Updated: May 23, 2015
XBox 360 Wireless ControllersMost households have a gaming console of some kind - Nintendo, Sony Playstation, or Xbox. But throw a few kids into a room crowded with furniture and electronics and cords, and before you know it someone trips over the controller cords, disconnecting the game, falling down, etc. Wireless controllers were invented to solve this problem, and have been around for quite a few years. How do wireless game controllers work? Instead of plugging the controller itself into the jack on the game machine, you plug a small radio receiver into the port which then picks up the signal from the radio trasmitter found inside the wireless controller. So whatever you move or push on the controller gets sent to the receiver plug and is then processed inside the machine like a normal controll signal. In this guide we will take a look at how the XBox 360 wireless controllers work, troubleshooting and FAQs, as well as info on the rechargeable battery kits that are available.
Buying a Replacement Xbox 360 Wireless Controller
A standard XBox 360 kit only comes with a single Xbox controller (white standard, others available in red, pink, black, blue). If you want 2 or more, you gotta buy them at extra cost. Wireless support is built into the Xbox, so you can buy wireless controllers and not worry about having to plug in anything else. The wired Xbox 360 controllers cost about $30, while the wireless Xbox 360 controllers cost about $40-$45. We recommend spending the extra $10 and going with the wireless remotes -- yeah, there is some hassle with charging the batteries and replacing dead ones, but that is more than made up for in the flexibility of sitting where you want, moving around, and not tripping over cords. You can check-out a list of best-selling Xbox 360 Controllers here -- You'll also find some additional Xbox accessories there like the Xbox 360 Universal Media Remote Control ($18), the text messaging kit ($23), the steering wheel kit ($99), and the Rock Band Drum Sets.
Tips for Xbox 360 Wireless Controller - Getting them to workThe wireless controllers for XBox operate on a 2.4Ghz radio frequency, and can operate up to 30 feet away from the console. They work pretty good around obstacles as well, unlike the infrared controls often used in remotes. So even if your game machine is off to the side, the wireless controller will still work fine without having to point it at the machine. When you buy a wireless controller for XBox 360, it comes with instructions on how to hook it up. If you've lost the instructions though, it's a pretty simple process. The first step is batteries for the Xbox controller. It takes two AA batteries. You remove the battery pack on the back of the controller by pushing the little button on top and then pulling the cover open. The batteries themselves tend to stick once you put them in, and you will probably have to bang the thing on the palm of your hand to get the depleted batteries out. Both the XBox 360 faceplate and the wireless controllers have the Ring of Lightfeature - a 4 quadrant light-up ring that indicates which controllers are recognized, and which controller is which. For example, on the game box itself, you may see the 2 upper quadrants lit up, meaning two controllers are either wired in or recognized wirelessly.
On the controllers, one would have the upper left light lit up (around the big silver XBox button) while the other would have the upper right light lit up, letting you know which was player 1 and which was player 2. The light also indicates whether the controller unit is turned on or off. Turning the wireless controllers on or off is done by pushing the silver XBox button in the middle of the controller.
How to get XBox 360 to recognize the controllers?If you power up a new controller and the RIng of Light lights just keep cycling around in a circle without settling on a position, this means that the game console does not recognize that controller. This can happen with a new controller or when replacing batteries. To sync it up with the XBox 360, you need to first turn on your game machine, then turn on the wireless controller (push the XBox button and hold it until it lights up), then press the little connect button on the game console (round button to the right of the two memory slots on the front of the machine), then press the connect button on the rear of the wireless controller in between the left and right buttons that you normally push with your index fingers (above and to the right of the battery release button). The Ring of Light will cycle on the controller and then it will be assigned a position by the Xbox and stay lit. To turn a controller off or disconnect it, press and hold the Xbox button in the middle for a second or two until the light goes off - if you are in the middle of a game it will ask you if you want to turn off just the controller or the console as well. When the console powers down, all wireless controllers are automatically turned off.
We get this question a lot - "I took my wireless controller over to my friends house and it didn't work? How do I get my Xbox controller to work on another XBox?" As described above, you need to synch the game console with the controllers, and a controller can only work with one game system at a time. To move a controller from one Xbox to another, you need to go through the connect process each time you move to a new XBox (turn on, push connect button on XBox, push connect button on controller -- repeat process when you take controller back to your original Xbox).