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I usually know this is what most people do but have you followed the instructions on how to connect the controller to the PS3?
Basic steps are as follows:
Plug the controller w/ cable into ps3.
Turn on Ps3
If automatic pairing doesn't occur press the PS3 button and it should sync.
If it is brand new the batteries might be discharged and you will have to wait for them to charge up, i'd suggest a full charge (30-40 minutes sometimes) for best results.
Did you buy a PS3 controller or accidentally buy a PS4 controller? There can be a difference in wavelengths and design that is very important (beyond that they are two different versions and two different prices).
Did you buy it used, pre-owned or new? This will dictate the possible past issues had by previous owners and why it was being sold, or that you can get a new one with receipt to replace this defective one. (I say used and pre-owned as two different categories more to cite sources of vendor than actual conditions. Used would be by a friend or a non-business entity and a Pre-Owned would be by GameStop or the like who is sort of known to not accept broken devices).
Also as a last resort, on the bottom of the controller near the warrenty sticker is a small hole, stick a pin in there and hold it for 5-10 seconds. This will reset the hardware. Try the above steps again. If all else fails contact Sony CS as they are the only ones who could know whats going on... beyond a third party electronics store.
Because the system recongnizes a controller or remote before any usb device. Simply put, you need to sync a controller to your system, even if you don't intend on using it, try looking for a used one at gamestop or best buy.
It should have come with a USB adapter, plug the USB addapter into
the PS3 and hit the power
button on the controller.
It should instantly sync with the PS3. If it didn't, try going to the system
settings and connect new Bluetooth device. Hold the controller home button in,
if it states a new device is ready to be connected connect it that way. Try to
keep the signal close, with no objects blocking the signals.
Normally, any time you push the PS button on the sixaxis, and it's NOT synced, it should always go into syncing mode where you see the lights start to flash. All sixaxises should work like this. If you happen to have a ds3 it might work different, I don't know about those.
It's possible that it may not be charged up enough to do the syncing wirelessly, even though it can send the start-up signal. Try experimenting by charging it up fully, then seeing if it will start and auto-sync.
After you connect the usb cable and it syncs, can you disconnect the cable, and have the controller still work? If not, I would suspect a defective or loose battery, which can be easily fixed by opening the controller and securing the battery wire's connector plug, or replacing it.
If it will still work after you re-detach the usb cable, it sounds more like some defect in the controller itself. Could be you would need a new one to fix it.
Ok, you've probably already figured this out, but you are in possession of a worthless POS fake PS3 controller. Congratulations: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mji_PLB7Tb0
Don't feel bad - i just bought a used white ps3 controller from gamestop and it was FAKE. they better take this back....
look i will try to return into gamestop and get a 3600 get an edge card because what ever you give back to them you get 2 percent of what you had on the edge card say you returnd the ps3 and you got 300 from an exstra 6 dollars and every time you bring something in to gamestop you can get another 2,6,10,14,20,even 100 !! so thats what I would do :)