I ordered my parts from this eBay seller, who I also ordered my pink 360 parts from, since I was so happy with their quality and even though he's in the UK he ships awful fast. And...also because Extremerate.com didn't have the start/back buttons in their button sets, and I really wanted to do pink for those.
I got the parts earlier this week and kind of sat on it for a while, but while the sun was shining and the boyfriend was cooking a turkey, I finally decided to start on my little project today.
The first step is to remove all the case screws on the underside with a #0 Phillips screwdriver. There are 5 screws in total to remove the case, all very obvious to find, no hidden ones like on the 360 controller.
Once again, the case requires some maneuvering to get off, especially around the 2 triggers. BE CAREFUL. These CAN pop off, but it's not like you weren't going to replace them with a better color anyway, right?
The back of the case has absolutely no parts in it, so you can just set it aside once removing it. All of the parts of this controller sit in the front. First thing you can do is remove that pesky battery. It's kind of clipped onto the motherboard on the left and right, just lift it up and it should come off. Disconnect it from the plug on the left of the motherboard as well.
The motherboard is connected to the front of the case by another screw, which I highlighted above in red. Same type of screw as the ones that held the case together. I knew about this screw, but what I DIDN'T know about was that the vibration motors are held in by clips, which I highlighted above in purple. Below is a picture of what I was looking at before removing those clips. I was so confused.
But how do I get to the buttons?!
You've also got to pull back the piece of plastic where the trigger buttons sit from the front of the case, but that was pretty easy to figure out. The whole plastic piece should now come out along with the motherboard, allowing you sweet, sweet access to those front buttons, which just come right out. I recommend holding the front of the controller face down so that they don't just fall out all over the floor.
Remember when I said those trigger buttons come off easily? That's why one set is missing in these pics.
Also, see the green in the above picture? That's part of the guts of this controller, all these super thin circuits inside a very thin piece of plastic that feels like you could easily tear it. Be careful with that, I was scared I was going to crack it.
The analog sticks are the same as they were on the 360. They just pull right off and there's a little knob that sticks out that they just pop right on to.
Putting the new analog sticks on.
I hate trigger buttons.
They're probably my least favorite thing to replace. The 360 controllers actually used springs, but these use a little piece of wire to give them their...springyness... Don't lose it, they're sneaky little things.
So, below you'll see how the trigger I removed from the controller has that middle plastic bar with the metal bit and the two I got don't. Don't panic! The middle part pops right out (again, watch out for that sneaky metal piece). Also, as easy as the triggers remove from the case, they pop back in just as easy. Also: the metal piece also needs to be on the side that will be closest to the outside of the controller (left trigger? left side. right trigger? right side.) Once in the controller pat of the metal will be inside the trigger and the other part will be pressing against the plastic inside the controller. You can see how the metal bit should look in the second picture below, and see how the 2 trigger pops into the controller in the third picture.
Once you've got all that done, screw the motherboard back on, clip the vibration motors back in place, plug the battery back in and (without screwing it back) put the back of the controller back on. Give it a good few button and trigger presses to make sure everything feels right. I don't really play PS3 that much so I took Rich's controller and went back and forth between them to make sure everything felt the same before screwing the case back on.
Final step: Enjoy your awesome, custom controller!
Also, for comparison, here are my 360 and PS3s side by side. Twinsies!