Steam Deck Thumbsticks: Type A and Type B

The Steam Deck, Valve’s exciting addition to the handheld gaming world, brings PC gaming to your fingertips, literally. At the heart of this device are the thumbsticks, tiny yet crucial elements that play an essential role in delivering an immersive gaming experience. This article will dive deeper into the different types of thumbsticks available for the Steam Deck – Type A, Type B, and the innovative Gulikit Hall Effect thumbsticks – and provide insights into identifying and replacing them.

The Steam Deck Thumbsticks: Type A and Type B

The Steam Deck comes fitted with one of two models of thumbsticks: Type A or Type B. Physically, these two models are almost identical, and their primary function remains the same: to provide gamers with precision and control. However, there is a minor, yet crucial, difference between them. Each type is associated with specific capacitive touch capabilities, which enable the device to detect finger position even without pressing the thumbstick. To maintain this functionality, it’s essential to install the correct thumbstick type during replacement.

How to Determine Your Steam Deck Thumbstick Type

The Steam Deck’s system settings hold the key to identifying the thumbstick model in your device. Here’s a quick guide:

  1. Launch your Steam Deck and navigate to “Settings.”
  2. Select “System” from the settings menu.
  3. Look for the “Steam Deck Controller ID” under the “System” menu.

The Controller ID will either start with “MEDA” or “MHDA,” indicating the type of thumbstick your device uses.

  • “MEDA” corresponds to a Type A thumbstick.
  • “MHDA” corresponds to a Type B thumbstick.

Gulikit Hall Effect Thumbsticks: A Game-Changing Alternative

In addition to the standard Type A and Type B thumbsticks, gamers have an exciting alternative in the form of Gulikit Hall Effect thumbsticks. Available for purchase on platforms like Aliexpress and Amazon, these innovative thumbsticks use magnets (the Hall effect) to determine the position of the stick, as opposed to the traditional method of metal rubbing on metal used by potentiometers.

AKNES GuliKit Joysticks for Steam Deck (Type A & Type B), No Drifting, Hall Effect Sticks Replacement, Left/Right Thumb Grip Parts for Steam Deck Console-Electromagnetic Joystick (No Soldering)
  • [Perfect Compatibility] GuliKit Electromagnetic Module joystick (New model: SD02), designed to perfectly fit Steam Deck Type A and Type B. The included converter allows you to easily select the TYPE you want. (‘Settings → System → Steam Deck Controller ID’, ‘MEDA’ is Type A, ‘MHDA’ is Type B), [Not compatible with OLED version].
  • [No More Drifting] Bid farewell to stick drift, creeping, stuttering, blind spots, non-centered, broken, and loose joysticks with GuliKit’s patented 3D Hall Effect Sensor joystick.
  • [Easy Installation] No need to worry about soldering, the joystick comes with installation caps that preserve Steam Deck’s original touch functionality. If you experience stuck joystick issues, it is due to the cap that comes pre-installed and came loose during shipping. You only need to press the cap vertically down in the center position to use it normally.
  • [Seamless Calibration] Select the Type A or Type B mode on the joystick board, enter the joystick calibration interface on Steam Deck and press the tiny switch on the joystick board if the spot is off the center position. (Follow the installation and calibration steps in our product description picture).
  • [Satisfaction Service] With AKNES, you can confidently enjoy our top customers’ support. If you encounter any issues, please reach out to us and we’ll be happy to assist you.(Read the AKNES store page introduction, you can contact us.)

This switch from potentiometers to the Hall effect offers two primary advantages:

  1. Durability: Traditional thumbsticks can gradually lose accuracy and develop stick drift due to wear and tear on the potentiometer. In contrast, the Gulikit Hall Effect thumbsticks’ sensor will not wear out because it uses magnets to track stick position. Therefore, these sticks are likely to outlast their traditional counterparts significantly.
  2. Precision: Standard thumbsticks usually have a factory-set dead zone of about 5% – 10%, which can limit precision. The Gulikit Hall Effect thumbsticks, however, offer superior accuracy that necessitates less than a 1% dead zone throughout the stick’s life. This enhanced precision allows for more delicate and controlled movements.
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Currently, only the Type A model can be replaced with Gulikit Hall Effect thumbsticks. But the campany is working on Type B replacement model as we speak. We will update the article as they will become available.

Replacing Your Steam Deck Thumbsticks

Once you’ve identified your thumbstick type, you can proceed to purchase the correct replacement. Whether you choose a Type A or Type B thumbstick or opt for the Gulikit Hall Effect thumbstick, remember that replacing thumbsticks involves opening your Steam Deck, which may void your warranty if not done correctly. If you’re unsure about the process, consider seeking professional help to avoid potential device damage.

In summary, understanding your Steam Deck thumbsticks is integral to maintaining optimal gameplay. The thumbsticks, though small, greatly influence your gaming experience. Knowing how to identify and replace them, and the availability of innovative alternatives like the Gulikit Hall Effect thumbsticks, empowers you to take control of your handheld gaming experience.

A Final Word on Thumbstick Maintenance

Maintaining the thumbsticks on your Steam Deck is essential for the longevity of your device and the quality of your gaming experience. Regular cleaning can prevent dust and debris from affecting the thumbstick’s movement. Also, treating your thumbsticks gently can prolong their lifespan. Remember, forceful or aggressive use can lead to faster wear and tear, leading to issues such as stick drift.

In the event of thumbstick failure, however, know that options are available. Whether it’s a direct replacement with Type A or Type B thumbsticks, or an upgrade to Gulikit Hall Effect thumbsticks, solutions exist to get your device back up and running.

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Marcus Richardson

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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