After years of dealing with Joy-Con drift and not getting a satisfactory answer from Nintendo, I may finally find a solution. A company called Gulikit has created a set of Switch joystick replacements that promise to eliminate stick drift once and for all. gizmodo).
Unlike Nintendo’s standard Joy-Con, Gulikit’s joystick replacement uses something called a Hall Effect sensor to provide anti-drift, which is basically the same technology used by Sega’s 90’s Saturn 3D and Dreamcast controllers. As iFixit pointed out, the sensor uses a magnet to detect movement of the joystick. This means that the parts don’t actually rub against each other and wear out, like the sensors used in Joy-Cons.
One of the reasons Joy-Cons drift in the first place is because they use potentiometers. This technology degrades over time, resulting in false readings and the appearance of a bewitched controller. In 2021, Nintendo executive Ko Shiota likened the problem to “car tires that wear out as the car moves, as it constantly creates friction with the ground to make it spin.”
That’s where Gulikit’s joystick comes in. The joystick, available for $29.70 on Amazon, will probably put an end to frequent Joy-Con replacement and repair orders (it should never be the case). You’ll have to install the replacement joystick yourself, of course, but this video from iFixit will point you in the right direction when disassembling your Joy-Con. Gulikit’s joystick also comes with a screwdriver, replacement screws, tweezers, and plastic pliers to help you get started.
I haven’t had a chance to try it myself, but Amazon users have left mostly positive reviews. However, some people say they put a small gap between the rings to prevent dust and other debris from getting inside the switch, but it’s unclear how this will affect the sticks (or the Joy-Cons themselves). Gulikit also has a complete KingKong 2 Pro controller with replacement joysticks and hall effect sensors for the Steam Deck.
Adding third-party sticks may void the warranty on your Switch and Joy-Cons, but it’s still a potential solution if you’re fed up with drifting sticks. In 2023 the technology is already there was there for decades.