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Circuit Breaker

Nintendo is using foam to fix faulty Joy-Con controllers

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The company may also be replacing circuit boards for new controllers going forward

Nintendo Switch

Since the Switch launched there have been reports of issues with the left Joy-Con controller, which have been plagued by connectivity problems. Nintendo addressed the problem at the time by recommending that users avoid nearby sources of interference and moving any obstructing objects (including fish tanks), but a report from CNET’s Sean Hollister seems to indicate that a more permanent fix may be on the way.

Enterprising Switch fans have disassembled their controllers to discover that while the problem-free right Joy-Con has a dedicated antenna board for connecting to the console, the left Joy-Con’s antenna is integrated into the main board, where it appears to be obstructed by internal metal components.

Hollister contacted Nintendo about the issue with his own controller, and received one back with a piece of what appears to be conductive foam on top of the antenna to protect it from interference. According to Hollister, the additional chunk of foam solved his connectivity problems, and removing the foam caused the controller to stop working again until it was replaced.

Additionally, it’s possible Nintendo may be taking additional steps to solve the left Joy-Con problem. Hollister writes that along with sending his problematic Joy-Con in to Nintendo for repair, he also ordered a new unit from Amazon. The replacement unit didn’t have the extra foam, but appears to have a different internal board, leading to speculation that Nintendo may be fixing the problem on the manufacturing side with new parts. On the other hand, it may still be a little early for Nintendo to have addressed the problem, and manufacture and ship a new run of the Joy-Con controllers, so we’ll have to wait for an official comment from the company to know for sure.

But either way, it’s good to know that Nintendo is finally taking steps to address the Joy-Con problem that don’t involve voiding your warranty by soldering in a new antenna.

Update: image removed at CNet’s request.