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.


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 Mediacenter. [Update: 2016-09-28] However, development of 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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117 Comments on "Setting up PS3 controllers on Retropie (Gasia/ Shanwan clones)"

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Hello everyone. Thank you for that great work. I have a little problem with detecting my PS3 Controller. When i try to get informations about my Controller, dmesg shows nothing about my controller. I use “dmes | grep input” command, but only my keyboard will displayed. What i am doing wrong?

Hi luetzel, I have a new problem for another image I’m trying to fix. At step 5, I downloaded and extracted QtSixA but: pi@retropie:/QtSixA-1.5.1 $ patch -p1 < compilation_sid.patch patching file sixad/shared.h pi@retropie:/QtSixA-1.5.1 $ sudo make make -C qtsixa make[1]: Entering directory '/QtSixA-1.5.1/qtsixa' pyuic4 -o ./gui/ ./gui/ui/qtsixa_mainw.ui make[1]: pyuic4: Command not found Makefile:7: recipe for target 'build' failed make[1]: *** [build] Error 127 make[1]: Leaving directory '/QtSixA-1.5.1/qtsixa' Makefile:6: recipe for target 'build' failed make: *** [build] Error 2 pi@retropie:/QtSixA-1.5.1 $ make make -C qtsixa make[1]: Entering directory '/QtSixA-1.5.1/qtsixa' pyuic4 -o ./gui/ ./gui/ui/qtsixa_mainw.ui make[1]: pyuic4: Command not found Makefile:7: recipe for… Read more »

I have problems with step 4 pi@retropie: /bluez $ make -j3 Make: *** No targets specified and no makefile found. stop

Hi Luetzel, I am trying to connect a shanwan ps3 gamepad to my old laptop running Ubuntu 16.04. The gamepad seems to be stuck in some reconnection loop. All LEDs blink continuously but never settle on a number. This is the hcidump after disconnecting: The log repeats itself as the gamepad keeps trying to connect and disconnect. Sixpair works fine and correctly shows the device: The same gamepad connects to a rPi3 running retropie so the controller should be working fine. Any ideas what is going on?

How can I do that? In case that it shows version 5.23, reboot the system and check it again. If it still shows the wrong version, you must change your –prefix=/usr ./configure option to the installation path of your distribution’s bluez package.

Hi Luetzel! Thanks for all the time you are spending with this. I have similar problem with a SHANWAN controller as some of the other commenters before: the controller connects, but it simple won’t pair. From bluetoothctl: [NEW] Controller A0:2C:36:6F:24:16 raspberrypi [default] [NEW] Device 05:37:96:52:63:25 PLAYSTATION(R)3 Controller [bluetooth]# info 05:37:96:52:63:25 Device 05:37:96:52:63:25 Name: PLAYSTATION(R)3Conteroller-PANHAI Alias: PLAYSTATION(R)3Conteroller-PANHAI Class: 0x000540 Icon: input-keyboard Paired: no Trusted: yes Blocked: no Connected: no LegacyPairing: no [CHG] Device 05:37:96:52:63:25 Connected: yes [PLAYSTATION(R)3Conteroller-PANHAI]# pair 05:37:96:52:63:25 Attempting to pair with 05:37:96:52:63:25 Failed to pair: org.bluez.Error.AuthenticationFailed [CHG] Device 05:37:96:52:63:25 Connected: no Sixpair: pi@raspberrypi:~/QtSixA-1.5.1/utils/bins $ sudo ./sixpair Current Bluetooth master:… Read more »
Hello, I get to step 4, I just cloned your Already patched version, and first line works but make -j3 doesn’t work nor does sudo make install. I also get this when doing service status pi@raspberrypi:~ $ sudo service bluetooth status ● bluetooth.service – Bluetooth service Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/bluetooth.service; enabled) Active: failed (Result: exit-code) since Sat 2017-02-18 11:32:46 MST; 38min ago Docs: man:bluetoothd(8) Process: 1362 ExecStart=/usr/lib/bluetooth/bluetoothd (code=exited, status=203/EXEC) Main PID: 1362 (code=exited, status=203/EXEC) Feb 18 11:32:46 raspberrypi systemd[1]: Starting Bluetooth service… Feb 18 11:32:46 raspberrypi systemd[1]: bluetooth.service: main process exited, …EC Feb 18 11:32:46 raspberrypi systemd[1]: Failed to start Bluetooth… Read more »
Hello, So I tried everything in your guide on my rp3 with retropie 4.1. , Had all sort of issues mentioned in here along the way witch I managed to sort out thanks to your advice. I did all of that on a fresh install, and my Gasia Controller still doesn’t pair. When I do “hcidump -x” I get this: > HCI Event: Connect Request (0x04) plen 10 bdaddr 00:26:5C:10:1D:B6 class 0x000540 type ACL > HCI Event: Command Status (0x0f) plen 4 Accept Connection Request (0x01|0x0009) status 0x00 ncmd 1 > HCI Event: Connect Complete (0x03) plen 11 status 0x08… Read more »
It seems to be connected but the device just keep blinking and I get no input. Any tips ? Here is the log : kernel: input: Gasia Co.,Ltd PS(R) Gamepad as /devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:1d.0/usb2/2-2/2-2:1.0/0003:054C:0268.0028/input/input44 kernel: sony 0003:054C:0268.0028: input,hiddev0,hidraw3: USB HID v1.11 Joystick [Gasia Co.,Ltd PS(R) Gamepad] on usb-0000:00:1d.0-2/input0 bluetoothd[821]: sixaxis: compatible device connected: PLAYSTATION(R)3 Controller (054C:0268) bluetoothd[821]: sixaxis: setting up new device kernel: usb 2-2: USB disconnect, device number 13 kernel: input: PLAYSTATION(R)3 Controller as /devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:1d.1/usb3/3-2/3-2:1.0/bluetooth/hci0/hci0:69/0005:054C:0268.0029/input/input45 kernel: sony 0005:054C:0268.0029: input,hidraw3: BLUETOOTH HID v0.00 Joystick [PLAYSTATION(R)3 Controller] on 00:1a:7d:da:71:04 bluetoothd[821]: sixaxis: compatible device connected: PLAYSTATION(R)3 Controller (054C:0268)