Changing the LED lights inside your favorite controller is pretty simple. For each controller you will need a low power soldering iron, 60/40 resin, a sponge, a pair of pointed tweezers, and your new LEDs. You can use a higher wattage iron, but it is safer to start with a low watt to avoid the possibility of destroying your motherboard. To open a 360 controller, you will need a t8 screwdriver. A small Phillips screwdriver is used for the ps3. When removing the screws from the 360 controller, there is a hidden screw found inside the battery pack terminal behind the rectangular shaped barcode label.
To get started, you will need to tin the soldering iron. This simply means melting rosin on your iron and then wiping it off with your sponge. When cleaning the iron, I found that wetting the sponge a little on one side works best. I like to clean the iron after each step to increase the contact.
Once you’ve removed the screws, there are a few steps you’ll want to avoid breaking the controller case. To disassemble the Xbox 360 controller, you will need to press down on the thumb levers and gently pull the controller apart. To avoid losing any of your buttons, I recommend applying a strip of tape to the front of the controller to keep everything in place. Once you have done this, you will have to remove the rubber levers from their mechanism, remove the motherboard and put everything aside so you do not lose anything.
The PS3 controller is somewhat easier to disassemble. Once you have removed the screws, simply separate the two halves. Next, you’ll remove the rubber joysticks and pull the tab connecting the R’s and L’s out of its clip. Now you are ready to remove the old lights from the motherboard.
To remove the LEDs, I like to use a technique called floating. To do this, you will need to melt some rosin on the griddle until it makes a small bubble on the griddle itself. It may look like it’s going to fall off, but don’t worry, it will stay on the plate. Once you have done this you will float the bubble back and forth across the LED to remove it. This will most likely take only a few seconds and the LED will stick to the resin. Then you will simply clean the iron and repeat the process for each light.
Applying the new LEDs is a bit more difficult than removing them. First, you will need to look at the bottom of the new LED and determine which side the arrow on the bottom is pointing to. You should point the arrow to the negative side of the motherboard. If you can’t figure this out, turn on the controller and the LED will light up if you’ve aligned it correctly. I like to leave the battery and the rear half of the controller connected. This is so you can use the touch pad to turn on the controller. For the ps3, you can simply connect the charging cable. Once you’ve lined them up correctly you’ll use your tweezers to hold the LED in place and just add a little rosin to both sides and you’re done. It may take some time, but a little practice will make things much easier. Now you are ready to show off your new light controller with your favorite colored lights!