Please do not post a support request without first reading and following the advice in https://retropie.org.uk/forum/topic/3/read-this-first

PS3 controller issue for RetroPi



  • Hello! I'm obviously very new to this forum, as well as the world of RetroPi gaming (which is mind blowing). I have the pie up and running, and have a controller set up for it (wired generic xbox 360 controller), and have been enjoying it. I'm turning this into quite the project, but I'm running into an issue that I can't get a handle on.

    In reading that a wireless PS3 controller is compatible with a RetroPi, I jumped at the chance to enjoy not being tethered to my very tiny gaming system. I bought a new dualshock3 ps3 controller, tried to turn it on as soon as I got it. No luck, but that's okay, dead battery, right? Plug it in, all the lights blinking, meaning it's charging... And charging... For nearly 20+ hours, even now when I plug it in, still displaying that slow blink, meaning it's still going.

    I downloaded the drivers for a PS3 controller onto the RetroPi, and while it's plugged in, the controller is detected and I can set it up (although one other issue I'm having is the rumble NEVER stops, making setting the controller down an interesting ordeal)(And when plugged in, 3 out of 4 of the lights are on, not sure what this one means). But, this avoids the point; wireless is where we want to be. So I unplug it, it stops rumbling, and starts rapidly flashing, unable to be detected by the Pie nor by anything else. (I do not have a PS3 in my home for the controller to get confused with). I followed the steps (As seen here https://github.com/RetroPie/RetroPie-Setup/wiki/PS3-Controller) for bluetooth wireless setup, so I don't know if I did something wrong on that front, or if I have a faulty controller, or if I just missed a step completely.

    Any help or advice would mean the world, as this is just one of several mountains I'm eager to climb, but find myself needing a bit of a boost first. haha



  • @cjohnson26 based on what describe, your controller is not a real ps3 controller. On top of that, the latest kernal has issues with ps3 controllers trying to connect with Bluetooth. Try the Sony HID driver and see if you can get the controller work. It may stop the rumble motors.



  • @lostless Can you give more details about the "kernel problem" please? Does this affect also Debian systems?

    Did you mean the "customhidsony" driver? I am not able to install this from source on my Debian stable system. RetroPie setup miss the raspberrypi-kernel-headers (of course).
    @cjohnson26 Please see this other thread where I have also problems with a PS3 controller. There is also a link to another thread where you can check if your controller is a real PS3 or not.
    https://retropie.org.uk/forum/topic/19451/basic-understanding-on-how-to-connect-and-configure-a-bluetooth-ps3-controller/8?loggedin=true



  • @moonkid I don’t know the exact details, but either something in the kernel or a built in driver in Raspbian, based on Debian, had a change on how it handles ps3 controllers. This was about 6 months ago. Since that time, I’ve had issues syncing PS3 controllers via Bluetooth. Basically, I can’t get it to work and will only work over usb.



  • Thank you everyone for replying, and yes, turns out my controller is indeed not authentic, which annoys me. I've installed the suggested driver, and sadly no luck. This particular controller is extra frustrating haha Par for the course!

    Thanks for the link! I'm looking into it currently to see about additional trouble shooting. From what it seems like, PS3 controllers seems to be problematic in a number of different ways. Also disheartening. I might shift into going towards a xbox 360 controller, depending on what research yields.



  • @cjohnson26 ps4 controllers work great still. Xbox 360 work great with the official or knockoff wireless adaptors. I find the only issues I have now are ps3 controllers over bluetooth.



  • @lostless said in PS3 controller issue for RetroPi:

    @cjohnson26 ps4 controllers work great still. Xbox 360 work great with the official or knockoff wireless adaptors. I find the only issues I have now are ps3 controllers over bluetooth.

    Darn, it's those adapters I'm hoping to avoid! Are 360 controllers not able to connect without them? Or is it just way to much work to be worth it, and just better to buy an adapter?

    PS4 controllers are able to connect via bluetooth? What if I wanted to connect multiple controllers, a max of two, is that something that we can do?


  • Global Moderator

    @cjohnson26 said in PS3 controller issue for RetroPi:

    PS4 controllers are able to connect via bluetooth? What if I wanted to connect multiple controllers, a max of two, is that something that we can do?

    PS4 work fine over Bluetooth and you can connect more than one.



  • So, here is a another dumb question... As long as a controller has a dongle or some other usb way to connect, is it able to communicate to the Pie? An Easy to hide dongle is a lot more pleasing then a huge adapter.

    How can I tell if a third party controller, (i.e. https://image.pushauction.com/0/0/d995701e-a325-47a9-9973-b1f59952e71a/671b2ccd-381a-4e71-bc88-bd4eec048354.jpg ) is able to connect to the Pie?

    I'm sorry if I'm asking possibly silly or even redundant questions, I'm just trying to make sure I understand. haha



  • @cjohnson26 most likely any controller Will connect to the pi. As long as it supports xinput or standard hid controller inputs. Most controllers do either or, or both. Ps3 controllers use neither which makes them difficult to work with. But ps4 controllers can use standard hid by holding the share and ps button and syncing with any computer.



  • @lostless said in PS3 controller issue for RetroPi:

    @cjohnson26 most likely any controller Will connect to the pi. As long as it supports xinput or standard hid controller inputs. Most controllers do either or, or both. Ps3 controllers use neither which makes them difficult to work with. But ps4 controllers can use standard hid by holding the share and ps button and syncing with any computer.

    That is fantastic to know! Thank you very much for sharing that, it allows me to research a less expensive controller. I have no issues with using a third party device, I just wanted to make sure it would actually be compatible. Now that you've told me how it communicates, I can buy a a $20 controller vs a $42 dollar controller with the same functions.

    Bluetooth is something I want to possibly tap into for this Pie... Possibly Bluetooth headphones? Bypass speakers? Or even a Bluetooth Speaker?! mhm... The amount of research continues!



  • @cjohnson26 I have set up a working PS3 controller for RetroPie on my PI 3B+.

    It is however an original PS3 controller from purchasing the console a few years back.

    The instructions from the github page you reference are not as fulsome at step 3 as they could be.

    I recommend the following additional thoughts in case you haven't applied them.

    3a. Reset your controller, this is a little hole on the underside of the controller that you stick an uncurled paperclip or similar into. Do not touch a button until further notice.
    3b. Once the PS3controller driver is installed, you must select it to configure options.
    3c. Choose your particular (compatible) controller from the list, hopefully it is there.
    3d. A screen will now appear asking you to plug in the controller. Plug it in for 10 seconds, do not touch a button!
    I believe at this time certain configuration files are created, including for retroarch.
    3e. Unplug the controller and now press the PS button. If working, the lights will 'sweep' back and forth, rumble and settle on the controller number.

    You then start ES and configure the controller.

    The default setup is pretty good for retroarch emulators, although you may prefer to switch X & O!



Contributions to the project are always appreciated, so if you would like to support us with a donation you can do so here.

Hosting provided by Mythic-Beasts. See the Hosting Information page for more information.