Setup the PS3 Bluetooth Controller on Ubuntu

by
on
April 4, 2009


The PS3 Sixaxis and DualShock3 bluetooth controllers are a great for gaming on your PS3 but will work just as well under Linux. With this guide you will be able to configure them to work on your Ubuntu Linux 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex) PC in USB as well as wireless bluetooth mode.

There are a variety of solutions out there but they are either overly complex, or because of the ever changing state of Linux bluetooth support, they are somewhat outdated. The advantage of this solution is that it is simple, and requires only slight modification to the default versions of the bluez-utils packages (bluez-4.12). This minimizes possible conflicts and eliminates unneeded configuration.

This guide specifically covers Ubuntu Linux 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex) but I’m sure similar steps can be taken for other distributions.

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14 Comments
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  • T. Snyder

    Thanks for this very helpful post! I’ve spent the past few weeks trying to get this to work. Last night, after getting a new adapter and installing blueman and following your instructions repeatedly I got a connection! I’m not sure why but it still seems to only connect sometimes.

    Thanks again!

  • Ryan

    I’m glad to hear that you were successful. Thanks for the feedback!

  • Anthony

    What would a possible problem be if $ sudo hcidump -t -V -x
    does not show a new device. I know the controller is transmitting because it is found in the bluetooth pairing app that came with ubuntu. I’m running 9.04 i386 could that be an issue?

  • Big D

    no thats not a problem, i followed the tutorial with 9.04 on and i386 system and it worked fine.

  • gerp

    Im using 9.04 and it didnt work. Im having the same problem as above

  • daniel figueroa

    when i put this code in the console

    $ sudo ./sixpair

    show me this

    Current Bluetooth master: 11:11:11:11:11:11
    Setting master bd_addr to 11:11:11:11:11:11

    and then i put this code

    $ sudo hidd –server –nocheck -n

    and press the ps button and nothing happens

    any help!?

  • Martin Bergman

    Hi!

    I’m running karmic and I love that your instructions are CLI only, but.. unfortunately the controller doesn’t seem to connect to hidd.

    I’ve compiled my own bluez-compat and installed the deb.

    The sixpair app says that the controller has gotten it’s new master (my bluetooth adapter).

    However, When I press the PS-button, it flashes all 4 led’s but nothing happens in the hidd or in hcidump. Could you help me figure it out?

  • manoel

    I’ve the same problem as stated above

  • uiliands

    Thank you for the tutorial.
    As for 2010, you can easily connect dualshock3 controllers
    using QtSixA (http://qtsixa.sourceforge.net/).

  • jaymo

    ran apt-get bluez-compat joystick and it came back E: Invalid operation bluez-compat but i used synaptic package manager to install bluez-compat and joystick after that all the other steps ran fine and came back with the proper results and the controller connected with the system but when i try and run jscalibrator -d /dev/input/js0 i got jscalibrator: command not found but jstest works and i can see the values change in response to buttons and joystick movements

    • ametalmunkey

      maybe? see the post I just did

  • ametalmunkey

    there’s a package available in the software manager “joystick” says it contains: Some useful tools for using joysticks:
    ffcfstress(1) – force-feedback stress test
    ffmvforce(1) – force-feedback orientation test
    ffset(1) – force-feedback configuration tool
    fftest(1) – general force-feedback test
    jstest(1) – joystick test
    jscal(1) – joystick calibration tool
    evtest and inputattach, which used to be part of this package, are now available separately
    not sure if the same thing but I was researching doing this…

  • ametalmunkey

    Just wanted to update my post in case someone else does some googling and finds this stuff. I used Qtsixa, mentioned above, with no problems.
    I also want to post this:
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showpost.php?p=10360389&postcount=789
    which was very helpful for connecting without Qtsixa, which I’m currently doing, just my preference.
    Also, i ended up needing http://rejoystick.sourceforge.net/
    it’s in the getdeb repos. For games like SuperTux2 & Super Maryo Cron. it was easier to set the buttons as keystokes as the 6 axis on the controller makes setting the buttons go crazy. For Supertux i just edited the config file manually in ~/home/.supertux2 folder, works great.
    Now that i have this set up all i do is plug in my dongle, press the PS button and thats it! ready to play. Hope this helps someone.

    • Ryan

      Thanks for your input! I will have to look into this and write an updated article.

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