How to fix an Xbox Series X or S controller that won’t turn on

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Operate your controller to get back into the bath. Xbox X or S series controllers are solid pieces of hardware, but there’s always the possibility that one of them will malfunction. If this happens, you can usually identify that there is a problem when the button on the Xbox does not light up, or when the light goes off suddenly and without warning. This button blinks normally and then stays on whenever the controller is turned on.

When the light on an Xbox XouS series controller does not turn on, it usually means that the controller itself does not turn on either. The Xbox button is therefore the best indicator of the operation of any of these controllers.

Why won’t an Xbox Series X or S controller turn on?

When an Xbox X or S series controller won’t turn on, it’s usually because of the batteries or battery contacts, but it could also be a gaming and charging kit or a faulty charging cable, corrupted firmware, or internal failure. This problem can usually be fixed at home, but there are times when a controller will need professional repairs or even cannot be fixed.

Here are the most common issues you’ll encounter with an Xbox Series X or S controller that won’t turn on:

  • The Battery : When using a controller in wireless mode, batteries are the most common cause of the controller not turning on. If the batteries are dead, need recharging, or are incorrectly installed, the controller will not turn on.
  • Battery contacts : If the battery spring contacts are worn or deformed, they will not make good contact with the batteries. In this case, the controller will not turn on.
  • Drums : Some batteries designed for Xbox One will not perform quite well in Xbox Series X or S controllers due to slightly different dimensions in the battery compartment. The controller will also not turn on if the battery itself is faulty.
  • Cable loading : If you are using a charging and gaming kit, or just a regular USB C cable, the cable may be defective. You won’t necessarily be able to know it just by looking at it.
  • Firmware : If a firmware update is interrupted, or the firmware is corrupted, it may prevent a controller from loading properly in the future.
  • Internal faults : Some controllers simply fail because of a breakage or wear of an internal component.

If your controller won’t turn on, try these troubleshooting tips to get it back up and running:

  1. Check the batteries. First remove the battery compartment on the back of the controller, then remove each battery. Check that they have been installed in the correct orientation, with the + and – signs on the battery aligned with the diagram in the battery compartment. If they were installed incorrectly, replace them in the correct direction. If not, try a new pair of AA batteries. Just because batteries run on one thing doesn’t mean they have enough power for another. Even if the batteries work in a remote, for example, that doesn’t mean they have enough juice for your controller.
  2. Check the battery contacts. Xbox’s X or S series controllers use fixed metal buttons for contacts on one side of the battery, and spring loaded tabs on the other side. If these tabs wear out or are bent, they will not make good contact and the controller may not turn on. If the batteries seem loose and the tabs feel sunken, try removing them gently with a small screwdriver or similar tool. Remove the batteries before using them, and be careful if you attempt to do so. If you are too intrusive, you risk breaking the tabs.
  3. Test your Xbox Series X or S Series game and charge kit. If you are using a game and charge kit, the cable may be damaged or the battery may be low. Try them with another controller if possible, and see if it lights up. If not, the cable or the battery is damaged.
  4. Update your controller firmware. Xbox’s X or S series controllers are complex devices that require built-in firmware to function properly. If an update is interrupted or the firmware is corrupted, the controller may not turn on. Connect the controller via USB, and use another controller to update the firmware using this procedure:
    1. Press the xbox button to open the guide.
    2. Navigate to Profile and System> Settings.
    3. Navigate to Devices and connections> Accessories.
    4. Select the controller which does not work.
    5. Select and check if there is a firmware update.
  5. Try to use the controller via USB. Connect the controller to your Xbox using a USB C cable, and see if it works like that. If so, consider using the controller as a wired controller. There is probably an internal fault that prevents the controller from operating on batteries.
  6. Contact Xbox Customer Service. If your controller is still under warranty, Xbox Customer Support can help you get it repaired. If not, they can advise you on other repair procedures and help you decide what to do next.

If your controller is faulty and not under warranty, there are a lot of things Xbox Series X or S and Xbox One controllers that will work with your console.

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