I want to charge my Vita via my PC's USB port. When I connect it, it hooks up to the PC and I can transfer items back and forth, but it does not charge.

I looked around and saw a few posts saying that you have to enable it in the options, which I did but still it doesn't work.

My USB 2.0/3.0 ports work for charging since I also charge other things, such as my iPod, iPhone, etc.

Is anyone else having problems charging the Vita from a PC?

  • It is incorrect to assume that a port that charges some devices will charge all devices. Some devices, like the iPad, will not charge from a port that they deem not powerful enough, whereas other devices will simply charger slower from the same port.
    – kotekzot
    Feb 16, 2012 at 20:31
  • @kotekzot actually the iPad does "charge" from USB always, but when in use at all it will discharge faster than it charges (hence it shows the not charging icon).
    – Ben Brocka
    Feb 24, 2012 at 8:26

10 Answers 10


I found that it works for me, but only if I switch the system off completely (holding the power button untill the prompt comes up, then turning it off via touch). I don't have the Content Manager installed and I do have the "USB power supply" option enabled.

The USB port on my PC is a standard USB 2.0 port.

  • i switched this one as to the "correct answer" because i tried it and it does charge as long as the system is off. probably faster to just wall charge it but still....turns out my GalaxyTab is the same way.
    – somdow
    Mar 2, 2012 at 14:10
  • It's actually stated in Sony's support site that in order to charge via your computer's USB, you need to completely turn of your Vita manuals.playstation.net/document/en/psvita/basic/charge.html
    – sikachu
    Feb 1, 2013 at 5:04

The Vita's battery is 2200 mAh, so turning it off and charging it on a USB 2.0 port (max 500 mA) would take almost 4.5 hours, which isn't great. If it's on, its power consumption rate can get up to about the same as that charging rate, so you wouldn't be doing much except turning the battery into a bomb.

According to this the Vita's charger is rated at 1500 mA, and other chargers are 2000 mA. This is significantly more than the USB 2.0 maximum or USB 3.0 max (900 mA). As Resorath says, that must just not be enough.

  • then why not supply a double usb cable that draws power from 2 usb ports? Feb 17, 2012 at 2:37
  • @MatthewRead FYI, standard USB 2.0 ports top out at 500 mA, but spf alludes there is a dedicated charging spec that allows for significantly more. Also, some manufacturers just supply more since not all devices follow the spec.
    – EBongo
    Oct 28, 2012 at 18:57

All of the postings here seem to be correct, however for different reasons.

All USB ports will supply 100mA with or without negotiation.

Since 2007, the USB spec requires that 2 types of "charger" can connect to a USB client. Either a "dumb" dedicated charger or a “smart device” which can chat in order to negotiate the amount of current that it would like. The “smart device” can itself be of two different types, a “Standard device” or a “charge downstream” device. These only really differ for the purposes of this discussion in the maximum amount of current that they can supply [following negotiation], either 500mA or 900mA.

So how does a USB device recognise whether it’s being plugged into a dumb charger or a “smart” host? The charger should have a short between the D+/D- pins which, upon initial connection causes a logic 1 to be seen by the client on D- identifying it as a charger. Whereas a smart host has resistive pull downs, so the D- is seen as a logic low identifying it as a “smart device”.

In the case of a smart device [assuming that the host PC has the correct drivers installed] it will ask for the current it needs, or be quite content with the standard 100mA supplied without negotiation (though strictly speaking this could drop to 2.4mA but I’ve NEVER seen this implemented in practise). Hosts will only allow the device as much current as they can supply. Following this negotiation, an agreement is reached and the device decides how best to use its allocated current: Can it charge itself? Can it power itself? Can it both power and charge itself? Can it do nothing except “talk”? These decisions will also vary depending if the device is “on”, or “in standby”, or “off”.

If the negotiation fails for any reason, such as missing drivers, most real world devices assume that they can have 100mA and proceed with that assumption, though this may slow down charging or stop it altogether depending on the PC USB implementation.

However, this power control is expensive and many real-world USB ports simply supply several hundred milliamps [or more] without any negotiation. These ports will usually be fuse-protected, to prevent a faulty device plugged in taking down a whole motherboard! Un-negotiated large-current capability is nice, as USB fans/lights etc and other essentials [ahem] can function quite easily on MOST computers without any intelligence built in. It really depends on the host manufacturer to decide what to do for the best compromise.

Now regarding chargers. The USB spec requires that a charger can supply at least 1500mA But this is far more current than many devices can use in reality, requiring the chargers to be over-engineered. This over-engineering is very expensive, particularly for OEM suppliers.

So what to do? Simple - do not put the short circuit in between D+ and D-. When the device is plugged in, it does not see the short circuit and so assumes either a “smart” device” or its own proprietary charger! It tries to negotiate for more power, the dumb charger ignores it, and so the device assumes that the proprietary charger is attached and it “knows” that this charger can supply the current that it needs, whatever that is, 100mA, 500mA 750mA or whatever.

If one tries to plug another device into the same charger it may not work as it will not recognise it as either a “real” charger or as a “smart host”, or it may simply assume 100mA capability, but this is probably not enough to power and charge most modern devices. Ironically, plugging the device itself into a proper USB compliant charger should still work.

People have hacked chargers or USB cables to create a short between D+ and D- for these charger types, such that proper clients recognise them as chargers. The danger is that these clients will then assume that the charger is fully USB-spec compliant and can thus supply 1500mA. Trying to draw this much current could overheat the charger or cause other damages. It is also potentially dangerous. There should of course be some over-current protection, but unfortunately this also costs money and cheapo-chargers won’t have very good, if any, overload protection either!

When connecting a device to a portable smart “battery powered” charger, the device can also be fooled in the same way, with the short-circuit-trick, but you are again relying on the chargers regulation and over-current capability. Typically these chargers tend to be very sophisticated and so generally this is not an issue. More generally, some of the better ones (e.g. power traveller products) have automatic dual mode-charging (constant voltage or trickle current) and these can be forced into constant-voltage mode, which is preferred over the “short circuit” approach for bigger items like the PS-Vita.

So, what if a device requires more current than the specified 1500mA? e.g Apple devices or some smartphones. For example the iPad requires 2.1A to both charge and operate simultaneously. This much current would break [or cause them to cut out] the cheapo-chargers and also even the fully USB compliant ones.

Apple use various resistor divider networks on the D+ and D- pins of the charger to create very specific voltage levels, this tells the iPad that the charger is capable of safely supplying the 2.1A required. If the iPad doesn’t see these levels it does not try to draw 2.1A as it believes the charger to be incapable. Various blogs state that Apple are ripping everyone off by forcing them to use Apple chargers. This is not quite true. It is true that this is not in the USB specifications but neither are Apple’s requirements.

In summary: due to conflicting reasons of cost and modern high powered USB devices, manufacturers are finding clever ways to overcome the limitations of the USB power supply and charging specification. Generally most are USB compliant. Swapping over chargers may or may not work and hacking cheap-ones to “appear” to work is not always safe. Fully USB compliant 1500mA chargers [with the D+/D- short-circuit] should be able to charge any USB device requiring less than 1500mA, [Apple anomalies notwithstanding] though these will be more expensive, but safer and will work across more devices. Conversely, if you have a cheap-as-chips charger with a low current capability like “100mA” stamped on it or a "spare" USB port on your PC, it may still work, but try to charge the device with the device turned “off”.

If you are interested in how much current your device, PS-VITA or whatever has "negotiated" then in Windows: just look in Control Panel > Device Manager > Universal Serial Bus Controllers > Generic USB Hub > Power. The Vita is around 2400mAH capacity so if the value here is 100mA it will take 24 hours to charge. With the drivers (or whatever Sony call their software, "Content Manager"?) installed it should recognise the device correctly and this current should be a higher value which will charge faster.

  • 1
    An excellent, if a bit long, answer :). For those interested, you can download the (USB) Battery Charging Spec 1.2 here . There are also a lot of good blogish posts about this issue, like this one.
    – EBongo
    Oct 28, 2012 at 19:04

The official documentation does not mention that you can charge it from your computer. the USB specifications allow between 500 - 900mA, and your computer may not put out sufficient power.

The iPhone and iPod will charge on your computer for example, but the beefier iPad requires its own power brick as well.

  • An anon. editor pointed this part of the manual out: You can also charge your system by connecting it to a USB device such as a computer using the USB cable. When charging your system using a USB device, turn off your system. You cannot charge your system when it is in standby mode. To completely power off the system, press and hold the power button for two seconds, and then tap [Power Off] on the screen that appears.
    – agent86
    Feb 20, 2012 at 0:27
  • so wait r u now saying that as long as the system is off, that it CAN charge off of the USB?
    – somdow
    Feb 22, 2012 at 14:22

There is a setting in the system for charging off of the USB power supply, but it does require that you have the content manager assistant software installed, or the Vita will immediately disconnect from the PC and not charge. You won't be able to use any generic USB charger ports to charge the Vita either. Just like with the PSP Go, this is the slowest, least efficient way of charging the Vita, and may take several times as long as using the official charger as the other answers have stated.



"You can also charge your system by connecting it to a USB device such as a computer using the USB cable. When charging your system using a USB device, turn off your system. You cannot charge your system when it is in standby mode. To completely power off the system, press and hold the power button for two seconds, and then tap [Power Off] on the screen that appears."


I thought my PS Vita was defective at first because it wasn't charging, then I simply looked at the plug that plugs into your vita. Make sure the side with the Playstation logo is facing forward.


It's the USB connector. Mine also doesn't charge through USB.

My girlfriend just got the Little Big Planet bundle and hers charges through the USB port perfectly fine. When I plugged her USB cable into my Vita it charges my Vita, yet when I use mine it doesn't charge at all.


In order to use any USB device to charge a PS Vita you will need a modified USB extension cable to bridge the Vita and the USB charger. Details can be found at http://www.snapturtle.com/wp/2012/02/22/ps-vita-usb-charging-solved/

This issue is related to how the PS Vita and the PSPGo before it function when plugged into a USB source. In order to "trick" the Vita to charge, you need to "short" the connection. You can do this by modifying a USB extension cable and using it to bridge the connection between the Vita and the USB charging device.

  • Hi Jeffrey, and welcome to Gaming! We generally prefer to have the relevant information on our site rather than at an external link. Would you mind adding more detail to your answer?
    – agent86
    Feb 23, 2012 at 15:01

The PS Vita does charge via USB on a PC and such, so long as you have the option enabled (it is by default). The issue is that tt isn't visible on the unit which is why people don't think it's actually charging.When you use the supplied charger you will see the battery visual change to show that it's charging. When you plug it into a PC you won't see this visual, but it will still charge. You don't need any software or anything on the PC. I know this all for a fact as my PS Vita is charging right at this very moment while attached to my PC at work which doesn't have the content managment software. It does take more time this way due to USB's limited power output, but from my experience it still works just fine.

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