Microsoft keeps pushing toward repairability, now with Xbox controller parts
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Microsoft keeps pushing toward repairability, now with Xbox controller parts

Jun 05, 2023

Kevin Purdy - Aug 1, 2023 3:35 pm UTC

If you're the type of person who hates the idea of giving Microsoft another $65 for a new controller (or more than $100 for an Elite Series 2) because you know there's just one part broken, Microsoft has a store for you. It's small, but it's something.

Direct from Microsoft, you can now buy a half-dozen Xbox repair and replacement parts for both the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 and the standard Xbox Wireless Controller. Each controller has top cases and button replacement sets in black and white, plus the two inner circuit boards that provide charging, input, vibration, and, of course, sockets with new potentiometers installed to fix stick drift.

Parts on their own aren't that helpful to most of us, though, so Microsoft is also providing written and video guides. The videos are essentially full teardowns of each controller. The Elite Series 2 requires a plastic pry tool (aka spudger), a T6 and T8 screwdriver, and tweezers. The videos are helpful and aimed at all skill levels. "Always push away from yourself when using pry tools, so if you slip you won't harm yourself" is advice I have refused to accept a number of times.

At $35, the drift-fixing "Replacement PCBA and Motor Assembly" (i.e., controller sub-board, or "daughterboard") for the standard Wireless Controller is certainly cheaper than buying a whole new controller, but it's also a job requiring some wire-running patience. Repair store iFixit sells most of the same parts, including some individual components, like joystick modules, for those with a solder iron and the will to use it. iFixit's stock is less certain (they're currently out of controller sub-boards), but they offer a lifetime guarantee on many parts.

Microsoft's offering of official parts follows its agreement to expand parts and repair options after a 2021 agreement with activist shareholders. Since then, the company has posted its own teardown and repair videos for Surface Laptops and started selling parts for Surface devices. The company's pivot to offer more at-home service options also comes a few years after it closed its retail stores.

Disclosure: Kevin Purdy previously worked for iFixit. He has no financial involvement with the company.