Nintendo 64 Control Pad Repair
The analogue control stick on a Nintendo 64 controller is fantastic when it’s brand new, unfortunately over time they can be loose and un-responsive. Luckily though, it’s quite an easy fix.
Remove the nine screws from the pad, not forgetting the 2 little screws in where the memory card/rumble pack goes (a magnetic screwdriver will help a lot with these screws). Once you’ve got the back off, you’ll quickly see the unit which controls the analogue stick, it’s held in with 3 silver coloured screws.
Before you undo the 3 screws, disconnect the analogue unit from the main circuit board, then carefully remove the Z-Button, gentle pull each of the clips apart and ease the button out. Once it’s disconnected, undo the 3 silver screws, leave the black screw for now. Whilst you’ve got the pad in pieces, if it’s covered in dirt you may want to remove the circuit board and leave all the remaining plastic parts soaking in warm soapy water.
Now it’s time to take the analogue unit to pieces, undo the single black screw, then pull each of clips away from the back, again – be careful not to break them. The unit comes apart in two halves, study each one so you know how to put it back together!
Your unit may contain lots of white plastic dust, once you’ve taken it all apart you should blow the dust away, or if necessary wash it in soapy water. You’ll see 2 black “bits” (I’ve not idea what to call them), with teeth at one end. You’ll notice the curve is bigger on one than on the other – the bigger one belongs in the bottom half of the unit, the smaller one is attached to the stick in the top half. Twist the black “bit” and the stick until the black “bit” comes off, and you can twist the stick some more to remove it from the unit. The spring and white ring will now come away.
To ease the friction caused by the plastic parts rubbing against each other – it’s a good idea to grease them up. I use some Tamiya Ceramic Grease from radio control cars (you can get it from an model shop that deals with radio controlled equipment, it’s for gears, plastic & metal bearings). Don’t go mad with this stuff, just lightly coat the end of the control stick and the ball that is just below it. You should also grease the the black “bit”, but I forgot to take a photo – you’ll see it a bit further on though.
Before putting the the upper half back together you should stretch the spring a tiny bit, you may also notice that the diameter of the spring is larger one end than the other end. Start putting it back together now, keep twisting the control stick so it fits through the hole, then put the spring back (the larger diameter end sits in the lid of the unit). When putting the white ring back on, the flat side is facing up, while the side with the lip sits on the end of the spring with the smaller diameter. And finally put the black “bit” back on, and twist it around so it holds it all together, make sure you’ve got the tip of the control stick and the teeth of the black “bit” in the right place.
The photo above shows where to grease the black “bit” that I forgot to include earlier, only the curve is greased, do not grease the teeth. Now it’s time to do the simpler lower half of the unit, remove the black “bit” with the larger curve, and blow out any dust etc, then grease the four grooves where the black “bits” rest. Then just replace the black “bit”.
If you’ve got all the parts back in their original places/positions, then the analogue unit clips back together very easily, if it doesn’t then check that you’ve got the black “bits” in the correct positions etc. Once you’ve screwed the unit together, check the movement of the analogue stick, it should now be moving much smoother, if it’s still too loose, then remove the spring and stretch it a bit more. If you’ve left the rest of the pad soaking in water, then finish cleaning and drying it, then simply re-assemble it.
Alternatively, you can usually find replacements for sale on eBay, including some which are more like the ones you’ll find on a Gamecube controller (you’ll also find similar sticks on the Hori N64 Pad).