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

Then, check whether your bluetooth.service  is up and running. Also check the bluetooth daemon version (5.44), that should now match the blueZ release which you have downloaded  and compiled:

 Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/bluetooth.service; enabled)
 Active: active (running) since Sun 2017-03-05 19:18:36 CET; 2 days ago
 Docs: man:bluetoothd(8)
 Main PID: 481 (bluetoothd)
 Status: "Running"
 CGroup: /system.slice/bluetooth.service
 └─481 /usr/libexec/bluetooth/bluetoothd

Mar 05 19:18:36 raspi5 bluetoothd[481]: Bluetooth daemon 5.44
Mar 05 19:18:36 raspi5 systemd[1]: Started Bluetooth service.
Mar 05 19:18:36 raspi5 bluetoothd[481]: Starting SDP server
Mar 05 19:18:37 raspi5 bluetoothd[481]: Bluetooth management interface 1.10 initialized

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


./configure option to the installation path of your distribution’s bluez package.

It is important to check, whether your bluetooth dongle or build-in bluetooth (Pi3)  is visible and pair-able for other BT devices. ‘hciconfig’ should result in ‘UP RUNNING PSCAN ISCAN’ as shown below:

sudo hciconfig
hci0: Type: Primary Bus: USB
 BD Address: 00:1B:10:00:2A:EC ACL MTU: 1017:8 SCO MTU: 64:1
 RX bytes:591 acl:0 sco:0 events:36 errors:0
 TX bytes:2795 acl:0 sco:0 commands:36 errors:0

In case that your bluetooth dongle is DOWN or powered OFF, enable it using the command:

sudo hciconfig hci0 up piscan

Step 5:

Download and compile QtSixA.

[Update: 2017-01-07]

Meanwhile, I received some user feedback concerning errors occurring during the compilation of QtSixA-1.5.1 (comments by phody: see discussion below).  For successful compilation from source, make sure to have the following packages installed:

sudo apt-get install pyqt4-dev-tools qt4-designer libjack-dev

Then, download, extract, change into the QtSixA-1.5.1 folder, patch and compile qtsixa:

tar xvfz QtSixA-1.5.1-src.tar.gz
cd QtSixA-1.5.1
patch -p1 < compilation_sid.patch

Note that you’ll only need the ‘sixpair’ program, which is located in the ‘QtSixA-1.5.1/utils/bins’ folder. If you want to make it available for all users, ‘chmod 755 sixpair’ and move it to the /usr/local/bin directory.

Step 6:
In order to pair the controller, connect it to your Pi using an USB cable. Wait for a few seconds until it is recognized as an input device (check with “dmesg”). You should be able to see something like this:

[11658.272017] usb 4-1: new full-speed USB device number 3 using uhci_hcd
[11658.454057] usb 4-1: New USB device found, idVendor=054c, idProduct=0268
[11658.454061] usb 4-1: New USB device strings: Mfr=1, Product=2, SerialNumber=0
[11658.454064] usb 4-1: Product: PS(R) Ga`epad
[11658.454066] usb 4-1: Manufacturer: ShanWan
[11662.009025] input: ShanWan PS(R) Ga`epad as /devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:1d.1/usb4/4-1/4-1:1.0/0003:054C:0268.0005/input/input23
[11662.009613] sony 0003:054C:0268.0005: input,hiddev0,hidraw2: USB HID v1.10 Joystick [ShanWan PS(R) Ga`epad] on usb-0000:00:1d.1-1/input0

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7 years ago

Thanks a lot for the detailed walkthrough, i’ve followed every step. I’ve purchased a ‘golden ps3 controller’ on eBay, it shows up in dmesg as: “input: SHANWAN PS3 GamePad as /devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:1d.0/usb2/2-2/2-2:1.0/0003:054C:0268.001C/input/input44”. bluetoothctl can see the BT MAC addr, but for the life of me i can’t make it pair/connect. I rumbles constantly when plugged into USB. sixpair shows to lines: current and setting bt addr, both being written as my usb bt dongle mac. Any tips on what I could try or some output I could post here to help you help me. Thanks a lot in advance

7 years ago
Reply to  luetzel

Hej igen! Thanks a lot for your quick reply. For testing purposes I’m on my laptop with lubuntu (16.04 LTS 4.4.0-34-generic). BT dongle is: ID 0a12:0001 Cambridge Silicon Radio, Ltd Bluetooth Dongle (HCI mode). I have been testing both with sixad for Shanwan and the patched bluez you provide. I’ve had one controller (out of two) connected once with bluetoothctl by running $connect “bt addr”. After the one successfull bt connection the name changed to [NEW] Device 04:43:6D:A5:63:25 PLAYSTATION(R)3Conteroller-PANHAI (yes with a spelling mistake in controller). Sometimes when i try sixad it hangs at: sixad-bin[2943]: One event received sixad-bin[2943]: unable… Read more »

7 years ago
Reply to  Hjalte

Oh, and the extra “usb_control_msg returned: 8” is just me adding a printf to sixpair.c to check the return value during pairing.

7 years ago
Reply to  luetzel

Thanks a lot again, hope you had fun here in DK 🙂 bluez version did indeed check out to 5.40, thanks for the tip. I tried enabling debugging, so far dmesg give me some timeouts on Bluetooth: hci0 command 0x0408 tx timeout (also on 0x0405 and 0x0409 occasionally). Furthermore service bluetooth status gives me the following errors when trying to pair and connect: bluetoothd[1968]: sixaxis: compatible device connected: PLAYSTATION(R)3 Controller (054C:0268) bluetoothd[1968]: Can’t get HIDP connection info bluetoothd[1968]: connect error: Connection refused (111). hciconfig gives UP RUNNING PSCAN, but not the ISCAN you have in the tutorial output. Can’t do… Read more »

7 years ago

Thanks a lot for your work. Got my shanwan clone paired on pi3 with internal bluetooth. Now got it paired on gentoo system with usb-bt.

In both cases it did not work out of the box. sixpair was always ok, but no bt-pairing.

I only got it working after running sixad (killing bluetooth) and qtsixa.

gentoo wiki says clones not working, but they do with your bluez.

7 years ago


Your guides seem to be the most thorough explanation of these issues. I’ve tried to follow your instructions to the T, including redoing a Pi3 with retropie, bluez, QtSixA. I can get SixPair to give me a good MAC address output.

But then I can’t pair. If I go into bluetoothctl it can see the controller, and will “connect” when I press the PS button such that it is on. But it won’t ever pair…. Any thoughts on this or how to debug?


7 years ago

Hello leronardo and everyone here . could someone please guide me in this tutorial ?
I’m totally lost in this tutorial , I’m noob with RP .

I have 3 ps3 shawman controls and can not use any = (

somebody help me, please

7 years ago
Reply to  luetzel

I stopped in step 2 , I am in doubt which part is the operating system and which part is the raspberry

7 years ago

thanks, it worked fine! 😉

7 years ago

Hi Luetzel, when I am getting stuck when I try to make the sixpair utils. When I run make, I get:

gcc -Wall -O2 hidraw-dump.c -o bins/hidraw-dump
gcc -Wall -O2 sixad-jack.c -o bins/sixad-jack -ljack -lm
gcc -Wall -O2 sixpair.c -o bins/sixpair -lusb
sixpair.c:9:17: fatal error: usb.h: No such file or directory
compilation terminated.
Makefile:8: recipe for target ‘tools’ failed
make: *** [tools] Error 1

Any ideas how get past this?

7 years ago
Reply to  luetzel

You are a champion Martin! That seems to have worked beautifully now on my Pi3 and RetroPie 3.8.1 build!

I’ve now gotten both Shanwan controllers to pair and they both seem to still work after a full shutdown. (I’ve had other experiences when they would pair – but need to be re-paired after a reboot).

Now, we just need to ensure all this good work of yours make it into the RetroPie 4.0 build.

Again…Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Steve 🙂

7 years ago

Thank you for this tutorial but I am still having issues connecting 2 controllers at the same time, and I can’t stop the controllers vibrating when I connect them via USB to charge. Can you please help me at all?

acdc go
7 years ago

Also be sure that: sixad-sixaxis have appropiate permissions:
cd /usr/sbin/
chmod 755
sudo reboot

this worked for me.

trev E
7 years ago

awesome stuff, thanks for the guide!
my 2 PS3 Shanwan controllers now work via BT- but the gasia doesnt.. guessing cant get both working together?

7 years ago

Ha took me 10 mins to spot the typo! sudo service bluetooh restart should read “bluetooth”

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