Hello all! I have an amazing modded GBA that I purchased through an eBay builder who was wonderfully communicative and built my console exactly how I wanted it.

Unfortunately, I’ve found myself displeased with one specific feature: the DPad. It takes a great deal of force to move diagonally in any game I play. I truthfully don’t recall this being an issue with my old OEM unit that I enjoyed in highschool. I added some cardstock as a makeshift spacer based on some recommendations I’ve found online, and that improved it only marginally.

Has anyone else out there encountered this issue? If so, do you have any advice?

My initial research suggests the aftermarket membrane for the DPad is the culprit. I’ve cleaned the contacts on the motherboard so I believe that can’t be the problem. If membrane conductivity is the issue, then I don’t know what brand to replace it with. Seems like every thing on the market is built by the same manufacturers?

Any advice you guys can offer would be appreciated!

  • @[email protected]
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    112 months ago

    I had this problem with one I modded myself because the new screen was just slightly thicker than the old, pressing on the outer shell and causing the dpad to need more pressure. The solution that worked for me is cutting a small ring of cardstock and putting it between the dpad and the membrane. It increases sensitivity by a lot, but does come with the side effect that you’ll be able to press every direction down at once if you press on the center.

    • @Jim_Just_JimOP
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      22 months ago

      I did the cardstock mod and it improved it a little, but the force needed is still uncomfortable. Does your thumb hurt after long play sessions?

      • @[email protected]
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        12 months ago

        Yeah, but that seems to be an issue with aftermarket membranes mostly. I haven’t found any that aren’t stiffer than the OEM by a significant degree. If you can find an OEM membrane in good condition, and combine it with the cardstock mod, it usually reaches about the same stiffness. However, after all this time I’ve found OEM membranes tear pretty easily, making them even stiffer than aftermarket, so I personally opted to deal with the stiffness of aftermarket membranes combined with the cardstock. Though nowadays I actually just use an SP because I like that dpad more (it uses metal membranes that don’t as easily wear down.)

  • Dr. Wesker
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    62 months ago

    Could it be membrane firmness is the issue, and not necessarily conductivity?

    • @Jim_Just_JimOP
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      12 months ago

      I’m not sure. I did buy a GBA corpse on eBay to harvest the OEM membranes, just in case that’s the issue.

  • @nugget359
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    52 months ago

    So I had this problem on my modded GBA, my solution was to ever so slightly loosen the screws on the dpad side of the shell. Turned out I was over tightening them

    • @Jim_Just_JimOP
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      42 months ago

      Thanks for the advice. I gave that a try and it seems to have helped a little. Maybe I just need to grow a stronger thumb lol.

      • @nugget359
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        12 months ago

        If you’re feeling confident to open it up you could try loosening the screws a little that hold the board to the shell on the Dpad side too. I’ve had to open mine quite a bit to get it right lol

  • @TimeNaan
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    42 months ago

    I’ve never reshelled my GBA but having installed multiple aftermarket shells on my PSP, I can tell you that d-pad issues are very common because of bad measurements and quality. So maybe the problem is the new shell itself.

  • @[email protected]
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    32 months ago

    It could be that the d-pad traces on the circuit board have worn down over time and now the conductive material on the membrane isn’t able to make a good connection. You could try and check the traces with the continuity setting on a multimeter if you have one. Maybe very carefully going over the traces with conductive paint could help?, but I have never done that for a d-pad before and don’t know if it would work well or hold up over time.