If your character moves even when you don’t touch the left stick, or if your aim is slow or limited in one or more directions, then it’s likely that you’re experiencing what’s called “stick drift” or “drift” in other words. This happens when something gets inside and interferes with the normal functioning of the stick.
Drifting is especially common on Switch’s Joy-Con controllers, and is also seen on the Pro Controller. However, this fact does not tell us that it is the Nintendo controllers that are cheap and of poor quality, since not a single gamepad on the market, even the Xbox One Elite Controller, is immune from this problem. We already have a tutorial on how to get rid of drifting on Joy-Con, but that tutorial is not suitable for fixing this problem on Pro Controller.
Although the steps below are simple and should not cause any particular difficulties, we warn you that you assume all risks by following these instructions. We are not responsible for any possible errors or malfunctions.
Perhaps for some it may seem obvious, if you already have experience in solving such problems, first you need to re-calibrate the faulty controller stick (usually the left one).
Go to the Home Menu, go to System Settings, scroll down to the bottom of the left menu and select Controllers and Sensors.
Scroll down the right side of the screen and select Calibrate Control Sticks because that’s what we’re planning to do. A small pop-up menu will inform you that any changes you may have made to the button display will be temporarily disabled, click OK.
Then you need to click on the drift stick, after which the screen will show how the console interprets the movement of the stick. Scroll the stick around its axis, turn it, in general, feel how it behaves.
Remember to leave the stick alone for a while. If the cursor moves (at least a little) without your intervention, and if you can’t do a smooth 360° turn, or if you can’t even turn all the way through in some areas, you’ve run into this exact problem. Fortunately, you are in the right place to solve it.
So press the X button to enter the calibration and follow the instructions on the screen. Once the process is complete, repeat the diagnosis as described above. If the problem no longer occurs, you’re in luck and there’s nothing else to do. However, if you are still seeing malfunctions, more work needs to be done on this.
If your controller is still “drifting” then you need the following for the next step:
- Small Phillips screwdriver
- Compressed air
- Contact cleaner
You have to take the controller apart to some extent to clean it, as unlike the Joy-Con there is no rubber pad that you can lift up to access the inside of the stick.
Don’t panic, if you click on this link, it will take you straight to the part of our video tutorial that should help you if you’re not sure what to do. It’s a fairly simple procedure if you remember which screws come from where and don’t lose them.
Once the controller is disassembled, you can access the inside of the stick and take a look at what’s going on there. Most likely you will see the main cause of the problem – dust, debris, hair. Use a can of compressed air to get rid of it all. Make sure you follow the instructions on your compressed air bottle, as some contain liquid which, if spilled, can damage your controller.
Once you’ve got rid of the debris, take your contact cleaner and spray gently on the area under the plastic cap. The area must be covered, but not drowned. Wiggle the stick to distribute the cleaner evenly. Don’t worry if the stick seems to get caught in some places, it’s just because the controller’s faceplate usually restricts it. Act carefully but confidently.
Wait a few minutes and repeat the process, feel free to apply and rotate at the same time. Keep track of the amount of fluid being released. You can repeat this process again if you wish, but it will most likely not be necessary.
After that, leave the controller in a well-ventilated area for about 10 minutes and make sure everything inside is dry before reassembling. Now put everything together.
Return to the calibration screen and check your newly cleaned stick. Still not working perfectly? Don’t worry, a quick recalibration should fix this issue.
When finished, you should have a fully working Pro Controller again if that was the cause of the failure. Hooray!
Still not working?
It is possible to replace the analog sticks, but we do not recommend doing this. The sticks are soldered, and if for some this may seem like a trifle, then we are concerned that working with a soldering iron and replacing the sticks themselves can have unfortunate consequences.
In this case, we advise you to contact Nintendo directly and discuss the repair of the controller with them. There may be a price to pay for the repair, so be prepared for a bit of it to get back to playing with the pro controller again.
Did this guide help you? Let us know about it in the comments below.