N64 Controller Lubrication/Repair Guide
Copyright 1999 by David Dayton
E-Mail: DavidDayton at potchgult dot com
Home Page: Http://codebook.potchgult.com

Note: This may or may not work. This may or may not destroy your joystick. No promises.
Well, okay... it worked for me... it should work for you. Just don't blame me if your controller starts to emit sparks.

Has your N64 joystick been acting up? The gun scope wiggles all over the place in Goldeneye? The stick sticks? You try to move up the menu but the cursor jumps down instead? Perhaps it's time time clean your joystick and add a bit of lubricant.

What You Will Need:


1. Turn the controller upside down and remove all nine screws as indicated in figure 1. While removing the screws keep the controller held face down, as all the internal parts are mounted into the front/stop/joystick side of the unit. The two screws in the Controller Pak bay are smaller than the others, so you may need to use a different screwdriver on them. Place the screws in a very safe location.

Figure 1

2. Gently pull the back cover away from the front cover, and place the back cover in a safe location. The control pad will now look like figure 2.

Figure 2

Carefully remove the [L] and [R] buttons from the top of the controller and put them somewhere safe.
Remove the Z button trigger as well; slightly pull apart the two white tabs holding it in place and slide the rubber pad and circuit sensor right out. The Z button thingy will remain attached to the controller circuit board by a cable -- do not try to remove it from the board!
3. Now it's time to open up the joystick box itself.
Some other guides to N64 joystick lubrication/repair will tell you to unplug the joystick connecter from the main circuit board. I've tried to do this, but I find the connector to be very firmly attached to the board. Rather than risk possible damage by applying too much pressure to the connector, I recommend leaving the joystick box connector and cable attached to the main circuit board.

Figure 3

Unscrew the three silver screws to remove the box from the controller body. The joystick box will now be free from the controller, except for the connector cord leading to the circuit board.
Now, carefully unscrew the black screw while holding both sides of the joystick box tightly. Once you begin to loosen the black screw, you will start to feel the joystick box pushing apart, which is due to the fact that the large spring inside the box is trying to jump out, fly across the room, and hide under the couch; do not let the box fly open! Place the black screw in a safe place and proceed to step 4.
4. Look at the top of the joystick box. The only thing holding the box together at this point are the dark grey tabs stuck in the light grey slots.

Figure 4a

Gently lift the light grey slots up and away from the dark grey tabs. The box should open up into two sections. The stick sensors (see figure 4b), attached to the connector cable, should now be gently removed from the joystick box and left to dangle from the circuit board in the controller body. If you've done well, you now have a light grey half of the box, a dark grey half, and the sensors dangling from the circuit board.

Figure 4b

Figure 4c

Figure 4d
Dangling connector.
I'm told that it is an optic connector.
Don't mess with it, and don't get alcohol or lubricant on it!
Light half of joystick box. Consists of one light grey shell, a white box with two notched black disks attached, and a small black curved swingy thing that rests inside the white box. Dark grey half of joystick box. Consists of one dark grey shell, metal spring, white plastic ring, plastic joystick, and a small black curved swingy thing that serves to lock the mess together.

5. Now it's time to clean the light grey half. This part is easy. Use the rubbing alcohol and cotton swabs to clean all the parts and get rid of that nasty grey/white dust. If you need to, you can use a toothpick to gently remove bits of plastic dust in the corners of the pieces and box. You probably won't need to clean the light grey case itself, but it won't hurt... I think.
Use the toothpick to scrape the dust and grime out of the four slots on the inside of the white box -- you'll be amazed at the amount of gunk in there!

Once you have everything cleaned, it's time to lubricate some of the stuff...

Figure 5a

Lightly apply lubricant to the black curved swinging bar (except for the notched section) and the inside of the white box.
Do not apply lubricant to the black notched disks on the white box, the light grey case, nor to the notched section of the black curved swinging bar. These sections are circled in red in figure 5a.

Finally, we get to reassemble the light grey half. Place the light grey joystick box half down so that the rounded screw notches are at the 3 and 9 o'clock positions, and the square screw notch is at the 6 o'clock position.

Place the white box into the grey half; it should fit snugly into the grey half. The two black disks will be located near the top of the grey box, each disk next to a rounded screw notch.
The assembly should now look like picture 5b.

Figure 5b

Place the black curved swinging bar into the white box with the curved slotted section resting in the white box. The nobbed end of the bar will be on the left, 9 o'clock side, and the notched end of the bar will be on the right, 3 o'clock side.
The grey half should now look like figure 5c.

Figure 5c

Put the light grey half somewhere safe and proceed to step 6...whee!

6. Time to clean and lubricate the dark grey half of the joystick box! This is the worst part of the entire project. Really. Well... maybe reassembling the thing is worse.

Figure 6a

Turn the black plastic bar thingy 90 degrees. Doing so will disengage the latch formed by the end of the joystick. If you aren't careful, the spring could fly through the air... so try not to exert extra pressure on it.
The dark grey half can now be easily seperated into the black plastic bar, the white plastic ring, the metal spring, the joystick itself, and the dark grey half of the joystick box. Feel free to clean everything with alcohol, swabs, and toothpicks -- as you did in step 5.

Lubrication time... read these instructions carefully!

Figure 6b

Lubricate the white plastic ring. Lubricate the base of the joystick, but not the flat top of it where your thumb rests. Lubricate the black plastic bar, but not the notched end of it. Lubricate the dark grey half around the central hole (where the joystick passes through) on both sides.
Do not lubricate the metal spring, the flat top of the joystick, the notched end of the bar, or any excess space on the dark grey half (you don't want greasy stuff all over the controller, do you?).

7. Time to reassemble the dark grey half!

Place the dark grey half shell face down. Place the metal spring inside the dark grey half; it should fit snugly in the space provided for it. Place the white plastic ring on top of the spring so that the notched side of it faces the spring. Now, take the joystick and push it up through the front side of the dark grey half; you will have to turn the joystick so that the bulb on the end fits through the notched hole in the grey half, then turn the joystick again so that it does not fall out of the hole. The dark grey half should now look like figure 7a.

Figure 7a

Now for the hard part. Place the black bar over the plastic ring and joystick base. Let the plug on the joystick base fit into the slot in the black bar, then turn the black bar so that the entire unit is locked together. Turn the joystick and black bar around until the notched end of the black bar is parallel to the top edge of the dark grey half... if everything is correct, this half should now look like figure 7b. Note that the if you turn this half over, you will see that the joystick itself is pulled all the way into the socket with none of the shaft visible -- it's supposed to look like that!

Figure 7b

8. Reassembly time! Get the light grey joystick box half and the main part of the controller, which currently has the optic sensors dangling from it.

Figure 8a

Place the optic sensors into the light grey half so that the two holes in the sensors' circuit board fit onto the two plugs in the top of the light grey half.

Now, take the dark grey half of the joystick box. The notched end of the black bar on it will fit into the space between the optic sensor and the white box on the light grey half. Fit the two halves together. This will be very difficult, as the plug end of the joystick will also have to fit into the black bar in the white box - so make sure that the black bar in the white box is in the central position.

Figure 8b

Once you get this whole mess together (remember, the spring is currently trying to push everything apart), make sure the light grey notches and the dark grey tabs on the top of the box mesh together, then place the small black screw into the appropriate hole and screw the box shot.
Now, drop the joystick box back into the controller case and fasten it with the three silver screws. The worst is behind us!

9. Putting everything else together. If you paid attention, you probably won't need to read this... but just to be safe...

Figure 9a

Replace the Z button trigger/rubber pad by slightly pulling apart the two white tabs and then sliding the rubber pad and circuit sensor in. Make sure the tabs lock into place and keep the trigger stable!
Reinsert the [L] and [R] buttons into the top of the controller.

Figure 9b

Finally, slide the back cover onto the controller and screw the contraption together. The two small black screws go into the screwholes in the Controller Pak port (these are actually somewhat difficult to get in)

There you go! Everything should be back to normal now...

Things to try: