Some might take for granted how sophisticated a game controller can be, especially when compared to a more complicated console it’s paired with. Given how much more wear and tear it faces, however, it’s even more crucial for these essential gaming accessories to be more modular and repairable. The DualSense controllers for the PlayStation 5 are definitely not your run of the mill gamepad and iFixit’s teardown proves just how more complicated it has become in some ways while still being repairable in others.
There are two headlining features for the PS5’s official controller. Adaptive triggers allow game developers to adjust how much resistance the buttons give while the new haptic system ditches the age-old rumble motors of old with rather large haptic drivers. Unfortunately, only one of these can be easily replaced.
Despite the sophistication, every part of the adaptive trigger can actually be replaced thanks to its modular design. In contrast, the haptic drivers are connected to the mainboard via soldered wires that make replacing it more difficult and riskier, especially for untrained hands.
This dichotomy can be found throughout the DualSense controller. Buttons are easily replaced but the USB-C port that will also see a lot of use is soldered down to the mainboard. The large battery is perhaps the easiest component to take out and replace, despite having a large enclosure, while the analog sticks are stuck to the board.
The latter might also be a cause for concern for some long-time PlayStation gamers. The PS5’s version seems to be completely identical to the DualShock 4 analog sticks, notorious for their drifting issues. Unfortunately, given how they’re assembled, repairing or replacing those will involve more work than necessary.