are not, causing operation.
Contaminants and imperfections can also cause operation, as they can change the voltage and can cause incorrect readings across the terminals. These range from plastic dust from components that grind together to exterior elements such as food or drink.
IFixIt offers some solutions for repairs, including removing the potentiometer housing and cleaning or replacing wipers. Some of the more advanced options include soldering, and there are many YouTube videos on how to do it if you want to try it.
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