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.

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

  1. I mod ps5 controllers and I have the orange stick modules on a dualsense ps5 controller I just purchased today. This is the first controller I purchased with these modules. Its obvious Sony barely uses these. They feel really smooth though.

  2. Hey man, this is a very cool and informative blogpost. If you ever find a way to fix the issue of the 055 overheating / not powering on due to morherboard issues please let me know. I literally have over 20 of those laying around here, such a waste to just throw them away and i simply cannot find out how to fix this. My final move will be to reball the 2 chips on the board, though i have too little experience to know whether i’ll have done a good job on one and rule out if i’d done damage to the board in the process.

  3. If the board becomes hot when you try to plug it in it usually means the S2P6001A chip is bad. It’s the one in this photo.

    You can buy replacements on Aliexpress, but they’re around $17 each, so it’s not really worthwhile in my opinion.

    I was lucky enough last year to find someone selling a box of physically damaged PS4 controller motherboards. They all had severe damage like ripped up traces, multiple lifted solder pads, torn off battery connectors, or were burnt, so none of them were practical to repair. Luckily many of them were JDM-055 boards so I was able to remove the S2P6001A chips from them to fix others.

    I’m still not an expert on this, since I only had around 30 to 40 good chips from the boards in that box, but in my experience every single time I replaced the S2P6001A on a board that overheated it fixed the issue. Also, if you have boards that power on and then appear to charge (i.e. the orange light comes on) but never actually do charge the battery, this can often be fixed by replacing the S2P6001A. I also fixed a few that wouldn’t power on at all by replacing the S2P6001A, but I also had some that weren’t fixed by this.

    Just be careful when removing or soldering in the chip using hot air so that you don’t accidentally blow away the little resistor to the upper left of the chip. If you clumsily knock if off the board like I’ve done so many times I guarantee it’ll disappear and you’ll never find it again, haha.

  4. I just bought 10 ps5 controllers and not even a single one of them had the orange modules. if anybody has a ps5 or even a ps4 controller with orange modules I’ll buy it off you and pay for shipping.

  5. Eh, they’re really about the same. I think it’s just a matter of preference. The orange and black ones feel a bit smoother when rotating them around in a full circle.

    The orange and black ones do have an issue though. They seem to have some residue left inside the axis resistors from the factory. When you buy brand new ones and look inside the axis resistors you’ll see some white gunk in there. I don’t exactly have any hard evidence to back this up, but in my experience repairing them it seems like the gunk in there often leads to them developing drift sooner than the ALPS sticks. I often get controllers that are extremely clean and look like they’ve hardly been used that have major stick drift due to this. So when you get a controller that has a the orange and black sticks it’s always a good idea to clean inside the axis resistors using isopropyl alcohol as a preventative measure, even if they don’t have any drift yet.

  6. Does anyone know what the value of c23 an c24 are I knocked them off unsoldering one of modules, and can’t find it anywhere.

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