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The circle pad consists of a small, donut-ish PCB with traces, a backing plate, and the spring-loaded X-Y sliders.

The X-Y sliders each have two metal contacts that are always touching the PCB.

As you move the sliders up/down and left/right, the metal contacts are adjusting the resistance of the circuit on the PCB.

This, in turn, is registered as movement in whatever game you're playing.

Regarding the spring-loaded sliders: A spring inside the mechanism makes the "stick" always return to center. If you wanted to convert the circle pad to more of a "throttle" type joystick — where it doesn't return to center automatically — all you would have to do is take the circle pad apart and remove the spring found within.

This precarious conversion should only be undertaken by the truly dedicated among us.

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