Nintendo’s Switch may be out and selling really well, but it has a design flaw that leaves much to be desired from the Joy-Con pads – notably, the left Joycon drops its connection far too easily, and the right Joy-Con is subject to interference issues. Switch owners that were handy with a soldering iron discovered that they could fix the left Joy-Con by attaching an external antenna to the Bluetooth controller chip, fixing the connection issues and even extending the range by between three to six meters depending on the size of your room and any interference from other devices on the 2.4GHz frequency. Nintendo has now come forth with an official fix for the same issue, and it’s somewhat amusing to read.
In a statement issued to media partners in the U.S., Nintendo asserts that there’s nothing wrong with the Switch’s design or the design of the Joy-Cons, and that a fix will be offered for free.
“There is no design issue with the Joy-Con controllers, and no widespread proactive repair or replacement effort is underway. A manufacturing variation has resulted in wireless interference with a small number of the left Joy-Con. Moving forward this will not be an issue, as the manufacturing variation has been addressed and corrected at the factory level.
We have determined a simple fix can be made to any affected Joy-Con to improve connectivity.
There are other reasons consumers may be experiencing wireless interference. We are asking consumers to contact our customer support team so we can help them determine if a repair is necessary. If it is, consumers can send their controller directly to Nintendo for the adjustment, free of charge, with an anticipated quick return of less than a week. Repair timing may vary by region.”
The fix, as CNet discovered, is the placement of a small block of conductive black foam to reduce interference from other signal sources. This doesn’t boost the signal in any way, mind, which means that the Joy-Cons will still have connection issues if you sit more than three meters away from the console when it is docked. Fixing that issue entails replacing and extending the antennae on both Joy-Cons, voiding the warranty. To fix those issues, Nintendo may have to issue a recall or a redesign of the Joy-Cons, or alternatively offer a swap-out of the fixed versions once they are available.
Also, Switch users should be reminded that Nintendo’s official advice when using the Switch is to never use it near an aquarium, a microwave, or any device that outputs a wireless signal on the 2.4GHz band. I suggest building a Faraday cage for it and setting yourself up in there.