Skip to main content

D.I.Y. Light Xbox One joypad

Xbox One original style joypad adapted for lighter use and switch access.

This guide explains how to lighten an original style Xbox One joypad and add some accessibility switch sockets. This can be beneficial to people without the strength to comfortably use the standard thumb-sticks and buttons such as those affected by SMA, Muscular Dystrophy or using a thumb-stick with their chin.

The lightening process was developed by Bill Donegan and Gavin Tan at SpecialEffect, shared here with their kind permission. This method can be applied to other joypads.

If you're an absolute beginner, I strongly recommend that you follow "The Basic Soldering Guide" - by Alan Winstanley.

SAFETY: Adapting equipment voids the manufacturer's guarantee, and the attempt may cause irreparable damage. Always use adapted equipment under supervision, and disconnect power when not in use. These adaptations are at your own risk. Good luck!

Most of the basic components used here are commonly available from Electronics stores such as Maplin Electronics and Farnell. The original style Xbox One controllers can be found second hand via the likes of eBay.

1. What you will need

Image of an old-style Xbox One joypad connector.Spring for lightening the Xbox One thumb-sticks.

  • 1x old-style Xbox One joypad (distinguished by a single connection port as pictured left).
  • N.B.Newer joypads have a different PCB style with thumb-sticks that are very hard to remove with standard tools without a high risk of damage.
  • 4 x 3.5mm sockets (e.g. Farnell "126-7396") for switch access to triggers and shoulder buttons (optional).
  • Lighter strength springs (e.g. "RS Pro Stainless Steel Compression Spring, 34.1mm x 3.45mm, 0.06N/mm" - code 821-251). These for lightening the thumb-sticks.
  • Soldering iron (15 to 30 Watt power); thin solder; soldering flux; de soldering braid; thin wire (e.g. 10 strand 0.1mm), Shrink Wrap (optional). Desoldering gun ideally, or desoldering braid (not a fan personally).
  • Cordless drill with 7.5 mm drill bit; Knife or wire strippers; torx T6 and T8 screw-driver (search eBay for "xbox one torx set"; Needle nose pliers; Hot glue gun; small/nail scissors.

2. Test then open

Central screw behind the battery cover.Removed hand grip .

Remove the battery cover on the back, and cut the middle of the sticker so you can remove the Torx screw.

Next squeeze a trigger and from the top pull the plastic clip-on trigger cover at the rear away from the controller. Repeat on the other side.

3. Inspect your controller

Wiring guide for the switch sockets to button PCB contacts on impact Joypad.

If your PCB is dated 2014, and the solder-points are as big as those circled in red and yellow above, this controller is suitable for this full adaptation without too much hassle. Hopefully! Remove the face plate and two thumb-stick plastic sticks and continue...

4. Remove motors

Solder points on the PCB for one side of the joypad motors.Cut wires leading to trigger-motors.

Apply a little flux to the black, grey, red and black wire contacts. Add a tiny bit of extra solder, and the wires should just slip straight off.

Cut the black and grey wires where they appear at the side of the controller.

Remove the two T6 torx screws from the top PCB, then gently wriggle the PCB upwards and out.

5. Remove thumb-sticks

Solder points on the PCB for one side of the joypad motors.

Not easy. Apply a little flux to the 14 points (see the large picture in section 3 above) of each thumb-stick,, then use the desoldring gun to remove as much solder as you can.

Try to ensure that each leg is wiggled free and you can see a gap around it. Rock the thumb-stick free. If it's moving a little bit, use a screwdriver or ideally something strong thin and plastic, to prise the stick off the PCB. Be patient. This is the most difficult part of the process.

6. Change springs then refit

Xbox one thumb-stick legs to bend back to open up.14mm SpringXbox one with new lighter pressure spring.

Carefully prise open the four small retaining metal legs that hold the plastic base in position. Disassemble and remove the tightly coiled spring.

Cut a new spring of a similar length but with less coils. Gav recommends 14mm as pictured. I tried less coils and a little shorter below. Experiment to see what suits you best.

Fit the srping then test that the stick returns to the middle by itself and the resistance is less than before.

If all is good, solder the thumb-sticks back into place. Plug the thumb-stick PCB back to the buttons PCB and test. If all is good, pat yourself on the back and move on. If not, inspect your soldering, and consider desoldering and trying again.

7. ABXY Rubber Boots.

Reassembled switch adapted impact joypad, apart from the missing rear case.

Remove the six torx screws on the other PCB. Gently prise the central top black plastic off the PCB (near the micro-USB port at the top) and pull the PCB out at a shallow angle. Next, if you are planning to fit switch sockets for the triggers and LB and RB buttons, remove the motor housing by cutting away where the straight(ish) yellow lines are above.
Xbox One removed PCB and rubber-boots removed.

8. Weaken the rubber boots

Weakening the ABXY button rubber boots with scissors.Holes cut.

Cut three or four (if you're feeling brave) holes in the rubber boots as pictured. This will reduce the amount of pressure needed to push the ABXY and menu buttons.

Refit the buttons, both PCBs and both sticks.

9. Solder points

Solder points for the Xbox One (old-style) RB, LB, RT and LT switch sockets.Xbox One removed PCB and rubber-boots removed.

Very carefully solder wires to the hall-sensors for the triggers as marked below and less tricky, to the LB and RB contacts. For other joypad types, see this link for some possible alternative contact points.

Once you feel that you have a good connection for the wires, test them with the controller powered on and connected to a Titan One or console game and touch the paired LB, RB, LT and RT contacts together. If you are not getting a contact for RT and LT which are very small points to solder to, try again, or locate the LS and RS (stick button) contacts and use them. You can then use the Xbox One's in-built accessibility options to reconfigure the sockets to any other button (unfortunately not any thumb-stick direction, which would have been nice for some players).

10. Switch sockets (if needed).

Switch socket holes on an Xbox One old-style controller.Xbox One (old-style) wired up and ready to reassemble.

Fit your switch sockets as pictured below and reassemble. Test with accessibility switches and hopefully, all will be good. Marblesoft Ultra Light HD switches are ideal in many instances as they are light pressure and easy to velcro into place.

Xbox One joypad lightened with switch sockets for the shoulder controls.

D.I.Y. Text and images PUBLIC DOMAIN 2016 - - based on an original adaptation by Gavin Tan and Bill Donegan at

SpecialEffect logo.