RetroPi Gaming Machine project tutorial
Build your own retro-gaming console with this simple guide.
Raspberry Pi model 2
Coupe style Raspberry Pi case
TFT car reversing monitor
12V power supply (or similar for TFT)
Game controller (eg. Xbox360 wired controller)
Game ROMs (which you must own)
RetroPi SD card image
Table lamp switch
Camcorder style connecting cable
Chose your display. There are several different TFT models available and for this build you will not need a high definition display. A cheap 480p display will have a good enough resolution to play the games. Before you start the build it is worth checking that the display connects properly to the Raspberry Pi. At this stage I am still using the Noobs SD card image. Depending on the type of composite cable, you may need to switch around the left audio channel and video. Remember not to have the HDMI cable connected when booting up. If you have issues connecting to the composite output you may find this information useful on editing config.txt from the Raspberry Pi website. Once you have the screen working you may think that the resolution looks too low. Don’t panic – once it is running retro games it will not be an issue.
Carefully dismantle the display from the case, taking care to preserve all the cables and connectors. This is the scariest part of the build and great care should be taken not to put extra pressure on the screen.
Decide on a suitable length of cables and carefully chop off the connectors. You will need to solder the (correct) video connector from the camcorder lead to either the AV1 or AV2 cable. I have left the other other AV input connector attached to the monitor as it provides a secondary input if ever needed. Connect the switch to the power supply and solder the power cables to the power cables on the monitor. There are various types of monitor and connectors available so I have not included any photos of mine. You will still have two left and right channel audio cables coming from the camcorder cable. It is my intention to add a powered speaker to the project and will add more details later.
Design your case. You could use a perspex frame or find a dead retro console on eBay and gut it.
Assemble your case.
Download the retro-Pi SD card image and prepare a new SD card. The download and full instructions can be found here.
Plug in your controller and configure. Full details can be found here.
If you own any game ROMs copy them onto RetroPi. Full details can be found here.
A note about copyright:
You must physically own the game ROMS you wish to install onto a retropi machine.