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Excellent PS3 Add-On; Bad Design By Sony
on 3 December 2011
I have no problem with the performance of this add-on to the PlayStation 3 family, which works as advertised and reliably, but I have issue with Sony's bad design as I shall explain below.
As you may have noticed, all PlayStation controllers can only be charged either through the PlayStation machine itself (which requires switching on the unit for charging) or by using a special charging unit that you must purchase -- Sony's lock-in idea to make you buy another Sony product (although fortunately there are cheaper non-branded alternatives).
Nowadays a 5V mains charger with mini USB connector, as for PS3 controllers, is ubiquitous and they come with mobile phones, digital cameras, wireless stereo headphones, and many other portable devices. Chances are you may have one sitting idle or shareable with another device for charging.
If you try to charge your PS3 controllers, none of them work with an ordinary 5V mains charger used with other portable devices despite the fact that the DC plug is compatible. The reason is that Sony, in their wisdom of proprietary design have decided for the charging to take place only when the USB data line is active (which doesn't exist nor necessary with mains chargers).
Here are the options if you want to charge a PS3 controller:
1) Power up PlayStation 3 machine with power consumption in tens of watts (depends on model and at least 75W when idle);
2) Power up your laptop or Desktop PC and plug PS3 controller into the USB port as for PlayStation, and again unnecessary power consumption as for PS3 if not much more for desktop PC. The laptop or PC thinks a device is attached and activates the data line in effect doing what Sony intended;
3) By a special charger unit that emulates Sony's peculiar charging condition (same as the 5V mains charger but activate the data line on the power connector pin - which is unnecessary to start with).
Sony did not only make it impossible to use ordinary chargers that only consumes a watt or two for charging PS3 controllers, the Sony way is environmentally unfriendly and inconsistent with the current trend when we are becoming increasingly conscious of the cost of energy and the environment.
Forgive the rant but hope you'd appreciate the point as valid and useful product feedback by customers.
I also hope Sony takes notice of this.