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Videos / Our Ultimate RetroPie Gaming Console Build with NESPi and 8Bitdo SF30 Pro Controllers

Amid all the new controllers that 8Bitdo have brought out and the mountain of Raspberry Pi cases and accessories that are available, we’ve bundled everything together to create the ultimate RetroPie gaming console.

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Hi guys my name is Sam and today I'm going to walk you through how to assemble and configure your very own ultimate retro gaming console. Now this is a bundle that we've just launched and it's fantastic, it includes two of the new 8-bit do SFC 30 pro controllers, they have got dual analog, thumb sticks, along with triggers, motion control, host of great other features check out the product page for those if you're after some more info, but I'm going to walk you through the whole build process with the bundle and also some tips that you'll need along the way if you are putting together the same system with bits and pieces, that you might already have such as a blank SD card and how to format it correctly.

So, in the bundle you will receive one of our pre-flushed retro pay SD cards, you can plug it in and it's ready to go a Nespi case by retro Flags these are amazing, Raspberry Pi 3 board, two of the SFC 30 pros, 1-meter HDMI cable and the official Raspberry Pi 2.5-amp 5-volt power supply. So, before we begin or walk you through the process of how to create your own retro PI SD card, this is useful if you're using an SD card you've already got lying around the house one that you've already used for a Raspberry Pi project or just a blank one that you've got out and brought. If you have got your own card, I recommend that you make sure it's at least an 8-gig card, that is class 10, and that's going to ensure you get the maximum possible performance out of your system because everything runs off the card. So in order to do this if it is a blank card you've just gotten then it should be good to go as long as it's formatted to fat32, but if not if you've already got a partition on it from an old Raspberry Pi project, for example then you'll plug it in and it will come up with some sort of error like this, so we're just going to cancel this now, I won't go through this whole process because I've linked to it in a tutorial the Michael put together on repairing your SD card, I'll just go through the process quickly so you can see what I'm doing and follow along. So, opened the command prompt now here we want to launch a tool called disk apart, yes. Now I insert your SD card in there and we're going to go list disk, find our card so I know that it's the 14 Google option, 16 card not quite maximum capacity because the way it handles the storage. Select that disc one, now we're going to go clean and create partition primary and that is all you need to do with the command line. So, we can exit out of that. Now we can go into our card it will currently format disk again this time if format disk should see the close to the full capacity their fat32 start and it will format it again you will lose any data that was on this and make sure that's backed up if you need it and that is now good to go and we can flush our retropie image to it.

So, to do that I've got a link here we'll need to use a tool called the win32diskimage. If you are on windows its perfect, if you're on a different operating system I've linked you to some alternate programs there make sure you've got the fresh version of retro pi downloaded here. So, get the raspberry pi 2/3 build very important and then you'll also need an extraction tool such as 7-zip to extract the image. So, I already downloaded that to save us some time. Here is the download file it would be a .IMG.GZ file and so he can extract that 7-zip extract files here and of really don't save us some time and you get this image file here. Now what you need to do is open up win32diskimager, make sure you've got the appropriate image selected now select your disk and make sure you've got the correct one and you're not targeting a different disk. So, I can see there's a couple of options here I want to select Drive D because that is my freshly formatted card, okay and now we can go right, and it will flash that image onto the card for us it's all sort of us. Which is fantastic.

Now while it's doing that I'll walk you through how to assemble the case. So, we take our nespi case. Set these to the side. I'll just mention now as well that for this tutorial we'll need a keyboard either a USB wireless or wired keyboard, a blank USB Drive, that it doesn't need to be very big at all, obviously your computer so you can download you're ROM and flash it on to your USB to transfer and an external HDMI to screen, so we can see what's going on. So, don't need those for the assembly process now these NesPi cases are something else. They are terrific, absolutely love it. I've got one set up at home comes with a little manual which is a useful guide it's not super detailed but does show you where things go we're not going to use that for now. We've got our case, a little orange screwdriver and some screws. Set that to the side and take your Raspberry Pi board out. Make sure you're only handling on the edges and cause damage, there we go.

Alrighty, so just take the top off your case it just pulls apart, you can see we've got our ethernet connector for the ethernet port, USB connector for the two hidden USB connectors and the two exposed USBs and then also a GPIO connector for power. So, when we put the lid on you can see it's got this little hinge door for the two USB and F net which is handy probably won't be using F net that much given the pi3 as onboard Wi-Fi but yeah, it's a neat feature. Take your board insert it on an angle through the HDMI in 3.5 builders on the back and it will sit correctly and you can see where the mounting holes on the board align with the mounting posts in the case. In your plastic bag all the screws go ahead and take out two of the black screws, we only need two because those are the two screw holes where the remaining screws will go to secure the case together. Now go ahead and put your screw in like so and screw it in so it's reasonably tight but not over tight we don't need to compress the board down too much because it will be held solidly in place. So, once you feel that resistance there you can stop okay these are just standard Phillips head screws so you're welcome to use another screwdriver if you wish. A bit more, I said is important you don't over tighten these screws. So, there we go our Raspberry Pi boards nice and snug.

Take your Ethernet cable here bring it underneath the USB cable and making sure it doesn't get snagged on that little post on the side does happen. Put it into the Ethernet port it is a little tight but if you wiggle it around it’s not too bad. You feel that click in, take the USB connector and plug it into any of the USB ports and that breaks out those two there and now power is provided by the micro USB port on the case here and that breaks it out runs it along to these breakout boards and then finally powers your PI by the GPIO connector.

Don't format that our cards just finished flushing cancel, cancel, cancel. So, there's an image here of how you want to mount this GPRU connect because it's quite important. Make sure that the red and the black wire go on the GPIO pins furthest away from the HDMI ports or closest to the breakout boards and all the way up the very end because if you connect it up incorrectly it can damage temporarily or permanently damage your PI. so double check it before you power anything on but that's it that's all we need to assemble for our board put the top on the case like so go ahead and take your six silver screws from the bag and mount them into the holes underneath.

All right so now you've inserted those screws make sure they are nice and tight, so the case can't pull away at the edges but not too tight that you've potentially strips the thread from the holes because it is only a plastic case but is the injection moulded nice quality case, I love it. so that's all there is to the assembly so go ahead and get rid of some of those bits and pieces and we can now take a HDMI cable and use this one, so it's connected to the screen capture, so you can see what's going on. your power supply so, again it is important worth noting that we really recommended this power supply especially for this build because the micro USB connector doesn't directly connect up to the Raspberry Pi there's some extra wire going on along the way, which if you're using an underrated power supply can cause issues this actually outputs just above five volts of accounts for that voltage drop along the cable which is really important especially when it's under load and the two and a half amps will support any USB devices as well let's go ahead and connect that guy up there now it doesn't power up which is exactly what it's supposed to be doing because there's two powers switches on the front here one is for power and it is a latching switch and the other is just a momentary reset switch. so, take your card take the one I just imaged take the microSD card and the inductor you insert it with the gold contacts facing up I'm just the micro USB connector like so. you're now ready to power it on red light will come on everything is magical.

So, we now get to connect our Bluetooth controllers which is exciting but before we do that we need to use our USB keyboard because to do so we need to navigate through the retro play system. now to do that we need a way of navigating it controller before we can connect these up, so we need a keyboard that isn't Bluetooth. that we don't have to configure, because USB devices work out of the box, that’s why they're so wonderful. All right so I'll just wait until that boots up, so you can see what's going on now when this boots up we're going to go through and map the keyboard then connect to the Bluetooth controllers which we can then use to play our games and lastly, we'll be loading up so ROM.

So, it goes through this boot process and the first time it boots up it will go through that blue screen that you might have seen before it must resize the file partition. Don't worry that alert just wait until boots up emulation station, fantastic. So, the first time because there's no controller connected we get this screen so just hold a key in and go through now all we need to do is map the directional keys for navigation start, select, A and B. So go ahead do those you can use different keys if you like but just make sure you remember what they are, you can always go through and remap it if need be as long as you know your directional arrows and start and A, if not you can just reflash your card or you can go through the command line in the terminal access to reset the controller configuration, seems a bit small hassle than it's worth. Just make sure you have a right and to skip past all these extra controls like you can see I'm doing just hold any key I recommend one you haven't already met so it doesn't have something map to that and just hold it down until it skips past the selection will be mapping all of these controls to our Bluetooth controllers because they do have all the extended control set. For a keyboard we don't need it at all new feature of reference got this hotkey enable feature which is cool which will map to Bluetooth controls, yes, we'll use selected hot key enable button, ok for now even though we're not going to use it. Retro Pi, welcome this is our retropie homepage. so, we don't have any emulators as you can see because by default all the emulators are hidden until there is a compatible ROM file found for them it doesn't come with any roms we need to load them on ourselves, so this is all we see. Huge number of emulators for retropie so it's really cluttered if it showed them all. So, press A to go into the menu scroll down to Bluetooth and it's time for us to get our controller out. So, take one of them I'm just going to do the process once, but it will be the exact same process you just repeat twice, once for each controller. I want to charge one of these before we started and make sure this is the one. So yeah make sure it is fully charged before use or at least it has some charge doesn't strict, so they must be fully charged the batteries in these are pretty good. I think it out get rid of the plastic and a trick here is, which to get me the first time I was saying up in the manual, I could do a you know have released a few different firmware revisions based on different modes of console so, you can see that you've got switch Android Windows and Mac which you think what which mode am I supposed to use but they don't tell you is that all those modes are selected by holding in buttons and the start button to power it on but if you just hold the start button, launches into a bit of a generic mode which is exactly what we want. So just hold the start button down the light and not bright at all they should have made them move over you can see them sort of flashing here while it's not connected to anything and what we want to do is see that put our control to the side and we're going to go register and connect to Bluetooth devices. Bit of a weird thing here I'm not sure they're it's an 8 bit do ISM or a retropie ISM that it won't show the controller ID name or sorry the controller name. The first time you search for devices so you just have to go cancel and research for it and eventually it picks up and it'll say pro controller you can of course go off the ID if you want to go in and find the controller ID do it that way but it's more hassle than it's worth honestly it's is you just do this we can see that for a controller it doesn't come up for you just given another couple of goes. Make sure that your lights are flashing on the controller. So, hit okay, just press enter again skip past those settings don't need to worry about them successfully registered and connected and that first light if this is your first controller will be on solid, exactly what we want.

Now we need to go through and go set up udev rule for joypad, select pro controller it will say, reboot will take effect, that'll reboot in a second we don't need to worry about doing that now, now importantly configure Bluetooth can - mode so by default, it will only connect manually so we want to make it so that connects in the background so anytime we turn the controller on no matter what the system is doing it'll detect that and connect to it the background force connecting the devices in background okay and that's all there is to it make sure your 8-bit do mapping hack is set to OFF for new firmware, cancel to exit out of the menu. Our control is now connected via Bluetooth to the system, but we need to configure it so, hit enter again to go in the main menu, figure input hit A.

We're going to go through the same process we went through before a controller. so, hold a button it'll detect it there, let go as soon as it does because otherwise it will detect the key pressed. so we've got d-pad up fairly self-explanatory here, up, down, left, right, start and select, then A B X&Y; got left shoulder, right shoulder, left trigger, right trigger, left thumb, which is the button on the thumb stick, make sure you press it without moving your thumb sticker it will accidentally detects that, right thumb, cool left analog up make sure you're pressing it in the exact axes just to be safe, so up so might 1 -, 1 + should be 0 - yep ,0 + same for the right, down, left, right, Huk enable use that button, seems like good button press A and away we go. This is now fully configured and matched to our system we can navigate with it, it's beautiful, beautiful, but again we still don't have any games to play it with.

so, go ahead and repeat that process between second controller both the Bluetooth setup and the mapping you can hit both Bluetooth at once then both mappings at once and it's time for us to load some games up.

Now a word of warning before we start, it is a bit of a grey area with using roms but a core we use a simple principle for learning roms up onto our machines. If you own the physical copy of the game you can use the ROM on your machine, if not then you can't. So, all the games that we use we have the physical copy of the game, Super Mario World on snares is the one I will be loading up today. you are of course welcome to use your retropie console however you like that is how we choose to lead to make sure that we're not violating any copyright issues and respecting original work. let's go ahead and remove some of that that clutter now I've included some links here, let's get past this to some YouTube videos showing you where you can find roms but a word of warning is make sure you don't download anything that's a .exe extension that's a really classic issue that can trip people up with it downloading you know a Trojan or some malware that is going to wreck the computer. so just be careful with the files that you are downloading so I've included some of the required file extensions for popular roms as taken from the rectopic github page, but you know for nez snares and 64gb, a mega drive, ps1 those are the file extensions that retropie will accept and they're the only ones that you should download. So, with that in mind go ahead and download your roms, I've already got Super Mario World us downloaded here. so, this is where we need to use our USB Drive to take it out and plug it into your computer. USB port down here now we're not going to be formatting it so it's ok if you've got data that's already on there. now what we want to do is go in here and create a new folder in the top level of your drive and call it retro pie, all low case exactly as I've done that's all I need to do unplug it and we're going to insert into our pi and what it does is on reboot it didn't look for this folder and if it sees it will create an entire folder subsystem inside of it in which we can put down ROM. So, it's a really easy way to transfer games on there. so as always you want to make sure that you are whenever you restart or shutdown unless you've customized your console that you don't just hit the power button or pull the power out because that can corrupt data, so go into the quit in the main menu, hit restart system, if you are hit restart start. if you are shutting down and hit shut down wait for it to fully turn off hit remove your power and then that's the safest way to do it. so, go through wait for that to reboot now you don't need to leave your USB Drive in there the whole time but generally I think it's safer to wait until you see the emulation station screen pop up that way you know that it has been done correctly you haven't pulled it up too early. so, we'll wait for retropie to reboot here, can take a few seconds bit of a downside directory by system is the most flexible you know most powerful operating system for emulators I should say but it does have the downside of a long boot time. now has probably already created this file system but as I said the activity light on the USB still blinking so I'm just going to leave it in to be safe and make sure it has created that emulation station cools there we are.

So, pull your USB drive up put it back into your computer, I'm going to go, it will say there's a problem if you're on Windows there's no problem doesn’t worry about it. You can see it's created our folder system exactly what we want so, going to go there. now I've got Super Mario World here this is our rom file it's a dot SFC file which is a valid extension for the snare system there, all good so take that and you can name it whatever you want so you can actually rename it that will reflect in the system but just as a word of warning if you for particular systems it is finicky about which version it is, I know whether it's the PAL or a different, you know i designed for a different refresh rate for the old TVs. so, if you notice your game isn't running at the correct speed you may need to adjust the title awesome settings inside of retro pi. copy that in go to retropie, USB drive, roms, find snares, just here or whatever system you wish and just copied it and that's all you need to do. you can now unplug your USB drive plug it back in to your retropie system, I’m get rid of this keep I don't really need it and we're going to do the same thing we're going to restart the console restart, yep, I must turn the controller back on for it to connect, funny about that there we go. figure quit restart system there we go now while that's restarting it's going to look through that file structure and if it sees a valid ROM that it doesn't already have loaded onto the system it will copy it over onto the card. so it's a really great way to just have a USB Drive that has your whole ROM library on it and that way when you want to put an ROM you just add it in because it won't create duplicates of roms that it already has on the system so it's really smart, you know system when it loads up so you won't have to worry about duplicates at all. it does have a file management system on the retropie operating system, but I think that the USB Drive is an easier method for a lot of people to use. so, once this boots up again we can turn our control on by just pressing start by itself and once it turns on we will see that our Super Mario World copy is on our system and we can play it and that's all there is to it we can see here we've now got the Super Nintendo emulator as an option. enter it, Super Mario World and that's it guys we've now assembled our retropie machine loaded roms onto it connected our controllers and that is how you set up your ultimate retro gaming console whether it's in our bundle or from the various bits and pieces that you've collected if you've already used raspberry pi perhaps.

I hope this video was useful, if you have any questions or you know get some more information about a step of the process if you're not sure then just leave a comment down below, more than welcome to and I'll get straight to them that's all there is for today guys I hope you enjoy and happy gaming.

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