GuliKit, makers of the truly excellent KingKong Pro 2 wireless controller for the Nintendo Switch, which we reviewed last year, has just released an upgrade/repair kit for the official Nintendo Joy-Cons that brings its drift-free Hall effect joysticks to the handheld console’s native controllers.
It’s an unfortunate fact that if you own a Nintendo Switch and play it regularly, you’ve possibly already experienced the issue known as ‘Joy-Con drift’ where the Switch detects joystick inputs even when a player’s fingers aren’t touching them at all. The most likely cause is related to components in modern controllers called potentiometers that physically wear down over time with prolonged use.
The issue can make games unplayable, and the only real solutions are to try to convince Nintendo to repair your Joy-Cons or repair them yourself. Even so, both are only a temporary fix when the same problematic joystick hardware is being used as a replacement.
The biggest selling point behind GuliKit’s KingKong Pro 2 wireless controller was that it uses upgraded joysticks that rely on Hall effect sensing, where magnets and magnetic sensors detect even the subtlest movements of the sticks. This eliminates moving parts rubbing against each other and wearing down over time, potentially eliminating joystick drift forever. On certain platforms, if the software is there to support it, you can also use Hall effect sticks to eliminate dead zones or customise how large your stick’s input radius is.
The KingKong Pro 2 was a workaround for Joy-Con drift, however, not a solution. Now, GuliKit has made that controller’s Hall effect joysticks available as a drop-in replacement/upgrade for the joystick hardware that still ships inside the Joy-Cons.
It looks like you can get a pair of them on Amazon for about $US30 ($AU43) right now, or a four-pack for $US53 ($AU76.70) if you want to help a friend and save a few bucks in the process. But while GuliKit promises these are a “100% fitable, perfect replacement, drop in with no hassles” fix, swapping out the sticks in your Joy-Cons isn’t as easy as swapping out AA batteries in a radio.
iFixit has shared a video on YouTube of the process of swapping out a Joy-Con’s joystick, and while it’s relatively straightforward, it will definitely help to have the right tools on hand, including tweezers for manipulating ribbon cables, and a special tri-point screwdriver for dealing with the non-standard screws Nintendo loves to use. It goes without saying that an upgrade/repair like this will definitely void your Joy-Cons’ warranties, and probably the Switch’s too, but if you’re suffering from Joy-Con drift with no solution available, this seems like the best way to go right now.
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