PSP Charger Conundrum: Sony Reminds Us It is the Leader in User-Unfriendly Design!

PSP Charger Conundrum: Sony Reminds Us It is the Leader in User-Unfriendly Design!

As a gamer, gadget-hound and someone who has been a reviewer of games on a variety of platforms for nearly a decade, I frequently get questions about games and gaming systems. These range from ‘what system should I buy my kids’ to ‘how do I get by this boss’. But yesterday I got one that really stopped me in my tracks. Here are the basics:

So my next problem is, I went to go play my psp for the first time in a few months and I could not find the charger. I can find the usb wire so I was wondering if I could charge my psp through the usb drive. If so, can I charge it in my Xbox 360?

My first thought was – depends upon the model. But since I already knew it was a ‘PSP Slim & Light’ (or PSP-2000, the one introduced in late 2007), I knew the hardware was capable. You see, the original PSP (or PSP Phat as it is affectionately known) had no option to charge via USB.

My second thought was … well, OF COURSE you can charge it via USB – I do it all the time! But then I remembered the other night – I was in the middle of a dungeon in Final Fantasy VIII and my battery light was flashing at me. So I connected to my laptop to charge it.

I looked over and nothing was happening. Don’t tell me, I thought, that the PSP has to be in ‘USB Mode’ in order to charge. I knew I had to put it into USB Mode to transfer files, but never in nearly 3 years of USB charging had I realized you needed to enable it just for charging! So I just quit out of the game, set my PSP Go into ‘USB Mode’ and connected to my laptop to charge it. No problem.

But what if your PSP is completely dead? So I took out another of my PSP’s, also a PSP-2000 that my kids occasionally borrow but has languished for a couple of months now. It was totally dead, so I tried plugging it in to my laptop. No indication of a charge. I left it overnight to see if enough of a trickle might occur to eventually get it to the point where it would power on. No such luck.

So I had my answer: you can use USB-charging ONLY if you can power your PSP on and put it into USB-mode … otherwise you need an AC adapter. Way to go Sony! And to think – they have produced two new hardware models and about 37 firmware updates since introducing the PSP-2000, and never dealt with this issue!

So … keep track of the PSP charger, because in spite of the capability of USB charging, losing that plug could be a $20 mistake!

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About the Author

Michael Anderson
I have loved technology for as long as I can remember - and have been a computer gamer since the PDP-10! Mobile Technology has played a major role in my life - I have used an electronic companion since the HP95LX more than 20 years ago, and have been a 'Laptop First' person since my Compaq LTE Lite 3/20 and Powerbook 170 back in 1991! As an avid gamer and gadget-junkie I was constantly asked for my opinions on new technology, which led to writing small blurbs ... and eventually becoming a reviewer many years ago. My family is my biggest priority in life, and they alternate between loving and tolerating my gaming and gadget hobbies ... but ultimately benefits from the addition of technology to our lives!

3 Comments on "PSP Charger Conundrum: Sony Reminds Us It is the Leader in User-Unfriendly Design!"

  1. Not sure why you’re picking on the PSP of all things concerning the charging-from-empty scenario. Many electronics can’t be charged from USB if they’re completely dead. This was the case with my Pre, iPhone, Kindle2… the list goes on. The 500 mA at 5V (and that’s if your laptop is putting out full power; I’ve had some that provide much less) you’re supposed to get isn’t enough to revive a dead battery. I sold my PSP a while back, but I bet that plug has an output of at least 650 mA, and probably is 1A. You don’t need to buy another PSP plug; you can use any USB-AC plug that provides that a similar amount of current.

  2. … assuming the other person HAD such a charger. Which they did not.

    Is the iPhone somehow different than any other iPod-like device (including Touch) then? Because what you said about it not working is definitely *not* true for any iPod I’ve had … and that is most. It certainly could be … it would just surprise me.

    Also, if your Pre had 10% power and you plugged it into USB … what would happen? It would charge! Not so with a PSP … unless you happened to remember to switch on USB Mode. Sony made a big deal about USB charging, yet has it behind a layer that forces you to have power in order to DO USB charging.

  3. Admittedly my last sentence was a throwaway line. I *have* had folks chastise me for plugging in other devices into the iPhone USB-AC plug, so I thought it’d be a good time to remind *all* folks that it’s okay to do so and not have to get ripped off by Sony for what is essentially a $5 thingy.

    I’ve never had a regular iPod, so I don’t know. I just know that if i have a completely dead iPhone, plugging it into my PC doesn’t do any good; it requires a good handful of minutes plugged into the mains before I can move it over to the computer. I can’t remember if that was the case with the iPod Touch or not.

    As for the Pre… well I specifically said I was talking about charging up a dead device. I vaguely recall one of my old being like that (MDA? Touch Diamond?). My best guess for the reason for USB mode? It’s probably because the PSP uses close to or more power than can be supplied through the USB port, and they didn’t want folks to be draining the battery while “charging” it. At best, you dont get a charge. At worst, draining while charging can shorten a battery’s lifespan.

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