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How to Connect an XBOX 360 Controller

Updated on June 22, 2011

Identifying the Issue

Whether this is the first time you are trying to connect your controller to your console, or it disconnected randomly, getting a controller to pair with your XBOX can be very frustrating. Below you will find a series of steps to take to fix your issue from the most likely fix all the way to the more difficult problems. Even if you think that your issue does not involve batteries, etc, it is worth doing all steps just to be sure.

General Pairing Procedure

The first thing you should try is the basic instructions provided by Microsoft.

  1. Ensure that both the console and the controller are turned on.
  2. Press and briefly hold the small circular pairing button on the XBOX 360
  3. Within 20 seconds, press and briefly hold the same button located on the controller, near the battery release latch.
  4. You may need to try this a couple times. If it still does not work, replace the batteries in the controller with a fresh pair of alkalines and try again.
  5. If the issue remains after trying fresh batteries, continue to the next step.

Frequency Interference and Other Issues

If the general pairing procedures do not work, all hope is not lost! Try the suggestions below before abandoning all hope.

  1. If you have a Play & Charge Kit, try using that. Oftentimes this will resolve pairing issues, and the controller should pair properly even after the Play & Charge Kit has been removed. It may not be a permanent fix, so it is wise to keep the kit around, or if you don't have one, buy one from the link above.
  2. Ensure that there are no competing RF devices that may interfere with the communication between XBOX and controller. Devices to be weary of include cordless phones, wireless routers, microwave ovens, and even entertainment devices that use remote controls. My home theatre A/V receiver must be turned off, otherwise my Xbox controllers will not connect to the console. Once they are connected, you can turn the equipment back on without worries.
  3. Turn off the XBOX and disconnect the hard drive and power cords from the XBOX. Then disconnect the power cord from the power brick, and the brick from the wall. Wait at least 15 minutes before reassembling everything and trying again.

If none of the above suggestions help, there is likely a hardware issue with your controller or XBOX. You can test which is the problem based on whether other controllers can connect, or if the issue exists for all controllers. If your product is still under warranty, contact Microsoft support.

Solutions with Questionable Legality

If your controller is out of warranty but is in good condition you can buy another identical XBOX 360 controller (check the selection here) and try to claim warranty on the old controller using the new controller's packaging. Be careful though, as this is technically fraud.

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