The following materials and tools are important for opening and cleaning:

  • Isopropyl alcohol or washing-up liquid
  • Toothbrush (to throw away)
  • Vinegar (household vinegar will do)
  • Torx screwdriver T6
  • Gloves

There are always unpleasant moments when you discover that your beloved controller suddenly doesn't want it anymore. And when you take a closer look, you see that the batteries are not only empty, but leaked right away. Now it is important not only to remove the battery, but to cleanly remove the battery acid residues. The reason is simple, the leaked acid is corrosive and eats through the contacts over time or can damage the circuit board. Both usually lead to the failure of the device and if it is very bad, to irreparable damage.

The Steam controller looks quite OK from the outside

The small lever at the bottom of the controller can be used to easily remove the rear flap. Once removed, it reveals a flat back panel with no screws on it. So how can I open this controller completely? We'll get to that in a moment. First, let's take a look at the damage to see if it's even worth repairing.

After opening you can already see the damage

Ok, looks like a typical battery accident. Now that can mean anything from "a little cleaning" to total corrosion. Let's take a closer look.

In this case, the battery was already welded to the contact.

Yes, here the battery was even welded to the contact. The battery could only be removed from the device with a screwdriver and relatively much force. Not ideal, but at least that means that the metal is not eaten through, otherwise the battery would have fallen out along with the contact.

To open it needs a T6 Torx

In order to open the controller completely, we only need a Torx screwdriver of size T6. The length does not matter, the main thing is T6.

It will no longer look like this

Once you've removed the 4 screws in the handles, you'll notice that the controller still won't open. Well, let's take another close look at the controller, because it won't look the same after the repair. The bad news is that it will have 3 holes after that. The good news, on the other hand, is that we won't see these 3 holes at the end and they will never bother us.

3 screws are hidden under the label

It is best to press the screwdriver relatively firmly through the foil into the screws at exactly these 3 places and then simply unscrew the screw through the foil. You can also feel with your fingers where the screws are located under the foil.

Simply unscrew the screws through the adhesive

The screws are relatively long, so don't give up quickly and really unscrew the screws completely from the controller.

After removing the rear cover

After that, you can remove the back completely and you can already see a large part of the PCB. The top side is not yet accessible, but we will get to that as well. More important here is that the battery covers are still removed.

The lid itself

The cover of the Steam Controller is best placed on its side, as we will need it to store the parts and then re-install them in the right place.

The contact is not yet sufficiently exposed

We see a clear corrosion damage here, but it is not yet clear whether this corrosion has reached the circuit board. That's why we have to continue. It may well be that it would work even without cleaning, but it may corrode further later and then suddenly fail in the game.

Put the side switches in the lid for easier finding

We take out the trigger switches and put them in the cover. This way we know exactly which switch has to go back into the housing in which position at which location.

Better, now the battery covers come away

To remove the battery covers, 2 screws have to be loosened again. Not a big deal.


More can not be exposed on the top side

Now it looks very good and you can clearly see that the damage is very localized at the spring. Nevertheless, we will also look at the other side of the board.

If the board on the upper side also needs to be cleaned

However, before you simply remove the board, 2 ribbon cable connections must be removed. If you don't do this, you run the risk of tearing them off. This would destroy the controller.

Remove the ribbon cable on the left before opening completely

There is the ribbon cable on the left side that you need to carefully remove. A bit tricky. Otherwise, leave it alone if the front side of the board looks very clean.

And remove a similar ribbon cable on the right as well

If you want to do it after all, you have to do the same on the right side again. Only when both ribbon cables are removed, the board can be lifted up.

Now the board can be removed completely

So, without the ribbon cables, the board can be lifted up without any problems.

Carefully clean the contacts if dust/corrosion is present

Check here if there is dust, corrosion or foreign matter on the board and clean it if possible. Isopropyl is always a good cleaner for electronic parts.

This is how it looks to me after cleaning

I cleaned the contact as best I could and am quite happy with it for the first time. Somti can start the assembly.

Reassemble everything

Now comes the beauty of it all: The 3 holes we made in the glue will soon no longer be visible. The last cover namely covers everything and the controller looks like new again, and most importantly, it works again.

The back cover hides the 3 holes in the foil, perfect!