Once upon a time, I purchased a not-so-well-preserved WaveBird controller for my GameCube. Today I finally did justice to it.
The poor controller before the treatment: dirt, sweat and generic gunk had accumulated pretty much everywhere on its surface. What was the previous owner thinking?
As you can see, the left analog stick was completely worn out, so I purchased a modern reproduction. It looks “good enough” and even it replicates the original rubbery coat.
After unscrewing the 8 bottom 3-winged screws, the controller opens in half. Notice how much crud had accumulated (yuck!).
The battery cover was also quite filthy.
More dirt was revealed as soon as I removed the controller board.
4 more screws and the triggers come out.
The controller board in all its beauty. Apart from some hairs under the left stick, not much dirt managed to squeeze inside the outer shell.
I took care of the board by using a cotton swab and some isopropyl alcohol.
Time for a soapy bath!
My recipe for cleaning controllers is to use a soft toothbrush and some dishwashing liquid. “Pro tip”: always remember to use a drain filter to avoid losing tiny stuff as the contact domes which can become really hard to see in dirty/soapy water.
After brushing every bit, rinse them, and lay them on a hand towel, then dry them individually. Tap them against the towel to remove residual water inside of buttons, nooks & crannies. The final touch before reassembling the controller is to use a hair dryer on medium heat to ensure no moisture remains trapped inside, potentially damaging the circuitery.
Ta-da! Here’s the controller in all its glory.