How to Solder an Xbox One Controller
Colin Niemczura, Editor-in-chief, XboxDIY.com
21 December 2017
This article will take you through a step-by-step guide on how to solder an Xbox One controller.
Xbox consoles, controllers, and other accessories often break due to soldering joints that have been dislodged – typically from some type of impact. The easy (and sometimes expensive) route is just replacing the controller or console. But what if you wanted, you know, do it yourself?
We have a guide for that.
Read on to learn more about soldering your Xbox One controller using surface mount soldering techniques.
The example we’re going to walk through today is how to how to solder Xbox One controller rumble motors and trigger rumble motors.
While the process is pretty straight forward, there are some important things to know and understand before getting started.
Let’s start out with gathering the tools you need.
What You Need
- Low Wattage Soldering Iron – Controller solders are tiny and need a lower power iron. As you can see in the video, the burned contact was due to using a much stronger iron initially (whoops)
- Soldering Stand – Typically these come with soldering irons, or in a package with other material. This is absolutely necessary.
- Solder Sucker or Desoldering Pump – Used to remove solder from circuit boards.
- Rosin Core Solder – Rosin core solder allows you to quickly and easily solder in one step.
- Soldering Paste (Optional) – Needed for additional methods, listed below.
- Helping Hand and Magnifying Glass – Great for keeping wires in place, keeping your hand away from the 500 degree iron, and getting a closer look at things. Highly Recommended.
- Pliers – Optional, but highly recommended for removing extra soldering, shortening/stripping wires, etc.
Step 1 – Take Apart Your Xbox One Controller
The first thing you’ll need to do is open your Xbox One controller. If you haven’t already, check out our video series and articles – it will make your repair a breeze:
- How to Open an Xbox One Controller – Part 1 (Outer Shell) (Video | Article)
- How to Open an Xbox One Controller – Part 2 (Circuit Boards and Buttons) (Video | Article)
- How to Open an Xbox One Controller – Part 3 (Reassembly) (Video | Article)
It’s also recommended to have a Torx screwdriver handy – although it’s not necessary, it makes removing the outter shell of the controller much easier.
You can open the controller with a flathead screwdriver, but expect some damage to the shell in the process.
You have to completely dismantle the outer shell and remove solders if you want to get to the circuit boards and buttons. It’s a little bit daunting at first, but once you’ve done it, it’s much easier.
Pro Tip: Make sure you have something to keep you screws and buttons in and these tend to get lost very easily and are a pain to replace.
Step 2 – Remove Existing Solders
The next step in learning how to solder an Xbox One controller is removing remaining solder from the circuitboard.
You’ll need your controller, a soldering iron, and solder sucker/desoldering pump.
Set up your circuit board or controller so it’s secure and won’t move (why we recommend the helping hand).
Next, you’ll want to very carefully place the heated soldering iron on the solder that needs to be removed. It will also help to have the solder sucker/desoldering pump in your other hand.
DO NOT touch the circuit board with the heated soldering iron – this will burn the board and render your rumble motors useless.
Once the solder is liquefied, place the your spring loaded desoldering pump over the solder, click the button to release the pump, and remove all parts and wires from the board.
(Make sure you clean up your work station so Fido doesn’t end up in the hospital)
Step 3 – Tin the wire (put solder on the wire)
Tinning the wire is a critical step in any soldering project.
Tining the wire involves placing a small dab of solder on the end of a wire to make soldering that wire to the board easier when the time comes.
Simply place your wire, heated soldering iron, and rosin core solder near each other. Once solder flows on to the wire, you’re done!
Pro Tip: Place your soldering iron below the wire, and your solder on top of the wire. This should make it easy to heat the wire, and have the heated solder flow on to the wire instead of on to the iron.
- You are about this far through the repair: 60%
Step 4 – Solder wires back on to the circuitboard
After you’ve removed the existing solder and cleaned the circuit board (if necessary), the next step in learning how to solder is doing the actual soldering!
This is probably the most difficult part of the process, but we’ll walk you through it!
You’ll want to locate your helping hand and use it to hold the wires as close to the contact point as possible.
Because the wires are so small, it’s very easy for them to move off of the contact point (it happens in the video).
Move the heated soldering iron and rosin core solder close to the tinned wire and contact. You’ll want to heat the wire and solder so the solder flows over the wire, and on to the contact point.
This should be pretty easy given the fact that you’ve already tinned the wire, but sometimes it takes a few tries before it sticks.
Make sure any solders you make are securely fastened to the board as this is require in order for the electronic components to work properly.
Your component should be working! If it’s not, double check the previous steps and read some of the “Other Tips” below.
- If your soldering iron gets dirty, wet a sponge and gently dab the soldering iron on it. I would do this as much as possible to avoid bad solders.
- Most importantly, practice! The board in the video was burned because it was a practice attempt. There are practice soldering kits out there if you don’t want to ruin your controller during the first attempt.
Don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t work the first time, learning how to solder is a skill that isn’t easy, but can be useful for years to come!
Thanks for reading XboxDIY’s article on how to solder an Xbox One controller. With the skills you learned in this article, you can now tackle many electrical problems with electronic components including gaming consoles, TVs, and other devices!
Do you have any tips or experience on how to solder an Xbox One controller? Drop us a comment in the section below!