I love the DualShock 4. Seriously, it's my favorite controller that I've ever used, and I've used pretty much anything you could name to me, plus a countless number of third-party offerings. In my 26 years of gaming, I've never used a controller more comfortable.
Except for the joysticks.
The DualShock 4's joysticks really bother me. They just... I don't know, feel
like they're going to start wearing out at any moment. Not only that, but they're the only joysticks I've ever used that actually hurt my thumbs after using them for a while. So I figured I'd replace them.
First, I checked to see if the DualShock 3's sticks would fit, but that turned out to be a bust; the bottoms are too big, and the hole that the pegs go into aren't the right shape, so a lot more -- and messier -- modding would be required than I was willing to do. While doing some research, I came upon an interesting discovery: The Xbox One controller's joysticks fit the DualShock 4 flawlessly, and I love the Xbox One controller's joysticks.
As it turns out, the holes on the bottoms of the Xbox One sticks are literally the exact same sizes and shapes as the holes on the bottoms of the stock DualShock 4 sticks. It wasn't hard to find some extra sticks on Amazon
, and with the help of my lovely girlfriend, I got to work.
The first thing I did was look up a tutorial on YouTube of how to pull the DualShock 4 apart. It's not too hard, but after unscrewing the back of the controller, there were a couple clips on the sides that gave me a lot of problems. I didn't have one of those plastic separator tools, so I used my fingernails, which didn't exactly feel nice. But whatever, I got it open.
The battery fell out almost immediately, since it's only held in the controller by a ribbon. It's worth pointing out that the battery in the DualShock 4 is the same size as the much superior DualShock 3 battery, and they can be swapped if you want longer battery life for your PS4.
As I opened the controller casing, the triggers flew out onto the floor, but they were easily put back in. There were two small L-shaped springs that were connected to the sides of the triggers, and they're absolute pains to get back into place. The only purpose they serve is to add some extra tension to the feel of the triggers, though, and reassembling the controller without them doesn't make much of a difference; the triggers are fully functional without the springs, but they feel ever so slightly more spongy. On the plus side, removing them actually fixed my sticky L2 trigger.
After disconnecting the battery, lightbar, and motherboard ribbons, I was able to just lift the motherboard out of the casing. This was the goal, since the sticks are connected to the board on the opposite side.
The sticks themselves were easily removed by simply pulling them off the pegs, which my girlfriend did as I held the board (I get nervous putting delicate stuff like circuit boards down, and I try to hang onto them near the edges until I need to put them back). The Xbox One joysticks were then lined up and pushed into the pegs, and the motherboard was put back into the casing.
After everything was back in place, it was just a matter of reconnecting the three ribbons and screwing the back of the controller back on. Everything went back together without a hitch, and as you can see, it looks absolutely gorgeous:
I can't even begin to tell you how much better the Xbox One sticks feel over the stock DualShock 4 sticks. Everything is just as smooth as when I took the controller out of the package, and I couldn't be happier; the Xbox One sticks are a bit taller than the stock DualShock 4 sticks, but the difference is barely noticeable. This controller is perfect now, as far as I'm concerned, and combined with the XInput wrapper for Windows
, there's no better controller for PC gaming.
How about everyone else? Anyone dabble in controller modding in the past?
EDIT: It turns out that there are microscopic slots in the controller where the trigger springs are actually supposed to go. Once I figured that out and got the springs to go in, everything felt great when it was put back together. Even with the springs, my L2 trigger doesn't stick anymore, so I suspect that the spring wasn't fit correctly out of the box. (More than one person has reported sticky triggers on these controllers.)