If you leave your PlayStation Motion Controller without charging it for a long time, the battery will not charge. Even after you press the reset button, the controller refuses to recharge. Replacing the battery is an easy fix, but expensive, and there is another way of getting the PlayStation Controller to work again.
The PlayStation Motion Controller uses a Li-Po battery that operates from 3 to 4.25 Volts. If the battery drops way below 3 Volts, the recharging IC in the controller refuses to recharge. This is unfortunate because contrary to popular belief; you can restore a depleted Li-Po battery back to normal again. Naturally, this only works if the battery is still functioning correctly.
Electricity is really just organized lightning.George Carlin
Disclaimer: If you don’t know your way around electronics, this could go wrong. Don’t attempt this unless you know the dangers of charging a possibly damaged Li-Po battery!
Li-Po Battery Charging Cycle
To charge the Li-Po battery, you apply a constant current until the battery reaches 4.2 Volts. The charger then switches to Constant Voltage, keeping the voltage at 4.2 Volts and continues to supply current until the battery is full. So what we are trying to do here is to get the nominal voltage up over 3.0 Volts, which is the cutoff threshold for most charging IC. Anything lower than that, and the charge controller refuses to charge the battery. Hence, the problem. Some smarter controllers tests the battery and recharge without a problem, but not in the PlayStation Motion Controllers.
Restoring The Battery
This will require you to get hold of a lab power supply. If you don’t have one, maybe one of your friends have one. Otherwise, Makerspaces are an option. The power supply needs to support Constant Current mode.
Dissasemble the Motion Controller by removing the four screws on the bottom of the unit. Use a plastic spudger or a small screwdriver to remove the connector for the battery.
Setup the lab power supply to 4.2 Volts and 100 milliAmpere current. It’s safer to start at low current if something should go wrong. Connect thin leads into the connector on the battery and connect the red wire to plus on the lab power supply and do the same for the black wire to minus. Place the battery inside a metal container while charging in case anything should go wrong.
Continue to charge the battery until it shows about 3.5 Volts, and you can increase the current to 250 mA. But make sure that the battery isn’t getting hot. Continue until the voltage reaches 4.2 Volts. You can continue to charge the battery using the lab power supply, or reassemble the Motion Controller and use the regular USB cable to finish the charge.
So far, I’ve successfully restored two PlayStation Motion Controllers. Both of them has been unused for over a year. After the above fix, they now charge without a problem and works as they used to. So back to shooting clowns in Rush of Blood.