I recently bought two more Dual Analog controllers alongside consoles. I opened them up to wash the plastic parts and replaced the membrane switches for new ones, so basic servicing.
I discovered, that the previous Dual Analog I have was different in terms of analog pad mechanisms. There is two sort of axle designs in them, one with circular steel axle and another one with oval plastic axles (to prevent the pad from spinning, like it does with the circle axle). This is interesting concidering the fact, that Sony manufactured those controllers for like 6 months between '97-'98. So maybe they had in mind to keep the controller as it is and further improve it, but strangely, they pulled them out of the market in favour of the Dual Shock design, that became the standard after that. However, it's hard to determine, that which design was the first one, since I couldn't find any manufacturing dates inside the controller shells.
Second thing I noticed was with PSOne controllers. I have two of them and they are also having different parts inside of them. Propably the older one is the one with normal turquoise analog pad mechanisms and proper plastic frames for shoulder button PCB's. But second one I have features cheaper looking white analog pad mechanisms and the shoulder button PCB's are without any plastic frames, propably to reduce costs and this is a sign, that it is propably the last revision on the end of the console's lifecycle. But the design on the second, later controller isn't good, since those shoulder button PCB's are pretty weak looking design, so heavy gaming might break them pretty easily. Other thing I noticed on the controller is that the later one features straight, retangular led light going next to the Analog-button, whereas in the other ones, the led is on the main PCB and guided from there to the analog button with clear plastic.
So yea, Sony kept constantly updating the designs on the devices and who knows, maybe there is even tons of differences in the Dual Shock controllers themselves. But one thing is sure, best controllers to get is the ones between '98-'00, but that's hard to determine from the outside, that what year is it. Note, some prefer the original ones, but that's another story.
BIOS, Controllers, Memory Cards, Serial I/O, Parallel I/O, etc.
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