In this section of the guide, we will guide you through the process of how to maintain your N64 analog stick. These instructions apply to both the OEM stick and OEM variants that utilize parts based on the OEM N64 module.
How to replace sticks/dismantle/rewire sicks and controllers/maintain your N64 analog stick (Tutorials I have found on the web):
- iFixit N64 stick replacement guide: https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/Repairing+Nintendo+64+Controller+Joystick+Replacement/10482
- How to wire a 3rd party controller with loose wires: https://bitbuilt.net/forums/index.php?threads/64cc-pe-only-for-oem-n64-controller.1031/
And some videos for visual aid:
Replacing N64 Controller’s Broken Joystick – Video game Museum
Repairing N64 Controller Wobbly Joystick – Global Garage
How to Fix Your Nintendo 64 Controller’s Joystick (And Why It Broke) – Howchoo
N64 Controller Cleaning and Lubing Video Guide – Bailey.sm64
Items you need to start:
- A screwdriver: Specifically one that can take all the screws out of the bottom of the N64 controller and the stick housing. A small flathead or Philips will do the trick (#00 Phillips (For stick housing)/#0 Phillips (for controller screws).
- Isopropyl Alcohol/rubbing alcohol: This will be cleaning the stick/gears and can be used on the circuit boards: https://sourcechemicals.com/product/isopropyl-alcohol-99-9-acs/pack/ip-500ml an example of what you need.
- It also helps to have a small bowl or ramakin to put the liquid in for easy access.
- Loctite. Super Lube® Grease PTFE/Joystick Butter/ TAMIYA America, Inc Cera-Grease HG: Shout out to DynamixDJ for letting me know about Joystick butter. ONLY USE THESE LUBES PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD. Included links to where to get them worldwide as this is the only stuff you should be using. Added Tamiya Grease as Berg rightful pointed out it’s a great option in addition to the above! Super important to maintain your N64 analog stick.
- Cue tips or brush: You will use cue tips or a brush for cleaning and applying the lube to the parts once you have finished cleaning everything.
- Tissue paper or a rag: Thing may get a little messy so having some tissue is super handy for cleaning your hands, wiping excess lube away
- A tray or bowl to put your screws and parts on: This is super important as it’s extremely easy to lose track of these screws, they are very tiny.
- Replacement parts: I am using Kitsch-Bent N64 parts for this, make sure whatever replacement parts you have, they are easy to get to!
***DO NOT USE THESE LUBES:***
Anything petroleum based i.e., plumbers grease/Vaseline: This is a huge no no, the petroleum base will eat at the plastic and cause it to rub away.
White lithium grease: Unless they are clearly marked, they are safe for plastics do not use them as the base may be harmful.
Any spray lubrication: The base of these may contain solvents which are not good for plastics.
USE WITH CAUTION:
Ceramic grease: I have seen positive things about ceramic grease, however in my own experience I have not experienced good things (grinding gears, bitty/white particles. If there is a good brand out there do let me know.
!!!!Get your lubes below!!!!
- https://sourcechemicals.com/product/isopropyl-alcohol-99-9-acs/pack/ip-500ml: Example of alcohol you need.
- https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001Q1AW64/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_glt_fabc_FFN75KH8C7PB5RXPSQSB – Credit to Berg for this. I have seen this before and heard it was good stuff, yes can 100% confirm good lube!
Unplug controller and remove the back plate: Step 1
Items you need to start:
- Remove the 7 larger screws and the 2 little screws next to the expansion slot on the bottom of the controller. Having a screwdriver with a magnetic tip is super handy. Make sure you set these aside in your cool bowl
Take a mental picture of how everything looks and where everything should be. I have also included a handy picture below: Step 2
Remove the stick plug from the main board: Step 3
- This can be a bit daunting when you first do it as you may have to use a little force, if you feel like you are pushing too hard at any point just stop and try again. Just take your time.
Unscrew the 3 outer screws as outlined below and place aside: Step 4
Unscrew the middle bottom screw and place into bowl: Step 5
- This holds the enclosure together along with two clips on the back, make sure to hold the top down when removing. I have read about people using cable ties to hold it down when you remove the screw but I think its is overkill, just be careful of the clips bending or snapping, it’s easily done
Unclip the two clips carefully at the back: Step 6
- Try and be careful but don’t worry if they snap a bit, just… try not to snap them fully as if they snap too much as if you lose one comepltely, it wont stay down anymore.
- Just don’t snap them
Take all the parts out and separate them: Step 7
- Take note of how all the pieces fit together, as you will need to replace them after you finish.
Clean the gears, bowl, and stick with a toothbrush/cotton cue bud with the Alcohol: Step 8
- DON’T GET ANYTHING ON THE CIRCUIT BOARD. I know it does not matter much if it’s alcohol but better to be safe than sorry.
LUBE UP BAYBEEE: Step 9
- See the image below for the areas for lubing. Remember not to go overboard as a build-up can get on the circuit board and not work. Just use a nice amount, coating the key points of friction. Do not lube the outer gears at all, the gears that make the encoders move.
- Bowl: lube up the bowl itself and where the gears sit.
- AVOID: Lube up the black round wheels or where the wheels sit in the arm. If any lube gets into the optical sensor then it could misread or break which isn’t good at all.
- Stick: Just lube up the whole bottom part of the stick, even in the notches.
- DO NOT: Lube up the shaft, you dirty minded person.
- For the gears, remember to lube up everything that can cause friction. Notably the inside of the gear slot and where the the stick sits in the bowl.
- DO NOT Lube the teeth. The wear on this part is negligible and again, you could get lube in the optical sensor which will brick the sensor entirely.
- For the top part of the enclosure and the white ring, lubing these parts is not 100 percent required, but I would recommend doing so. Just add a little bit of lube to the parts circled , you don’t need to go overboard here.
- For the white ring, just ad a nit of lube to the top part, not the underside
- DO NOT lube the outer part of the enclosure, the part where you can see the stick from the outside. Although it scratches here, you don’t need to lube this.
Carefully assemble the stick and controller back together: Step 10
- Work backwards and refer back to your mental notes of how everything should fit together.
- Take your time and don’t force anything, you don’t want your precious gears to snap.
- You need to make sure the bottom gear is straight so the stick gets slotted into it.
This will improve your experience of using the stick to no end.. like 100% improvement! Even something simple as cleaning out the gears can help… as mw points out:
Step 11: Post stick reassembly and troubleshooting
If you followed my guide and were careful, your stick should be nicely lubed and ready to go, however sometimes things can do wrong:
- After putting the final screws into the stick module, always rotate the stick a few times. This will not only help mix in the lube but also allow you to check if the gears have been properly placed back.
– The stick is stuck and wont move:
- Stop moving it and open up the module. The chances are that you have not lined the stick with the bottom gear properly and it’s wedged at an awkward angle
- 9/10 if this happens the reassembly was done incorrectly
– I’ve put the controller back together and I hear a clicking sound when I move the stick around
This is either one 3 things:
- You have not put the screws back in the module in enough
- Your spring in the module has been warped and isn’t pushing up enough
- You have not snapped your controller back into place
- There is something in the module that has not been put back properly
Just take it apart again and explore these options as it is gonna be one of these
– I’ve up everything back in in the controller, but I cannot get the bottom panel back on?
- This happens alot and you need to take care when moving the internals around in the controller. See the below image for points which maybe restricting snapping the back panel on
- This wire is tricky as it is packed in there tightly in a very specific way. If the wire sits too high or too low you wont be able to close the controller up fully. It should look like the above picture, just don’t try and force it
- Sometimes this wire can vary in length and can get in the way of the case. Just make sure its not flapping around and sits close enough to the circuit board and you will be all good!
- The R buttons need to be in the right way round and sitting in their holders
In general just make sure everything looks like the above when you snap the back on and you should be good.
– I am getting no signal from the stick at all, only the buttons!
- Most likely you have not plugged the blue plug back in. This has happened to me… more times that I’d like to admit.
THIS IS A GUIDE AND HOW I LUBE UP MY N64 STICK. IN NO WAY CAN I BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DISMANTLING OF THE CONTROLLER STICK AND THE SUBSEQUENT LUBING OF YOUR DEVICE.
IF FOR WHAT EVER REASON YOUR STICK BREAKS OR DOES NOT WORK AFTER YOU HAVE DONE THIS, I HOLD NO RESPONSIBILITY IN BUYING YOU A NEW STICK OR GIVING YOU REPLACEMENT PARTS.
BY ALL MEANS GET IN TOUCH ON DISCORD AND ILL SEE WHAT I CAN DO TO HELP, JUST DON’T EXPECT ME TO GIVE YOU FREE PARTS OR STICKS AS ESSENTIALLY YOU ARE REASONING SOMETHING FROM A RANDOM PERSON ON THE INTERNET, NOT THE OEM MANUFACTURER.
Links and further reading:
Further reading with regards to lubricants:
Links to other tutes:
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPXgVSyL_rI&ab_channel=UberMicroRepairs uber micro parts how to lube and replace sticks