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Help a confused newbie

  • Been using emulators for 16 years so not new to that, also quite a techie (did get accepted onto a computing degree at college but decided didn't want to go back to college aged 30) but I am self taught and no real linux based experience like terminal.

    Anyway it was more a few pi based questions to get the best out of the system, I have the pi 3 which I purchased for travelling so I didn't have to plug my laptop into a tv (its a gaming laptop that weights like 9kg and has a habit of if I want to game on it after my usb controller is in, and hard drive it no longer fits on my lap!

    Anyway it was more for controller side of things, do I need a dongle for a bluetooth controller like PS3? Id ideally like wired but wireless will stop my need for it, if so if the internal slots good enough or will it block the signal? I plan to be 4-6 feet away.

    The other part was about using a usb hard drive, I have one I use on my windows pc (and ubuntu recognises it) Im using a official pi power supply but don't think it will have enough power? But im worried I may have to reformat which will remove support for my windows drive.

    Sorry, any other information needed, just installing latest version from here.

  • administrators

    @suikodentir said in Help a confused newbie:

    I am self taught and no real linux based experience like terminal.

    Great place to start learning. I had never touched Linux before the raspberry pi.

    As far as your ps3 controller questions I don't have one but this is the docs page for it:

    But from what I hear built in Bluetooth should work but some people have had better results with a dedicated Bluetooth dongle.

    As far as a USB harddrive goes, the pi power supply may not be sufficient to power the harddrive. If you're going the harddrive route may need to be externally powered.

    You could consider running games off a USB stick instead or just a larger SD card

    Related docs:

  • I agree, unless you're planning on running a massive amount of cd based games, you'll have plenty of room on a regular SD card to fit roms for almost every retro console. If you keep regular backups of your SD card on your computer, you'll be safe enough from card failure.

    The external hard drive route is really only useful if you are planning on going overboard and having full romsets for every system imaginable (some people do that) but most average users who cater their lists don't need that kind of storage.

  • As for space you only need a 64GB SD card 128GB is better. If you plan on running disc based systems go chd format (tg16CD and sega CD) you might need a 128GB..anything more and you WILL need a hard drive or VERY deep pockets.
    Once you clean out the mame roms that don't work/want and the N64 games that do not run you'll save a lot of space.

    As for a hard drive they are cheaper and much larger than an SD card..but you WILL need a powered USB hub..and not just any have to make sure that it is powered with it's own supply and will not "back power" into the pi!

    I use a four port usb hub it's powered and works great with my old hard drive it's by "unpluggable"

    Also note that if your video snaps are 640x480 @ 60fps or higher that takes up room and is "hard on the pi". Convert them down using handbrake (320x240 @ 30 fps)..takes up less room as well. Stelph's scraper will do it automatically if you scrape with the pi..or using the -convert_videos switch when scraping on a PC.

  • Yeah I have a 64 gig card, and its the cd based consoles that will take up the most space, most specifically the ps1 games of which I have a large collection of rpgs, as well a few fighting and racing games, that folder alone on my hard drive takes like 65 gig, my sega cd folder takes up 9.6 gig, all my other games combined take up 2 gig (well I have ps2 and gamecube games on my hard drive but wont use them on the pi)

    I could get a 128 gig sd card but they seem crazy expensive.

    I could trim the PS1 folder of the weaker games in the collection but still would barely fit all the games and the install on the card.

  • Yes a 128 GB is expensive right now. I can buy a 4TB usb HD and a usb hud together
    for 86€/$100/76£ a MUCH better'll have room if your collection grows. If you don't have CD based games...or hand held games then you can fit it all on a 64GB (maybe a little tight with Daphne games on there..but can be done) if you want CD based games get a hard drive.

  • Thinking about it, would one of those stubby pen drives be a good idea if I put it inside the pi (using a nespi case right now the larger ones that have a usb and ethernet hub.

    That way can get a cheap 128 gig drive and put everything on there

    Also I bought a mini keyboard/touch pad on amazon that says it works with the pi, could I also put the dongle inside for that or will it block the signal.

  • Thought about that myself actually. Think it's a good idea :)

  • The Pi3 has Bluetooth built in. If you want to use PS3 controllers wirelessly ( it's what I use) just follow this simple page :

    The only USB dongle I know of for popular controllers is the Xbox 360 wireless needs the Microsoft dongle.

  • Some questions on how exactly roms are read, I followed the tutorial and copied games over, and sure enough it worked.

    But then even with usb stick removed I can select the games and play them, how is that possible its not copying them to sd card is it?

    Also I wanted to make a backup pen drive which will also be used on my travel pi, but its no longer creating the folders

    Can I just create the folder names or does it need to be done by the pi?

  • Global Moderator

    @suikodentir I think it needs to have a folder called retropie-mount and when you insert the stick, the other folders (w. roms) are copied over.
    As for the games still appearing after removing the stick, I guess they're still on the sdcard (not removed).

  • slightly awkward now, I am transferring my roms back across to usb, but now the pi wont boot I assume as its now looking for usb stick.

    Frustrating so far!

    Is there no way to boot from sd but load games from usb? Or at least boot normally from sd then it recognises the usb?

  • Global Moderator

    @suikodentir If you follow the docs at, it should work - either with the USB drive or not. Did you change the boot sequence completely to boot form the USB for the RPI ?

  • You don't need the usb inserted every time to play games and that sounds like it is working fine. Heres the basics for copying roms to the sd card if you need clarification:

    To copy roms to a Retropie build with usb, you need a fat32 formatted flash drive.

    Then create a folder called 'retropie' and insert it into the Pi. Retropie will then create rom subfolders in the 'retropie' folder. You cna then take the usb stick to a desktop/laptop/etc. and whatever roms you paste in those folders will be copied to the Pi when it's inserted the next time. Give it plenty of time to copy if you have many or large files. Then remove the usb drive and you're good to go.

    Why do you want the Pi to run on usb ? That seems to be more of a pain than using the sd card unless you are testing multiple units and need a quick swap.

    If your pi doesn't seem to boot I would check the hdmi connection or tv input and make sure its not something simple first.

    I'd also insert the sd card into a PC/MAC and see if it can be read at all. If not, your card is now bad or corrupted. Hopefully you are not unplugging the card or pi until you perform a software shutdown.

  • Not sure what I did, I think I broke something as all I did was change the name of the unit so I can recognise it easier when accessing it from my windows pc

    All I get now is a screen saying something like directory not found and asking for a username and password (when I put in default it gives me some screen with a basic image of a control pad but no way to boot into retropie)

    Typed in "emulationstation" and it gives me error

  • @suikodentir You need to reinstall the Retropie image.

  • Thanks done all that, ok now my final questions it should be.

    I was thinking of putting Kodi next to retropie, confused on how to do that, also about the emulators themselves confused on hot keys and such.

    I just used one of my already assigned buttons for the hot key when it wanted one on menu.

    But how do I for example go to a save state menu, or a cheat menu?

  • Global Moderator

    @suikodentir Usually you press 'Hotkey + X' to bring up the RetroArch menu, from which you can access the cheats options.
    A list of the key bindings is in the docs - check out and substitute 'Select' with the Hotkey you selected.

  • For default controller mapping here is a link:

    Oops mitu just beat me to it

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