When it comes to custom controllers, Xbox One is way ahead of the PlayStation 4, offering a variety of different options direct from the supplier. Sony, meanwhile, has just five different options to choose from: black, white, blue, red and camo. This “how to” will show you how to change your current controller to your own specifications.
You can follow along with the video tutorial, or simply stay with each stage of this step-by-step guide.
What You Will Need
The best place to buy your own pieces for this job is on eBay or Amazon, there are tons of different kits and parts that you can pick up really cheap. This walkthrough shows you how to alter the main face and the buttons of the controller, which is enough to totally change the appearance of your controller and make it way more eye catching.
The only tools you need are a small cross-head screwdriver, a small flat-head screwdriver and possibly pliers (depending how dexterous you are).
Step 1 – Separating the Controller
The first thing to do is unscrew the four little screws on the back of the controller’s casing. Make sure you put these somewhere safe; they have a habit of disappearing. The controller won’t immediately separate, you will need to take the flat head screwdriver and pry them apart. Don’t force it; there are four main pressure points, as highlighted below
These are the points keeping the two halves together. I find the best method is to use the screwdriver to release the two in the middle and then, by squeezing the hand-holds, the controller should just pop apart. You may still need to give it a bit of a wiggle to get the casing over the shoulder buttons, but beware not to pull it apart too vigorously as there is still a power cable connecting the two. Simply pull that out and the halves will be fully separated.
Step 2 – Detaching the Motherboard
Simply lift the battery (little grey box) off from the board, as there is nothing holding that down, then gently pull the cable attaching it to the board. Be sure to pull from the plastic receiver, not the wires. That will then reveal a small screw that holds the board to the front face. Firstly, you’ll notice a little orange (yours might be blue/white) cable at the top-right. You’ll need to pull this out before you separate the two pieces. Pull that out delicately, and feed it through the hole just below.
Once you’ve released the cable, you are good to unscrew the single screw holding the board to the front face. After that, you should be able to pull the board away without any resistance.
Step 3 – Replacing the Buttons
Now for the fun bit. Take the old front face, and remove all of the silicon holders, these will just pull straight back. Take them off, and set them to one side, then pour out all of the old buttons.
Now, bring in your new front face, and your new buttons, and pop the buttons in their respective holes. All of the buttons will be directional, meaning that they will only fit in the correct way, so don’t worry too much about whether you’re doing it right, if they go in, they’re correct. Then, you will be able to replace the silicon holders. Make sure the black dots are facing up before you push them back on. The analogue sticks are attached to the board we just separated, they pull off nice and easily, so just replace them as well.
The shoulder buttons will click in and out. Beware of the L2 and R2 trigger buttons however, as they have a small spring in them that is easy to lose. When replacing these buttons, the spring will go on the inside holder. There is then a slot both on the button and by the clip it attaches to, that will hold the spring in the correct position
Step 4 – The Reconstruction
We are now essentially just doing the reverse of steps 1 and 2. Place the motherboard back on the new front face. It is easiest to feed the thin orange cable from the touch pad through its hole before attaching the screw, as it helps if you can move it around a little bit – this stage is very fiddly. Once it is through, push it back into its receiver under the battery housing.
Once you have done this, you can screw the board back onto the face. Then reattach the battery
After that you have finished the reconstruction of the inside, and all that is left is to screw the back cover on. So pop it back on, although this may take a little while to get right. Just make sure that you get it over the shoulder buttons first, then make the rest of it fits, remembering the four pressure points from stage 1 as these are the places the controller needs to reattach to.
Once that back is on, just replace the screws and the reconstruction is complete.
Step 5 – Optional Decoration
To really customise your controller, you might want to put some other bits and bobs on the cover. For this all I did was print out a logo onto some self-adhesive paper, run around it with a box knife, and then applied it to the controller.
Other options include printing off a stencil you then spray paint through or, if you have access to a vinyl cutter, you could print something out on that. In addition, you could search on eBay, where there are some really cool vinyl designs, or decals.
The pieces used in this tutorial can be bought here.
If you have any questions or concerns about your device, please leave a comment in the section below – Happy modding!