Problems With Xbox 360 Controllers


The controllers that come with the Xbox 360 are usually efficient but they are not problem free. A controller that isn't working right will make it impossible to perform well in some games, and impossible to play others at all. Some of these problems can be solved with a simple battery change while others will need a little more work.

Short Wires

  • The wired Xbox 360 controller connects straight to the console via a USB cable. The cable is typically only around 6 feet long and can be inadvertently yanked out of the console if you're sitting too far away. If this happens a lot, use a USB extension cable that increases the cable length by several feet.

Flashing Lights

  • If the lights are flashing around the central button of your wireless Xbox 360 controller, it means your batteries are running low. Change the two AA batteries, which should result in around 40 hours of playing time. As an alternative, get a rechargeable Xbox 360 controller battery pack to place on your controller.


  • If a wireless controller is not working on an Xbox 360 console, that means the two need to be properly synced. Hold down the central Xbox button until the four green lights go on, then turn on the console itself. Press the tiny sync button atop the Xbox 360 controller and the tiny sync button on the console next to the memory card slots. The controller should then sync to the console after a few seconds.

Syncing Issues

  • Syncing problems can develop if you have two Xbox 360 consoles within a hundred feet of each other. For example, you may try to sync a controller to an Xbox 360 console, but if it's already synced to another, it will simply turn the other console (the one it's already synced to) on. If this is the problem, unplug the Xbox 360 console that the controller is already synced to and sync the controller to the new console too.

Sticky Buttons

  • Sticky buttons occur when food particles or liquids get into the crevices of the buttons. Use a small Phillips head screwdriver to remove the screws around the exterior. Lace a cotton swab with rubbing alcohol and use it to clean the interior buttons. The buttons can also be removed completely and washed in mild soap and water. When they have dried completely, put the controller back together the same way you took it apart.

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