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PS5 Controller Teardown Suggests DualSense Drift Was Inevitable

A video showing the DualSense being taken apart shows the weak components causing the drift defect.

dualsense thumbstick on fire

If you are the lucky owner of a new PS5 console, then DualSense drift is something you should know about and, potentially, expect.

DualSense Teardown Video Shows Potential for Drifting

In a DualSense teardown video posted on, we can see that some of the components used are those which are prone to DualSense drift.

If you head to the one-minute mark, you will see the joystick sensors, which are soldered to the DualSense’s main circuit board.

It is these joystick sensors that house the components which are subject to displaying the “drift” phenomenon.

These sensors have a known shelf-life, meaning that Sony possibly knew that DualSense controllers would start drifting. It is for this reason that lawyers have opened a class-action lawsuit against Sony.

What Is Causing the DualSense to Drift?

There are several issues that could cause the DualSense controller to drift. They are all related to the joystick sensors housed beneath the thumb sticks.

iFixit called out four issues that could cause problems with the joysticks.

First, it cited sensor wear as being a problem. Naturally, during use, your DualSense is going to suffer from wear and tear. Particularly inside, where the small, delicate components hide from view, protected by the DualSense’s textured chassis.

Related: Sony Reveals How the PS5 Controller Is Textured With PlayStation Symbols

Next… spring fatigue. This means the small coils inside the sensor, that return the stick to its default central position, become worn. In effect, they become less springy.

So, the controller might think it is in a central position, but the spring hasn’t quite got the strength to hold it there. Here, it would register movement as the spring isn’t keeping the stick in place.

A problem also exists with “material stretching”, where the components warp over time. This can result from depressing the R3 or L3 buttons too hard while you play your games.

dualsense microphone

Finally, good old dirt and grime are culprits. Obviously mashing your dirty, clammy thumbs into your controller isn’t very good for it. You should clean your controller properly if you want to extend its lifespan.

Will Your Controller Start Drifting?

It is hard to answer that question. Why? Because everyone treats their controllers differently. So, how long your controller lasts for depends, to a degree, on how carefully you operate it.

The DualSense doesn’t have a specific point when it may succumb to the deadly drift defect. But angrily mashing the thumb sticks every time you get taken to the Gulag in Warzone will not help prolong the lifespan of your DualSense.

However, granted, it really is on Sony to source components that are up to the job. It should have learned that with the DualShock 4, which also suffers from drift and which uses the same joystick sensor.

The Drift Saga Continues

playstation dualsense controller

Until Sony puts more hard-wearing components in the DualSense, we can’t see there ever being a resolution to the controller drift defect.

The DualSense may be a well-loved device, but it isn’t without its faults, and this is one fault that Sony could really do without.

dualsense with thumbs up and thumbs down
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