I've noticed for quite a while now that all of my PS3 controllers lose their charge even if they are not being actively used (I have three, this almost always means that by the time the one I am currently using runs out of charge, the ones I pull out of the closet, which were fully charged when I put them in, have one bar of battery tops).

I admit that most of my controllers are pretty old, but they are definitely not seeing an excessive amount of use by gamer standards. Is this unusual, or just the way PS3 controllers behave?

  • Yes, i think all batteries lose their charge. Even a cellphone when turned off will lose their charge. Same for a laptops and such. – Lyrion Apr 12 '13 at 9:34
  • Yes, but what I find unusual is the speed at which the controllers lose their charge. My DS can go months without being touched and maintain full juiciness. – Aubergine Apr 12 '13 at 9:41
  • this all has to do with the age of your controllers. As you said yourself the controllers are pretty aged. So replacing the controllers internal battery would most likely fix your problem. – Marco Geertsma Apr 12 '13 at 10:01

Your PS3 controller batteries are old, as you've mentioned. Meaning they hold less charge. This is the number 1 contributing factor. However there is another factor: the amount you use them has no effect on their ability to hold charge, but does affect their current state of charge.

There are three things that make a battery lose its charge:

a) Use: obviously
b) Disuse: This one's a bit tricky.

Crash course in basic electronics:
The thing that causes electricity are actually small particles called electrons. In wires and other materal that conduct electricity, these electrons pretty much roam freely, however because they're negatively charged, they are attracted to strong 'positive' charges, and repelled by negative ones (like other electrons). This is exactly like how magnets have a north/south pole.

Why we care:
Batteries 'store' electricity by pulling all the electrons up one end of the battery. When you're using a battery, they slowly trickle out, are 'used' and are fed back in the other end of the battery, eventually equalling out the battery's charge again (making it flat).

The problem is, when you're not using the battery, the electrons actually drift away from each other (because they repel each other) and eventually drift away so much, that they cause an equillibrium again. 0 net charge. Flat.

  • This is the contributing cause to why you pull your controller out of a cupboard, and it has so little charge

c) Age of the battery.

Most batteries use chemicals. These chemicals tend to break down over time (whether you're using the battery or not). As such, the maximum charge they can hold becomes less and less as time goes on.

  • This is the contributing cause to not being able to hold charge for long periods.

Long story short: Buy a new controller. Make sure it's actually new, and hasn't been sitting on a shelf for 2 years, otherwise the age of the battery will still be apparent.

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    I was hoping someone would come along with such a pleasing answer. Thanks! – Aubergine Apr 12 '13 at 13:11
  • 1 important thing to note is that when a battery is fully dead it will become useless and might leak – ratchet freak Apr 12 '13 at 16:44

You may have a duff battery. I'd advise replacing the batteries. This is the same for any electronic device. Laptops, Phones, Hand-helds etc...

My Xbox360 controllers last just over a week with a docking station & rechargable packs.

  • Duff battery? What exactly is that? – deutschZuid Apr 12 '13 at 10:08
  • @deutschZuid Where the circuit has cut on the battery - thus appearing not to last longer. – Sean Apr 12 '13 at 10:09
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    @deutschZuid: "Duff" is British English slang for "broken" or "low-quality". (And one day our Empire will once again see the sun at all hours of the day, and the Queen's English will be mother-tongue of the world! If that's not too much trouble for everyone.) – Paul D. Waite Apr 12 '13 at 11:15
  • @PaulD.Waite Exactly. Apologies for the term (as I am British), I understand that not many people would understand this jargon. – Sean Apr 12 '13 at 12:07
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    @PaulD.Waite: Amen to that. Superiority I tell you. British dominance. – Sean Apr 12 '13 at 14:23

This is depending on how much the PS3 is used. This may be caused by:

  • PS3 being overheated
  • dodgy controller
  • constantly banging or hitting controller

My suggestion is you either buy a new controller or use your USB connection wire a lot. Maybe it just needs a big long charge.


It is perfectly normal for controllers to loose their charge because the battery is always connected to the circuit board and a small part of the circuits are monitoring the power button (home) so that consumes a small of power in ther range of a few µA to hundreds of µA. My Logitech mouse does it, your phone does it. Bassically everything that has a soft power circuit and not a hard on/off switch. Cheers :)

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