Using a Single Alternative Controller on PlayStation 5 (using a Cronus Zen)

Photo showing a Cronus Zen connected to a PS5 console. into the Zen is plugged a DuelSense controller and a DualShock 4 controller.

*Update 25/01/24* – Unfortunately, the latest PS5 Update (24.01-08.60.00) stops the Cronus Zen device from functioning, so this set-up is not currently working. It will, however, still work if you have not yet carried out the (optional) update.

As a substitute method for using an alternative controller, the Besavior Controller’s Expansion Feature is currently working for one alternative controller (excluding an XAC): https://gameaccess.info/besavior-controller-expansion-feature-for-ps5/. The Besavior in combination with a Titan Two currently allows use two alternative controllers including an XAC: https://gameaccess.info/using-the-xbox-adaptive-controller-on-playstation-5-via-a-besavior/. We will update here if/when there has been a fix.

The PS5 Access Controller is also now available, if players are looking for alternative switch and joystick access, but this does not offer the option for alternative controller access (e.g. using an Xbox controller or DualSense 4 controller): https://gameaccess.info/playstation-5-access-controller-video-an-introductory-look/ 


Some players are unable to use a DualSense PlayStation 5 (PS5) controller to play games and need to use an alternative controller. Whilst a PlayStation 4 (PS4) DualShock 4 controller can be connected directly with the PS5 console and used to navigate the Home menu and play PS4 games, you cannot play PS5 titles with it.

We recently shared a couple of methods that we have started using that allow players to use two alternative controllers simultaneously to play PS5 games on a PS5 console, using two connected adapters. You can find links to these at the bottom of the post. The method shared in this post, allows players to use one adapter (a Cronus Zen), if just a single alternative controller is required.

Compatible controllers using this method, include an Xbox Adaptive Controller (XAC), an Xbox One or Series controller or a DualShock 4 controller. 

Photo showing a Cronus Zen connected to a PS5 console. Into the Zen is plugged a DuelSense controller and an Xbox Adaptive Controller. Into that is plugged a number of switches and two joysticks.

A DualSense PS5 controller is connected to the Cronus Zen for verification purposes, but most features will not function whilst an alternative controller is also connected to the Cronus Zen. 

The Cronus Zen software and firmware updates that allow for PS5 access, are currently in beta. At the time of publishing this post, this is a method that is working for us. However, future device or console updates may alter this, so players must follow this method at their own risk.

You can find the latest information about the Cronus Zen’s beta software, the download file and more information, here: https://beta.cronusmax.com/ps5-beta 

Photo showing a Cronus Zen connected to a PS5 console. Into the Zen is plugged a DuelSense controller and an Xbox controller.

Please watch the video below for information on this set-up and instructions on how to set it up. These are also available in written form, in the transcript below the video.

Video Timestamps:

0:00 | Intro

0:47 | Step 1. Playstation 5 console settings

1:22 | Step 2. Set up the Cronus Zen

3:35 | Step 3. Setting up the equipment for the first time

4:16 | Step 4. Playing after initial set-up

Please note, the the LED’s on the Cronus Zen and the Xbox Adaptive Controller will appear different in-person to how they appear onscreen.
Show Transcript

In this video, we will look at how to set up a Cronus Zen to use alternative controllers like an Xbox Adaptive Controller, an Xbox One or Series controller or a DualShock 4 controller to play PlayStation 5 games on a PlayStation 5 console.

The PlayStation 5’s DualSense, whilst connected as part of the set-up to verify the Cronus Zen, cannot be used for controls whilst another controller is connected to the Cronus Zen.

So, for touchpad or motion controls, you will need to temporarily unplug the alternative controller to use the connected DualSense, unless using a DualShock 4 controller as the alternative controller, which does have motion and touchpad controls.

Step 1. PlayStation 5 Console Settings

You will need to make sure your PlayStation 5 console is set so that controllers are used via a USB cable and not via Bluetooth.

To do this, in the PlayStation Home menu, navigate to ‘Settings’, select ‘Accessories’, go into ‘Controller’, then select, ‘Communication Method’ and set it to ‘Use USB Cable’ instead of ‘Use Bluetooth’.

Step 2. Set Up the Cronus Zen

Download the software currently in beta from beta.cronusmax.com/ps5-beta and unzip the folder.

Open the ‘cm update tool’ file from the downloaded and unzipped folder to open the ‘Collective Minds Firmware Update Tool’ and connect the Cronus Zen to a PC using the Cronus’ rear USB port.

Hold down the Reset Button underneath the Cronus Zen. Its screen will say ‘Zen Bootloader’ and the device should then appear in the Update Tool. Follow the on-screen instructions to update the firmware. Close the tool when finished and unplug the Cronus Zen.

Hold the two blue buttons on top of the Cronus Zen and reconnect it to the PC again to hard reset it, again using the Cronus’ rear USB port.

After 4 seconds the LEDs will flash red, green then blue indicating a successful hard reset, erasing all memory slots and putting your Zen back to factory defaults.

Unplug the Cronus Zen from your PC.

Open Zen Studio from the downloaded and unzipped folder and connect your ZEN to the PC using its ‘PROG’ USB Port this time, which is on the side of the Cronus.

Go to ‘Tools’, then select ‘Reset Zen Studio’ to reset all of Zen Studio’s settings back to its defaults.

When Zen Studio restarts, go to the ‘Device’ tab and make sure that both ‘PS4 Specialty’ and ‘PS Remote Play’ are ‘DISABLED’. Also check the output protocol is set to ‘AUTO’ and nothing else.

Step 3. Setting up equipment for the first time

Connect the short cable that comes with the Cronus Zen to its ‘CONSOLE/PC’ USB port, which is on the back of it.

Then connect a PlayStation 5 DualSense controller, to the ‘A1’ USB Port on the side of the Cronus Zen.

Connect your compatible alternative controller to the front left USB port of the Cronus Zen.

Next, plug the short cable connected to the back of the Cronus Zen into your PlayStation 5 console.

You can turn on the PlayStation 5 by pressing the button on the front of the console or by using the PS Home button on the connected DualSense PlayStation 5 controller.

Step 4. Playing after initial set-up

Connect the cable from the back of the Cronus Zen to your PlayStation 5.

Turn on the PlayStation 5 from the front of the console or using the PS Home button on the DualSense controller.

Turn off the console in the usual way, in the PlayStation Home menu.

Unplug the Cronus Zen from the PlayStation 5.

DualSense Compatibility Notes:

  • The buttons, triggers and stick inputs on the attached DualSense do not work whilst an alternative controller is connected to the Cronus Zen. These do work when the alternative controller is disconnected from the Cronus Zen. The same is true of the touchpad and motion sensors. However, if using a DualShock 4 as an alternative controller with the Cronus Zen, its touchpad and motion controls can be used, instead.

  • Vibration feedback continues to work through the DualSense, but not connected alternative controllers.

  • The DualSense’s integrated speaker and external mic both work whilst an alternative controller is connected, unless it is a DualShock 4 connected, in which case the speaker on the DualShock 4 takes over but does not work and there is no external mic included on the controller.

  • When an alternative controller is connected to the Cronus Zen, a mic/headset plugged into the verifying DualSense controller will not work. A wireless headset connected to the PS5 console can be used as an alternative. 

Alternative Methods:

If using two controllers simultaneously is beneficial for players, there are alternative methods that are currently available at the time of publishing this post: