RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.

Posted on Aug 7th 2019 at 08:00:00 AM by (Addicted)
Posted under Hidden Gems, Xbox

A couple of months ago I found myself at Goodwill. As I browsed through the layers upon layers of cables, keyboards, and DVD players I noticed what appeared to be an XBOX logo. Sure enough, there were two Duke XBOX controllers and at five bucks each they seemed like a good deal. As I paid for the controllers and walked out the door I assumed all the controllers needed was a little cleaning. Little did I know they would turn in to the next Retro Repairs project.

The popular opinion on the Duke controller has dramatically changed since its introduction with the Original Xbox. When it debuted it was decried as being too bulky to use and was quickly replaced by the smaller S or Japanese model. I purchased my XBOX around the time Splinter Cell was released and by then Microsoft was including the S controller. So the Dukes I found at Goodwill were the first I had seen in person.

As soon as I arrived home I placed the controllers in my repair/cleaning station. I pulled out a bottle of 99% isopropyl alcohol and a toothbrush. I dipped the toothbrush into the isopropyl alcohol and gave the buttons, thumbsticks, and outer casing a scrub. Next, I started up my Xbox and plugged the first controller in. To my surprise, nothing worked. When I unplugged the controller I noticed the wire coming out of the end of the duke was frayed and upon closer inspection, a wire was broken. I took a look at the second controller and sure enough, the wire coming out of the controller was broken as well.

You can see the fray in the breakout.

When I looked online frayed or broken cables on the Dukes appeared to be a common issue. I disassembled the controller to see what my options were. The breakout cable led to a single connector on the PCB. I looked online to see if I could find a replacement cable but came up empty. I also looked into swapping out the cable with clone controllers used the same connector and cable they were at least $12 and more money than I was looking to spend.

Since a replacement cable was too expensive I decided to fix the cable. I cut the wire at the break and stripped down both ends of the cable. I then stripped the insulation from the individual wires at each end of the break. This left me with enough space to solder each wire together. I then wrapped each soldered wire in electrical tape followed by taping the entire bundle. Now that the cable was taken care of I used isopropyl alcohol and a toothbrush to clean the buttons and the inside of the shell. I was able to fit everything nicely inside the shell and you can tell the cable is shorter but both controllers work great now.

Looking good!

You can tell the cord is shorter but it works!

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Nice! I enjoy seeing the results of these things you're repairing, and it makes me think that I'm capable of some of this stuff myself. Pretty awesome that you were able to get this Duke working again.

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