PS4 Controller LEDs Suck (the Battery)

The new Playstation 4 Dualshock controllers are super high-tech. They have bright shiny lights on them to prove it.

But [xn0] from had a suspicion about these new-fangled controllers. That LED light bar is awfully bright, how much power does it consume?

As it turns out, quite a bit. After dismantling one of his controllers he discovered the LEDs are connected to the main PCB with a ribbon cable — super easy to detach. He then performed some rather unscientific tests of leaving the controllers on over night. His empirical conclusion? If you leave the controller with lights on it will die within 24 hours, if you disable the lights, it will still be at approximately 66% battery capacity after the same amount of time.

Another user on the forums quickly pointed out that this test could have been as simple as using a multimeter — so he did that afterwards. The LEDs appear to draw around 40-50mA, which isn’t that much, but it is more than the controller uses while idle (30-40mA)!

We assume Sony will add a firmware option to turn these lights off in the future, but until then, if you’re really dying for an extra hour or so of gameplay, it’s a super easy modification.


30 thoughts on “PS4 Controller LEDs Suck (the Battery)

  1. Why assume Sony would add a firmware option to control the lights? This is Sony we’re talking about. I expect the next firmware update to disable half the buttons and make the battery only charge to 20%.

        1. 2 and a half years ago….but what really chapped my ass was that I had bought Portal 2 the same day that PSN went down, so I couldn’t activate it on steam. And you’re right, the free games I already owned one of and didn’t want the others. Ah well.

  2. so theyr drawing extra power so hide the horrifying scientific truth…

    it takes more power when your using it! oh noes! better even out the battery drain so it has simillar runtime when idle/inuse

    so vain.


  3. Sorry but 40-50mA is shitloads of current for a shitty light bar! Sony should be ashamed for this but I have no doubt that it is entirely intentional. I know that they have no plans to give the consumer control over this (cant find source) but I am surprised they made it so easy to disable considering how hard they’ve come down on modders in the past.

    I have read that the light bar is used for certain games/applications but I am sure the user doesn’t need to be blinded by it! Personally I would just slap 1/3 resistor/s (RGB??) and have it draw a tenth of what it does now. 48 hours on a charge for something no more that 2ft away from the charger seems reasonable. Maybe they should/could have gotten away with smaller batteries.

    1. I find it hilarious they’re getting shunned for a lightbar overpulling current when microsoft still doesn’t have a free included rechargeable battery with their controller which in my opinion is truly pathetic, you either pony up for double AA’s or get screwed by microsoft or madcatz or whoever

      whether that lightbar drains battery or not, the battery will live for 1.5-3 years or so, my 5 year old first ps3 controller battery even still works, not as well but still

  4. Considering the number if ridiculously bright LEDs on the market, the obvious hack is to put a current limiting resistor in series. The light should still be visible, and the battery lasts longer.

  5. Just remember: hacking a Sony will land you in jail!

    How dare you assume that the hardware that you spent your hard-earned money on actually belongs to you! Who has ever heard such a ridiculous notion!

    Next you’ll say that it’s okay to put aftermarket parts in your cars, and install non-OEM software in your computers! What’s the world coming to?!?

  6. unless i’m missing something, you can’t reliably test this sort of thing with a regular DMM because the controller most likely PWM’s these at or below 50%.

    This means a regular (DC) measurement from a DMM will give you a random value depending on how it averages it’s reading. Even an AC measurement won’t be right, because they are typically designed to calculate over a smooth sine wave, not a random duty cycle / period square wave.

    Not saying that the controller *doesnt* suck juice, i’m just saying its probably nowhere near as grim as this article portrays. Even so, throw a bigger drop resistor in there and call it a day if you care : )

    (again, i could be missing something!)

  7. Its pointless to risk taking apart your controller for one extra hour of game play.Turn on the power save features in the system settings, so that the controller turns off after 10 mins of idle time.

  8. Need a that ribbon cable does anyone know where to get one? I spilled coffee on my Controller after a clean out the ribbon was sugar toffee spoiled and burned we trimmed it and it worked for a bit but it’s too far gone now. Need a 14 pin ribbon cable for it now anyone? Mike at

  9. I think anyone complaining about charging a battery on a beautiful controller on this page is an absolute incompetent moron. Shut up play your game and quit crying like little girls. The light on the controller is sweet and an amazing feature and just so you know you could always quit complaining and put in a more powerful battery. Easy to say easy to do…

    1. So your saying that my DS4 controller that came with the 2 game pre order pack, was perfectly fine and they I’m an “incompetent moron” as you put it.

      My controller lasted 4 hours max after a 3 hour recharge, with light setting on dim and standby set to 10 minute turn off. I had to keep my controller connected to power socket running from a 5v USB charger because I sit further away from my tv.

      Playstation support explained to me after a reset of my ps4 and over an hour of over the phone tests I was asked to do, they explained there was a factory fault from the info they gathered. They replaced it and now I get up to 12 hours play without connecting it to power.

      I really wish people like yourself who have horrid responses or insults against other players who have spent quite a bit of money for such things as the ps4 system, which cost me $599.99 AUD. Which is 4 pays worth of saving up for to buy, could at the very least think of players rights to be able to complain about issues like the battery life.

      Mine had to be replaced by sony due to a fault with it, not my cause, some parts like the controller still fail to meet manufacturing standards and yet still get passed through the testing approvals even though it isn’t technically up to standard requirements, as it only needs to pass through the working testing, nit the battery life. So am I still an “Incompetent moron” ??? Have a little respect to free speech on what people pay for and do expect, especially from a company like Sony.

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