Sunday December 04, 2022

How to Charge Oculus Quest 2 Controllers

Geewon Jung/Shutterstock.com

Charging Oculus Quest 2 headsets is as simple as plugging in a cable, but the controllers use removable AA batteries to provide power. This means there’s no direct way of recharging the controllers, but workarounds do exist if you need them.

Quest Controllers Have Surprising Battery Life

One of the reasons Meta decided to forego an internal rechargeable battery is simple the Quest’s controllers use very little power. Using disposable alkaline batteries, their battery life is measured in months.

This reduces or eliminates the need for controller battery charging unless you’re a truly heavy user of VR. Even then, you may never run into this issue. The folks over at Upload VR, who we assume use VR more than most people, only had to change controller batteries after three months! The most frequently people have to change batteries seems to be to be around the one-month mark. That’s serious battery endurance.

Keep Extra Disposable Batteries

Considering how long Quest 2 controller batteries last, the simplest strategy is to buy spare disposable AA batteries and keep them on hand when your current batteries run out of power. It’s faster than recharging them anyway and you’ll be back to beating those sabers in no time.

There’s definitely an environmental argument to be made for using rechargeables, but honestly, the Quest 2 controllers need a battery swap so infrequently that it doesn’t really make much of a difference. Especially since alkaline batteries are safe to dispose of. Still, you will be reducing your waste by using rechargeable alternatives.

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As long as they aren’t connected and left in their packaging, alkaline batteries have a long shelf life. Check the expiration date and put a pack in a drawer somewhere for the day you need them. Whether in a controller or another device.

Duracell CopperTop AA Batteries

Some good disposable AA batteries are all you really need. A 24-pack should last you years.

Use Rechargeable AAs

The Quest 2 controllers will accept any battery that fits in the AA size standard and provides the right voltage. So you have many options when it comes to rechargeable alternatives.

You can use NiMH (Nickel-metal Hydride) batteries with an external charger to power your controllers. Most controllers charge four batteries at once in sets of 2. So if you buy four NiMH batteries and charge all of them, you’ll always have a charged pair to swap to.

Using a dedicated charger can be inconvenient, so we actually use lithium AA batteries that recharge using USB power. Some of these batteries have a removable cap that allows you to insert them into a USB-A port. Others have a port in each battery to allow charging with a cable.

Pale Blue USB Rechargeable AA Batteries

A basic set of USB Lithium ion AA batteries suitable for game controllers or the controllers for a VR headset.

This works well, but in our experience, these lithium batteries tend to self-discharge whether you use the controllers or not. We don’t know if this is due to self-discharging built into the battery’s circuitry or just the nature of lithium-ion battery chemistry, but the long battery life of other batteries in Quest controllers isn’t quite there with the lithium batteries we’ve tried. Of course, you can quickly and easily recharge them, so it’s not a major tradeoff.

The last controller charging option you have is a custom battery pack made specifically for Quest 2 controllers. For example, Anker’s Quest 2 charging dock, which we consider one of the best Quest 2 accessories you can buy, comes with batteries and replacement controller battery covers. The covers have external charging contacts, which let the dock charge the included AA batteries by simply slotting them into the dock.

Anker Charging Dock for Oculus Quest 2

Anker’s charging dock comes with rechargable batteries and adapters that let you plug your controllers in to charge.

Battery Storage Matters More

A much bigger issue than recharging your Quest 2 controllers is whether you should leave the batteries inside them when you don’t use your Quest for extended periods of time. Alkaline batteries, especially cheap ones, are prone to leaking corrosive chemicals if left in a device for too long without being used. This can trash your controllers and be an expensive mistake.

Leaving your rechargeable batteries in for too long without using them can lead to a total discharge that can damage them.

So regardless of which battery solution you choose, if you aren’t going to use your Quest 2 for a few weeks or more, it’s probably a good idea to take the batteries out until you need them again.

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Oculus Quest 2 128GB

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Sydney Butler
Sydney Butler has over 20 years of experience as a freelance PC technician and system builder. He’s worked for more than a decade in user education and spends his time explaining technology to professional, educational, and mainstream audiences. His interests include VR, PC, Mac, gaming, 3D printing, consumer electronics, the web, and privacy. He holds a Master of Arts degree in Research Psychology with a focus on Cyberpsychology in particular.
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