Rescuing PS4 DualShock Controllers

You’re racing down the hall ways of the Death Star and the Empire’s troops are closing in. You hear blaster fire and explosions echoing through the halls, but you press on because you’re mission is to help the rebellion and lives hang in the balance. The sounds are getting closer, you’re perspiring as you press forward in spite of the growing din of destruction. You rush in with your weapon raised high and…

You freeze. Literally frozen. The PS4 tells you that the DualShock controller has disconnected and you are slaughtered by multiple bad guys.

That was my grandson’s situation. And yes, he yelled frustration at the console as he scrambled for his cord to reconnect and rejoin the game.

Having a sensitive side for his frustrated little geek streak, I decided to start a project to improve the battery life and performance one way or the other. So off to search the web.

First I found the helpful hints. Here’s a concise list from Playstation Forums. I tried a few of the non-invasive types and they helped marginally. The age and use of the controllers we had, one held a charge for an hour at most and the other for no more than five minutes.

So, moving down the list, we stepped up the effort and found this “Power Bank” labeled Gamers Digital via Amazon.  I ordered two. For the worst controller, it was able to augment the power for about two hours. Considering the price and effort, not bad at all. The design isn’t excessively noticeable. When I play with my big boney hands, it doesn’t allow me to wrap around grip, but that’s not a huge issue for me. I’m sure there are others out there, but that worked reasonably well enough.

But, that wasn’t enough. I wanted to restore them to at least factory new capabilities, if not better and provide the original 7 to 8 hours of continuous playing time without charging. So replacing the battery became the goal. And if I could improve both controllers for less than the cost of replacing one, all the better.

The stock battery is 1000 mAH and I found this one from //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ss&ref=as_ss_li_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=21buzzards09-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B0137ITW46&asins=B0137ITW46&linkId=ed93bc0998b7988f4d7ffe4ae8c014f9&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Adafruit that is 2000 mAH. CAVEAT: The battery I found is slightly bulkier than the stock battery so the plastic battery holder did require some modification with a razor to trim away some of the plastic. I chose this one because of all the horrible reviews I saw on all the stock battery replacements and I do not like dealing with returns.

Disassembly was easy enough with simple jewelers phillips head screw driver and a plastic pick or wedge to help open the case. I was careful not to over torque the casing while removing it and nothing went flying off and the white ribbon connector remained in place. The trick I found was gripping the larger front of the controller while twisting the hand grip downward and the case popped loose. From there, it opens wider from the handles with the interlock of the buttons and case acting as a hinge.

Once open it was a simple matter of removing the plastic battery tray, which acts as an insulator electrically and with movement. After holding the new battery against the tray I was able to make a couple small cuts with a razor and the new battery nested snuggly with no movement.

Reassembly was the reverse of disassembly. Careful with working around the buttons that you work them together to form the hinge action you saw during disassembly. Watch the battery because while putting the case pieces together it can shift out of the tray. That was probably the most awkward part. Careful with applying force. Once the controllers were back together, they worked right away with no errors. The batteries have shown maxed out with charge even after 4 hours of play. I have yet to force myself to play long enough to drain the battery enough to show half charge. I have no intention of playing long enough to drain them entirely.

Once again, I’ve been able to re-invigorate something for a few bucks (less than $30) that would have cost $100 to replace.

To Sum Up: First try all the battery saving options. Then, if you aren’t afraid of changing out the battery, do that first and skip the add on’s. If opening the controller makes you uncomfortable, then go find powerbanks.

 

 

 

Author: 21Buzzards

Mid-life retired reservist in the corporate IT world parenting a grandchild. Sharing my evolution as age and priorities impact life.

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