No more ALPS joysticks on recent JDM-055 Playstation 4 controllers?

This JDM-055 motherboard came from a broken PS4 controller I bought on eBay.

A few weeks ago I bought a box of broken PS4 controller parts on eBay. There were a few motherboards and some miscellaneous housing bits in the box. It was a good deal. But what surprised me the most was this board inside that had black joysticks with orange potentiometers.

The right stick on the board was cracked, but that wasn’t the interesting part. What was more interesting is that there were no signs whatsoever that anybody had worked on the board before. The controller had been opened up and there was some dust and dirt on the board, but no signs that anyone had touched anything at all with a soldering iron.

No signs that these were soldered in by hand.

These orange joysticks are readily available all over Aliexpress, eBay, Amazon, etc… so it’s not uncommon to find them inside boards that have been worked on before. From the “F” logo on the sticks I believe they’re made by Polyshine/Favor Union, which is the same company that makes the flexible conductive film for the buttons. You can even see the “F” logo on the conductive film in the photo at the top of the page, albeit upside-down.

This board didn’t look like it had been worked on before by anyone. All the solder joints for the joysticks looked original. Nobody had removed the original ALPS sticks, installed these black and orange ones, and then subsequently broken the right stick. This board had simply never had ALPS sticks in the first place. These orange ones were factory original.

I was so curious about this that I actually asked the seller if he knew anything about it. He confirmed for me that he hadn’t replaced any of the sticks himself and had purchased the lot from a wholesale seller. He said the board was like this when he received it.

I was mystified. I was dying of curiosity, but had no answers. The seller had said he believed the wholesale vendor he bought it from was selling Walmart customer returns. I wondered if maybe, like Gamestop does with some products, Walmart had refurbished the controller and used aftermarket parts. Still, it didn’t look like it had been hand-soldered, so it seemed unlikely to me.

Just today I received another ZCT2U controller with a JDM-055 board in it that I bought on eBay. Interestingly, it too has orange and black Polyshine/Favor Union joysticks in it. It also has no signs at all of any rework.

And the serial number, for those who want to try to find one in the wild.

I think at this point I can be reasonably confident that I’ve got my answer. These controllers were not refurbished. Neither Walmart nor any other retailer had anything to do with it. Sony has simply stopped using ALPS joysticks in their controllers and switched to using Polyshine/Favor Union joysticks. Or at least, that’s the case for some of the newest ZCT2U controllers. Maybe it’s just the ones with 1-982-707-21 as the part number?

I’ve worked on plenty of JDM-055 boards that have the usual red, green, and white ALPS joysticks in them, so it’s not the case that all JDM-055 boards are like this. But it looks like maybe the most recent revision uses these new joysticks. They’re almost identical to the similar-looking ones you can find on Aliexpress, but the center button (i.e. L3 or R3) makes the same kind of clicking noise the ALPS ones make. This is in contrast to all the orange and black ones I’ve bought on Aliexpress in the past, most of which have made a noticeably louder clicking sound than the ALPS ones.

Sadly, the controller I received today doesn’t seem to power on. The seller said it was connected to a faulty charger which caused the battery to burn up. That seems to be a common issue, but I’ve seen it most often on JDM-011 and 020 boards. I’ve had plenty of those with burnt up charge ports and melted plastic from the BD9200 chip on the board failing and overheating, presumably due to the controller getting plugged into the wrong kind of charger. But usually those at least power on. They overheat almost immediately, but they do at least come on briefly, whereas this one isn’t even detected by my computer at all. Maybe if I get some time one day I might mess around with it and see if I can figure out how to fix it.

Regardless of whether I fix this thing or not, I think it’s incredible that from the looks of it Sony has dumped ALPS. If I’m not mistaken, Sony controllers have had ALPS joysticks in them since the original DualShock controllers for the Playstation, which means they’ve been together for 25+ years. If Sony and ALPS have parted ways, then this is like some kind of huge celebrity breakup. It’s tragic, in a way. But exciting, too, particularly for modders and tinkerers, since Favor Union joysticks are usually easier to find and not faked anywhere near as much as ALPS sticks are.

22 thoughts on “No more ALPS joysticks on recent JDM-055 Playstation 4 controllers?

  1. Thanks!
    I was beginning to question why I was paying for web hosting when I hardly ever use it for anything. But on the rare occasions that I come across something strange or interesting like this I feel glad I kept the site up, haha.

  2. good day! @smilecitrues I am planning to replace my DS4-JDM-055 housing but the available ones on the net are only PS4 JDM-001/JDM-011 are they compatible? will my DS4 board fit at all regarding the holes and screws etc. this is my first time replacing casings TIA!

  3. Hi,
    No, unfortunately none of the housing for the older ZCT1U controllers is compatible. You would need to buy replacement housing for a JDM-050 or JDM-055 controller. It looks like there are some parts available on eBay, but it doesn’t seem like there are any full sets available yet.

  4. I’m looking for a jdm 055 motherboard can you recommend to me anywhere I can get one for a good price. Iv seen them for sale but there going for about £35 and a new controller is not far off that

  5. Sorry, other than eBay I’m not really sure where you could get a replacement controller motherboard. I think I see the one you’re talking about on eBay and I agree I wouldn’t pay that much just for the board.

    You could try looking for a ZCT2U controller with cracked or damaged housing on eBay and buy it hoping that the board itself is good. I see a lot of controllers that have been dropped, pried open, chewed up by dogs, etc… that have damaged, unusable housing but often have good motherboards inside. Of course, the problem with that option is you don’t know which board revision is inside until you receive it. I think at least the transparent blue ones though all have JDM-050 or JDM-055 boards inside, like these:
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/233286770797

  6. Hey, I got given a water damaged Sunset Orange DS4, it doesn’t hold any charge but I’m still able to use it perfectly fine while it’s (only) plugged into my PS4, I would like to use it wirelessly but I have no idea what’s causing it not to turn on when not plugged in.

    I’m pretty sure the battery has had it and the Bluetooth adapter may of burnt out as well, but I can’t see any sign of of burnt out parts inside. Thank you in advance for any response. 🙂

  7. Hey, I’m sorry but I don’t know how to solve that issue. The only few things I could suggest would be to check the motherboard carefully for any corrosion and clean it off if you find any with isopropyl alcohol. Then try connecting a known working battery and a known good charge port (the entire little daughterboard, not just the port itself). Sometimes those charge ports fail but still look fine visually, so it’s not always obvious when they’re bad.

    If you have another ZCT2U controller you can try temporarily swapping the battery and charge port over. JDM-040 and JDM-050/055 have the connector for the charge port on opposite sides of the motherboard but the ports are still compatible with one another if all you’re doing is a quick test. You’d just have to do the test with the back cover off. If it works then you can just buy a replacement charge port on eBay or Aliexpress, though I’ll just warn you that sometimes the color of the charge LED on those aftermarket ones is different than the originals. It’s often more yellowish-green than orange when charging.

  8. Do you know where I can buy these joysticks? I just replaced the ones on my PS4 controller with some Amazon knock offs. Sadly, the “L3” button can’t be pressed with the stick in the “up” position. It’s incredibly annoying. I’m no electronics pro, but I’ve always been handy and rarely intimidated to fix things on my own. I hate the idea of trashing a controller because a <$10 part no longer functions. Sourcing the Alps brand I’ve found that most distributors are out of stock. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you!

  9. You can find the orange and black ones from different sellers on Aliexpress. I haven’t bought any in at least a year, so it’s possible they might no longer have the exact same ones, but the joysticks I got from this listing were most similar to the ones in the new JDM-055 controllers:
    https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32886096224.html

    There’s another version of the orange and black variety that’s also pretty widely available that uses a metal shaft for the vertical axis instead of plastic. The center button (i.e. L3 or R3) is also a lot louder than the originals. Personally, I don’t like this type very much.

    There are a lot of fake ALPS joysticks for sale all over, but you can still find originals on Aliexpress. You just have to find some good sellers. I’ve bought from these two sellers for years and they always have original ALPS sticks:
    https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32509033779.html
    https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32845334787.html

    If you buy from the first listing just be sure to choose “original”, not “OEM”. “OEM” in this context paradoxically means “not original”.

    Regardless of the version you buy they’ll all be at least somewhat miscalibrated when you receive them (i.e. they will “drift” in one direction or another even when you’re not touching it). They all need manual calibration. You have to bend certain parts using needle nose pliers or tweezers so that the stick is perfectly centered when at rest. That’s why I actually would not recommend getting the orange and black ones. They’re definitely high quality sticks and feel just as nice as the ALPS ones do when you’re using them, but due to their design it’s difficult to adjust the pieces that need to be bent in order to get the stick properly calibrated after installing. In the orange ones the piece that you need to bend forwards or backwards to adjust the vertical position of the stick is split into two at the end:
    http://smilecitrus.info/wp-content/uploads/favor-ps4-joystick.jpg
    This makes it really tough to eliminate any upwards or downwards drift. It’s almost impossible to do so on the variety that has a metal part in that spot instead of plastic, since you can’t easily bend the metal part backwards or forwards like you can with plastic.
    In contrast, the original ALPS sticks have just one solid red plastic part that you can more easily adjust until you get it just right:
    http://smilecitrus.info/wp-content/uploads/alps-ps4-joystick.jpg

  10. Regarding the Calibration, I’m having issues with stick drifting with a bunch of ALPS modules I’ve bought. I have a question about exactly what has to be bent. Is it the metal wheel inside the potentiometer that has to be bent? Or the plastic itself? I’m completely stumped and assumed it was all factory defects until I’ve read this post and noticed you mentioned “Manual Calibration”… Totally made me feel like a dunce… So I’ve decided to reach out to you and hopefully you can help me understand what part inside I need to adjust to calibrate it properly… Thanks!!!

  11. Yeah, I’m sorry, I know I wasn’t very clear. I’ve been meaning for a long time to make a guide with photos. It’s hard for me to explain in writing since I don’t really know the proper names for all of the parts.

    Basically for PS4 controllers what I recommend doing is soldering in the new stick, connecting the charge port, and then plugging it into a computer. There’s no need to connect a battery or anything else. Then head to https://html5gamepad.com/

    If the controller isn’t detected by your computer you may have to install DS4Windows.

    If you’re using Windows 10 you can also use Windows Game Controller Tester at the same time. Use the “Classic Interface” though and be sure to click “Always testmode” under the “Etc Option” section.

    At this point my computer screen looks like this:
    http://smilecitrus.info/wp-content/uploads/joystick-test-1024×334.png

    To correct upward or downward drift, bend this part:
    http://smilecitrus.info/wp-content/uploads/IMG_7799-Copy-1.jpg
    If it’s drifting upwards, then bend the red thing downwards and vice-versa if it’s drifting downwards. You want the values in HTML5 Gamepad Tester to be anywhere from -0.05 to +0.05 when you’re not touching the stick at all (i.e. no more than 5% away from 0).

    If the stick is drifting left or right, bend these pieces just a bit in the opposite direction of the drift:
    http://smilecitrus.info/wp-content/uploads/IMG_7796a.jpg

    Another method to correct horizontal drift is to bend this piece left or right, but personally I find it a little harder than the previous method:
    http://smilecitrus.info/wp-content/uploads/horizontal-joystick-drift.jpg

    It can be pretty infuriating trying to get all the values to be between -0.05 and +0.05 for both the vertical and horizontal axes of both joysticks, especially when it’s your first time trying to do it. You don’t have to get it perfect though, especially if the games you play have reasonable deadzones. A deadzone is simply the threshold for how far the stick has to be tilted for the game to interpret it as an input. Anything below the deadzone percentage is ignored. I’m pretty sure there aren’t any games that have a deadzone as small as 5%, so a stick that drifts 5% or less should probably work perfectly in every game. I’ve personally never had any noticeable gameplay issues with sticks that have as high as a 10% drift. But I’ve heard complaints online that some games do have a deadzone small enough that 10% drift would cause them to be unplayable, so I always try for no more than 5%.

    All of this is pretty much the same for joysticks on other modern controllers as well, including Xbox One. The colors of the joysticks are different, but you can get them calibrated using basically the same method.

    EDIT: Two things I forgot:

    If a brand new stick is drifting by a really large percentage—say 25% or more—then before bending any parts you might want to try replacing this thing:
    http://smilecitrus.info/wp-content/uploads/joystick01-1024×768.jpg

    Sometimes those can cause issues too, especially if they’re bent out of shape. Often you can just clean and reuse the one from the original stick.

    Lastly, it’s not at all uncommon for brand new sticks to simply be defective or damaged due to shipping or handling. I usually find that around 90% of the ones I buy are fine and can be fixed with just a little bit of bending and patience. But 10% or so drift so badly that no amount of bending can get them into usable shape.

  12. 😱 Wow! what a thorough explanation! Thank you so much! You definitely made my day! I will try the above instructions! Again, I appreciate your reply!!!!

  13. Hello I’m desperately looking for the orange and black analog sticks on the jdm-055 board, can you give me a text if you could help me out where to get it at,Thank you

  14. You can find them on Aliexpress. I usually buy the green and blue ones, but I’ve also bought some of the orange and black ones from the listing below and they seem to be identical to the ones on the JDM-055 boards:
    https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32886096224.html

    There are also a number of other sellers who also have them for sale and they’re probably all totally fine. I just haven’t personally bought the orange and black ones from other sellers so I can’t say for certain whether they’re good or not. But here’s a pretty good price on 50 of the orange and black ones:
    https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32647985040.html
    I haven’t bought from that particular listing before, but I have bought the blue and green ones from the same seller in the past and they’re always original and excellent quality.

  15. Could you sell me a ps4 motherboard with the orange and black analog sticks because I’ve been trying to sauder them onto different boards and I’ve been unsuccessful.

  16. Hey, is there any way you can sell me a ps4 motherboard with the orange and black joysticks? I’ve been trying to solder and found no success

  17. I’m sorry, but I don’t have any to sell. I’ve only ever found a small handful of them “out in the wild” and already sold them all.
    There are a few sellers on eBay who have JDM-055 boards for sale, but it doesn’t look like any of them have the orange and black joysticks. Maybe you could ask this seller if he or she has any?
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/254234661952

    When I replace joysticks I always first add some leaded solder to each solder joint and then remove the old stick using hot air at 380 C. I honestly don’t think I could do it without the hot air station. If you have a good heat gun you could probably use a lower temperature, but I have a lousy, cheap one. Then I just use desolder wick to remove all the old solder and install the new one. You do need to use a really high temperature though to suck out all the old lead-free solder. I always set my iron to 380 C for PS4 controller boards and have never lifted a pad, so it’s safe to use temperatures higher than you’d use on other devices.

  18. Hello this is James again i went on eBay and haven’t had any luck finding the orange and black analog sticks that is shown in your picture, is there a chance that you have a set or even 1 orange and black analog stick that i could buy from you.My son started off in professional esports playing with them in his remote until recently they broke, I would pay top dollar for an orange and black analog stick,Thanks

  19. Hello this is James again i went on eBay and haven’t had any luck finding the orange and black analog sticks that is shown in your picture, is there a chance that you have a set or even 1 orange and black analog stick that i could buy from you.My son started off in professional esports playing with them in his remote until recently they broke, I would pay top dollar for an orange and black analog stick,Thanks

  20. Hi,
    I do have some of the orange and black analog sticks. I just don’t have an entire motherboard. I’d be happy to sell you an analog stick on its own.

    As with the green ALPS sticks though, you’ll probably need to calibrate them by hand by bending some parts with pliers or tweezers after you’ve installed the new stick. Otherwise it may drift in one direction or another. I have some instructions here:
    http://smilecitrus.info/?p=3273&cpage=1#comment-11841

    I’ll send you an email in a minute.
    Thanks.

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