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Tighten my thumbsticks!


Carlucci
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One of my buds that I've been playing Halo against on XBC actually came over to my house to play last week. This guy is the best player I've ever come across.

 

So I jokingly said something about, "it's the controller", and grabbed his controller. Well guess what--his controller's thumbsticks were the tightest I've ever played with. It's a regular old controller "S", and he's said he's had it for several months.

 

I mentioned this to him and we did an A-B comparison, and his thumbsticks were much tighter than mine. When I played with his controller, I did much better. He wouldn't use a regular controller (he chose to sit out that round), so I never got to test my theory as to whether he would do worse with my controller.

 

He said he didn't mod it and that he must have just got lucky, but I'm skeptical due to the dramatic difference.

 

Have any of you ever heard of a mod for an xbox controller to make the thumbsticks tighter? I did a google search but came up empty. Any links to discussion of this or how-to's would be greatly appreciated.

 

Carlos.

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By regular controller do you mean the big, fat, non-S one?

 

Unless you have big hands, the Controller S is better in every way. Why not just pick one up to test it out?

 

And I'd be cautious of the placebo effect with things like this. It might seem better in the short term, but in the long run he'll still be better because he's just more skillful. :D Has happened to me plenty of times.

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Originally posted by Sam P@Apr 12 2004, 12:46 PM

By regular controller do you mean the big, fat, non-S one?

 

Unless you have big hands, the Controller S is better in every way. Why not just pick one up to test it out?

 

And I'd be cautious of the placebo effect with things like this. It might seem better in the short term, but in the long run he'll still be better because he's just more skillful. :D Has happened to me plenty of times.

No, it is an "S". I could never get used to the 'fatty'.

 

I'm sure he's still way more skillful. I didn't mean to give ALL the credit to the controller. :P

 

For me, keeping a moving enemy in the reticle while I was also moving became much easier with the greater amount or resistance that his thumbstick provided.

 

I have madcatz controller that has a non-working clicker on the right thumstick. Since the controller is not usable, I think I'll crack it open to see what it might take to mod the tension. If I have any luck at that, I'll let you know. Then I'll try it with my controller 'S'.

 

Carlos.

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That would be my thought as well. Circuit City does have S controllers on sale this week. :)

 

On a side note, I've got a fatty original controller ripped apart at work, I'll take a look at the sticks and see if there's any way to adjust them. I could always wrap custom springs, although it's kinda a PITA and it may not be feasible in this case anyways.

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Originally posted by Sam P@Apr 12 2004, 01:00 PM

Carlos, I wonder if yours just has more wear-and-tear.

I agree that they get looser the more you play, but his is just way tighter than you would expect from even a brand spanking new one. Plus I was using the controller that came with the new xbox I just bought a month ago, and it still wasn't close in tension.

 

The return to center has got to be caused by a rubber band or spring of some sort, right? So maybe his came from a batch that had a slightly off-spec (or at the extreme end of the spec) part for the springy thing.

 

 

Carlos.

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Well, I got curious and popped open my (one and only :shock:) XBox Controller S to see what was up. So here's my guide to field stripping a Controller S:

 

On the S, there's 6 visible Phillips head screws (3 on the left hand grip, and 3 on the right), and 1 nefariously hidden under the warranty/UPC sticker on the back. You'll have to puncture the sticker and void your warranty to remove the last screw. Be careful once you've popped it open, the buttons are not attached and can fall off very easily and get lost. The best way to pull it open after removing the screws is to look at the face of the controller, and open it like a hinged door to the right (this is because the right vibrating motor is attached to the face of the controller, and the left motor simply rests in the back). Edit: Actually on putting it back together, I realized doing this the other way around would probably be easier. Look at the back of the controller, then pull the back off gently. This lets the buttons (and both motors, and the PCB), rest in the face of the controller, and will save you a bit of frustration. Also, you won't have to remove any of the buttons, and the PCB will be situated such that the motor connections are already facing you, making them easy to disconnect, then lift the pad/sticks assembly gently off the face, leaving the buttons resting in place. Remove all the buttons and set them aside. Turn the PCB so you can see and disconnect the two +5V/GND 2-wire connectors attaching the vibration motors. You can now fully remove the whole PCB/Joystick/Shoulder button assembly and basically just have the cable hanging off. The shoulder buttons actually seem like they would be fairly easy to adjust tension, they press against visible, relatively large springs (disassemble further, replace the springs to your liking and voila). The two joysticks however, are enclosed, soldered-on affairs. There's about 14 solder connections between the PCB and each joystick. Pushing a stick to one direction shows that the internals look very much like the diagram seen here, albeit surrounded by a small metal case. Without somehow getting down in there, or taking the thumbstick off, I don't think the tension could be modified too easily.

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D'oh!

 

Thanks, Ryan, for having a looksie. You have guts to open your only controller like that!

 

I have a feeling that if it was easy, there would already be instructions on the web somewhere, but I tried every kind of google variation I could think of in both Web and Groups searches and came up with a goose-egg.

 

So who's going to be the first to start a business of being an Xbox-controller-tightener-upper? I'll be your first (only?) customer!

 

Carlos.

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They're pretty easy to take apart. At least microsoft is courteous enough to use phillips head screws. Getting a Wavebird apart is much more difficult as they use a tri-wing head screw. I didn't have time at work today to look at the analog sticks and see if they are readily disassembled as I was too busy burninating Peeps. :twisted:

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  • 10 months later...

Well, it looks like the fine folks at Radica are getting into the customizable controller business.

 

Take a look at this: Phoenix Revolution.

 

Looks like it's only for the PS2 right now. It allows you to adjust the thumbstick tension.

 

Who wants to buy it and try it and report back to the rest of us! If there was an Xbox version available, I'd by it right away. My Ps2 hasn't been getting much use lately.

 

Carlos.

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If you feel your thumbsticks aren't tight enough, try upping the sensitivity control in the game.

 

Yeah, but tightness concerns how much play is in the analog sticks dead-center physically, and how much tension there is in the springs. Upping the sensitivity will produce more input for given stick movement, but will probably expose poorly centering sticks even more.

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Which I wonder is a more common thing with the S-controllers? (Looser thumbsticks.) I've tried them in the stores and some friends', and I really prefer to stay with the Duke controllers.

 

Well, trying them at stores isn't a good indicator, considering how much abuse those things take...

 

Also, you might be more gentle on the equipment than your buddies; wear-and-tear has alot to do with the user.

 

The big ones are great if you have large hands, but even the S I find a little bloated, compare to the GC and PS2 pads. It's not that they don't fit, I just prefer a more delicate feel to the gamepad.

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