My PS5 Dualsense Controller is moving by itself

DualSense controller is pretty great improvement over PS4 one. But what if your controller starts behaving abnormally? Some users have reported a phenomenon known as ‘drift’, where the controller seems to move or operate by itself without any input from the user. Here’s a detailed guide on what to do if your PS5 DualSense controller keeps moving by itself.

What is stick drift in PS5 controller?

The term “stick drift” refers to when a controller registers movement without any input from the user. It might feel like your character on the screen is moving by itself, or the camera is panning without your control. This problem is not exclusive to the PS5 DualSense controller. It’s been reported in various controllers across multiple platforms, including Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons and even previous PS4 controllers.

Drifting can happen for a number of reasons. The most usual ones are dust or tiny bits of dirt getting in the way of the joystick parts, a software error, or just regular use causing damage to the parts inside. There’s also another point to consider. It’s about the type of joystick technology used in controllers.

To explain further, most controllers have ‘analog sticks‘. These sticks, over time, can get worn out or damaged, which can lead to drift. However, there’s another type of joystick called ‘hall effect joystick’ that is much more dependable. These hall effect joysticks never experience drift.

The reason why we still have drift issues is because most companies choose to use analog joysticks in their controllers. They do this to save money, as analog joysticks are cheaper. Despite being more reliable, hall effect joysticks are not used because they cost more. This decision by companies to use the cheaper option contributes to the drift problem. Gulikit is working on replacement hall effect joysticks for Dualsense Edge, but the release date is TBA yet.

Alright, let’s get into fixing the stick drift.

How to fix stick dift in Dualsense controller?

Restart Your PS5 and DualSense Controller

Like many electronic devices, sometimes the solution is as simple as turning the system off and then back on again. Here’s how you can restart your PS5:

  • Press the PS button on your controller to open the Control Center.
  • Scroll to the ‘Power’ icon on the far right and select it.
  • From the options, select ‘Restart PS5’.
  • Wait for the system to restart.

Once your PS5 has restarted, you should also restart your controller:

  • Press and hold the PS button on your controller until it turns off.
  • Once it’s off, press the PS button again to turn it back on.

Try using the controller again to see if the drifting problem persists.

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Reset Your DualSense Controller

If restarting didn’t work, the next step you can take is resetting your controller. This process will restore your controller to its default settings, which may solve the problem if it’s caused by a software glitch. Here’s how to do it:

  • Locate the small reset button on the back of your controller. It’s in a small hole located near the L2 button.
  • Using a small, thin object like a paperclip, press and hold the reset button for about 5 seconds.
  • Once you’ve done this, reconnect your controller to your PS5 using a USB cable and press the PS button.

Test your controller again to see if the drift issue has been resolved.

dualsense edge sticks

Manipulate the Analog Sticks

In some cases, the issue might be due to the sensors in the analog sticks needing recalibration. If the previous steps didn’t solve the problem, you can try manipulating the analog sticks as a possible solution.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Press and hold both analog sticks inward for approximately 10 seconds.
  • Next, rotate the analog sticks clockwise for 10 seconds.
  • Follow this by rotating the sticks counterclockwise for another 10 seconds.
  • Finally, push the analog sticks inward once more for an additional 10 seconds.

This process helps recalibrate the sensors and may eliminate stick drift. After performing these steps, test your controller to see if the problem persists.

Update Your Controller’s Software

Like the PS5 console, the DualSense controller also receives periodic software updates that can resolve various issues, including drift. Here’s how to check for and install controller updates:

  • Connect your controller to the PS5 using a USB cable.
  • From the home screen of your PS5, go to Settings (the gear icon at the top right).
  • Select ‘Accessories’, then ‘Controllers’.
  • Check the ‘Software Version’ information for any updates.

If an update is available, your PS5 should download and install it automatically when connected to the internet.

Clean Your DualSense Controller

If the drift issue is due to physical debris like dust or grime interfering with the joystick’s mechanics, cleaning your controller could help. Here’s a simple way to do it:

  • Use a can of compressed air to blow into the areas around the joystick. This can dislodge any dust or small particles that might be causing the issue.
  • If the problem persists, you may want to use a few drops of isopropyl alcohol (70% or higher) on a cotton swab to clean around and under the joystick. The alcohol can help break down grime and evaporates quickly, reducing the risk of liquid damage. Make sure the controller is powered off before you do this and give it adequate time to dry before turning it back on.
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Remember, opening your controller can void the warranty, so proceed with caution.

dualsense edge joystick

Replace the Analog Sticks (Advanced Option)

If none of the above steps resolve the stick drift issue, you might have to consider a more drastic option – replacing the analog sticks. However, it’s important to note that this step requires technical skills, the use of specific tools such as a soldering iron, and an understanding of the controller’s internal hardware.

Here’s a brief overview of the process:

  • Unscrew the controller to remove the outer casing.
  • Carefully remove the plates protecting the internal components.
  • Locate the faulty analog sticks and replace them with new ones.

Due to the complexity of this procedure, it is recommended only for those with prior experience or expertise in handling electronic components. You may potentially cause more harm than good if you’re not careful, resulting in additional costs for repairs.

If you’re not comfortable with attempting this process, consider seeking the help of a professional or purchasing a new controller if the stick drift problem persists.

A drifting DualSense controller can seriously disrupt your gaming experience on the PS5. However, the strategies and tips provided in this guide should help you resolve this issue and get back to enjoying your games.

Whether it’s a simple restart, cleaning, software update, or even analog stick manipulation, there are several ways you can fix this common problem. If everything else fails, you can always replace the controller for a new one. Also, check out our article on fixing stick drift in Steam Deck.

FAQ

Do PS5 controllers use Hall effect sensors?

No, PS5 Dualsense controllers use analog joystick sensors. They don’t use superior hall effect sensors.

Are Hall effect joysticks better?

Hall effect sensors in joysticks can offer several benefits. They are often more precise and more durable than potentiometer-based designs because they are contactless, which means they don’t wear out over time

Marcus Richardson
Editor-in-chief

I love testing and writing about new tech. I'm also a gamer and an engineer. Check out my Twitter for keyboard stuff.

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