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I just bought my first Xbox 360 controller for Windows. I play GTA 4 with this controller, when I move the stick to the left and I let go of the stick, the character keeps moving to the left, even though I have already let go of the stick.

I escape the game and open the controller to check and I find out that the axis doesn't go back to zero (or center) after I let go of the stick. Xbox360AxisDoesntReset.jpg

Is this a normal behavior for Xbox 360 controller or my controller is broken?

  • I see that people call it Drifting or Loosen analog stick, but I still don't know if it normal to be like that? – 123iamking Jul 26 '18 at 11:34
  • I found this topic asking if it's normal to drift left: reddit.com/r/RocketLeague/comments/68f6jm/… but I still doubt that it's normal – 123iamking Jul 26 '18 at 11:39
  • Seem like a lot of people have this issue: neogaf.com/threads/… – 123iamking Jul 26 '18 at 11:53
  • Was the controller used? Xbox 360 controllers are fairly old now a days. – Timmy Jim Jul 26 '18 at 16:12
  • @Timmy Jim: Maybe, it's been used, I'm not sure. That's why I ask, I wanna know if a brand new controller suffer this issue, and how long does it take for a brand new controller have this issue? I see that some people say they get a controller out of the box and still have this issue. – 123iamking Jul 27 '18 at 1:31
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What you are experiencing is frequently referred to as stick drift. This is an issue just about every joystick, not just on the Xbox, suffers from at one point.

Since it's caused by frequent use and just generic wear and tear, it is not normal for your controller to suffer from it. Sure, new controllers will have a tiny bit of jiggle, but it shouldn't be as severe as in your case.

Consider bringing the controller back to the place you bought it from and swap it out for a new controller that doesn't have this defect.

  • So when you first buy your new controller, how long does it take before the stick drift happens? – 123iamking Jul 27 '18 at 1:16
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    @123iamking depends on how much use the controller sees. I can say that my controllers usually last for around 2 years before I see any kind of stick drift. – Timmy Jim Jul 27 '18 at 2:00
  • I used to use a Playstation Controller, I never experience stick drift, but I see that a lot of people have stick drift with Xbox 360 controller, especially drift to the left on the left stick. I doubt the cause maybe the design of Xbox 360 controller. – 123iamking Jul 27 '18 at 4:23
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This issue is called loose stick or drift stick. I don't think it's normal, who would design a drift stick. But I google for "xbox 360 loose drift stick" and I see a lot of people have this issue, so it maybe a common issue for Xbox 360 controller. I see that some games know this issue and program the dead zone for the stick, for example, I see the dev of game Bayonetta fix this issue for their game Bayonetta, so even though my controller has drift stick issue, the game Bayonetta just ignores the drift stick and works perfectly.

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If the stick is loose enough that it registers movement when it is "at rest", you can work around the issue by increasing the dead zone. The dead zone describes how much you can move the stick from the center before it will be interpreted as movement. Usually this needs to be implemented by the game or application itself but it can also be applied by device drivers.

If you're using Steam, it has the ability to adjust dead zones for each stick and saves the settings for each controller you use.

  • Thanks, but I use Durazno github.com/KrossX/Durazno - It's good & open source :) Microsoft could have solved this issue easily if they just add the deadzone in the Windows Controller build-in settings. – 123iamking Jul 28 '18 at 3:32
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My controller had also stick drift and stayed at about 80% of the maximum angle at the top or bottom. So increasing the deadzone was not an option. I ended up replacing the joystick module from the console's printed circuit board following this very good video tutorial:

They also explain how to open the console (you need a Torx-7 skrew driver). A new module costs about 2€ on ebay.

The biggest challenge might be to remove the defect module by desoldering. Soldering the new module is not too hard with some experience. Maybe ask a friend for help.

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