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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.
plugging in the USB charge cable to controller and PS3 and pressing PS
button works. But you may need to press the reset button on the bottom
of the controller, then plug in and press PS button.
This works: Turn ps3 on. Plug the controller into the usb cable and into ps3. Then plug the dongle into other usb port. After a short time the dongle will flash quickly (this means it's in pairing mode - when the dongle flashes slowly it's too late). Press the PS/Home button as soon as you see the dongle fast flashing. All the LED's on the controller will begin to flash and after a short time one (or two) will remain solid. Immediately disconnect the charging usb lead from the controller and again the LED's will flash, push the PS/Home button again and after a short time one or two will remain solid. The controller should now be working. If the controller fails to respond repeat this process but make sure that you disconnect the dongle and reinsert (so you can see the fast flashing lights and try again).
Try to reset the SIXAXIS it is a small button located at the top of the back of the control. If that fails, try this.Plug the mini-USB port end of the USB cable into the PlayStation 3 controller while connecting the standard USB port end of the cable to your PC. Wait for Windows to report that it has "Detected New Hardware" and let Windows go through its full scan. When Windows says that it could not recognize the hardware, the scan is complete Download the appropriate drivers for your controller, either SIX AXIS or DUAL SHOCK 3 (it is written on the top of the controller). These drivers can be found on several websites by doing a Google search for "PS3 Controller PC Drivers Unzip the driver files from the zipped folder to someplace easily accessible on the hard drive (such as your desktop). Double-click the Setup icon and follow the directions given on-screen to install the SIX AXISdrivers Unhook the controller and reset your computer to complete the installation process. Any further questions feel free to ask.
they don't have it. the dual shock 2 has it. but thats a ps2 controller. the dual shock 3 is a six axis controller, sony opted for six axis instead of vibration. if your lucky you may be able to find a setup to use a dual shock 2 setup to use with an wireless adapter for the ps3. good luck with that one though.
is this the six axis? if so have you tried the reset button on the bottom of the controller? And does it work when plugged in to the usb port? if you have plugged it in and it still dosent work then its possible the controller is bad. If it does work when its plugged in then its the controller battery. if you try it without the usb and it just blinks 4 red lights then the PS3 isnt picking it up and could be a problem with the bluetooth reciever in the PS3.
I was having the same problem. Controller would only work when plugged in. Solution: I shut down and unplugged the PS3 for several minutes. Plugged in the controller. Turned on the PS3 and let it boot up. Pressed the PS button on the controller and let it sink up. When I unplugged the controller it worked.