Project 1: NES Media Center (Part 2)

Hello everyone,

Since my NES Media Center is completed, I wanted to discuss how I built it, as well as the thought process.

Final Build NES Pi

Here we have the final build. You can see that the LED lights up appropriately and that it is on by the Power Button pushed in.

NES Pi Media Center - Inside Look

This is the inside of the NES, with everything wired up.

NES Controller Port

The first thing I did was remove the original controller ports and replace them with the NES-USB adapter. Here we see the originals still attached.

NES Controller Port

Once the ports have been removed, we need to dremel the sockets and make them rectangular.

NES - Controller Ports

After stripping the rubber casing from the NES/USB adapter, we get to put it in the NES. This adapter is upside down.

NES Back

This is the back of the NES, where I dremelled ports for the power, HDMI in, and 2 USB.

NES Front - Ports Epoxied!

The cables have been epoxied!

NES Power Button

After removing the power buttons, we need to make a little notch at the top to break the circuit. We also solder up near the top of the far right side.

NES Power Button Wires

After cutting the ribbon, we need to strip the brown, red, orange and yellow wires. We’ll connect this to the Mausberry circuit so it can power the Pi effectively.

NES Power Circuit

The wires have been soldered to the power circuit.

NES Power Pole

You’ll also need to remove this pole.

NES Pi Media Center - Inside Look

Again, here we can see the inside of the NES, with everything wired up!

Kodi - LibreElec

Here’s a demonstration of LibreElec!

RetroPie

And here we have RetroPie!

There you go! Not a perfect step-by-step tutorial, but hopefully shows the various steps required to do this sort of project. This is a really good project for people who aren’t familiar with dremeling, soldering and electronics!

-Curtis RetroMaster

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Project 1: NES Media Center

Hello everyone,

I’m sorry I’ve been pretty quiet over the last week and a half. I’ve been working on a new project… and I’m proud to announce I’ve finished my NES Media Center! This was a fairly easy project, relative to others I’ve done.

IMAG0098.jpg

My project wouldn’t have been possible without the help of those who accomplished this project before me.  I’d especially like to thank  on imgur for the tutorial he posted. Very helpful if you want to do the project too!

Make sure you also watch the tutorial video I posted onto YouTube. It describes step by step the process of building your own, as well as a preview of what the final project looks like and how it works. I’d love to hear your comments, questions and critiques!

All the best,

-Curtis RetroMaster

World 1-4 (part 2): How to install multiple OS’s on RPi

Hey everyone,

Yesterday we walked through how to install multiple Operating Systems on a Raspberry Pi. While that’s an easy and basic way of installing multiple Operating Systems at once, I actually prefer a way slightly more round-a-bout. This way certainly isn’t for everyone, but it is what I do, so I thought it was at least worth mentioning. 🙂

First, I start with one of Steve’s MultiBoot NOOBS packages loaded directly onto my SD Micro card. The wonderful thing is that the most common Operating Systems are pre-loaded with his MultiBoot script, so they all seamlessly transition to one another at the beginning. The downside is that these versions of the Operating Systems are quite out of date.

Since I personally only want to install RetroPie and LibreElec, before I put my SD Micro card in my Pi, I go into the “os” folder and delete the non-RetroPie folders. Once NOOBS has booted up on the Pi, I log into my WiFi and select the latest version of LibreElec that becomes available, as well as the RetroPie version we started with. Click “Install” to begin installation.

NOOBS

NOOBS allows you to easily select and install Operating Systems for Raspberry Pi.

 

At this point we now have 1) the latest version of LibreElec, without Steve’s MultiBoot script installed and 2) the outdated version of RetroPie, with Steve’s MultiBoot script installed. When NOOBS is finished, I boot into LibreElec.

The first thing I do is when LibreElec has loaded is download Steve’s MultiBoot script so I can switch over to RetroPie on demand. I also configure the settings while I’m here, such as disabling the UI sounds (I personally prefer no audio). You may also notice that if you reset your Pi at this time, your screen will have a momentary square rainbow and it’ll take you back to the NOOBS “Select an OS to boot to” screen. However, will continue to auto-boot into LibreElec, and this selection screen will go away after we load RetroPie. 🙂

Once we’ve installed that script, we now have 1) the latest version of LibreElec, with Steve’s MultiBoot script installed and 2) the outdated version of RetroPie, also with Steve’s MultiBoot script installed. From here, boot into RetroPie.

The first time you boot into RetroPie, it’ll ask you to configure a controller. Deceptively, it does not count an attached keyboard as a usable controller. However, if you hold down a button on the keyboard RetroPie will configure it correctly. After you configure your keyboard or controller, it’s time to configure some of the basic settings.

Here are some of the settings I use:

You may notice RetroPie has black bars along all 4 edges. Personally, I like the UI to take up the entire screen, so I update this by going to: Raspi-Config > 9. Advanced Options > Overscan > No.

I also want my RetroPie to boot as quickly as possible. One way to save a little time is to go to Raspi-Config > 4. Wait for Network at Boot > No.

If I turn off my pi while it is booted into RetroPie, I want it to reload into LibreElec every time. I usually use my media center for movies and music, so this saves me a few clicks. You can do it by clicking “Enable ‘Always Boot to Kodi'”.

I also want to get rid of my unused MultiBoot options. Because I didn’t install Rasplex, or Raspbian, I delete them by hitting Select > Edit Metadata > Delete > Yes. Unfortunately you have to reset your system every time you do this…

Finally, the last setting I want is “Auto-load a Game’s Savestate on Start” and “Autosave a Game’s Savestate on Exit” and I do this through SSH. I personally use WinSCP. Once loaded, go to “/opt/retropie/configs/all/”. You’ll want to edit “retroarch.cfg” and update the lines: “savestate_auto_save = true” and “savestate_auto_load = true“. I also delete the proceeding #, but I’m not actually sure if that’s necessary.

We’re fully configured! Now, let’s update RetroPie to the latest version. Just to on the safe side, though, I make a quick backup first using Win32DiskImager. However slim the chances, I don’t want to risk my hard work so far get ruined!

Win32 Disk Imager

This program allows you to quickly read from or write to an SD Micro card. Good for making backups and image copies!

To update RetroPie we go to RetroPie Setup > Update all installed packages. The software will walk you through the updating process. Updating takes about 20 minutes, since it is updating everything across the board, but luckily it doesn’t require any participation on our end. Now we wait…

Eventually, you’ll get a message that says “Installed packages have been updated.” Success! Again, just to be on the safe side, I recommend rebooting and saving another backup.

From here you’re free to load ROMs, install custom themes and splashscreens and just have fun playing with your new dual-booting system. There is one particular project I’m hoping to try out in the future. 🙂

Enjoy!

-Curtis

World 1-4 (part 1): How to install multiple OS’s on RPi

Hello everyone,

Finishing our tutorial on installing Operating Systems on the Raspberry Pi, today I will be discussing how to Multi-boot multiple Operating Systems on the same SD Micro card. Similarly to last time, there are multiple ways of doing this: first I will show you the “correct way” and tomorrow I’ll show you how I do it. 😉

Before we start, you’ll want to read up on what we talked about last time, since we are going to follow very similar steps. Of particular interest is how to install Operating Systems via NOOBS and PINN. However, instead of choosing just one Operating System in particular, you will choose multiple. When it is complete, NOOBS/PINN will ask you to pick which OS you’d like to boot to. Pretty easy, right?

While this seems to be straightforward on the surface, there is a caveats. After you get the Operating Systems you want installed, you then need to configure the operating systems so they talk to one another. For instance, if I am running Kodi on LibreElec and would like to switch to RetroPie, I will need a special add-on (think of this as a small executable/program inside Kodi) to make this transition happen. Two programs I’ve used really well are Steve’s “Multiboot” scripts and Matt Huisman’s NOOB Companion. Both should really do the trick, however I did run into problems using both the NOOB Companion and PINN together, which appears to be a temporary bug.

Once those scripts are set up correctly, you should be able to successfully move between 2 or more Operating Systems! I also want to point out that your SSH credentials may be different on the different OS’s, so it’s important to remember those as you switch around.

Anyway, be sure to check back tomorrow for another way you can set up multi-boot on your Raspberry Pi!

World 1-3: How to Install an OS on a Raspberry Pi

Hello everyone,

Continuing from where we left off yesterday, today I am going to explain how to easily install a (single) Operating System onto a Raspberry Pi. We’ll cover dual-booting in another post.

Okay, you’ve probably read this a thousand times on the internet by now, but the Raspberry Pi is a cool little computer. It is small, adaptive and packs quite a punch. One of the cool things about this computer is that the operating system runs entirely off of an SD Micro card.

Kingston_2GB_Micro_SD_Card_with_Adaptera75Detail[1]

SD Card vs. SD Micro Card

Also, because the OS  runs entirely off of this card, you are actually able to swap out OS’s from different (compatible) Pi’s. This means if you break your hardware, you can simply re-enter the SD Micro card into a new Pi and continue like nothing happened. It also means you can easily save backups of your SD Micro card to a computer, in case anything ever goes wrong on the software side of things. I learned that lesson the hard way!

Anyway, there are actually multiple ways to install an OS on your new Raspberry Pi.

The easiest way is by using either NOOBS or PINN.  Once the NOOBS or PINN files have been downloaded, you simply drop them onto the root of your SD Micro card and plug it into the Pi. Some Raspberry Pi starter sets come with an SD Micro card with NOOBS pre-installed. Once your Pi turns on, these programs will let you select which operating systems you would like to install.

NOOBS

NOOBS allows you to easily select and install Operating Systems for Raspberry Pi.

If you choose to use the Lite version of NOOBS or PINN, you’ll also need to connect to a WiFi network, so it can install the most up-to-date version of the operating system you choose. This can be done by clicking the WiFi networks (n) button at the top.

Once the new Operating System is installed,  NOOBS or PINN will let you know with a pop-up and then load the new Operating System for you. Then you are good to go!

Another option is to install the Operating System yourself. Certain Operating Systems, such as OpenElec and RetroPie, will have you download an image of their system that you then write onto your SD Micro card. I do this with a program called Win32 Disk Imager. After saving the respective file to your computer, open Win32 Disk Imager and find the file you saved. Then, after confirming you have the correct Device/drive letter, click “write”. This will erase everything currently on the SD Micro card and install a fresh version of the OS you want.

Win32 Disk Imager

This program allows you to quickly read from or write to an SD Micro card. Good for making backups and image copies!

Lastly, once an Operating System has been installed onto your SD card, your computer will not be able to accurately show you how much free space the card currently has. This is due to the way the space on the card has been allocated and is not an indicator that the card is broken. 🙂

Anyway, let me know if you have any question! Until next time!