PS3 Controller – charged by anything but PS3?

Take a look at this shocking photo that Sony doesn’t want you to see:

A laptop computer charging a SIXAXIS? Say it isn't so!

Here’s the story – so I plunk down to play Resistance online, right? (Which is a lot of fun I must say) But the PS3 wireless controller is reading “low battery”… even though it had been plugged into the PS3 via the cord overnight. Apparently it only charges when the console is ON. That’s… interesting, but the cord is quite short so it’s kind of hard to play (corded up) while charging.

Since [the controller] has a standard digital-camera style USB cable I figured the charging must occur via the +5 volt line so I sat my laptop on the coffee table (which was closer to my chair than the PS3) and plugged the SIXAXIS into that. Lo and behold it began charging the controller, and I could play the game wirelessly while it did.

While I am definitely not in the “Sony is doomed!” / “Wii60!” camp, I must say this controller thing is kind of lame. A lot of devices keep a +5 volt supply on the USB rail even when when main power is off, it’s odd that the PS3 doesn’t. Especially since it’s used to charge the controller.

Morale of the story – if you want to charge your PS3 controller overnight, plug it into the Xbox 360 or Wii’s USB ports – they have constant voltage, even in off mode (or “orange LED” standby on the Wii.)Â Even a lot of computers keep +5 volts on the USB hot. Weird. I should do more testing, but off the cuff this looks like another Sony misstep.

21 thoughts on “PS3 Controller – charged by anything but PS3?”

  1. I saw a travel adaptor on QVC (UK) the other day that would plug into a US socket & had a USB socket on it so you could use it to charge a device plugged into it, I guess like the PS3 controller. I can’t believe that Sony didn’t do it so it charged on standby, fools!

  2. My MacBook shuts down it’s power to the usb ports on standby. Too bad I’m afraid of putting my PC into standby mode to find out if that’ll power up. But my guess is no.

  3. or you could use a motorola RAZR charger, also a mini USB. The only thing that could go wrong is voltage etc…

  4. haha funny people are JUST now figuring this out. Ive been pluggin my 360 controller into my computer when the systems off. The problem though with ANYTHIGN that charges the PC wont shut off when its fully charged, unlike the 360 or ps3, so be warned. Itll kill your battery life if you keep it plugged in

  5. OOOPPPSSS! would be Sony’s anticipated response. I guess in the rush to put the PS3 out, they forgot to check the voltage on their USB ports when the system is off! As a 360/Wii fan, I can only laugh at this mistep. Oh the feeling of complete domination when i go to charge my PS3 controller through my 360…muhaha. I hope that Sony corrects this issue in future shipments of PS3’s.

  6. LOL. I’m not really surprised. Sony and Microsoft rush their consoles to launch with all kinds of problems. It makes me glad I’m waiting for one of the subsequent re-releases. Hopefully then it will have more bugs worked out. I waited 8 months to buy my Gamecube and haven’t been disappointed.

  7. you can use your xbox 360 camera on yor ps3 and charge your moto razr too if u dont know !!! Locos! ! !

  8. The problem I have with this is that I think it isnt a mistake by Sony. I think in a world where people dont want to put all their machines in standby mode cause they consume electricity without there being a need for it this isnt such a bad thing.. of course if people want this as an option then sony could probably very easily fix this and add it in the hardware configuration menu with a patch update but how is this a crazy mistake that should cost people their heads… This is a very very complex machine and sony (regardless of there stupid shipping issues and overpricing and ridiculous personnel quotes) is doing its best to provide a worthy successor to the PS2 … not an easy thing to do I might add.

    Anyway thats my two cents worth

  9. Dear Benjamin,
    I am 9 years old and I wonder if you could tell me anything else about it.

  10. Motorola’s RAZR has a charger that uses mini-usb physical form factor — but it will not charge on the standard 5V USB. They force you to purchase their chargers (at around $25 retail) by requiring 5.5V — the phone displays “Unable to Charge” if you connect it to standard USB. Bastards.

  11. For some strange reason my controller will not charge via my laptops USB sockets. I am using windows vista but that shouldn’t matter should it?

  12. It’s possible Sony assumed that users would plug in devices that used the USB ports power (i.e. fan cooling systems) and would not have “auto shut-off” features. So they figured you turned the PS3 off by remote and the fan systems would also shut off. Not a bad idea on it’s own, but seeing as the remote is charged from the USB port it is agreeably shot sighted. At least 1 of the ports should have been active and maybe only the other 3 turn off for fan systems.. Oh well. damn near everything has a USB port on it thats usable anyways…..

    Razr off USB. My Razr’s charge just fine off a standard cable. However I have heard some require a driver on the be installed first. Search google and you should find it.

  13. It’s called phantom charge… If something remains pluggen in even if the main power is off and it is able to charge a controller it means it sucks up electricity anytime it’s plugged in. This raises your electric bill. Computers do this too so long as they’re plugged in. The Ps3 might not be able to do the same. This would mean that it does not increase your electric bill if it has it’s main power off but it is plugged in. but i’m not entirely sure.

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