The internal battery may be dead. To test this out, try the controller on a PlayStation 4 console, and see if it still shuts down after 5 seconds. This seems like an obvious answer, but working in technical support, I can tell you that even we miss the little things from time to time.
The immediate solution is to plug it in and let it charge. It sounds like your already naturally doing this; however, you could also be at the end of the battery lifetime. Rechargeable batteries don't last forever, and multiple causes can lead to a lower battery life. At first, the battery may only last half the time it did when the controller was brand new. Eventually, the battery will only give you a few seconds of life, before completely cutting out.
What can I do to prevent this from happening?
This is inevitably going to happen. We are not at the technological stage where rechargeable batteries last forever. There are a few things you can do to prolong the lifetime of the battery:
- Let the controller completely discharge before plugging it back in to recharge.
- Let the controller completely recharge before unplugging and/or playing with it.
Do not let your controller continue charging once it has reached its maximum battery capacity This last rule generally applies to rechargeable batteries, so I'm leaving it here for reference; however, numerous sources 1 2 3 have confirmed that the controller is designed to stop charging at maximum capacity. In other words, the controller will do this step for you on its own.
What can I do if I confirm my controllers rechargeable battery has completely died?
If this does turn out to be the issue, there are four possible solutions you can consider:
- If the controller is still under warranty, you can reach out to either Sony or the store where the controller was purchased for a replacement.
- If the controller is not under warranty, you can still reach out to Sony (and sometimes the store where the controller was purchased - always worth checking) for a repair. This will likely cost you; and sometimes, the cost of repair significantly outweighs the cost for replacement.
- Replace the controller. If the controller does not have any sentimental value, this might be a cheaper alternative than paying for a repair.
- Replace the battery. This is by far the cheapest solution, outside of warranty, but may require a bit of technical expertise on your side. There is always a risk of further damage to the controller, which will also void any warranty claim. Only do this if you know what your doing and the warranty has already run out on the controller.
How do I replace the internal battery?
There is a great guide for this at ifixit.com, complete with step by step images. I also found this video, on YouTube: