For a while I only had one Play-and-Charge kit for my Xbox 360, which worked fine considering I rarely had company over to play games. At one point the rechargeable battery went bad so I purchased two new Niko batteries from Amazon. Recently, both of these seemed to have gone bad and would no longer charge.
Having one battery go bad wasn’t unlikely. However, having three go bad in less than a year and knowing that previous batteries worked for a long time with no problems lead me to think that they weren’t actually bad.
Sure enough, after much searching, I found a solution written by user Nookie that provided a tip on how to recharge seemingly dead Xbox 360 rechargeable batteries. I tried this method with one battery and discovered that it worked. After one was working again I moved onto another and eventually realized that all three batteries were still good.
The gist of the tip is to plug the battery into the Play-and-Charge cable until the charge light goes off (or, early on, until it turns green). As soon as it changes just unplug the cable and then plug it back in. After a few subsequent connects and disconnects eventually you should find that the red light will stay on, indicating that it’s being charged.
So far, this seems to have worked. It looks like these batteries can be discharged to a point at which the recharge system doesn’t detect enough residual charge and just assumes the batteries are dead.
Source: [FIX] Xbox360 Controller + Play & Charge Cable Not Charging – Se7enSins Forums
Updated 05/23/2011: This trick does appear to have worked with the two Niko batteries. However, the original red 360 battery hasn’t held a charge for very long, yet. It may just be dead.
Updated 06/09/2012: I’m not certain, but this trick may have also worked qirh a PS3 controller that appeared to have a dead battery. It’s a bigger problem with the PS3 controller because the battery isn’t removable (at least not in the sense that an Xbox 360 controller battery is). With the PS3 controller I plugged it in, pressed the PS3 button, waited until the controller light turned a steady red, and then unplugged it after it started flashing, plugged it back in, and repeated the process several times. I have yet to actually use the controller but so far it appears to have started charging again.