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Dualshock 4: LED's effect on battery life test

Steel

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Jun 20, 2013
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UPDATE:

The results of the test are in:

Steel you can also update the OP that the LED disabled controller died sometime last night. It was at 1 bar at just past midnight last night, and when I checked on it at 10am it was dead. So the LED disabled controller lasted somewhere between 26 and 36 hours of idle operation. I must admit though yesterday I setup my xbox one and it powered off my PS4 and also the controller. Therefore I had to restart the system and relink the controller for the test. My test is not scientific in anyway but the controller was off for a maximum of 1 minute after I discovered I had accidentally pulled the power for the PS4.



The actual time that the LED enabed DS4 lasted was between 13 and 15 hours. It was down to one bar, I left for 2 hours came back to check on it and it was dead.
While this information is interesting, another very good point that should have been brought up earlier came up:

I didn't read the whole thread, so maybe this was answered, but wouldn't the easiest way to test this be to test the amperage draw on the battery with the LEDS on and then with them off?
Didn't even think of doing this. I just did the reading.

With LED on .08A (stable)
With LED off . 03A to .04A (variable)

The DS4 has a 1000mAh Li-ion battery therefore the idle battery life would be calculated as:

LED enabled: (1000/80) = 12.5 hours
LED disabled: (1000/35) to (1000/30) = 28.6 hours
The odd thing here is the mathematical test and the real world one don't quite square. However from the difference in amperage usage alone it seems the LED has a much higher draw than one would think.

--------------------------------------

This is my first thread, but it isn't really my thread for the record. Credit for the content here goes to xn0, a junior member. There was a discussion in the thread about how annoying/not annoying the LEDs in the dualshock 4 are about how much of an effect on battery life said LEDs have on the controller. XN0 decided it was worth testing as chronicled below. Personally I thought since the lights were simply LED that there wouldn't be significant difference, but I find the results to be pretty shocking.

So the test is going to go like this... I have taken apart one of my DS4 controllers and realized that I cannot desolder the LEDs without breaking the board (ie heat gun did not work and I'm fond of my DS4 even with the annoying light). There is a simple ribbon cable (circled below) that joins the microUSB port and the LEDs to the main board, and if I remove this cable the controller still works and functions normally. I have both controllers charging currently. I am going to wait until they are both fully charged then I am going to turn both of them on and see which one runs out of batteries first. I won't be touching the controllers they will just be on all night and I'm guessing the one with the LEDs attached will drain faster, how much faster is the real question.




I'll report back my findings and maybe a non junior member could start a thread on it.
So what I discovered when taking apart my DS4 is that these are some serious LED's in this controller. The LED's are actually so bright they sit behind a defuser and 2 shields (with 1 of those shields being completely opaque) the 4 LED's in the 360 controller are less bright by a significant amount. There appear to be 6 extremely bright LEDs inside of the array, and my experience with both LED light bars on ATV's and LED strobes on guns I can definitely say LED's do consume a measurable amount of power. If I had to guess what is eating up batteries in the DS4 it would be Rumble motors<LEDs<Buttons+analog.
I think it will be a short time before this is a configureable option. Until then I just discovered that PIN 14 is the power to the LED for anyone who cares to disable the LED without tape/paint/etc, I'm doing it now.

So far there is no data on the test. I am just using the battery indicator light on the OS, both are still at full bars and they have been going for about 3.5 hours. I now doubt the light has a significant impact but tomorrow morning I'll check it again and use a voltmeter on both batteries and post back on this thread.
So I'm not a patient man.... I just took a multimeter to both batteries...

Data:

DS4 w/ LED enabled: 3.66V
DS4 w/ LED disabled: 3.88V

Verdict so far... Well this means nothing unfortunately since I did not measure each battery fully charged with the multimeter. However based on this data I don't see any way the DS4 with the LED disabled is going to drain more battery than the DS4 with the LED enabled. Continuing this test might be pointless I'm afraid, as the outcome is going to be exactly as I expected, the DS4 w/ LED is draining batteries quicker.

That said the LED's likely have little impact on the battery when compared to the 2 rumble motors and the capacitive touchpad.
UPDATE: As of 1:40am the DS4 with the LED on hit 2/3 bars, the DS4 with the LED disabled is still at 3/3 bars. That is approximately 4.5 hours to discharge 1 bar on DS4 with just the LED.
UPDATE:

So I just tested again and the DS4 with the LED on is at 1 bar, however the DS4 with the LED off is still at 3 full bars. The reading is 3.67V on the DS4 without the LED controller which is more than the DS4 was with the LED on was last night after a few hours. The battery draw isn't huge for the LED's but its still there and noticeable. I think I can safely assume that the DS4 with LED on isn't going to last 24 hours of being on and idle whereas the DS4 with LED off will probably be scratching at 2 bars.
Now, XN0 is still in the process of testing these controllers so I'll update the OP as necessary, but so far the difference appears to be noticeable, and an option to turn off the LED's wouldn't hurt anything.

Discuss, and lock if superfluous.

Edit: Just for clarification purposes on the quality of the test:

I did start with the controllers fully charged but I only used the OS to give me that data that the controllers were full an no longer charging. I did not however think of hooking both batteries up to a multimeter and taking a reading before the test started to make sure both were equally charged. Only after a few hours did I think of doing that.

This test is really easy to preform, I'm definitely going to preform it again with more measurements, and I'm hoping more people will do the same given its extremely easy to conduct, and add some weight to the findings.
The reason why not checking the voltage beforehand is significant: Batteries tend to wear down and have different voltages when fully charged(These are new so not really going to be a factor), there's also a very slight variance in the starting voltage of batteries(Normally very small).
 

USC-fan

Banned
Oct 9, 2005
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Wait he didnt start the test with both controllers fully charged?

LED really do not used much power at all.

Really is a stupid test. If you just leave the controller on for 24 hours with one doing nothing and the other with led of course its going to run the battery. WHat you need to do a real life test with both playing a game. I doubt there would be much different at all. If you want better battery life turn off the rumble.
 

Tsundere

Banned
Aug 21, 2013
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I played a 10 hour session of Assassin's Creed IV yesterday and didn't even get a low battery notification. The battery life is fine even with the LED.
 

ypo

Member
Jun 8, 2004
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Like I said turn that crap off Sony. The DS4 needs all the extra battery time it can get.
 
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Matrix XII

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Jun 7, 2013
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That's very interesting, I thought the light would have some significant impact on the battery life as shown in the OP.

The DS3 batterly life wasn't bad at all. I understand the touchpad and speaker will factor in as well, but the DS4 should have similar battery life to the DS3 (w/o the light). The light seems to be what is the biggest impact on battery life with the DS4.

Hopefully Sony can update the firmware to allow PS4 users to dim/deactivate the light.
 

Vashetti

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Oct 3, 2012
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Do the LEDs even benefit the games in anyway? Do any games currently make use of it?

Seems very much a "wow, the controller has an LED light, etc." thing. Just something to put on a checklist but has little to no benefit.
 

jet1911

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Feb 23, 2005
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The thing I hate the most about the controller is the super short battery life. Let me turn off the LED please Sony.
 

Dr. Kaos

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Jun 22, 2013
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I would like to disable the lightbar for my solo, non ps-eye games. (IE: all of them)

It reflects on the screen and is annoying. Any saved battery life would be the cherry ontop.
 

Colonel Nasty

Member
Mar 27, 2012
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Mine regularly gets 6-7 hours. It's only gonna get worse with constant charging. The best reason to own two is to be able to swap.
 

Dunlop

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Oct 2, 2007
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Do the LEDs even benefit the games in anyway? Do any games currently make use of it?

Seems very much a "wow, the controller has an LED light, etc." thing. Just something to put on a checklist but has little to no benefit.
Some do I believe but I think the main purpose was to be used with the camera that I believe they originally were going to bundle in***

***`Personal opinion

Just hope they update the firmware to let us turn it off as I can see the novelty wearing thin quickly
 

Boost

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Mar 3, 2012
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Great breakdown and findings!

Am I the only one that has NOT had his DS4 die on him? I do keep it charge when I'm not using it, but I unplug it when I play and Ill play for 2 -3 hours and it's still fully charged.
 

Matrix XII

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Mine regularly gets 6-7 hours. It's only gonna get worse with constant charging. The best reason to own two is to be able to swap.
Yeah, that's mainly what I use my 2nd one for (unless my wife wants to play Trine 2 with me lol).

It's quite sad that we're forced to do that, really.
 
Oct 16, 2009
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Wait he didnt start the test with both controllers fully charged?

LED really do not used much power at all.

Really is a stupid test. If you just leave the controller on for 24 hours with one doing nothing and the other with led of course its going to run the battery. WHat you need to do a real life test with both playing a game. I doubt there would be much different at all. If you want better battery life turn off the rumble.
No he said he fully charged both, but forgot to test the charge of both for a beginning baseline. Due to the length of time involved this doesn't exactly render the experiment as a failure, just slightly inaccurate.
 

CoG

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Mar 10, 2007
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I really want to see the LED disabled in a firmware update. It serves no purpose for me who has no camera and a single controller. It's too bright and distracting. Battery would be better without it no matter what, so what's the point?
 

Thrillers

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Oct 30, 2013
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The DS4for all it's advancements run one third of of a ds3 but Sony has accumilated So much good will since the reveal that anything seen as a criticism will be quickly shut down. Sony should patch in an option for users to turn of the DS4. That's not hate, I'm patiently waiting on my UK preorder to arrive but for those that don't wish to have the led switched on surely they can give us the option to switch it off? And in case anyone calls me a fanboy I moved from the 360 to ps4 because of the well documented BS
 

xn0

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Sep 14, 2011
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Wait he didnt start the test with both controllers fully charged?

LED really do not used much power at all.

Really is a stupid test. If you just leave the controller on for 24 hours with one doing nothing and the other with led of course its going to run the battery. WHat you need to do a real life test with both playing a game. I doubt there would be much different at all. If you want better battery life turn off the rumble.
No I did start with the controllers fully charged but I only used the OS to give me that data that the controllers were full an no longer charging. I did not however think of hooking both batteries up to a multimeter and taking a reading before the test started to make sure both were equally charged. Only after a few hours did I think of doing that.

This test is really easy to preform, I'm definitely going to preform it again with more measurements, and I'm hoping more people will do the same given its extremely easy to conduct, and add some weight to the findings.
 

androvsky

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Sep 19, 2007
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LEDs aren't all one power usage and brightness. The brighter ones don't use a lot of power compared to other light sources, but they're obviously going to use more power than dimmer LEDs.
 

WoolyNinja

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Dec 5, 2006
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Do the LEDs even benefit the games in anyway?
I kind of like its use in Killzone of flashing red when I'm getting close to dying. For some reason it adds a little bit to the tension for me. That being said I'd turn it off if it meant a few more hours of battery life.
 

Neuromancer

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Assuming this is accurate, I still like it. It's nifty. I wouldn't be adverse to an option to dim it or turn it off, though, if it were possible.

does the light serve any purpose if you don't have the camera?
Different games do different things with it. In Killzone it starts green, turns yellow as you take hits and then red if you're about to die. In Sound Shapes I hear it pulses to the music.
 

USC-fan

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Oct 9, 2005
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they are not going to let you turn it off. It is how the system uses to show the controller is on and what player are you. Just not going to happen....

No I did start with the controllers fully charged but I only used the OS to give me that data that the controllers were full an no longer charging. I did not however think of hooking both batteries up to a multimeter and taking a reading before the test started to make sure both were equally charged. Only after a few hours did I think of doing that.

This test is really easy to preform, I'm definitely going to preform it again with more measurements, and I'm hoping more people will do the same given its extremely easy to conduct, and add some weight to the findings.
Oh okay. Anyway to find the pull the power consumption of just the LED with the multimeter?
 

alatif113

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Nov 11, 2013
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What i find odd is that for the people that are complaining about battery life, why is all the malice going towards the LED's? Surely the rumble motors are the highest source of battery drain. The LED's and the motors both dont serve for any core gameply mechanics but rather as ambient effects (vibration and light). So why not just turn the motors off?

I am not going against for adding an option to turn them off in game like most games have the option for vibration, but if you're willing to turn off a feature thats only purpose is for some sort of ambient effect to conserve battery life, then why not the motors?
 
Feb 17, 2010
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CT
www.doddscientifics.com
The DS4for all it's advancements run one third of of a ds3 but Sony has accumilated So much good will since the reveal that anything seen as a criticism will be quickly shut down.

What in the shit are you talking about? This thread is filled with people complaining about the light and the controller battery life. As are many other threads here and around the internet. Sony isn't getting a free pass on this because they had a good e3 or whatever.
 

Atolm

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Jun 4, 2010
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To disable the rumble will be the first thing I'll do as soon as I turn on my PS4 this Friday. It's a feature I don't care about and it should save some battery.
 

borghe

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Jun 18, 2004
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Wait he didnt start the test with both controllers fully charged?

LED really do not used much power at all.

Really is a stupid test. If you just leave the controller on for 24 hours with one doing nothing and the other with led of course its going to run the battery. WHat you need to do a real life test with both playing a game. I doubt there would be much different at all. If you want better battery life turn off the rumble.
yeah, from what I'm reading here the DS4 without the LED on started at 6% more charge. there are other issues as well such as how the battery meter is actually reporting (is it direct correlation to charge or is it charge rated against current usage/draw, etc)

you really can't tell anything from this test. His intentions were good, but you'd really need two people using two DS4's in similar ways while measuring charge (and even better kwH as well) so we can get an idea of the LED drain in a real world scenario with real time differences.

I do applaud his dissection though, especially given the brightness of the LED and the fact that it is then spread by a diffuser presumably so you can actually use it 8-10 feet or so from the camera while being picked up with no problem.
 

USC-fan

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Oct 9, 2005
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Really the best thing to hope for is they let us dim it. I do not think they will let us turn it off.
 

jsip

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Oct 3, 2013
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I typically game for an hour or two each evening. On open days I may play 6. I haven't had a low battery warning yet. When it hits 1 bar I plug it in overnight. Still, a stronger battery would be nice.