Image for the article titled Nintendo Switch Fans Say They Fix Joy-Con Drift With Tiny Cardboard Box

photo: Nintendo

A video of earlier this week Channel from YouTuber VK supposedly finally have the Fix for the perishable Joy-Con drift that plagues countless Nintendo Switch fans. It’s the newest in a wide range of home remedies tried by desperate people who don’t want $ 70-80 going down the drain. And since the method described actually seems to work for some people, the video has since gone viral.

Joy-Con driftFor those fortunate enough to have never experienced it, a well-known defect in analog joysticks is switch controllers. Over time, the controllers will act as if you were moving the stick in a certain direction, even if you weren’t touching anything. The Switch Lite is not immune to this either. It sucks!

It especially shit because even the just announced Switch OLED model doesn’t do jack shit for what is probably the number one problem with the console. The Japanese company offers fast repair and replacement solutions at no extra cost, but not only is it a hassle of packing your controllers and waiting for them to come back (or your entire console if you have a Switch Lite), it doesn’t really fix the base manufacturing-level problem. Sometimes even Nintendo can’t fix it and the company ends up sending you a Joy-Con in a total different color than the one you submitted. Lots of people just end up learn to live with italthough luck wills it Stick Drift is now also appearing in next-gen consoles.

Okay, but what is this grueling effective method that has overcome years of Nintendo ineptitude? It turns out to be a small piece of cardboard. You can check out VK’s channel below which describes how it got around to it, although it takes 10 minutes to explain something that takes a lot less of your time. Jump to the 6:35 mark if you’re short on time. Note that people also use multiple sheets of paper, business cards, and electronics tape if they don’t have cardboard lying around. Basically anything that can be cut thin to fit the area shown in the video is fair game.

The simplicity of it all is a little deceiving. In a number of Threads and Comment areas reviewed by Kotaku, There were as many people who said it didn’t work for them as there were people who swore by it. The likelihood seems high that the Joy-Con drift is caused by a variety of different factors, so there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Dirt or hardware degradation may be causing your drift. Maybe it’s something else entirely.

While it’s hard to figure out what exactly might be causing your particular case of drift, there is actually an easy way to tell if the YouTube trick is working for you. A Switch owner walking by the handle flow_rage told Kotaku that before attempting to repair the box, they “verified that applying pressure to the case as shown in the video neutralized the drift”. If your drift doesn’t stop when you press the blank areas of your controller, this is likely not going to help you at all.

A man presses a red Nintendo Switch joycon to test the drift.

This is where you should press down to test if the method works for you.
Screenshot: Channel of VK

There is also the more basic barrier of opening the controllers in the first place. Kotaku Employee Ethan Gach wanted to try the solution, but found he didn’t have the correct screwdriver. There is also the prospect of the guarantee is no longer valid here– Don’t worry about potentially screwing up your Joy-Con even more if you don’t know what you are doing.

On the other hand, what is there to lose for people whose controllers are already broken? ALan Goodsmith, a Switch owner who tried the cardboard method, shared Kotaku via email that he had already tried a few things since his Joy-Con stopped working in 2019. These included using rubbing alcohol to clean the innards and using and blowing compressed air through the controllers, which has helped some people resolve this problem in the past. The only reason he stopped trying is because he bought replacements instead of continuing to try to fix problems with what appeared to be doomed devices. It’s what a lot of people end up doing, but since it’s such a common problem, this approach can quickly get expensive.

“I already have one Electronics repair kit from iFixit which contains the tri-wing bit required to open the shell, ”he wrote before explaining his procedure in detail. Those of you interested in giving it a try might find this useful:

After removing the screws, you must carefully open the two halves of the housing, as there are straps attached to the motherboard and the rail so that your Joy-Con can talk to the switch when it is attached, but can also charge via the rail. After you’re inside, carefully lift the battery … From there, you’ll see a couple of Phillips-head screws holding the battery cell holder in place.

Once removed, it will open to reveal the back of the joystick. From there I applied two thin pieces of cardboard to make it the recommended 1mm thickness and reversed the steps to close it.

The tri-wing screws, as he also noted, should be handled with care as they run the risk of loosening. It’s not a bad idea either Read the instructions on how to properly open your controller controller. But since implementing the cardboard fix, he says he’s been using the controller for over a day at this point and it’s working perfectly now.

“I spent about an hour forcing the drift by clicking the stick and pushing in the direction it was tending,” he said. “Nothing.”

Nevertheless, there is uncertainty at play here. Yes, there are documented cases of people who have tried it and testimonials from people who say it is legitimate. What we don’t know is how it works in the long run since most of the people who have made this modification have only had it for a few days, if at all. There are some concerns that while paperboard works now, it could make the problem worse in the long run. If problems arise from offal being damaged or taxed in any way, it is possible that the carton is speeding up this breakdown. It will be worth seeing if this stays effective for months or years across the board.

But even if it’s just a temporary relief, getting a little more gaming time out of your broken controller might not be such a bad deal. At least that seems to be the setting on social media where many share their experiences with cardboard Joy-Con corrections after watching the video. But hey, everyone was better than then leak their switch cartridges, Law?

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