I just had three left Joy Cons start drifting wildly within a week of each other after 2-3 years of medium use (then heavy use after Animal Crossing came out!) I was wringing my hands trying to decide whether to wait for Nintendo’s repair shops to open back up or do the repair myself. I finally just decided it wasn’t worth the wait and frustration, bit the bullet, and bought parts from the store here.
I shouldn’t have been worried. Get yourself a good light source, a clean surface to work on, and the proper tools. The ZIF connectors are definitely fiddly, so you really do need a good pair of needle-nose tweezers. This repair can be done by someone without repair experience if they take their time and work carefully. Expect to spend 30-40 minutes for your first fix, and 20-30 for each additional controller once you’ve got the hang of it.
Thanks so much to the folks at iFixit!
Just chiming in with a differing experience. I have three left Joy Cons I bought at the end of 2017, one is the original from the Switch, two were bought separately. All three had the H stamped in the back, and all three were compatible with the #-stamped replacement parts I bought from the store here. I should have whipped out my calipers, but the ribbons didn’t feel any thicker.
I’m sure Scott is right: there are probably some early controllers that have a different style of connector, but I don’t believe the stamp shape is a reliable way to determine compatibility.
Scott: I hope you were able to repair your controllers!