The last task to do now before we close up the shell is to solder the battery contacts to the board. The only thing I was worried about was getting them the right distance apart… so the shell will close.
You will be soldering on to the bottom of the board as in picture 1. You will want to add solder to the top of the contacts (don’t hold the contact, it will get very hot). Using a pair of plyers you will want to slot the contact under the board, then line up the holes of the contact and board. As your holding the contact in place and its all lined up heat the solder that is on top of the board so that you can attached the contact. I trimmed down the other contact like in picture 2.
After trimming the other contact you will want to repeat the process for soldering the second contact. Now you will want to put the shell together. When I get a spare moment I will take the board out of the shell and check the soldering from the otherside. I’m waiting on a front LCD protector so I can’t fully close up the shell.
Now its time to setup retropie. Ed includes an SD card image but I found there are some changes that need doing, like installing some custom emulators which aren’t includes within the retropie’s OS anymore, setting up WiFi and sorting out the display text size.
Connect a keyboard and WiFi adapter to the Raspberry pi zero via USB hub and OTG (On The Go) adapter. Navigate to the retropie menu and choose WiFi, use the keyboard and select your router and then input your password. Now that we have WiFi access we can use putty and SSH to connect to the pi.
Installing Custom Emulators
The RetroPie OS includes alot of great emulators but for some reason there are a couple which don’t get included in the setup script. It is very easy to add custom emulators to RetroPie. First you need to check the Libretro github page to find all the emulators they have to offer for RetroArch which is the backend of RetroPie. In this section I will be adding MGBA which is a great GameBoy Advance emulator. Scroll down the github page until you find it in the list and copy the URL.
I’m going to be logging onto my Pi via putty on windows but this can be done directly on the Pi if you have a keyboard plugged in. I put all my custom emulators into a folder in the home directory.
git clone https://github.com/libretro/mgba
Now you will have to wait a minute or two for your Pi to download all the files from the Github page. The next stage is now to compile the emulator from the github files you downloaded.
You need to make sure you navigate to the MGBA directory and then run the ‘make’ command. This stage will take a while to compile, when it finishes you should have a file called mgba_libretro.so.
Now you will want to SSH onto your Pi and navigate to the /opt/retropie/configs/gba directory and edit the emulators.cfg.
mgba=”/opt/retropie/emulators/retroarch/bin/retroarch -L /home/pi/RetroPie-Custom/mgba/mgba_libretro.so –config /opt/retropie/configs/gba/retroarch.cfg %ROM%”
You will want to copy the original entry and make the changes to match your newly compiled emulator. Make sure the root to MGBA is correct so it looks like the entry above. Then change the default to MGBA. Save the file and it should automatically re-upload to your Pi. Then on the GPA you will want to load a GBA rom. It should now load the rom within the new emulator. You can alway check which emulator it is using when you load a game, it should tell you in the grey square after the rom name in bracket.
I also recommend VBA-Next and Snes9x-2010.
I really do like the idea of Retroachievements.org, which is still abit buggy and really only works for Nes, Snes, GBC and Genisis games. It is very easy to turn achievements on by navigating to the /opt/retropie/configs/all folder and editing the retroarch.cfg file. All you need to add is 3 lines of code.
cheevos_username = *******
cheevos_password = *******
cheevos_enable = true
Make sure you have opened an account at retroachievements.org and then use this data for the username and password lines. Now you have activated achievements within your favorite classic retro games.
Retropie Web Manager
The Retropie Web Manager is a fork of the web interface from Recalbox OS. This add-on is great, you can add new or manage your roms. You can edit your retroarch.cfg files.
I was installing this via their github page but this is now included with the experimental page of the retropie setup script version 4.0.3 I had problems getting the add-on to start when you first boot up the Pi. I have now installed this add-on via the retropie setup, it adds a link to the retropie menu and you can now just choose the boot up option which works perfectly now.
Game list Errors
I was first getting errors when jumping between games, to solve this I had to uninstall the emulators these gamelist were connected to which fixed the problem. I was already going to remove these as they are for emulators which im not interested in.
Remove Unwanted Emulators
To speed loading times up, I have removed all the emulators that im not interested in. You will want to load the setup script from the retropie menu (or from putty on a computer). Select manage packages, emulators can be stored in 3 out of the 5 menus listed. Manage main packages, manage optional packages and manage experimental packages.
I want to remove lr-genesis-plus-gx which is located in the main packages, select it and then choose remove. Let it do its thing and when your back at the menu, you can remove to the next one.
Video Text Size
Its very easy to change the yellow text size that appears when a game is loading and also used by retroachievements. You want to SSH or edit via the web manager and edit the retroarch.cfg file and add this to the config.
# Size of the font rendered.
video_font_size = “20”
This will make the text readable.
I will do another update when my front surround has arrived and any other setup details I have missed or that has been requested. Let me know.