Weekend Workshop: How to install LED joystick lights on a PlayStation controller

Need something to keep you busy this weekend? Look no further. The Weekend Workshop is our weekly column where we showcase a badass DIY project that you can complete with minimal skills and expertise. We’ve dug through all the online tutorials on the web, and gone the extra mile to pinpoint projects that are equal parts easy, affordable, and fun. So put on your work pants, grab your tool belt, and head to the garage — it’s time to start building!

Despite the high level of excitement and thrills offered by gaming systems, the controllers Microsoft or Sony package with their consoles leave much to be desired. Available in either a stock white or black finish, these traditional controllers are, well, plain. Although companies like Mad Catz offer innovative options for gamers to jazz up their controller game, these offshoots tend to be more of a nuisance than a help — and let’s face it, these are always the controllers Player 2 gets to use.

Well, thanks to some handy work by Instructables user Calkinsd9, some simple soldering work coupled with the installation of a few LED lights is all anyone needs to do to give their Sony-issued DualShock 3 controller a welcome facelift. In a walkthrough published to the popular DIY site, Calkinsd9 came up with the idea for LED lighted joysticks not just to give his controller some added color but to fix some of its sticking buttons and triggers. Though the builder took the opportunity of opening the controller to fix a few things under the hood, an ailing controller is not required to pull off this project.

To help you get a head start on this project, we’ve sifted through the walkthrough to find exactly what’s required for successfully installing the LED lights. Due in part to the fact the project requires the use of a soldering iron, we highly recommend you understand how to use one (or recruit someone who does) before undertaking the build. With that said, here’s everything you’ll need to get started:


  • Soldering iron
  • X-Acto knife
  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Glue gun


  • 30 AWG wire (two different colors)
  • 3mm red LEDs (4)
  • 82-ohm resistors (2)
  • Solder
  • Clear or opaque thumbstick piece (2)
  • PS3 DualShock controller

After assembling the required tools and materials, it’s now time to start on Calkinsd9’s walkthrough. Just follow each of the clearly defined steps and before long, you’ll have your friends green with envy over your new and improved DualShock controller. Happy building!

The entire step-by-step walkthrough for installing LED lights on a DualShock controller can be found here.

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