I’ll be honest, I did a teardown last week of a cheap tower fan and was so grossed out by the dust and felt duped by poor documentation that I didn’t post. So I turned around and took apart a disgusting Xbox 360 wireless controller. This teardown had a lot of me saying, “nerds…spilling soda on their controller and mucking up the buttons” while I was researching Microsoft processors and understanding the irony of my statement.
- Xbox Wireless 360 controller (wired will do just fine)
- Torx Security bit / tamper-resistent torx : T8 (I used the iFixit 54 Bit Driver Kit for this bit)
- Phillips bit: PH00
- Small bowl or container for screws
- Rubbing Alcohol, Isopropyl spray (alcohol spray), air duster
When you come into possession of a Xbox 360 wireless controller that you want to tear apart or modify, I recommend cleaning as much of the casing as possible. Then flip the controller over so directional pad (d pad), buttons, thumbsticks face downward. Pop out the batteries, or rechargable battery and locate the torx security screws. I’ll give you a hint, there is one located under the serial sticker, so you can pull up the edge and use your fingers or a set of tweezers to remove the sticker about halfway.
The torx screws in this teardown are a little bit different then what you saw in the Fitbit Charge HR. The torx security, or tamper-resistant torx screw has a post in the middle.
Security Torx Screw
Once you remove all 7 of the screws the casing will need to be removed. I took the spudger to pop up the sides. After loosening up the sides, I gripped the headphone port and the charging port and easily took of the back housing. I will note, you should ground yourself here – this is an electronic.
Once that is removed you get a full view of the circuit board. First things first – you see two weighted metal things with wires. Those are the rumble packs that provide tactile feedback when you’re playing and are 2 speed motors. One thing to note is that the right rumble pack has a much larger weight then the left. The reason for that could be a way for the game to send a little feedback, and then more feedback. So imagine you are playing a racing game and you drive on the grass – you get a little feedback. Then you continue to drive into a wall, you get a lot of feedback with both the motors. What is funny is these motors compared to the Fitbit vibrating motor. Both are so powerful!
Throw back to the Fitbit teardown
You can disconnect the motors by pulling out the white circuit. You may have to pull a bit but you likely will not break the wires.
Then you will see this huge Microsoft Processor X810462-003. Because of the proprietary nature of Microsoft, I can’t actually determine what this processor does, but I imagine this primarily deals with the incoming and out going data and helps the Xbox understand what buttons are being selected and if feedback needs to occur. What I think is really cool here is thinking about how quickly all of this information is processed that the end user hardly notices any delay!
To the right of the processor there is a oval shaped silver piece sticking up. That is the RF Crystal oscillator. What that means is the piece is a radio frequency oscillator that is designed to make the motors shake.
Flipping the circuit board over what is notable is the different grounds from all of the keys. You can easily spot the Y,X,B,A buttons as well as the start, back, and Xbox button. You can also see all the spots of contact that need to be hit when button mashing.
Then you will see the two thumbsticks. You can pop those right off and give ’em a good cleaning. From there, you can see that the stick rotates in 2 main directions and can even click. What is interesting to me is that the button is held down my copper, but does not conduct electricity.
If you are so inclined, you can take apart the directional pad (d pad) but it is really two bits of plastic.
Once you have cleared everything, reassembly is fairly easy and you can definitely touch things and reassemble to make the controller work again.
Hope you enjoyed this teardown. I’ll keep looking for things with less priorietary information as learning is more fun when parts can be researched!