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Pi 3B+ Eternal black screen whenever I launch something from inside ES

  • Pi Model or other hardware: Pi 3 B+ rev 1.3
    Power Supply used:
    RetroPie Version Used: 4.5.9
    Built From: Manually installed Raspbian then RetroPi as described in
    USB Devices connected: USB keyboard
    Controller used: ?
    Error messages received: ?
    Log found in /dev/shm/runcommand.log (if relevant):
    Guide used: (Mention if you followed a guide)
    File: (File with issue - with FULL path)
    Emulator: EmulationStation
    Linux 4.14.98-v7+ armv71

    I built a PiMoroni Picade from a kit with my son. The hardware seems to work. Installed Raspbian and RetroPi. I have a unix prompt and all that. Obtained a 0.78 romset and copied it into mame2003 directory via wifi.

    I can launch emulation station and see some worlds to enter, ie RetroPie, MAME, et al. I can enter those worlds. However, whenever I try to launch a program from inside those worlds I get eternal black screen. No buttons or keys (I have keyboard plugged into USB port) seem able to get me back to command line.

    I would chalk this up to some mismatch between MAME romset and MAME emulator (and that might indeed be screwed up) but the RetroPie GUI also hangs whenever I try to do something in it.

    Many thanks for an insight into what's wrong. I have spent countless hours wracking my brains over this!


  • Global Moderator

    Did you configure any input in EmulationStation ? Do you get any errors in /dev/shm/runcommand.log ?

    You can use a RetroPie image for installation, there's no need for a manual installation, the only thing that need to be installed is the gamepad driver (


  • Thanks for this suggestion. There is no such file as /dev/shm/runcommand.log

    I suppose I should just get a fresh RetroPie image. I'm not sure why I decided to try manual installation... but it's a hassle! Part of it I suppose was me trying to follow instructions here on and take care of things like correct locale etc.

    I'll let you know how it goes. :)

  • It works!
    TBH this project required a little more than that. Had to uncomment a line in a config file to make the screen come to life. Had to change default keyboard layout (I'm using US keyboard, couldn't type "|"). Had to localize system. Had to install gamepad driver and configure input. Mount system on my network. And of course install a romset in the proper directory. Still... WORTH IT.

    Thanks for your help.

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