The PlayStation 3 (PS3) supports both wired and wireless controllers. As with all peripherals on the PS3, controllers must be paired (synced) with the system before becoming operational. If your PS3 controller is not working, there are a number of troubleshooting steps you can take to ensure the controller is connected properly, such as moving closer to the console. These steps are applicable to all official and unofficial PS3 controllers (such as the SIXAXIS and DualShock 3).
Disconnect all USB, Bluetooth and wireless devices from the PS3.
Move closer to the PS3. Ideally, you must be within 15 feet of the console. Avoid any obstructions (such as walls if the PS3 is in an entertainment centre) blocking the remote from the PS3.
Plug the USB cable that comes with the controller into the controller and the other end into the PS3. The lights will flash, indicating the controller is charging. Let the controller charge for two hours. You can still use the controller while it's connected to the PS3.
Disconnect the USB cable and press the "PS" button on the controller after a full charge. The lights will flash and eventually stabilise, indicating the controller is paired with the PS3.
If possible, test the controller with a different PS3. If it still doesn't work, the controller may be malfunctioning.