We all know Nintendo has a reputation for durable hardware, but the fame of the Nintendo Switch has highlighted how even those wizards from Kyoto don’t always hit the mark. A growing issue, especially among long-term Switch players, is Joy-Con analogue sticks registering movement even if you don’t touch your controller.
What is Joy-Con drift?
When your Nintendo Switch registers analogue stick movements you aren’t making, it’s called drift. You might notice that your character in a game is slowly strolling to one side even if you don’t touch the controller, that your Smash Bros attacks don’t seem to match your inputs or those games where your analogue stick controls a ‘mouse’ have the cursor slowly wafting off the side of the screen even without touching it.
What causes Nintendo Switch Joy-con drift?
The most common reason is that your Joy-Cons accumulate dust and grime over time, which gets beneath the analogue sticks and the sensors within the controller to disrupt how accurately your controller reads your inputs. The left Joy-Con is often reported as drifting the most, simply because it is the one most often used to direct characters in games. However, both Joy-Cons can suffer from drift.
More recent insight into this topic from a player with an engineering background, however, reveals that the components Nintendo uses in Joy-Cons might be to blame. Graphite used in the contacts that detect your inputs gradually gets worn down, moving against harder metal prongs inside the Joy-Con. Frustratingly, that’s an inherent design flaw, implying that any of the current models of Joy-Con will likely develop drifting problems sooner or later.
How to fix Nintendo Switch Joy-Con drift
Try to Re-calibrate Your Joy-Con
While the hardware flaw itself has nothing to try to do with calibration, a mis-calibrated stick can still cause drift—so it never hurts to re-calibrate the controller first, just in case. It’s fast, free, and doesn’t require fixing any hardware.
Contact Nintendo If Your Switch Is Still Under Warranty
If your Switch remains under its one-year warranty, best decision is tocontact Nintendodirectly and get them to replace the faulty Joy-Con free of charge. Of course, this is easier said than done, as dealing with warranty claims isn’t all that appropriate. You’ll likely have to pay to ship the Joy-Con to Nintendo, and you’ll have to wait a couple of weeks to receive a replacement. Even for the new players, this can beunacceptable.
If you’re ready for it, you can disassemble your Joy-Con and clean off any dust or debris that makes its way into the joystick assembly.
Left Joy-Con Analog Stick Replacement
Replacing the analog stick on the left Joy-Con for Nintendo Switch. This repair fixes the disreputable “joy-con drift” issue. However, cleaning the contact pads are just a temporary fix, as the pads wear down over time, which is likely the offender for the drifting problem. So if you want your repair to last longer, you’ll need to replace the entire joystick assembly.
Replace the Joystick Entirely
It’s not the most ideal solution, but replacing the joystick assembly is your best decision if you want a properly-working Joy-Con again. (At least until it fails the next time.)
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