Setting up PS3 controllers on Retropie (Gasia/ Shanwan clones)

If you like retro-gaming you probably came across RetroPie, which allows to turn your Raspberry Pi into a retro-gaming machine.

RetroPie supports game-controllers of many different brands, however it can be difficult to configure them, especially if you chose a wireless (bluetooth) controller. I decided for a wireless Sony PS3 controller and purchased a pair of “compatible” devices from Aliexpress a.k.a. Gasia/Shanwan clones.

IMG_7667a

The RetroPie Wiki  provides some useful information on how to pair these controllers with a bluetooth dongle. At the moment RetroPie supports PS3 controllers using the sixad daemon, which is part of the QtSixA package.

The QtSixA  Sixaxis Joystick Manager can connect PS3 hardware, but it takes over bluez/ bluetoothd service and other bluetooth devices, so that keyboards or mice can’t connect when sixad is active.

Thus, I was wondering why there is no ‘native’ bluez support for PS3 devices. A Google search revealed that bluez comes with a ‘sixaxis’ plugin supporting only “genuine” PS3 controllers. However, I found on the gmane mailing list that bluez patches are currently under development, but none of them made it into an official or main developer branch, yet.

BlueZ PS3 support using the Sixaxis plugin

Fortunately Szymon Janc, one of the bluez developers, provided some patches for the OpenELEC.tv Mediacenter. [Update: 2016-09-28] However, development of OpenELEC.tv seems to be dead, since there were no updates for quite a while. Therefore, I do not expect that patches supporting other PS3 clones will be released soon.

Here is a short tutorial on how to use these patches for RetroPie and to fix the annoying PS3 Shanwan/Gasia pairing problem:

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ChickenDinner
4 years ago

I still have problems pairing my gasia controllers with this guide. I did everything step by step and still no connection.

sudo bluetoothctl gives me the following:
[NEW] Controller 00:15:83:6D:34:6C retropie [default]
[NEW] Device 00:26:5C:10:53:A7 PLAYSTATION(R)3 Controller
[NEW] Device 00:26:5C:10:57:B6 PLAYSTATION(R)3 Controller

I think the controllers are being recognized, but they won’t pair.
Any idea?

ChickenDinner
4 years ago
Reply to  luetzel

Thanks for your reply. I am on a pi2 model b using an usb dongle already. I also tried to trust the controllers, tried to remove them and pair them again, that didn’t work. I don’t know if i’m doing something wrong, or if it’s just the controllers (maybe newer version than supported or whatever). All i can say is that this guide didn’t work for me.

ChickenDinner
4 years ago
Reply to  luetzel

Hi again, i got 2 gasia controllers, exact name as shown in dmesg is ” Gasia Co.,Ltd PS(R) Gamepad”. Strange thing is that i was able to pair 1 controller, that one now works like a charm. Still struggeling with the second one, it won’t pair no matter what i try. This is going to drive me crazy, because one controller is working. Forgot to say that I’m on raspbian.

ChickenDinner
4 years ago
Reply to  luetzel

Thanks for your advise, but i think i found the reason why the second one isn’t connecting. I shouldn’t have put my trust in chinese products, so i opened the faulty controller and what i saw was clear. There was a short due to a bad solder joint.

ChickenDinner
4 years ago
Reply to  luetzel

Hi, i’ve been able to fix the joint, the controller connected once but no chance to pair it again. “sudo bluetoothctl” shows the mac-adress correctly as before, but it won’t pair. I really have no idea what to try next.

ChickenDinner
4 years ago
Reply to  luetzel

The dongle is working and doesn’t go into standby, i ended up buying 2 Sony DS3 Controllers, already spent too much time on this. Thanks for your kind help, but i think the controller is defective in some way.

phody
4 years ago

Hi Luetzel, First of all I would like to thank you for the some much effort you put in creating this guide. I wanted to create a fresh installation from scratch on my Pi3 with Retropie and pairing my bluetooth PS3 controller to it via the onboard BT of Pi3. I have started the procedure with upgrading Retropie to the latest version. After that I have followed your step-by-step procedure which worked fine in most cases. Whoever there were some steps where I got stuck with the compilation of QtSixA. Google told me that the errors are referring to that… Read more »

Alex
4 years ago

Hi luetzel,

Your guide is fantastic! Thank you very-very much! 🙂
I’ve just made it to connect via BT to my Ubuntu machine.

I just have one question. I have a Shanwan controller and the mapping is really messed up in Steam. What would you suggest I use to properly remap the controller?

Alex
4 years ago
Reply to  luetzel

Thanks for the quick reply.
I figured out how to do the remapping in Steam. And probably because it’s not an original one, all games have it either not mapped at all or in a wrong way. Anyway, it’s something I can figure out.

Again, thanks a lot! Your guide is actually the only one on the Internet that is helpful. I thought I was screwed with this Shanwan gamepad. 🙂

Duncan
4 years ago

If I do an install from scratch starting with rasbian. Do I follow your instructions and only install retropie after completing your instructions. I have a pi 2 and a Shanwan controller.

Duncan
4 years ago

If I download your patched blues source code do I still need to do steps 1-3? or can I just start with step 4?

Duncan
4 years ago

When doing step 4 I get the message
Configure: error: libical is required.
What is libical and how do I aquire it?

Max
4 years ago

I tried linking /etc/firmware but that doesn’t seem to be the problem. I still get aa:aa:aa:aa:aa:aa. Also it worked the first time its only after the restart that it fails. Since I already paired once I can see it in bluetoothctl it’s just no able to reconnect when I hit the PS button.

In my ignorance it feels like something hasn’t restarted correctly. This was a vanilla install of Rasbian (2016-11-25), on a PI 3 using the built in bluetooth. I wonder if something changed in that version.

Max
4 years ago

Thanks for the excellent work. The instructions worked and I was able to set up two controllers on a fresh install of raspbian. However after reboot the controllers failed to reconnect.

After reboot hciconfig is not showing ISCAN, my two controllers are shown as paired in bluetoothctl and the service is running your patched bluez (I have tried repeating make install just to be sure). Here is the formatted output of a few commands. At the end if I try hcidump -x and press try to pair from the controllers I see no pairing attempt made.

http://pastebin.com/5m2N1xCE

Machado
4 years ago

Hi all,

i use an old netbook, toshiba NB505 2GB/Ram and Intel Atom N455,

i use Lakka for retrogaming, i have a P3 shanwan that i wold like to use through bluetooth, is it possible to apply this pach in that system?