RecalboxOS – Raspberry Pi Gaming System

Jarret B

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May 22, 2017
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If you are interested in gaming then you should look into the RecalboxOS which runs on the Raspberry Pi. RecalboxOS has numerous console emulators and even provides Kodi which is a media center for playing videos, music, pictures, games and more. This article will cover the installation and configuration of the gaming system and not Kodi.


The Home page for RecalboxOS is at The Operating System (OS) can be downloaded at Once at the site you can download the latest release of RecalboxOS. I will download version 4.0.0 which was released on November 26, 2016.
The file I downloaded is named ‘’ and is approximately 543 MB in size. To place the image on an SD Card you need one that is at least 16 GB in size. The more space you have available on the SD Card the better. The space will be needed to store the Read Only Memory (ROM) files for the various games.
To get the SD Card ready for the OS you need to remove all of the partitions and place a single FAT16 Partition on it. The FAT16 Partition should be the maximum of 4 GB. Once the OS is installed the partitions will be remade. A total of around 3 GB is needed just for the OS and whatever remains of the space on the SD Card is partitioned as ‘share’. The ‘share’ partition will be discussed later in the article. Once the files are on the FAT16 Partition place the SD Card in the Raspberry Pi and start it up. RecalboxOS will be automatically installed once it boots up. A screen similar to Figure 1 should be seen.

Figure 01.jpg




Once the system is installed and restarted then you will see a screen similar to Figure 2. Here you can see that there are two games preinstalled for the Super Nintendo Emulator. After a controller is added you will be given some screens to configure the OS as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 02.jpg



Figure 03.jpg



I added an XBOX 360 wired controller to a Universal Serial Bus (USB) port and it was detected without a problem. The configuration continues and asks you to press specific buttons or move a specific joystick. Once you perform what is asked you can save the settings and continue.
The next step is to press the ‘MENU’ button which is what you configured as the ‘START’ button. The first thing to do is to set up the ‘Network Settings’ and get the WiFi connected as in Figure 4. You need to set your WiFi SSID and the Key if needed. Once done with these settings you can select to ‘Enable WiFi’. The WiFi should then connect to your network.

Figure 04.jpg



Once your WiFi is enabled you can then set the ‘Sound Options’. The last setting is for the ‘Output Device’ which is set to ‘Default’. The setting needs to be changed to ‘HDMI’ if you are using an HDMI cable to connect to your display.

Adding ROMS

After RecalboxOS is installed you will have some preinstalled ROMS as follows:

  • Super Nintendo
    • Donkey Kong Classic
  • Nintendo
    • 2048
    • Bladebuster
    • Chase
    • Driar
    • LAN Master
    • Lawn Mower
    • Sir Ababol
    • Steemerz
    • Steemerz (fr)
    • Tiger Jenny
    • Zooming Secretary
  • Game Boy Advanced
    • Anguna
    • Gemini
    • Spacetwins
    • Uranus
    • Uranus Zero
    • Uranus Zero EV
    • UranusZ
    • Waimanu
  • SEGA Master System
    • Digger Chan
    • Pong Master 4K
  • PC Engine
    • Reflectron
    • Santatlantean
  • PRBoom
    • DOOM

Adding ROMS to the Raspberry Pi is a simple procedure once you have the ROMs downloaded. Download the ROMs to a different system which has access to the same network as the Pi is connected. On the other system connect to the network devices and you should see a ‘RECALBOX (File Sharing)’ as shown in Figure 5.

Figure 05.jpg



Once this connection is made another window will appear to ask for credentials to access the RecalboxOS system as shown in Figure 6. Simply select ‘Connect’ and you should be connected to the Pi box. Once connected the Recalbox you should be presented with a folder structure similar to Figure 7.

Figure 06.jpg



Figure 07.jpg



The two main folders to be concerned with are ‘bios’ and ‘roms’. BIOS files need to be placed into the ‘bios’ folder. ROMs downloaded are placed into the ‘roms’ folder which has further subdivisions according to the specific emulator.
For example, to set up Recalbox to use the Playstation 1 emulator you need to add the PS1 BIOS file. The Playstation 1 file can be downloaded from On this page you can download the BIOS for the specific game region – America, Japan and Europe. You can download all of them and place them in the ‘bios’ folder. The Playstation1 games will not run without them, or at least the specific one for the game region.

NOTE: Do not change the names of the BIOS files. Also, do not change the case of the letters. The BIOS files for the Playstation need to be all uppercased. There is a ‘readme’ file which contains a sample file name listing for specific emulators. Follow the samples to keep the naming conventions proper. The Playstation 1 BIOS files must be all uppercased.

Now go to a site like ‘’ and find a Playstation 1 ROM for which you own. The file should most likely be a compressed file in 7-zip format. Extract the files and copy them to the RECALBOX Share under ‘roms/psx’. The extracted files should be a ‘.bin’ and ‘.cue’. Leave the extensions as lower case and everything should work.
After the files are copied to the Recalbox you need to update the Games List so the Playstation 1 page will appear with the rest of the emulators. On the Recalbox system open the ‘Main Menu’ and then select ‘Games Settings’. Within the ‘Games Settings’ select ‘Update Games Lists’ from the bottom of the list. The list will be repopulated and when you exit the Main Menu you should be able to find a Playstation 1 screen.

NOTE: Be sure the ROM you download is a Playstation 1 ROM and not another console type.

If anything should fail be sure to verify the BIOS file has been placed in the ‘bios’ folder and is still uppercased. Make sure the bin and cue file have lowercase extensions and are in the ‘roms/psx’ folder. If need be perform another ‘Update Games Lists’.
Let’s try to get MAME working on RecalboxOS.
If you have read my previous article, ‘Linux Arcade System’, on running MAME on Linux then you will have some understanding of how this works. With the version of MAMe in RecalboxOS there can be two different versions of MAME. The one is version .78 which is considered ‘fba_libretro’. The newer versions will run under the standard MAME folders. If you do not know where to put it try the ‘fba_libreto’ and if it does not work then try the regular MAME folders.
First, just like with the PS1 emulator you need the BIOS files. The BIOS files for version .78 can be found at:


Place all of these files, still in a .zip format, in the folder ‘/roms/fba_libretro’ on the RecalboxOS shared folder. Check the article as mentioned about MAME and find a ROM file for which you have the rights and place it in the same folder. Perform a ‘Games Lists Update’. Now when you scroll through the Emulators one should appear for ‘Libreto’ and allow you to play the ROMS you have placed in its folder. You will notice that the BIOS files will appear here as well. The BIOS files can be hidden by highlighting a BIOS file and then press ‘Select’. At the next menu you should highlight ‘Edit This Game’s Metadata’ and select ‘OK’. At the bottom of the new menu there is an option called ‘Hidden’. Enable ‘Hidden’ and then exit from the menu and the BIOS file should not be visible. Do this procedure for each BIOS file that you wish to hide.
If the MAME version of the files is not .78 then you would place the BIOS files in the ‘bios/mame2003’ folder. ROMs would be placed in the folder ‘roms/mame’.
Always remember when adding, removing or moving files in these folders perform a ‘Games Lists Update’.

NOTE: One thing to remember is that if you get stuck on a screen press ‘ESC’ on the keyboard to get out of it. Another point to know is that your Raspberry Pi device should have a fan to help keep it cool. After playing awhile on RecalboxOS the CPU can heat up quite a bit. I purchased a case with a fan on E-Bay for less than $10. Instead of mounting the fan on the outside of the case I mounted it on the inside. It seems to stay very cool.

Hope this helps. You can play with many console emulators on RecalboxOS. Have fun and enjoy!
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