It looks like Nintendo might have quietly rolled out a fix to stop the problem of de-syncing Nintendo Switch Joy-Con controllers.
In an article on CNET, Sean Hollister writes about how he sent his troublesome Left Joy-Con off to Nintendo for repair. When it was returned he discovered a tiny addition inside, a small piece of black foam. Luckily for fans of electronic innards he captured the controller’s before and after states for us to pore over.
In the first image you can see the controller before it was sent to the Nintendo Joy-Con hospital.
In the second picture you can see what Hollister received back. Expecting to see a change to the antenna – as many homebrew workarounds have suggested – he instead saw a little piece of black foam positioned in the lower-right corner.
According to Hollister’s colleague, TechRepublic teardown guru Bill Detwiler, it’s a piece of conductive foam that has been treated with nickel or copper so that it can shield the Joy-Con. The assumption is that the foam sits on top of the antenna and blocks out RF interference from other electronic devices and, erm, aquariums.
Being the curious sort, Hollister removed the foam and, sure enough, the synchronisation issue immediately returned. Interestingly, a brand new Left Joy-Con Hollister recently purchased from Amazon works perfectly, and doesn’t include a piece of conductive foam. This has led to speculation that Nintendo has already made adjustments to its production processes to ensure all future Joy-Con controllers work perfectly.
Whilst technical snaggles are part and parcel of any new console launch, the Joy-Con problem – along with screen scratching – threatened to overshadow an otherwise promising launch for the Nintendo Switch. It’s certainly good news if the Japanese game maker has reacted quickly and fixed the problem at source.
Update: 8PM – 03/23/17
Shortly after publishing this article Kotaku received a statement from Nintendo confirming that the problem has indeed been identified, and is related to a ‘manufacturing variation’.
“There is no design issue with the Joy-Con controllers, and no widespread proactive repair or replacement effort is underway. A manufacturing variation has resulted in wireless interference with a small number of the left Joy-Con. Moving forward this will not be an issue, as the manufacturing variation has been addressed and corrected at the factory level.”
It’s the kind of phrase that suggests a bit of a balls up at one of the Nintendo’s manufacturing facilities. Luckily the fix seems simple enough and Switch owners should contact Nintendo support if they experience any Joy-Con issues.
Here at Thumbsticks we haven’t had any hardware problems with our Nintendo Switch consoles at all. Let us know about your experiences in the comments below.