Thursday, October 1, 2009

Replacing your broken PSP analog stick


By James Booth

With the exception of the LCD screen, the analog stick is probably the most fragile component of the PSP. And while some seem to take abuse for years without failing, others give up the ghost rather quickly. Provided your PSP is already out of warranty, why not make the repair yourself and save some time and money in the process?

Certainly, you can return your PSP to Sony for repair, but they'll charge you quite a fair sum. And you won't get your original device back; what you'll get in return is a refurbished model, possibly not as cosmetically pristine as the original in Figure A.


Sony's Playstation Portable gaming platform. (click for larger image)

The analog stick

Sony's choice of design in the analog stick of the PSP was a somewhat poorly thought out concept. It's made of inferior plastic, lightweight, easily-breakable components, and has a tendency to stick and drift. Sony really could have done a better job. The up-side is that it's relatively easy to replace the analog stick, and they're pretty inexpensive to come by.

With a few quick searches on eBay and Internet search sites you'll find many retailers in the US, Canada, and overseas that stock replacement analog sticks for every version of the PSP. I've seen prices ranging from $2 to $15, but you know what? Regardless of where you purchase your replacement or how much you pay, they all pretty much originate from the same manufacturer; so why not save some money and get the less expensive one?

The analog sticks, while cosmetically similar on the outside, have small design variations between each model of PSP and are not interchangeable. If you have a PSP 1000, you will have to get a stick specific to that model. The same applies to the PSP Slim, and the PSP 3000/Brite. The instructions contained herein will apply to the PSP 1000 and PSP Slim only.

As I do not have a PSP 3000, nor had occasion to open one up, I can't give specific instructions for that model. However, I do know the analog stick for the PSP Brite uses a ribbon cable attachment rather than direct metal-to-metal contacts.

I've dealt with an organization in Hong Kong called Dealextreme and always had good service. Their prices very reasonable, shipping is usually free, and they give discounts on bulk purchases. The only downside is that it generally takes about two weeks for in-stock items to arrive in the US.

Bestusstore is an eBay retailer I've purchased from on several occasions, their prices are about $1.50 more than Dealextreme, also offer free shipping, but are located in the US, so product arrival is much faster; usually within the week.