PlayStation Move Teardown

Taking apart the controller in the PlayStation Move teardownSony’s plan to change gaming forever is a light wand with seven buttons, a compass, a gyroscope, an accelerometer, and a vibrator motor. Oh, and they threw in a safety strap for good measure. Sony is claiming that the Move “only does everything,” so we took one apart in an effort to see how exactly it could possibly accomplish such a lofty mission.

The PlayStation Eye camera bundled with Move is nothing new: Sony’s been shipping it since October of 2007. So we focused our attention on the Move controller, which ended up being super-easy to take apart.

We awarded it an 8 out of 10 Repairability score (10 being easiest to repair) since all one needs to do is remove a few Phillips screws to pop it open. Inside we found other easily replaceable components: the battery can be removed by unplugging its connector, and the trigger comes out as one unit. It looks like you may not have to toss your $50 controller in the trash if it runs out of juice.

Teardown highlights:

  • The Wii and PlayStation use different methods of locating their controllers. The Wii Remote has an infrared (IR) sensor built into the controller, and uses triangulation from the IR emitters on the sensor bar placed near the TV to locate itself. PlayStation Move, unlike the Wii, can locate the motion controller in 3D space. The PlayStation Eye camera visually recognizes the X/Y position as well as the relative size of the glowing sphere on the motion controller to pinpoint the controller’s location.
  • The Move contains many of components found in today’s smartphones: a processor, accelerometer, gyroscope, Bluetooth transmitter, vibrating motor, and even a MEMS compass. It’s an amazing amount of tech for the money, even though we still think it’s steep to pay $50 for a controller. Compared to a $40 WiiMote, though, it’s quite the bang for the buck.
  • The sphere at the top of the Move lights up via LEDs inside the controller. The LEDs are capable of putting out any color, which makes it easy to differentiate between players. They can also change colors mid-game, creating another source of user feedback. The color of the orb also changes in response to its environment, ensuring optimal visibility and detection by the PlayStation Eye.
  • The internal lithium-ion rechargeable battery lists a minimum capacity of 1320 mAh at 3.7 Volts. The battery gets brownie points for being able to be disconnected from the Move without any soldering. Just unplug the connector and plug the new one in.
  • The vibrator motor lifts off, however it still remains connected to the motherboard. It’s definitely smaller than the two vibrating motors stuffed into a Sony DualShock 3 Controller.
  • The Move motherboard loses points on repairability due to the vibrator motor, LED, charge contacts, and EXT cables being soldered down.
  • We were not able to identify the gyroscope manufacturer from a surface examination, but we suspect that it is the white-labeled part #Y5250H.
  • As LEDs get warmer, their brightness decreases. Having a heat sink in the LED assembly not only keeps the LEDs at the optimal operating temperature, but also increases the longevity of the diodes. The clear plastic lens on the far left helps diffuse the light from the LEDs to light up the orb uniformly.
Removing the battery in the PlayStation Move controller teardown
Taking out the battery
PlayStation Move Controller teardown
Final layout