When the Xbox 360, PS3 and Nintendo Wii were released, all three came with wireless controllers as standard. This development was incredibly significant; until this point, wireless controllers were nothing more than a novelty, and here was the industry adopting them as the default mode of control.
Suddenly, gamers didn’t have to sit right next to their TVs, accidentally yanking their controllers out of the ports during a particularly intense multiplayer game.
Yes, wireless controllers are great, but unfortunately with great power comes great responsibility, and with great wireless technology comes great responsibility to charge it. The PS4 has a handy feature whereby controllers can be charged while the console is in sleep mode – a lifesaver for those who want to get on with gaming and don’t want to wait around all day for their controllers’ batteries to replenish themselves.
Sometimes, though, a controller will inexplicably refuse to charge itself. There could be a number of factors affecting this. From the cable to the power source to the controller itself, a range of culprits could be responsible for your controller’s sudden refusal to inject itself with some juice. Here are some things you can do to fix a DualShock 4 controller that won’t charge.
Check the cable
The first place you should look when your PS4 controller won’t charge is the cable. If you’re using the standard-issue PS4 Micro USB cable and charging from the console’s USB port, then it likely isn’t the cable at fault, but if you’ve had the console and the cable for quite some time then it could have been subjected to the usual wear and tear. Connections within cables often break down, and Micro USB cables can be particularly susceptible to this problem. Swap the PS4 cable out with a different one – many phone chargers use the same standard – and see if this solves the problem.
Check the power source
DualShock 4 controllers have a nifty little feature which allows them to charge via mains rather than simply via powered USB port. Not all wireless controllers have this function – the PS3 DualShock 3 controllers weren’t capable of doing this. While this is undeniably a great feature, allowing you to charge your controllers without even needing to power on your console, it can also lead to some unforeseen problems. Mains chargers, especially non-official ones, can sometimes develop faults that aren’t immediately obvious. Try different charging sources for your controller before you blame anything else.
Reset the controller
If your controller still won’t charge, or doesn’t appear to be charging, then it could be a simple software fault. Resetting the controller will restart its processes, including the light bar which comes on when the controller is charging. The reset button on a DualShock 4 is in a tiny pin-shaped hole located underneath the L2 button, so find a pin or very thin object and insert it into the hole. Press the button and hold it down for a few seconds, then let go. Once it’s restarted, connect it with your usual peripherals and see if this helps.
Swap the battery out
Once you’ve eliminated everything that’s possible to do without actually breaking open the controller, it might be something that requires you to get into the internals and see what’s ticking. Don’t worry – this won’t void the warranty on your console (although we’d strongly recommend contacting Sony customer support before you resort to this step). Check out a great guide like this one to find out how to open up your DualShock 4 controller. Once it’s open, you should have access to the battery, which you can replace with a new one purchased from a reputable source. Please make sure the battery is official – we wouldn’t want the new one to cause damage!
Contact Sony customer support
If you still can’t find exactly what’s wrong with your faithful DualShock 4, it might be something beyond your ken, i.e. something wrong with the Micro USB connector on the controller, or something wrong with the circuitry. If this is the case, you’re better off contacting Sony customer support. If your purchase is still within warranty, they’ll replace it for you, and if not, they’ll likely try to guide you through a customer troubleshooting process that should help you work out the problem for yourself. Sony customer support doesn’t bite – they’re here to help!
Buy a new controller
Yes, yes, we know…this doesn’t help you fix your old controller, and it’s not really advice. Still, it might be time to replace that battered old DualShock 4, no? If it’s one of the older ones that doesn’t have the light bar front and centre within the touchpad, then why not splash out and treat yourself to one of those? The build quality is superior, the controller looks nicer, and the analogue stick rubber is hard-wearing. If you can’t quite make the DualShock 4, then try a highly-rated third-party alternative (don’t scrimp on this, though – there are plenty of cheap fakes out there).