Like any wireless gaming system, the PlayStation 3 sometimes needs to have the controllers synced to it to operate properly. The process is simple and takes just a few minutes to complete.
Resyncing a PlayStation 3 Controller
Connect the controller. With your PlayStation 3 system powered down, connect the mini-USB — which is the smaller of the two ends on the cord — to the slot located in the center of the top of the PlayStation 3 controller. The USB end of the cord should then be connected to one of the multiple USB slots located on the front bottom of your PlayStation 3 console.
Turn on the PlayStation 3. The console will automatically recognize the connected controller, which you can then use to operate the PlayStation 3. By powering up the console with the controller attached, the two will automatically pair up and sync.
Shut off the PlayStation 3. Hold down the P button located in the middle front of the controller until a menu appears on your screen asking you whether you'd like to shut down the PlayStation 3, shut down the controller or cancel. Choose the first option and wait until the console powers down. Disconnect the cord from both the PlayStation 3 and the controller.
Turn on the console with the controller. Holding down the P button on the controller, wait until the console powers up and the introduction screen appears. Your controller is now synced with the PlayStation 3 system.
Troubleshoot your controller. If the above steps do not work, there is another step to take, according to PlayStation's troubleshooting guide. Straighten out a length of paper clip and then flip your controller over so you are looking at the back of it. There is a small hole in which you can insert the paper clip and reset the controller's settings. Once you do, repeat the steps above to sync your controller to the console.
Resetting your controller may be necessary if you continually switch it between multiple PlayStation 3 consoles.