The convenience of a portable device is that you aren't tethered to an outlet. This does mean that you have to give your device some juice once in a while. But if you can't get it to take a charge, it's no different than any wired device. Don't settle for a corded console.
Before undertaking any of the more time-consuming solutions below, these are a few fundamentals to get you started:
- Restart your Steam Deck. It sounds basic, but this is a troubleshooting fundamental for good reason.
- Is the LED near the charge port lit? Verify your charger and wall outlet are functioning.
- Use your Deck charger on another USB C device, or try another charger on your Steam Deck.
- Still no light? Check that your wall outlet is good. Connect the charger to one you know works.
- Switch to Desktop mode or Game Mode, depending on where the issue occurs. If it charges in the opposite mood, software faults are most likely.
- Put your Steam Deck into Battery Storage Mode, then power it on normally. This resets the charging circuitry and may clear errors there.
Power Source Too Weak
Ever notice all the text printed on power adapters? The information here is not just model number and manufacturer specific data; it also includes the adapter’s specifications–what voltages can it change to what? The amount of power the charger can output is strongly related to the rate a device can charge.
- Look for text on your charger. Flip to whichever side has electrical data and look for key information.
- Input Voltage: It’s not specifically important in this case, but it’s typically the first item in the string of things you’re looking for. It will likely indicate a range of 100-240V AC.
- Output Voltage and Amperage: These will be listed together. The adapter may be capable of outputting multiple voltages, including 5V DC—typical voltage for USB charging. Higher voltages may be utilized on larger devices or to support fast charge standards. The current (Amperage) rating will be listed per voltage.
- Wattage: Some manufacturers, like Apple, list this plainly on the adapter. But if not, you can calculate it yourself! Wattage is simply Volts multiplied by Amps. In the case of a basic Apple iPhone charger, the USB brick is rated for 5V and 1A. Therefore, it would be a 5 Watt charger (5x1=5).
- Save some brain cells and use a wattage calculator if your numbers aren’t as easy.
- Steam Decks idle at around 15 Watts of power consumption. You will need a charger that exceeds this to increase battery levels. For reference, the charger in the box is 45 Watts.
- Anything below this may produce a "Slow Charge" warning. A more power charger may be needed to provide system power and replenish your Deck's battery.
Corrupt or Buggy Software
Poorly optimized or buggy software can wreak havoc on otherwise functional electronics. If the onset of your battery issue is sudden, something may have been updated. Updates alone are rarely the issue, but they can introduce errors. The process can include making changes to vital operating system files. Sometimes, updates include a bug that breaks a specific function—including charging.
- Check to see if your Steam Deck needs an update. Bugs may have already been patched by Valve. The same goes for system corruption. A further update could fix previously generated OS damage.
- SteamOS updates need to be processed in Game Mode.
- Reinstalling the operating system or reimaging your Steam Deck completely could help if no updates are available. If nothing else, it will rule out software as your cause. Follow Valve's guidance for these procedures.
The Steam Deck (and most portable gaming devices) are especially prone to battery issues. Gaming on your Deck while it’s charging is an expected part of the experience, but negatively impacts battery longevity.
- A faulty battery may manifest as a non-responsive unit, or one that only gives the battery charging logo on screen, but never powers on.
- Check your battery’s health. In Desktop Mode, click the battery icon in the lower right corner. Below the charge level is your battery’s health percentage.
- Look for signs of battery swelling. Separation of the enclosure, localized screen discoloration, or unexplained bowing of the housing are indicators of battery expansion.
- No Swelling? Disconnect the battery then reconnect it. An improperly connected battery can result in unexpected charging behavior.
- If it does not, remove the battery from the equation. Disconnect it again, connect external power, and try to turn it on now.
Faulty Charge Port
Since the Deck is not wireless charge capable, all power and charge functions go through the USB C port on the top of the unit. Wear on USB-C ports is common, so it’s worth inspecting.
- Verify the USB-C port is clean. Does a charger sit flush against the edge of the shell? The port may be clogged if it sits at an angle or has a loose fit. Use a flashlight to inspect.
- Removing debris from a USB-C port can be tricky due to its narrow clearance. Use an air duster and a toothpick (shaved to fit) to avoid damaging the port. Other non-conductive tools can be used in place of a toothpick, but avoid inserting anything metal.
- Once the debris has been removed, give charging another go.
- Open the Deck and inspect for internal port damage. Be sure the USB- C connector is attached soundly to the board and free from burn or corrosion.
- Checking power draw with a USB multimeter can give some valuable data. A fully booted Deck at idle will typically charge at 15 Volts and about 1.6 Amps.
- Sadly, if you determine your port is the issue, it is not a modular replacement component. The port is soldered onto the board itself. It is repairable, but you’ll want some solid solder practice before attempting this repair.
- There are two rows of pins connecting this port to the board. The second row is hidden underneath the port, making hand-soldering these pins impossible. You will need a hot air station to perform this repair.
The motherboard is the hub for most of a Steam Deck’s functionality. Any of the tiny components on the board may have failed or become damaged. Motherboard fault is a safe assumption of cause if nothing else on this page has worked.
- Check for signs of a board issue—burned or cracked components, liquid residue, corrosion, or bend. If there are signs of liquid, there’s still hope your Deck can be resurrected.
- Replacing the motherboard is often the most practical solution for a DIYer whose board has failed.
- Be sure your device is not under warranty. Contact Valve support if necessary. Board faults in the first year without accidental damage are rare and should be covered.