Playstation 2 guitar with broken “strummer” repair

I recently bought a Playstation 2 guitar, model Red Octane PSLGH on Swedish eBay. The seller described that the white “strummer” only works one way: upwards. It make sense since most player press it downwards while playing, so I suspected a simple mechanical issue would be the cause. To scroll menus and song lists, the strummer has to work both ways, and I play by pressing it downwards, so in this post I will fix the strummer. My favorite guitar game is Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock.

Playstation 2 guitar broken strummer

To open the guitar you have to unscrew a bunch of screws on the body, neck and headstock of the guitar. Then, you can divide it into three parts. Inside a number of components are easily accessible. My impression is that these guitars are robust and well built. To access the “strummer”, you have to unscrew an additional four screws on the green pcb-card.

Playstation 2 guitar screws

Playstation 2 guitar disassembly 1

When you flip the pcb-card you’ll find two microswitches which are pressed when you “play” by pressing the white strummer. These switches have a characteristic clicking sound. To remove them, desolder the joints I have marked in the picture below. If you want to test that the fault really lies within the switches, you can short circuit these joints with the guitar connected to your Playstation 2. Then, the game should react like if you had pressed the corresponding switches.

Playstation 2 guitar micro switch

Playstation 2 guitar solder joints

As suspected, the microswitch was worn. The metal parts inside was exhausted and I was not able to fix them: they either end up to close to each other and connects all the time, or to far away to make any connection at all.

How to solve this? I basically replaced the content from the switch to another microswitch I had laying around. I had to cut the height of the “button” a bit to make it fit into the plastic casing. However, the “feeling” in this switch is somewhat different (more stiff) than the original, and that will affect game play. So, I switched place on the up and down switches:

  • The old “up” switch becomes “down”: It is less used and will probably last for a good while longer.
  • The new switch becomes “up” to navigate menus etc. This will not affect game play since I play by pressing “down”.

The legs on the new switch constituted a good fit in the casing and the pcb. In the picture far down on this site, both switches are soldered to the pcb. Some glue to provide extra stability wont hurt. Then, you can just assemble the guitar back together again. Hopefully, it will last a few extra years. Meanwhile, I will keep an eye out for additional microswitches that can be used as spare parts.

Playstation 2 guitar new microswitch

Playstation 2 guitar new solder joints

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