how to pair a PlayStation 4 controller to recalbox

How to Pair PS4 Controller with Recalbox? (Bluetooth)

The PlayStation 4 controller is definitely one of the best controllers, for almost any game. But as it’s a proprietary system, it’s not always the easiest one to configure on retro-gaming platforms like Recalbox.
Today, I’m giving you a step-by-step tutorial on how to do this exactly.

How to pair a PS4 Controller to Recalbox?
The controller will work directly on Recalbox with a USB cable to connect it.
For the Bluetooth mode, the controller needs to be in pairing mode. Then the configuration can be done from the controller settings.

Let’s check now how to do this step-by-step.
By the way, it’s the way to add a PS4 controller on Recalbox, but it probably works the same way with other controllers (PS3, Xbox or 8bitdo for example).


Before going into the step-by-step process just after here, for those of you who prefer a quick explanation in video, you can watch this one directly (and jump to the explanations below if needed):

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Start with another controller

The first thing to do is to set up and configure Recalbox correctly.
If you need some help with this, I have an entire guide for Recalbox on Raspberry Pi that you can check.

So, before using your PS4 controller on Recalbox, you need to start with another controller. I don’t recommend plugging in the PS4 controller for the moment.
Start with your keyboard or a basic controller.

Once your Recalbox installation is complete, you can move to the next step.

Set the PS4 controller in pairing mode

The step I missed when I tried the first time is to put the PS4 controller in pairing mode.
When you press the PS key, the controller is searching for the console, but not available for Bluetooth access.

Here is how to put the PS4 controller in pairing mode:

  • Make sure the controller is off.
  • Then press the keys PS and Share simultaneously:
    pairing mode for a ps4 controller
  • The front light starts to blink quickly

The controller is ready to pair with the Raspberry Pi.

Pair the PS4 controller with Recalbox

We now need to tell Recalbox to connect to the PS4 controller.
This step is not specific to this controller, any Bluetooth controller works the same once in pairing mode.

  • Make sure the light is still blinking fast.
    It’s not so long before it turns off again.
  • Open the start menu on Recalbox (press Start on your other controller)
  • Go to “Controller Settings”
  • Click on “Pair Bluetooth Controller”
  • Pick the PS4 controller in the list and confirm the pairing

That’s it, your controller should be working now.

My favorite games!
Get a list of my 24 favorites games (with links) to play on Retropie, Recalbox or Lakka
Download now

Controller configuration

After the Bluetooth association, the controller configuration wizard shows up (if not, you can open it in Start > Controller settings > Configure a controller) :

You can configure all the keys in it, as you want. Try to configure everything, so you wouldn’t need to come back later in this menu.

Use the PS4 controller after a reboot

You don’t need to pair the PS4 controller with Recalbox each time you play. The association is memorized and you can use it directly like on a PS4.

Just press the “PS” button to put it on, and the Bluetooth will work automatically.

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Enjoy your PS4 controller!

That’s it, you can now use your PlayStation 4 controller easily on Recalbox, and enjoy any games with it!

I really love this controller because I’m used to, but also because it’s the perfect controller for retro-gaming.
With so many keys, you can configure it for any game, even for the N64 ones that requires many controls. And obviously for PSX games there is no best alternative.

For example, if you want to play Goldeneye 007 on N64, at least one stick is mandatory to control the camera and the movement separately.
Here is a quick reminder about this game for older people like me 🙂

Yes, you can find a N64 controller replica (check it if you don’t remember how it looks like), or use something like the excellent 8Bitdo controller to do the same thing (links to Amazon). But if you already have a PS4 controller, it’s perfect.

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That’s it for this tutorial on how to use a PS4 controller with Recalbox.
I hope it was helpful for you, and even if you don’t have a PS4 model, any Bluetooth controller should work the same way.

Let me know in the community if you have any issue with this!

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Master your Raspberry Pi in 30 days: If you are looking for the best tips to become an expert on Raspberry Pi, this book is for you. Learn useful Linux skills and practice multiple projects with step-by-step guides.

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