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Analysis Hardware Ifixit shows why controller stick drift is happening (uses dualsense as example)

Soodanim

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That's why the HALL effect sensoring sticks needs to become thing.
They seem to be popular for home made flight sticks. They will probably cost more, but these days there's a big market of people who will pay the extra for a controller that lasts.

It's a shame Scuf took the piss and managed to get a patent on back buttons built into a controller that would really hold back the ideal premium controller, but that's another topic for another thread.
 

M1chl

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They seem to be popular for home made flight sticks. They will probably cost more, but these days there's a big market of people who will pay the extra for a controller that lasts.

It's a shame Scuf took the piss and managed to get a patent on back buttons built into a controller that would really hold back the ideal premium controller, but that's another topic for another thread.
Well all the medical, industria joystick are using hall effect sensor, to be honest the magnet and sensor itself is pretty cheap. Also for DIY project is way less parts, just stick magnet onto wheel and put somewhere the sensor and you are done.

Just look at the price:

https://www.addicore.com/SS49E-Linear-Hall-Sensor-p/ad316.htm It's not like you can make those potentiometers cheaper.
 

The_Mike

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Well it's wear and tear with sticks compared to keyboards and mice you really can't do much about .

It will eventually always happen with sticks, it's just a matter of when.

How much you play, how you treat your hardware, how lucky you are regarding manufacturing etc.
 
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Self

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It will eventually always happen with sticks, it's just a matter of when.

How much you play, how you treat your hardware, how lucky you are regarding manufacturing etc.

This is really Interesting. I don't know what I'm doing 'right', but my hardware almost never fails me. The only two instances I remember are the N64 stick which used to get a little jerky at the end of the N64 lifecycle and the PS3 dualshock where the left analog stick started drifting after 8 years of extremely heavy use. I'm very confident this hardware issues won't affect me in the future. Is it how you treat your hardware or just luck? I dunno.
 
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perkelson

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so fucking tired of controllers being sheit

Preech. I recently got Oculus Quest 2 with 2 controlers and each of them has 1 AAA non rechargable batery in them. They all have tracking lights, build in BT, haptic feedback, sticks etc.

Do you know how many times i recharged them or switched batteries since i bought my quest 2 a month ago ? 0. Do you know what is the charge state of my controllers right now ? 99% on both. And i use them about few hours a day.

Imagine that there are consoles right now that have pads that can't fucking last 2 days gaming.
 

GHG

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Built with shit parts confirmed.

My Dreamcast joystick never drifted in 20+ years. Same for my OG Xbox.

Wonder what the dualshock 2 and 3 lifes expectancy was, i never had any of those controllers break on me ever, couldnt be much more expensive parts either

Talked about this before in another thread but the deadzones were huge in the older analogue sticks along with the sensors being 8 bit (they are 10 or 12 bit now) which meant this was never an issue back then.

It's nothing to do with the quality of the parts but rather the fact that the technology hasn't changed in line with the want/need for smaller deadzones along with higher precision/sensitivity.

Bigger deadzones would "fix" the issue on modern controllers as well but that just circumvents the issue rather than solve it.

As M1chl M1chl mentioned above, moving to Hall sensors is a possible solution but that would result in increased cost that would be inevitably passed to the consumer.
 
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The_Mike

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This is really Interesting. I don't know what I'm doing 'right', but my hardware almost never fails me. The only two instances I remember are the N64 stick which used to get a little jerky at the end of the N64 lifecycle and the PS3 dualshock where the left analog stick started drifting after 8 years of extremely heavy use. I'm very confident this hardware issues won't affect me in the future. Is it how you treat your hardware or just luck? I dunno.
How many hours a day?

I've bought xbox controllers who had it straight out of the box.
 
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Soodanim

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Mmmh..using the controller with hands like this? 😂
throw up i feel sick GIF by The Detour
 
Oct 16, 2017
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I am sure if someone market a "premium" controller that cost twice as much but last longer, that they would sell. We know people buy expensive keyboards and mice for gaming. And of course overpriced arcade fight sticks are a thing. There just seems to be the idea that if you use the standard controller, that you are casual.
 

billyxci

13 year old console warrior. Put me on ignore.
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honestly having both systems, I like the Xbox controller better. It just seem better built
xbox controller is the only controller i've had drift on. owned a switch/playstation and nothing. went through 3 xbox controllers within 6 months because of drift developing after a few weeks. i'm on my 4th and that has drift too. i'll live with it. no point replacing it.
 

DeepEnigma

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It’s so wild how inconsistent the drift is. Never had a problem on any of the DS4 controllers, even the OG launch one that had the shit kicked out of it from Bloodborne and GoW. Yet people can barely touch theirs supposedly and it happens.
 
Mar 7, 2017
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Cross posting from the Next-Gen thread:

IFixit cite a 400+ hour operating life for the 3D analog stick module.

They need to be much clearer here and specify how that 417 hours operating life was arrived at. It seems shockingly low.

As they state, the ALPs/Alpine datasheet cites 2,000,000 cycles maximum (here).

So based on their 417 hour estimate, they're essentially saying that expect users to manipulate the 3D analog stick with a directional input 1.3323 times per second.

I've gotta say I think this is pretty unrealistic.

Over a long gaming stretch, when most directional movement in a video game involves locomotion over an in-game environment, you have to imagine that users will spend more time holding down the stick in the direction of in-game travel than they would changing direction, even in an online twitch shooter like COD.

I would ask these guys to publish a basis for their estimate. One has to assume they've done to real-life testing, recording inputs over a long play session, for multiple different game types so as to average out stick manipulations per unit time.

Can someone with a Twitter account ask them to post what cycle manipulations per second they are using to arrive at their 417 hour operating life? I think this is important info...?

If iFixit are being a bit too conservative, then it would kinda make sense why that 417 hour life seemed so absurdly low.

I'm sure the 2,000,000 cycles is indeed low, based purely on all the empirical reports of stick drift issues from users, but I'm wondering if it's not nearly as low as iFixit here estimate with their 400+ hour life estimate, it may very well be that contamination of the potentiometer is more of the issue causing the problem than physical wear over time.
 

Cob32

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Cross posting from the Next-Gen thread:

IFixit cite a 400+ hour operating life for the 3D analog stick module.

They need to be much clearer here and specify how that 417 hours operating life was arrived at. It seems shockingly low.

As they state, the ALPs/Alpine datasheet cites 2,000,000 cycles maximum (here).

So based on their 417 hour estimate, they're essentially saying that expect users to manipulate the 3D analog stick with a directional input 1.3323 times per second.

I've gotta say I think this is pretty unrealistic.

Over a long gaming stretch, when most directional movement in a video game involves locomotion over an in-game environment, you have to imagine that users will spend more time holding down the stick in the direction of in-game travel than they would changing direction, even in an online twitch shooter like COD.

I would ask these guys to publish a basis for their estimate. One has to assume they've done to real-life testing, recording inputs over a long play session, for multiple different game types so as to average out stick manipulations per unit time.

Can someone with a Twitter account ask them to post what cycle manipulations per second they are using to arrive at their 417 hour operating life? I think this is important info...?

If iFixit are being a bit too conservative, then it would kinda make sense why that 417 hour life seemed so absurdly low.

I'm sure the 2,000,000 cycles is indeed low, based purely on all the empirical reports of stick drift issues from users, but I'm wondering if it's not nearly as low as iFixit here estimate with their 400+ hour life estimate, it may very well be that contamination of the potentiometer is more of the issue causing the problem than physical wear over time.
How many movements per second would you say are realistic?
 

dave_d

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I wonder when Nintendo switched to pots. When they did the N64 thumb stick they actually used a digital mechanism using optical disks. (Which is the same as old mice which are also actually digital.) I can't remember how many positions where supported on the old N64 sticks. (Probably way less than modern proportional sticks.)
 
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Mar 7, 2017
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How many movements per second would you say are realistic?

I'm not sure without doing some real life testing, which is precisely what I would expect iFixit to have done.

However, greater than one stick movement per second sounds way too unrealistic. Intuitively, when you think about how you move the sticks while playing, you're holding down the stick in a single direction more than you are changing stick direction.

It wouldn't surprise me to find that the actual average stick movement rate is less than half of what iFixit are suggesting with their estimate.
 

iHaunter

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Built with shit parts confirmed.

My Dreamcast joystick never drifted in 20+ years. Same for my OG Xbox.
My Xbox Elite 2 started drifting after 3 weeks, got it replaced immediately. My DS4 started drifting after 2 years. So random... Hopefully not Dual Sense doesn't drift, we'll see. :(
 
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Not only both Sony's and MS's pads appear to be using same very low quality stick modules that gets faulty very quick, but they're very inaccurate out of the box. [my DS4 right stick got broken in under ~100 hours mark of very light use in single player exclusives non online games. Right stick started drifting left on its own, basically won't recenter itself]

Here's a video from the thread made earlier exposing how terrible stock [even elite2] console controllers fair against a quality one:


Essentially if you want to have a quality controller with good sticks you have no choice, but to look elsewhere at something like Thrustmaster EswapX.
 
Jan 11, 2019
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my DualSense just started exhibiting slight drift on my left stick. I think it is from using L3 to sprint in Control, been playing the crap out of the UE on my PS5.

Not a big deal, yet, it's very slight.

First time I ever had drift on a Sony controller, was gonna happen eventually. I'll buy a new one sometime down the road.

This is another reason why I am a big advocate for back paddles/buttons. Spares the sticks from needing to be clicked in.
 

Trimesh

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I wonder when Nintendo switched to pots. When they did the N64 thumb stick they actually used a digital mechanism using optical disks. (Which is the same as old mice which are also actually digital.) I can't remember how many positions where supported on the old N64 sticks. (Probably way less than modern proportional sticks.

After the N64 - the gamecube used joysticks with pots in them. Interestingly, the joysticks used in the GC controllers seem a lot more reliable - they are a very similar design, but don't have the push to click function and are made by Mitsumi.
 

Indyblue

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It just feels like we, as a civilization that has landed robots on Mars, should be able to make joysticks that don’t drift.
 

Trimesh

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Still better than the feedback shit of the PS5. And it was analogic. Event the Switch does not have this lol...

Another interesting thing about the Dreamcast pad is that all the analog controls used non-contact Hall effect sensing, so they don't suffer from the pot wear problem that's being discussed here.
 

Goro Majima

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In before: "HOW ARe yOu pEopLE treAtiNG Your cONtROLlErS?"

I went through four DS4s and one pair of Joycons yet I've never experienced controller drift in my entire life before that. I have two DS3s that I've had for over a decade that work just fine (holy crap do they creak though).
 

Tomeru

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Built with shit parts confirmed.

My Dreamcast joystick never drifted in 20+ years. Same for my OG Xbox.

This shit started with ps4 and xone gen. I still have several people come in for joystick repairs for them controllers. Shit parts are shit.
 
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xrnzaaas

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my DualSense just started exhibiting slight drift on my left stick. I think it is from using L3 to sprint in Control, been playing the crap out of the UE on my PS5.

Not a big deal, yet, it's very slight.

First time I ever had drift on a Sony controller, was gonna happen eventually. I'll buy a new one sometime down the road.

This is another reason why I am a big advocate for back paddles/buttons. Spares the sticks from needing to be clicked in.
Maybe it's just me being a weirdo, but since PS4 and the obvious decrease in the controller's quality (compared to my previous consoles) I started:
- Mapping sprint / melee to other buttons than L3
- Avoiding playing fighting games with a normal controller (I have a fighting stick)
- Avoiding squeezing the triggers very hard
- Avoiding games which rely a lot on wiggling the left analogue stick (to break free etc.) or at least limiting these actions to a minimum
 
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