The joystick sensor was created by the well-known company Alps, which specializes in the production of similar hardware. Amateur radio often encounters its microswitches, and we are also familiar with its keyboard buttons. According to iFixit, the same or very similar module has been used several times before, among others in DualShock 4 or in drivers for Xbox One.
A person armed with only a small soldering iron does not have a chance to easily desolder these modules and used the traditional procedure on the iFixit, namely a hot air pistol. They were able to disassemble one of the modules that sense movement in a simple way, using conventional potentiometers. They logically need two, one for each axis, and the potentiometers change their resistance, in this case depending on the position of the controller. Depending on how the resistance changes the value of the applied voltage, the degree of deflection of the lever is also determined.
The potentiometers here are axial, i.e. rotatable and not linear, or sliding, and use a shaped metal sheet circling along a carbon path, with which the sheet has one point of contact, and by changing its position the resulting resistance changes here. In the middle of the mechanism there is also a microswitch (for pressing the joystick) with the main lever on the spring, which returns the control to the initial position.
But what causes that unwanted drift? It seems that this is the lifetime of the selected potentiometers, which was calculated on iFixit according to the official data of the manufacturer for 140 to 210 days (according to game genres), provided that we play an average of 2 hours a day. In other words, if someone is locked up at home and plays intensely, which will not be exceptional due to the winter season in a pandemic, they can easily play five times as much and turn off the controller in a month or two.
According to the published conclusions, it seems that DualSense drivers will only be helped by a new revision using other sensors, and it can be prepared for the problems with already sold pieces to increase as the potentiometers in the sensors wear out and fail.
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Source: Svět hardware by www.svethardware.cz.
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