/The ups and downs of taking apart my Steam Deck

The ups and downs of taking apart my Steam Deck

Note: This is not a guide to disassembling your Steam Deck and is more of an example of what not to do. Always use the right tools for the right job and seek professional repair if you are not confident in your skills..

I am a neurotic woman. If something bothers me, it must be addressed correctly. now. It doesn’t matter if the time is right to do it or if I have the necessary resources. So when the B button on my Steam Deck started to get stuck… well, what was the response? Take the damn thing apart, of course.

The Steam Deck impressed from the start not only with its impressive playing power for something so small, but also, as demonstrated by Valve, user-friendly construction with modular components. This makes the Deck one of gaming devices most suitable for hackers and repairs currently available. And after opening it myself, I’m convinced that all expensive gaming devices need to be designed to such a high standard of user-repairability.

Taking things apart is standard for me.

I once suspected there was a problem with my B button I looked for answers on the Internet and, surprise, it’s a common problem. There are some solutions to this problem that do not involve opening the platform, such as using fine grit sandpaper either a small piece of tape. But after reading about this particular B button issue, which stems from a manufacturing oversight in the system’s plastic casing, I was convinced something different was plaguing mine.

Read more: Valve made the Steam Deck easy to mod and repair, and it’s starting to pay off

Too many hours playing on aura LAN parties with gamepads too close to fast food and Mountain Dew bottles have taught me what is so specific. stuck the sentiment is My immediate thought was: “Someone needs to learn to stop eating at their fucking desk while working on Steam Deck items.”

This was not my first rodeo. I have built PCs, completely disassembled and reassembled laptops, consoles and gamepads. I regularly repair and assemble guitars, including electronic soldering, neck adjustment, and even fretwork on occasion, and have done state-of-the-art modifications with mirrored glass. inspired by the work of Ned Evett. I have my success stories as well as my failures. I had this, okay?

I almost made a critical mistake while opening the device

I made a deal with myself: I would finish my game of metal storm1991 Rockin’ shooty gravity-shifting NES platform game, So take this thing apart. And I made my peace knowing that I might destroy my Deck in the process… because I don’t have the right tools for the job.

Yo drained the battery with the witcher 3, then put the Deck into battery storage mode via the BIOS. This disables the power button and makes it only turn on when the charger is plugged in. The internet claims that it is essential before disassembly.

Read more: 11+ Great Steam Deck Games That Won’t Drain Your Battery

Disaster struck almost immediately. I unscrewed the eight screws on the back and was ready to open it… and then I saw that my microSD card was still in the slot, which you need remove before opening box or you will tear the letter in half.

So I took that out.

I hate opening things with my fingernails, but I don’t have any iFixit tools. So, I used a resource I have in abundance, on floors, under cabinets, in random pockets: guitar picks.

I chose my current standard of 0.83mm Dunlop Tortex Flow picks. As I learned, this is a great way to scrape and chew through the plastic seams of the deck to the point that it now looks like someone has been “there” (been there). relic, thank you so much). I’ve learned that a .50mm guitar pick is a bit kinder to plastic, though it bears repeating: You shouldn’t open your Steam Deck like that.

The inside of a Steam Deck shows many parts and ribbon cables.

There are many others like it, but this mess is about to be mine.
Photo: my city

Once open, I looked at my archenemies: ribbon cables.

I don’t really know what my problem is with them, or what their problem is with me, but ribbon cables give me anxiety.

To get to the buttons, you would have to disconnect several ribbon cables, remove two circuit boards, the trigger, and the bumper. Also, every YouTube channel told me to remove the protector, disconnect the battery, and probably wear a grounding bracelet. I decided not to do those last three because I didn’t want to. (Reminder: this is not a guide).

Everything went surprisingly well. But the L2/R2 trigger assembly was tricky. You have to pry it off its plastic hinges (real tip: remove the spring first) with a certain amount of force that will cause your brain to warn you: Stop, you’re going to break this.

I stuck some electronic tweezers in there and pulled. This is what is known as a fucking brilliant idea™.

The back of a Steam Deck module shows a scratch.

Now I have become death, the damager of the Steam Deck modules.
Photo: my city

The pliers slipped and ripped through the control stick module, cutting a weld joint. But I have a soldering iron; I could fix that. Also, You can buy the Deck’s analog stick modules separately. And I was going to stop there? No. That B button needed to be fixed.

I went through everything else and finally dug up the buttons under the bumper mechanism and yes, there on the B button was something… junk? Crap? Stuff? A little bit of alcohol washed it out and I started putting it back together.

Reassembling the trigger sucks, by the way. I ended up resorting to cutting a stick of abalone guitar binding material to push the spring in properly. I only dropped the spring once, which took me a few minutes to find with my phone’s flashlight.

The pieces hang from a Steam Deck.

I’m pretty sure I remembered where it all went.
Photo: my city

It’s time to put back together…but wait a minute

I adjusted the case, took the screws and realized… never connected those ribbon cables again. (See? My ultimate enemy.) So, uh, let’s open the cover again with a guitar pick.

After reconnecting the cables, reattaching the case, and reattaching the screws, it was time to reattach the power cable to see if I blocked it or broke anything.

My Steam Deck exploded, not with kinetic energy but with joy, igniting and letting me cast aura so I could make sure my damage to the solder joint on the right analog stick wasn’t actually breaking anything (and I’m pretty sure the scratch could melt anyway).

As I jumped in delight killing Covenant, I realized that the Deck felt very different in my hands. Not physically, but… emotionally, perhaps?

Works! What was I worried about?
gif: 343 Industries / Kotaku

After opening the thing up, seeing what’s really in there, and removing a portion of the pieces to get to a front mechanism, the deck felt less valuable and I felt more confident in my ability to keep this thing running for its entire life. . Previously, it was just like any other black box of a consumer electronics device, like my phone or my Switch. Now? I know firsthand that the Deck is a user-repairable device, so I won’t feel weird opening it up again. Just… maybe I’ll buy a couple of proper tools next time.

My B button still gets stuck, by the way. But not in that gross, sticky way, just in a sticky, sticky way that matches the descriptions of what many other Steam Deck users are dealing with. It’s time to get some sandpaper.