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Introduction

The Nintendo Switch comes with two Joy-Con controllers. This guide shows how to replace the joystick of the left Joy-Con. The procedure for repairing the right Joy-Con is different, so be sure to follow the correct set of instructions for your controller.

    • Remove the four Tri-Point Y00 screws from the back panel of the Joy-Con.

    • These screws are each 6.2 mm long, but it still a good idea to keep them organized and make sure they go back in their proper places!

  1. Insert an opening pick into the seam at the bottom edge of the controller (opposite the L and ZL buttons). Slowly slide the flat edge of your opening pick up the side of the Joy-Con. Be careful not to slide the opening pick too far inside the Joy-Con. This may damage the inner components. The back panel loosens fairly easily, so not much pressure is needed.
    • Insert an opening pick into the seam at the bottom edge of the controller (opposite the L and ZL buttons).

    • Slowly slide the flat edge of your opening pick up the side of the Joy-Con.

    • Be careful not to slide the opening pick too far inside the Joy-Con. This may damage the inner components. The back panel loosens fairly easily, so not much pressure is needed.

  2. With the charging rail facing away from you, open the the Joy-Con like a book. Don’t try to fully remove the back panel yet. There are still two cables connecting the charging rail to the motherboard.
    • With the charging rail facing away from you, open the the Joy-Con like a book.

    • Don’t try to fully remove the back panel yet. There are still two cables connecting the charging rail to the motherboard.

  3. Use a spudger to gently pry the battery connector straight up from its socket on the motherboard. This will keep the Joy-Con from powering on during the repair. Use caution while working around the vibration motor cable that runs close to the battery connector.
    • Use a spudger to gently pry the battery connector straight up from its socket on the motherboard. This will keep the Joy-Con from powering on during the repair.

    • Use caution while working around the vibration motor cable that runs close to the battery connector.

  4. Insert an opening pick between the battery and the Joy-Con housing. Gently pry out the battery, which is lightly taped in place. Be careful not to deform or puncture the battery—it can catch fire or explode if damaged.
    • Insert an opening pick between the battery and the Joy-Con housing.

    • Gently pry out the battery, which is lightly taped in place.

    • Be careful not to deform or puncture the battery—it can catch fire or explode if damaged.

  5. Remove the three 3.5 mm golden Phillips #00 screws from the midframe.
    • Remove the three 3.5 mm golden Phillips #00 screws from the midframe.

    • Do not attempt to remove the midframe yet. There is a fragile cable that still connects the ZL button on the midframe to the motherboard underneath.

  6. Carefully flip the midframe over, away from the motherboard, as if you were turning the page of a book.
    • Carefully flip the midframe over, away from the motherboard, as if you were turning the page of a book.

    • Do your best not to stress the thin ribbon cable attached to the ZL button during this step.

  7. The ZL button cable is locked in place by a small ZIF connector on the motherboard. Use tweezers or a spudger to flip up the ZIF connector lock opposite the cable. Use tweezers to gently pull the ZL button flex cable out of the ZIF connector socket. The midframe is now disconnected and can be removed. Use tweezers to gently pull the ZL button flex cable out of the ZIF connector socket. The midframe is now disconnected and can be removed.
    • The ZL button cable is locked in place by a small ZIF connector on the motherboard. Use tweezers or a spudger to flip up the ZIF connector lock opposite the cable.

    • Use tweezers to gently pull the ZL button flex cable out of the ZIF connector socket. The midframe is now disconnected and can be removed.

  8. The ribbon cable connecting the minus button of the Joy-Con to the motherboard runs over the back of joystick. It is possible to remove the joystick without disconnecting this cable, but it's much easier to do so when it is disconnected and out of the way. Unlock the minus button’s ZIF connector and disconnect the cable. Unlock the minus button’s ZIF connector and disconnect the cable.
    • The ribbon cable connecting the minus button of the Joy-Con to the motherboard runs over the back of joystick. It is possible to remove the joystick without disconnecting this cable, but it's much easier to do so when it is disconnected and out of the way.

    • Unlock the minus button’s ZIF connector and disconnect the cable.

  9. Finally, the joystick is locked into place by one last ZIF connector. Carefully flip the ZIF lock upward and disconnect the cable. Finally, the joystick is locked into place by one last ZIF connector. Carefully flip the ZIF lock upward and disconnect the cable. Finally, the joystick is locked into place by one last ZIF connector. Carefully flip the ZIF lock upward and disconnect the cable.
    • Finally, the joystick is locked into place by one last ZIF connector. Carefully flip the ZIF lock upward and disconnect the cable.

  10. Remove the two 3.5 mm Phillips #00 screws from the joystick.
    • Remove the two 3.5 mm Phillips #00 screws from the joystick.

  11. Carefully remove the joystick from its housing.
    • Carefully remove the joystick from its housing.

    • There is a thin black gasket around the hole where the joystick pokes through the Joy-Con. Do your best not to disturb this gasket as you remove the joystick!

Conclusion

To reassemble your device, follow the above steps in reverse order.

Take your e-waste to an R2 or e-Stewards certified recycler.

Repair didn’t go as planned? Check out our Answers community for troubleshooting help.

61 other people completed this guide.

Kyler Saunders

Member since: 09/12/2016

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17 Comments

Thx This really helped

Stev Steve - Reply

Thanks Kyler - I just replaced 4 joysticks and they’re all working perfectly.

One final step to remember to go in and calibrate the controller.

David K - Reply

You're welcome I'm glad I could assist you in your repairs!

Kyler Saunders -

Thanks. This was just the right amount of info and now my left stick drift is gone….for now.

Jason Hoover - Reply

I’m having serious drift issues with the left Joy Con but, do I need to replace the joystick to relieve that issue due to “wear and tear” or, can I open it up and clean it (or something of that nature) to make it work properly again?

junkbox83 - Reply

Drift can be cause by a few different things. Dirt and dust gets stuck under the small rubber cap on the base of the joystick and can cause sticking or drift. If that's the case you can take a q-tip and clean it out. Takes two minutes and requires no disassembly. I'd try that first and if that doesn't work a replacement should fix it!

Kyler Saunders -

I'm suffering from the same issue and unfortunately cleaning the analogue sticks only temporarily alleviates the problem. I've used WD40 contact cleaner and it helped for the first week or so, but after a month of doing the procedure the sticks functionality is completely broken. Just invest about 12 euros/pounds/dollars and get yourself a replacement pair of analogue sticks.

Rodrigo Alves -

Replace them. Cleaning is very difficult because the problem is with the graphite inside the block and replacement parts are cheap

Gregory Woolfrey -

Hello! It seems that the reason for the joycon drift is because certain metal contact pads are actually getting “scratched off” by the joystick. Therefore, cleaning it would not be of much use. However, Nintendo has come out and said that if you send them your drifting joycons, they’ll fix it for free. Completely replacing the joycon joysticks is a great alternative method to fixing this single issue though.

Alex Otto -

First, try recalibrating the Joystick to see if that fixes the issue: https://en-americas-support.nintendo.com...

Second, used compressed air to make sure there is no debris that is causing the issue.

After that, it may be best to replace the Joystick.

Cooper -

Try compressed air around the joystick before opening it up. If that doesn’t work, this repair might assist.

Cooper -

I made an account just to say thank you you have saved me alot of money and now it wont

adam vaughan - Reply

I have 2 controllers and both of them drifting on left side. Just used the instructions to install new joystick. A little on the difficult side,but it will by e easier with the second one. Hope it works now.

Bought replacement on Amazon for 10.99

Get the tools with it too.

Sandra Plante - Reply

Thank you, it was really easy to do this following your steps.

Pablo Perla - Reply

Hi,

i bought replacement joysticks on Amazon and followed all the instructions. However on testing I am getting no input at all from the joysticks. The buttons work however.

My procedure seems good because when I refit the old joysticks everything works albeit with the drift back again.

It looks like the ribbon cable is harder to insert on the amazon ones any ideas?

Younik 2-Pack 3D Replacement Joystick Analog Thumb Stick for Nintendo Switch Joy-Con Controller with 4 Thumbstick Caps,Tri-Wing & Cross Screwdriver and Fixing Tools https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07QNW75S8/r...

thanks

alex

Alex - Reply

My dog recently got a hold of my left Joy-con and really banged up the lower plastics. I was able to get a color matched shell and thanks to this guide was able to swap over the internals and complete the repair.

I will note that my dog clamped the vibration unit quite a bit, it surprisingly still works!

Huge thank you for providing this service! Love you guys

InCahoots - Reply

I'm so glad that I was able to help you!

Kyler Saunders -

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