PlayStation 4 gamers know all too well how a bad controller can ruin their day, but you don’t have to put your gaming on hold or go out and buy a new DualShock 4 when yours is on the fritz. Here are some common issues you may run into with your PS4 controller, as well as suggestions on how you can fix them. Try each of these solutions until one of them solves the problem.
This article explains how to fix PS4 controller drift (aka analog stick drift). Instructions apply to the official Sony DualShock 4 controller, but these troubleshooting tips will also work for third-party controllers.
1. How to Fix PS4 Controller Analog Stick Drift
Make sure your controller is turned off, then follow the steps below in order until it is working properly.
After trying each fix, test the analog sticks by moving them around in circles and clicking the L3 and R3 buttons (by pressing on the analog stick).
Reset your PS4 controller. Resetting the DualShock 4 can solve a lot of issues that suddenly pop up. If a soft reset doesn’t work, try a hard reset.
Clean your PS4 controller. Gently wipe around the crevices of the analog stick with a dry microfiber cloth. To get rid of grime, use a cotton swab dipped in a mixture of water and isopropyl alcohol. If you see dirt that you can’t reach, you can use pressurized air to dislodge it.
Cleaning your controller every few months prevents build-up that can cause problems with the DualShock 4.
Get your PS4 controller repaired or replaced by Sony. If your controller is relatively new, it may still be under warranty. Go to the PlayStation Repair & Replace page, choose DualShock 4, then follow the prompts to see if you qualify for a free repair or replacement.
Disassemble your PS4 controller to clean the analog stick. In order to deep clean the controller inputs, you must remove the outer casing and lift up the battery to access the motherboard. Use a cotton swab and a mix of water and isopropyl alcohol. Do not use pressurized air on the interior parts.
When taking apart your PS4 controller, be very careful not to disconnect anything other than the battery from the motherboard.
Step 5. Replace the PS4 analog sticks. If you have the necessary tools, and you’re willing to put in the work, you can try replacing the analog sticks and the potentiometer (the sensor for the analog sticks). In addition to the parts, which can be purchased online, you’ll also need a soldering iron. Unless you really want to do it yourself, buying a new controller is the cheaper and easier solution.
2. Fixing a PS4 Controller That Won’t Connect or Charge
If you’re reading this, you’ve probably experienced an issue from which many PS4 owners have suffered: one moment your DualShock 4 controller is working fine, the next moment it appears completely dead.
No lights will turn on, USB charging doesn’t work, resetting the controller doesn’t work. It seems that it has completely dried, and no matter how many troubleshooting guides you follow, nothing fixes it. Fortunately, there’s a solution.
Here’s the thing, though: while attempting to connect to a pair of Bluetooth headphones, I noticed that a “PlayStation Controller” was listed in the BT drop-down menu on my Mac. That meant that while the controller appeared dead, there was some charge left and it was still broadcasting for a connection.
If your controller suddenly and inexplicably seems 100% dead, no lights, no connection, then you likely have a USB issue. For reasons that aren’t clear, these DS4 controllers appear to lose their ability to charge via USB after some length of time and won’t even acknowledge when a cable is plugged in.
To get around this, you need to buy a PS4 controller charging station, the kind that charges through the ports on the bottom of the controller rather than through USB. These cost $15 – $25 depending on whether you get the official one or a third-party station.
3. What to do When Your PS4 Controller Won’t Charge
Step 1. Test your USB cable on another device to confirm that it’s working.
Step 2: Plug your USB cable into the DualShock and give it an inspection with the lightest touch.
Step 3: If your USB cable feels loose or otherwise not secure, you will need to replace either the USB cable or the DualShock itself.
When you remove the cable from your DualShock controller, give it a good inspection. Use the flashlight on your phone and shine it into the charging port.
If the metal inside looks bent or warped you can either attempt to bend it back into shape yourself, call upon a professional to do it for you, or replace the entire controller.
We do not recommend attempting to bend the metal back into place yourself as it might break the warranty of your device.
Regardless of whether or not the metal inside of your charging port looks okay, it might be dirty. If you are noticing a bit of dust or grime buildup, follow these next steps.
- Get a can of compressed air.
- While the nozzle is two to three inches away from the charging port, blast air inside in short bursts to knock the dust loose.
- Do your best to knock all of the dust out of the DualShock, and don’t just knock it loose.
- Once the dust is out, use a microfiber cloth to clean up the residue.
- If there is grime inside of your controller (from either spilled drinks or otherwise), continue cleaning.
- Make sure your DualShock controller is either completely dead or turned off. I prefer letting the controller be completely dead because it prevents the accidental turn-on, but allowing a controller to die when it can’t connect to the PSR (and constantly turns off because of it) is a hassle. Just make sure you’re careful not to turn it on by accident.
- Grab a toothpick or a different type of thin needle.
Wrap a very slightly damp paper towel around the toothpick. You only need a very small amount. Less than a 1-inch square should do you just fine
Use your new tool to gently wipe out the inside of the charging port until you’re satisfied with the results.
Wait for the controller to be completely dry before attempting to turn it back on. Do not use the can of compressed air to speed this process up. You’ll just end up pushing the water back into the controller.
4. What to Do if Your PS4 Controller Trackpad is Not Working
- Make a 50/50 measured solution of isopropyl rubbing alcohol and water.
- Use a microfiber cloth to slightly dampen the solution.
- Use the microfiber cloth towel to wipe around the exterior of the buttons. Do not press too hard so you can avoid squeezing the solution off of the cloth and into your controller.
- Allow the controller to dry entirely before attempting to turn it on again.
- Try pressing the buttons now
Wait for the controller to be completely dry before attempting to turn it back on. Do not use the can of compressed air to speed this process up. You’re just going to end up pushing the water back into the controller
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5. Nothing Worked. What do I do Now?
If none of the above worked or if you are uncomfortable performing some of these troubleshooting steps, then perhaps it’s time to give Sony a call. Ask them about your warranty, see what’s covered, and what you can do to get repairs or replacements.
Since the controller gets the most mechanical wear out of all your components no amount of tender love can stand up to the long-term effects of regular use. At the end of the day, if none of these tips are working, you’ll need to replace your DualShock controller entirely.
Frequently Asked Questions
What if my console can`t be repaired?
95% of all faults can be repaired – however, in the unlikely event we can’t fix your console, you will be offered a trade-in price against a brand new machine of similar make and model.
If, for whatever reason, we can’t fix your console and you do not wish to trade it in, Console Doctor will charge £10 to cover the cost of postage. Alternatively, if you do not wish to get your faulty console returned, we can safely recycle the unit for you, free of charge
Will users be able to replace the PS4 system’s stock 500GB hard drive?
PS4 owners will be able to replace the PS4 system’s standard hard drive. The PS4 system’s hard drive is used to store downloaded game and video content, game save files, gameplay movies and images, and more.
What type of hard drive does the PS4 system use?
The PS4 system is equipped with a 5400 RPM SATA II hard drive. Users can choose to install a new hard drive so long as it complies with these standards, is no thicker than 9.5mm, and is larger than 160GB.