My gamepad started malfunctioning after just three months of use. First, the left analog stick would slowly return to zero after being tilted to the topmost position, but only if it's tilted far enough forward to touch the edge of its socket. Later it deteriorated to just drifting down from centre position.

It does not drift in any position other than topmost and centre, or if I push the stick downward.

In this specific case, the gamepad is a Saitek Cyborg V5 Rumblepad, which allows to flip the stick and d-pad around. Drifting is observed in both possible configurations.

I tested it on two different computers, both display similar readings.

What can cause such a problem, and how can it be fixed, if at all?

I've finally gotten a replacement of same make and model. I put the new stick-and-d-pad module in the old gamepad, and it's working fine. Therefore, the analog stick itself is likely the problem, not the rest of the gamepad or connection between the two parts. Since that even before this, I lost another gamepad (completely different model and manufacturer, much cheaper) to the same malfunction, I now have reasons to believe that the majority of analog stick modules themselves - like the bit for the Arduino, pictured below - is manufactured by a single entity, and quality control is handled by the gamepad manufacturers themselves. But I digress. analog stick joystick module

I'm now curious about how this thing works (description for the same Arduino part at http://www.tinkerkit.com/joystick/ says it's a pair of potentiometers - simple enough), how it can be disassembled, maintained, repaired and reassembled, if at all.

closed as off topic by kotekzot, fredley, ChrisF, Frank, Krazer Dec 14 '12 at 16:32

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  • support.madcatz.com/Tickets/Submit/RenderForm Go fill out a ticket. If it's new(ish), just get them to send you a new one. Or maybe they'll have other tricks like cleaning suggestions or software settings. But if it's not too old, don't do anything they don't recommend. Would hate to void your warranty by following our advice. – JClaspill Nov 16 '12 at 17:12
  • You're asking how the parts inside a controller work now. This is far outside our scope. – Frank Dec 14 '12 at 14:29
  • @fbueckert Well, yes. The main question - what is broken - is already answered. Are why it is broken and how it can be fixed within the scope? – Pvt. Grichmann Dec 14 '12 at 15:24
  • Remember, we're primarily gamers, not engineers. We can help with general stuff, like pop open your controller and replace piece X. But as soon as you start getting into needing specialized knowledge (ie. potentiometers), you leave our core knowledge base, and start straying out of our scope. Prior to your edit, I felt your question was close to the edge, but still on the correct side. After adding the information about Arduino and potentiometers, though, you're clearly outside our expertise. – Frank Dec 14 '12 at 15:38
  • @fbueckert I'm just expanding it with what I've learnt after some searching and experimenting. I'm still trying to figure out whether it can be fixed, with the info on how it works being strictly secondary to that end. I admit that if I keep researching it, it will get technical, but I'm hoping the end result can be boiled down to "buy similar part on ebay, replace. You'll need a soldering iron" or "part is safe to remove and clean, which usually fixes the problem". – Pvt. Grichmann Dec 14 '12 at 16:04

I've had this problem on several controllers (Razer Onzas, primarily). Typically it's caused by a couple of different potential issues:

  • Wear on the parts that keep the analog stick centered. Usually these are made from springs or rubber bits, and they will eventually wear down with extended use. Unfortunately, replacement parts can be tough to find, and doing the repair is challenging at best and impossible in certain controllers.
  • Bad/drifting calibration. On the Onza's in particular, there's a little screw that controls the stick's calibration, and if this gets nudged out of position or worn down, (or just poorly calibrated to begin with) it can cause the stick to drift.

Sadly, there's not much you can really do about these issues. Occasionally with a PC controller like the one you have, you can adjust the "dead zone" or even recalibrate to fix the issues, but I don't see those kind of options in the Saitek software, and it sounds like the issue might be severe enough that they wouldn't help anyway.

The warranty on the pad appears to be 2 years (based on this manual). I would suggest contacting the company and explaining the issue. They will likely be willing to send you a replacement.

  • Thanks. I'll get a replacement, in all likelihood, but right now I'm interested in why this happens, both in terms of which parts get worn out/damaged to cause this and what I could've done to break it. The stick's physically centred just fine, and given that the drift appears only in certain circumstances, I don't think it has to do with calibration. I also haven't used it nearly enough to cause any significant wear. – Pvt. Grichmann Nov 16 '12 at 17:32
  • @Pvt.Grichmann, I've gone through about 3 Razer Onzas that had very similar issues, and they were all a couple of months old. Mine would slowly drift upwards if left at center. I saw people who could fix theirs by adjusting the calibration screw just below the stick, but I wouldn't take yours apart if it's still under warranty, and there's no guarantee there is an adjustment screw in your Saitek model. By and large, it seems like there are a lot of poor-quality sticks out there... – agent86 Nov 16 '12 at 17:40

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