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First released in 2006, the PS3 is one of the most popular consoles Sony ever released. It has sold more than 80 million copies around the world, next to the Playstation 2.

The PS3 has both wired and wireless controllers. This guide tells you all you need to know about charging your PS3 controllers.

How Can You Tell if Your PS3 Controller is Charging?

While PS3 consoles aren’t as popular today, some players still love them. You can still see them up for sale at any game store or some game sites. Both wired and wireless controllers are still available.

Some gamers prefer wired controllers because they don’t want to deal with batteries. With a wired controller, you can plug one end of the attached cable into your console and start playing. But it could be a tripping hazard or that your pets love to chew on it.

Wireless controllers are popular with gamers who want the freedom to move around. It’s also the choice of those who have pets.

How to Charge Your Controller

Charging a wireless PS3 controller is easy. First of all, press the power button to turn on the console. Depending on which model you have, the switch will either be on the back or the right side.

Take the charging cord that comes with your controller. Plug the smaller/squatter end into the controller. Then, plug the opposite end into the slot on the front of the console. This end will have a USB plug. You may need to turn the cord upside down to ensure it fits.

After that, find the power button on the controller. It’s round and has the PlayStation logo in the center. Press and hold this button down until a red light appears on your console. Keep an eye on the controller. You should see a blinking light, which lets you know that it’s charging. It usually takes at least 60 minutes for the controller to charge fully, but you may need to wait even longer.

How Do You Know It’s Charging?

Looking at the light on your controller is the easiest way to know if it’s charging. As long as you see a flashing light, you’re all set. Once this light stops flashing and turns solid white, the controller has a full charge.

Some models do not have a solid light but will cause the light to stop flashing and shut off. You may also have a PS3 controller with a light that becomes solid red when it’s done charging.

If you aren’t sure what type of controller you have, you can check the manual. If you don’t have that anymore, just keep an eye on the light to see what it does as the controller charges.

Does a PS3 Controller Charge When the Console is Off or in Deep Sleep Mode?

Isn’t it frustrating to reach a crucial point in a game with a controller that doesn’t have enough power? It can shut itself off so abruptly that you run your character right off a ledge or into an enemy’s hands.

To avoid this, some gamers keep a spare controller at hand.  Then, they can just reach it when they need it. They keep one fully charged in case the battery in the second one dies.

Can You Charge a Controller with the Console Off?

Nope. You cannot charge a PS3 controller when the console is off. You need to keep the console on and running if you want to charge your controller. If you plug it in and then shut off your PS3, you’ll notice that the lights on both the console and controller shut off.

That doesn’t mean you need to watch a blank screen or stay on the start-up screen. As long as you have a TV with different HDMI outputs, you can switch the output you use. This lets you watch TV or check out a show on Netflix. Simply keep the console on while you use the TV for other things.

Will a PS3 Controller Charge in Deep Sleep Mode?

Have you ever taken a break and come back to find that your console hibernated while you were gone? No cause for worry. PS3 consoles have a deep sleep mode, which is similar to a standby mode.

Standby mode helps the console use less power, which keeps it cool and can prevent it from breaking. It enters this mode when the console is on but not in use. This can happen when you pause the game or on the home screen.

You can also charge your controller when the console is in this mode. It is one of the unique features of the PS3. Other consoles don’t have this because they don’t have enough power to provide a good charge.

As some generations do not offer this benefit, we recommend you try yours. Turn on the console and plug in your controller. You can do other things and let the PS3 idle until it reaches standby/sleep mode. If you see the lights on your controller flashing, you know this works.

Can You Charge a PS3 Controller from a Wall Outlet?

After the PS3 release, several game hardware reviewers complained about charging the controllers. They were especially angry that they could not charge it from a wall outlet. Sony took note of that. Now, you can use a wall outlet to charge it. No need to keep your controller plugged in for an hour or longer until it charges.

How to Charge Your Controller from an Outlet

The easiest way to use a wall outlet is with a USB charger, such as those designed for cell phones. Since the charging cord has a USB plug, it is compatible with these devices.

Plug the charger into the wall and the USB end of the cable into the slot on the top. Then, plug the opposite end of your cable into your controller and start charging it. The same lights will appear to let you know this works.

There are also USB hubs that work great for this purpose. USB hubs often have many ports that let you charge different devices at the same time. You can even plug in several controllers and have them charged and waiting for you the next day.

Using an AC Adapter

One thing to keep in mind is that these charging devices won’t work if you have a Dualshock 3 controller. It’s one of the early PS3 controllers. It’s only compatible with the console and other Sony hardware.

After receiving complaints from gamers, Sony designed and released a portable AC adapter. It comes with two cables and an adapter.

You can plug one cable into the side of the adapter and the wall. The other cord connects your controller to the adapter and lets you charge it via a wall outlet. Always check your controller, as some versions work with ordinary USB chargers and do not need an adapter.

Charging with a Docking Station

Another way to charge your controller is with a docking station. Sony made several docking stations for Dualshock 3 and other types of controllers.

Some allow you to charge one controller. Others can hold and charge two controllers. A wireless docking station is a good option if you don’t have a lot of space. You can use the included cord to plug the station into a wall outlet.

Insert the controller into the dock, making sure that the charging ports line up. Wired docking stations are an easy way to organize your controllers as they charge. They work with your cords but keep the controllers out of your way.

Using Your Computer

Depending on the type of PS3 controller you have, you may find that you can charge it with your computer. Take the USB end of your charging cable and plug it into one of your open USB ports. Plug the other end into your controller and wait for the lights to flash.

Once the controller is charging, you can watch Netflix or play games, and do other things. However, some gamers claimed this method didn’t work.

What Does Blinking Lights on a PS3 Controller Mean?

No matter how many consoles you owned in the past, you probably worry when you come across a new problem. One of them is the lights of your console flashing.

Don’t worry when you see four blinking lights on your controller. If it’s plugged in, the blinking or flashing indicates that it’s charging. The lights will become solid or turn off when it’s fully charged.

When are Blinking Lights a Problem?

The only time those blinking lights are a problem is when they happen as soon as you turn on your PS3. It can mean that the console and controller lost their shared connection. It might also be a sign that the PS3 can no longer recognize the controller.

An easy way to fix the problem is with your charging cord. Plug it in as if you needed to charge the controller with one end in the console and one in the controller. Wait at least five to 10 seconds before you unplug it. It will force a connection and should let you use your controller again. That will also stop lights from blinking.

Blinking Red Lights

You might also find that your PS3 controller has four blinking red lights that appear when you try to charge it. No matter what you do, these lights stay on and keep your controller from charging. If you have this problem, try resetting the connection.

Those lights are often a sign of a lost connection. That might also mean that you need a new controller or a new battery.

Why is My PS3 Controller Charger Not Fully Charging or Not Charging at All?

A PS3 controller can cost more than you would like to spend. There might be some online deals that cost less, but you have to wait days for them to arrive. Thus, knowing the common problems you might have with your controller helps. It will tell you when to replace it.

Not Fully Charging

When you keep playing until your controller dies, you need to plug it in and charge it. It takes up to 20 minutes before you can use the controller again and even longer until it fully charges.

If you plugged it in for an hour or more and still can’t get a full charge, turn the controller and remove the battery. Wait for five minutes before you put them back again. The controller will start to charge again fully. 

A common reason why you can’t get a full charge is that the battery needs replacing. You can either buy a new battery or a new controller.

In some cases, resetting the controller helps. Unplug the controller and turn off your PS3. Plug the cord back into the console and your controller before turning on your PS3 again. Look for the reset button, a tiny spot on the back of the controller. Press and hold it for five seconds. Release and check if the controller will start charging and holding a full charge.

Not Charging

A more serious issue is that the controller does not charge at all. You plugged it for much longer, only to find that it still doesn’t work. This can happen because of the damage to your charging cable. For example, tripping over the cable can weaken or loosen some of the pins in the controller and console. Pets, especially cats, can also damage your controller. They think the cable is a toy and chew on it.

If this is the case, you need to buy new cables. Make sure that you buy your cables from an official Sony store or retailer. Both the console and the controller have a hard time detecting counterfeit cables.

You will have the same problem if you have a jailbroken console. Sony cracked down on these systems and added software to detect counterfeits. It could be the reason why your controller cannot recognize your PS3 console.

Also, try checking the internal battery. If your controller is dead and will not charge, plug it into the console and use it. As long as it powers on, you can enter the menu and check the battery life.

When you see no charge or limited charge, turn it off and try using it without relying on the console. A dead battery will let you use the controller with the console because the cord gives you power. Sony sells replacement batteries that are easy to install.


You don’t need to spend a lot of money on a new console if you still have fun playing PS3 games. One of the most important pieces of hardware you need is a controller. Check out the top questions about PS3 controllers and the answers to solve them.