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Basic understanding on how to connect and configure a bluetooth (PS3) controller

  • I am new to RetroPi. RetroPi is build and installed on Deiban as it is described in your wiki.
    I use Debian stable here on a Laptop.

    I have a PS3-Controller. I can connect it to Debian via the Blueman GUI without any problems.

    But I have problems to use it with RetroPi. I see two ways currently.

    In the "Configuration" menu of EmulationStation there is a "Bluetooth" menu entry. When clicking on it a console window opens and offers me to "Register and Connect to Bluetooth Device". The PS3-controller is found and then I have to choose one of 5 "security mode"'s.
    No matter which one I choose it doesn't work. Mode 1-4 ask me to enter a PIN in my bluetooth device - which is not possible on a PS3 controller. Mode 5 just give me an error "PageTimeout".

    The second way is to use the "Main Menu" in EmulationStation and "Configure Input" in there. Then it ask me to "hold a button" on my device. But it doesn't react on my PS3-controller - only on my keyboard.

    So which way I should work on and how? ;)

  • Global Moderator

    If your controller is paired - using Blueman or other methods - you don't need to do Step 1 (pairing the controller in the RetroPie configuration/tools section). Once paired, you should use the Input Configuration menu in ES - but you say this i not working ?
    Are you really sure the PS3 controller is connected/paired ? You can test by using jstest from a terminal - see an example at

    Also, when opening a support request, please provide as much as you can, the information requested in

  • Pi Model or other hardware: Samsung N220 Netbook (Atom)
    OS: Debian 4.911 (stable) with Kernel 4.9.0-8-amd64
    RetroPie: 4.4.2 (last commit: 2fca9d9)
    EmulationStation: 2.7.6RP
    Built From: source (last commit: 2fca9d9)
    Controller used: Original PS3 Controllor

    Thanks for the hint with jtest (debian package: joystick). Thats the key.
    The controller is coupled as "keyboard" with blueman and jtest can not find it.

    I will check this basic problem in another forum and will report later here.

  • Wow, I wasn't aware that a PS3-Controller is such an exotic special device. Because of that I never thought my problem is controller specific. A PS3-Controller is not easy.

    I build and installed the ps3controller driver from the RetroPie setup.
    I (think I) did exactly what is described in the wiki. I can use and configure the controller when it is connected via USB.

    But pairing it via bluetooth in the Emustation doesn't work. "no gamepads detected". The 4 leds on my controller still blicking.
    I am sure it is an original sony controller.

  • Global Moderator

    @moonkid said in Basic understanding on how to connect and configure a bluetooth (PS3) controller:

    I am sure it is an original sony controller.

    Does it identify as 'Sony' when you run lsusb with the controller connected ? Somebody else thought they got a genuine PS3 but it turned out just a clone -

  • Spannendes Thema. lsusb sagt Bus 002 Device 007: ID 054c:0268 Sony Corp. Batoh Device / PlayStation 3 Controller. Also Original?

  • Global Moderator

    @moonkid said in Basic understanding on how to connect and configure a bluetooth (PS3) controller:

    Also Original?

    Probably yes. I don't know why it's not pairing/detecting properly though.

  • I assume the problem depends on the Debian system.

    Can I test the pairing myself on the commandline? Which commands are used in that case?

    How can I contact the developers of the ps3controller driver for retropi? Maybe they have some hints on this problem.

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