A breakdown of the DualSense controller for PlayStation 5 seems to have reset several contributing factors to the problem of joystick operation.
First a bit of context: PS5 was launched just a few months ago, but it did not take long before players began reporting stick operation problems. Now Sony is facing one class action lawsuits related to the problem. Dive into the technical functionality of the DualSense controller, the repair people on I’m fixing it identified several problems that together may contribute to the problem. Interestingly, the biggest one seems to be that the potentiometers in the DualSense joysticks will inevitably fail.
iFixit identified the manufacturer of the DualSense joystick modules – and other controllers from various other hardware manufacturers – as the Japanese electronics and components company Alps Alpine. Quotes and Alps specification sheet for joystick potentiometers, iFixit found that the company has a lifespan of 2,000,000 cycles on the RKJXV series.
According to iFixit’s estimates, after measuring the controller interaction of one of its own engineers, it could mean that someone who plays for two hours a day may start to experience problems in as little as 4 to 7 months, depending on the game. However, iFixit noticed that potentiometers could fail before or after that window.
Wear on the joystick potentiometers may not be the only problem that contributes to operation. iFixit noted that plastic stretch, strain on the spring mechanism that helps center the joystick and dirt collected during normal use can also contribute to the problem. In any case, the complicated process of solving these problems – especially without soldering tools – is a problem.
Sony did not immediately return a request for comment on iFixit’s findings or the lawsuit related to the warranty agreements.
The class action lawsuit related to PS5’s DualSense controls was filed last week in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The primary claim The complaint is that Sony is and has been aware of the problem, namely as a result of “thousands” of consumer complaints. It also aims at what it entails as a difficult customer support process and costs for consumers that Sony allegedly does not reimburse them for.
“Even for repairs that are warranted for Operation, customers must pay to send the controller to a Sony repair center – a cost that varies depending on a number of factors, including the location and total weight of the package – and Sony does not reimburse customers for these shipping costs.” it is stated in the complaint. “As a result of Sony’s unfair, misleading and / or false business practices, owners of DualSense Controllers, including Plaintiff, have suffered a notable loss, in fact, been harmed, and otherwise have been harmed by Sony’s conduct.”