Tutorial: Connecting your RetroStone to a Windows PC

Here is all the tutorials, FAQ and support for RetroStone
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zxdunny
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Joined: Mon 30 Jul 2018 11:21

Tutorial: Connecting your RetroStone to a Windows PC

Post by zxdunny » Sun 26 Aug 2018 13:32

I thought I'd write up my experiences with this over the last few days, with uploading ROMs to the device and configuring RetroPi. It's certainly not a simple job.

Basically, you have three options, and two of them are pretty much non-starters:

1. Dump ROMs to an empty RetrorangePi directory structure on a USB drive - attach it and boot up. Two disadvantages to this:
a) If your USB drive isn't the quickest - as most over 128GB are quite slow - then boot up times are HUGE.
b) Any custom themes or settings in RetroPi will be lost as it doesn't just use the ROMs on the drive, but the whole retrorangepi image.

So you really should use a uSD card inserted into the device. I use a 32GB card. There are two ways to manage this:

2. Use an EXT driver (Linux filesystem) on your Windows PC to access the card in an SD card adapter in your SD slot. This is problematic:
a) the Paragon driver will randomly fail to start its service and is non-free.
b) the latest version of Windows 10 (1803) cannot run the free Ext2FS driver. You can use version 0.53 from here:

https://sourceforge.net/projects/ext2fs ... e/download

Which does install, but is unsuitable for copying a large amount of ROMs across - after about 100, it will start throwing errors that the files are too big to be copied (even if they're not).

Which leaves one more option:

3. Ethernet connection.

This is by far the best for copying ROMs, but not for editing configurations or modding themes as you cannot see any higher than the "home" directory on the card.

To connect by Ethernet, attach the cable to the socket on the 'Stone and to a spare socket on your Router. Some routers will crash if you attach it before booting the 'Stone, so if that happens then reboot your router and connect the 'Stone once the 'Stone is fully booted.

Note: It's best to also connect a charger to the 'Stone during any file operations. If you lose battery while doing this, you run a real risk of corrupting your uSD card and having to start over again from scratch.

Once connected, use the "RetroPi" system and find the "Show IP" menu item to get your IP address. If you're correctly connected then it will show up as the first line of the display. Unfortunately the screen is really bad at displaying text so you may find it difficult to read. But anyway:

On windows, open an explorer window and in the address bar, type in "\\" followed by the IP address. For example on my router, it's

\\192.168.1.68\

You may be prompted for a login - Use username "pi" and password "pi" to get in if necessary.

And you should be able to see your home folder, which contains the ROMs folder (amongst others). There are many system folders in there, so populate as you see fit. It' surprisingly quick, even if the PC you're copying them from is connected via Wifi.

But you can't access all of your card from here, only your home directory. For that, you need the Ext2FS driver linked above. Even though it's not good for copying ROMs, you can use it to access configuration files etc which is great for modding themes.

Bear in mind that if you need to format your uSD card or run Etcher for a fresh install while the Ext2FS driver is running, it will fail. You will need to reboot your PC to make sure that Ext2FS is not running before you can do that.

Finally, to edit configuration files you will need a suitable text editor. Notepad will not cut it, as it doesn't support Linux line endings. Get NotePad2 or NotePad++ instead for that job.


So!

Now you have your ROMs on the 'Stone, you probably want all that lovely artwork to go with it - and that means Scraping.

DO NOT USE THE SCRAPER INSTALLED BY DEFAULT.

If you have any ROMs that are modifications, or obscure ROMs that it doesn't know about, it will assign them as other games and you'll not be able to find them. It will also strip off any tags (such as country, hack, etc) in the names so you might end up with (as I did) about 6 versions of Sonic all with the same name, when they were in fact different versions of the Lock-On tech. The default scraper is really, really incompetent and bad. You need a better one.

The simplest way to get one is to install Steven Selph's scaper - it's more than up to the task. There are others, but they're more complex to install.

You will need a bluetooth keyboard for this, as you'll be doing some terminal work.

First. quit Emulation Station by Pressing the Start button and choosing Quit from the menu, then Quit Emulation Station. You'll be dropped to the terminal.

Type in "sudo ~/RetroPie-Setup/retropie_setup.sh" - paying attention to the capital letters :)

The setup menu will launch, and you should head for Manage Packages, then Optional Packages. It's a long list, so scroll down to the Scraper entry and select it. You will need to install it if you're doing this for the first time, but it doesn't take long.

Ensuring that your 'Stone is still connected to your router, you can set up some options in there - if you want screenshots then set that as preferred, or leave it for box art. Then Scrape either all systems or just ones you want. Then go to bed, because it can take a LONG time...

Once it's done, type "exit" at the terminal and enjoy your new artwork :)

There is a more detailed explanation of Scraping with Selph here: https://github.com/retropie/retropie-setup/wiki/scraper

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Admin
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Re: Tutorial: Connecting your RetroStone to a Windows PC

Post by Admin » Mon 27 Aug 2018 16:08

Thanks for sharing!
It really helps me out! As I'm experiencing a huge load of messages I had no time to write tutos yet!
I'll make the tuto sticky somewhere. Maybe in a subforum.

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