Fixing thumb stick on game controller with Inanimate carbon rod

K.C. LeeK.C. Lee wrote 05/11/2020 at 00:04 • 3 min read • Like

Once in a while I had to replace the thumb stick on my xbox controller.  Due to the asymmetrical design, my left thumb gets pretty good leverage on the stick and I usually kills it during a boss fight.  This time I broke it right after a boss fight.

There is a small plastic dowel that usually break off.  It is used for centering the stick. No amount of gluing is going to hold. 

The butt end of  the thumbstick pushes against the convex surface of the bottom piece. The little dowel redirect the side ward force to center the stick.

Usually I replace the whole thumb stick with replacement parts I bought off aliexpress a long time ago. This time I am trying something else.  

It turns out that an old fashion 1/8W carbon composite resistor has the same diameter as the little dowel.  This is not surprising as mechanical engineers like to use standard sizes for holes.

Possibly source:

There is a hole that runs all the way down other side of the thumb stick.  So I drill through it with a drill bit.

(Sorry didn't take a good picture of these steps)

The resistor pin are a bit too thin, so I folded it, 

wounded fine wires on it and solder to make it thicker.  

 I dusted some baking soda into the drill hole and superglued the tail end into the thumb stick. The baking soda helps to fill gaps between the joint. Think of it as a Dental implant for the dowel.  :P

Putting the thumb stick back together. Resolder back onto the PCB and calibrate the controller.

Closing thought: I think a metal piece on a lathe would be a better way of making this, but I don't have one.  :(  

It is working fine for 2 boss fights so far.  Hopefully this would last a little while.


I check the dimension of the original dowel.  It is 0.098" dia.  Not all of the resistors in my collection offers a tight fit.  Without a tight fit, there'll be some wiggle room in the centering.

Also not all of the similar looking thumb sticks  from China uses the same dimension either.


This hack is now superseded by Fixing thumb stick on game controller