Author Topic: How to install RetroFW on your LDK/RS-97  (Read 14180 times)

gameblabla (OP)

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How to install RetroFW on your LDK/RS-97
« on: April 14, 2019, 01:40:44 pm »
How to put RetroFW on your LDK / RS-97

RetroFW is the currently supported custom firmware for the RS-97 and LDK devices.
It allows you to play a wide variety of consoles/computers thanks to numerous emulators available to it as well as ports of games such as Quake 2, Doom among others.

The RS-97 comes with a stock firmware based upon Legacy Dingux, while the LDK came with my Useless firmware. Both of which are now unsupported and it is advised that you upgrade to RetroFW as soon as possible.

Note that you absolutely need a USB micro SD card reader/writer such as these :


If you don't then you will be unable to put RetroFW on it and you should stop now.

I'm also assuming you are using Windows 10.

If you are on Linux, there will be a separate guide for it.
If you are on Windows 7, you can follow most of the steps below except for the fact it can't mount sd cards with multiple partitions which is our case so be careful.

Step 1. Download RetroFW and extract it

You can download RetroFW 1.2 here :
https://github.com/retrofw/firmware/releases/download/1.2/RetroFW_v1.2.zip

Once downloaded, you will need to extract such zip somewhere.
Right click on the zip and select "Extract All...".

Select the location where the zipped file should be extracted and remember it well.

Go to said location and inside of the retrofw folder, you should find a bunch of bat files (RetroGame_v2.1_B, RetroGame_v1.0_S_B etc.. extensions may be hidden on Windows).

Step 2. Grab the internal sd card

On the LDK console, this is fairly simple : it is located in the battery slot. Just grab it from there.
Note that you are a bit careless, you may have to remove the 4 main screws and open it.

On the RS-97 consoles, you need to remove several screws.
- 1 screw holding the battery slot and another inside of it.
- 3 screws on the back of the console.
- 1 screw holding the GBA slot.

Remove the battery and try to open it from the GBA slot. Pry it from that location with a used credit card or similar if you struggle to open it.

Your internal sd card should be hidden in a piece of foam close to the volume wheel : grab it.


Step 3. Run the appropriate bat file according to your hardware revision.

LDK owners : You can skip this part and double click on the RetroGame_v2.1_B.bat file.

Throughout its life, the RS-97 had multiple hardware revisions : most of these would swap parts like LCD screens or use a newer, more power efficient processor. (namely the JZ4760B in our case)

You can know this by removing the battery : revision number can be seen from the battery slot.

This step is important to follow otherwise you will end up with a black/white screen.

If you own a 1.0 revision

This is the first revision of the RS-97 : it is one of the rarest revision and it has numerous hardware issues. (Most notably, it is unable to go back from sleep due it not supporting the low clocks well)

Select the RetroGame_v1.0_v2.0.bat and double click on it.

Note that this revision should not be confused with the 1.0S revision. (See below)

If you own a 2.0 revision

This is the second revision that came after it : it used to be pretty common and it is equipped with a 4GB internal sd card. This one fixed some of the issues revision 1.0 had.

Select the RetroGame_v1.0_v2.0.bat and double click on it.

If you own a 2.1 revision

Now here's where the confusing part is.

If your console came on a 4GB internal sd card (marketed as 600 Games in one), then you need to select the RetroGame_v2.1.bat file and double click on it.
This revision came with a JZ4760.

If your console came on a 16GB internal sd card (marketed as 3000 Games in one), then you need to select the RetroGame_v2.1_B.bat and double click on it.
(Notice the extra B in the file, be careful about it)
This revision came with a more power efficient JZ4760B.

If you own a 1.0S revision

This is a somewhat uncommon revision that is mostly available in White but sometimes in black clear case.

It is impossible to know exactly what bat file you need to run as some of these end up being different from one to the other. (LCD screen, sd card, processor...)

Usually, running RetroGame_v1.0_S_B.bat should be fine. (and go to the next step)
If however you still got a black screen after doing that, then you need to run RetroGame_v1.0_v2.0.bat.

If you own a 3.0 revision

The latest revision of the RS-97 that comes on a 16 GB internal sd card as well as a JZ4760B.

This one is straightforward : just double click on RetroGame_v3.0_B.bat.

If you own an RS-97 Plus

This is a so-called "upgrade" to the RS-97 with the main addition being a joystick that is digitally mapped to the Dpad as well as the removal of the fake GBA slot and the relocation of the internal sd card. (located behind the battery).

RetroFW does not support the RS-97 Plus.

The RS-97 Plus suffers from a poor screen that is unable to reach higher than 30 FPS, as well as lacking the vsync pin. This results in terrible tearing.

If you ordered an RS-97 (without the joystick) and ended up getting a Plus instead then ask for a refund or return it.

If you still insist on using the RS-97 Plus, there's an early CFW for it available.
This guide will not cover how to use this Alpha release CFW for the RS-97 Plus.

Step 4. Flash the custom firmware

Only after you followed all of the previous steps should you do this one.

Make sure to plug your USB micro sd card writer with your internal micro sd card inside.

Download the Etcher image writer here : https://www.balena.io/etcher/

Make sure to select the Installer version.
(Either Etcher for Windows x64 (64-bit) (Installer) or Etcher for Windows x86 (32-bit) (Installer))

(If you are unsure of the Windows version, select the 32-bits Windows version.)

Install said application and open it.

Once you have the etcher application open, make sure to select the RetroFW.img file where the bat files are located.

If all goes well and your USB micro sd card reader is selected then press on "Flash !" and wait for it to get flashed. (should take a few minutes)

Step 5. Initial boot

Put everything back together with your newly flashed micro sd card inside of the console.

Now power on your console and you should get a different boot screen.

Upon the first boot, it should tell you that it is currently expanding the FAT32 partition to your micro sd card.

Depending on what micro sd card you used with it, this can take from a few seconds to a few minutes.

Then it should reboot again and GmenuNx should appear on your screen.

Step 6. Put some games/emulators inside.

By default, GmenuNx comes with no emulators/games. It is up to you to select the emulators/games you want to put on your console.

Said games/emulators are packaged as IPK files : huge files containing the apps/emualtors/games themselves.

You can grab IPK files from the following sources :

https://github.com/retrofw/firmware (Check out Supported IPK section)
https://gameblabla.nl/files/ipk/rs97/ (Gameblabla's own IPK builds)

There are multiple ways of transferring files to your console :

Mounting your unit over USB

Plug your device over USB and it should ask you if you want to mount your console as Storage or Charge.
Press the button for Storage and if done correctly, a FAT32 partition should appear on your computer.

Now add your newly IPK files and add them at the root of the FAT32 partition.
Once done, safely eject it.

Note that you may have to press start on your console if it stays stuck on a black screen with instructions.

Directly use the USB Micro sd card reader (Windows 10 only)

Grab your micro sd card from your console again and put it back in your micro sd card reader.
3 partitions should appear, including 1 FAT32 partition.

DO NOT FORMAT ANYTHING, EVEN IF WINDOWS PROMPTS YOU ABOUT DOING SO !

Simply add your IPK files to the FAT32 partition and safely eject it once done.

Step 7. Install IPK packages

Once you have IPK packages inside of your console, you can now install them.

Go to Explorer (navigate using the shoulder buttons) and select your IPK packages.
They should be located at / home / retrofw if you are not there already.
Once you selected one of your IPK file, press A on it and wait for a while.

Note that some games like Quake 2 and SORR can take several minutes to install.
You may also get a bunch of errors : these can be ignored as long as they are installed properly afterwards.

If installation is done ($ sign should appear) then press B to go back to explorer.
A new entry should now be added to your menu.

FAQ

I did everything as you said but when it came to the initial boot, my console would not boot afterwards ! (black screen)

If your console accidentally powers off before it is done doing so then you may have to follow from Step 4 and try again.

I expanded the FAT32 partition after flashing it and now it won't work !

Don't do that, this is no longer needed nor required. RetroFW does this automatically.

Windows prompted me to format one of the drives so I did and now my console won't work !

Don't do that. This is because the LDK/RS-97 uses its own file system layout not detected by Windows. You should ignore such warnings if you get them. Do not format them.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2019, 01:51:54 pm by gameblabla »

v47

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Re: How to install RetroFW on your LDK/RS-97
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2019, 07:48:30 pm »
Thanks for this. No external sd card install, if I understand correctly?


odjinan

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Re: How to install RetroFW on your LDK/RS-97
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2019, 09:42:22 pm »
sticky time!

thanks for the tutorial  ;D

gameblabla (OP)

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Re: How to install RetroFW on your LDK/RS-97
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2019, 10:19:38 pm »
Thanks for this. No external sd card install, if I understand correctly?
Yeah, RetroFW doesn't support this and there's no way of overwriting the kernel area while the system is running.
Also, newer revisions don't support flashing from USB either...


grapsoidea

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Re: How to install RetroFW on your LDK/RS-97
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2019, 07:31:58 pm »
Cool guide! When will guide for linux be?

Jutleys

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Re: How to install RetroFW on your LDK/RS-97
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2019, 08:37:47 pm »
I really can't see the point of this guide for the LDK if all the work has already been done here and all the user has to do is download it and write it to sd card? your kind of confusing the user to do extra steps now.

https://boards.dingoonity.org/ingenic-jz4760-devices/ldk-retrogame/

gameblabla (OP)

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Re: How to install RetroFW on your LDK/RS-97
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2019, 08:45:26 pm »
I really can't see the point of this guide for the LDK if all the work has already been done here and all the user has to do is download it and write it to sd card? your kind of confusing the user to do extra steps now.
https://boards.dingoonity.org/ingenic-jz4760-devices/ldk-retrogame/
This is not just for the LDK but also for the RS-97....
And your guide does not explain everything in length or how to install games/emulators.
I've had some people still not knowing the exact steps after seeing your instructions.

naronga

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Re: How to install RetroFW on your LDK/RS-97
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2019, 08:29:50 am »
Can I flash on a new Sd Card ,just in case i mess with the original Sd card

adventureFAN

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Re: How to install RetroFW on your LDK/RS-97
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2019, 09:23:35 am »
Sure no problem.
But you can also make a backup with Win32 Disk Imager.
My Handhelds: PS Vita, PSP (1000), New 3DS, NDS lite, GB SP (without Backlight),
LCL GameBoy (RPI3A+ inside), GPD XD (non-Plus) and a RS-97 with RetroFW (3.0).

Favorite: LCL GameBoy

davidgilmour

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Re: How to install RetroFW on your LDK/RS-97
« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2019, 10:49:58 pm »
I really can't see the point of this guide for the LDK if all the work has already been done here and all the user has to do is download it and write it to sd card? your kind of confusing the user to do extra steps now.
https://boards.dingoonity.org/ingenic-jz4760-devices/ldk-retrogame/
This is not just for the LDK but also for the RS-97....
And your guide does not explain everything in length or how to install games/emulators.
I've had some people still not knowing the exact steps after seeing your instructions.

Hi , thanks for your work.
I just received my LDK today and I am fairly impressed, even with your ?useless firmware?.
What I found is that SNES, MEGADRIVE, PC ENGINE and GBA run very good on it!
What I don?t like is that FBA, MAME and GNGEO don?t run well.

2 questions.

1 When I install the new firmware will SNES, MD, PCE and GBA Still run as well
(Look at the new bittboy where the NES runs better on the old firmware than on the new one)

2. Will there be updates on FBA, MAME and GNGEO in the future on the new FW?

gameblabla (OP)

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Re: How to install RetroFW on your LDK/RS-97
« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2019, 11:07:53 pm »
Quote
1 When I install the new firmware will SNES, MD, PCE and GBA Still run as well
I mean they should, even better.

2. Will there be updates on FBA, MAME and GNGEO in the future on the new FW?
Yes, arcade emulators are very subpar, everyone knows it.
I'm personally focused myself on my Wonderswan emulator so FBA and the likes will come last.

eltehero

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Re: How to install RetroFW on your LDK/RS-97
« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2019, 12:14:19 am »
What I don?t like is that FBA, MAME and GNGEO don?t run well.

Are these the arcade emu's on LDK stock Useless firmware or the RetroFW?
« Last Edit: April 20, 2019, 12:15:51 am by eltehero »

davidgilmour

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Re: How to install RetroFW on your LDK/RS-97
« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2019, 12:35:12 am »
What I don?t like is that FBA, MAME and GNGEO don?t run well.

Are these the arcade emu's on LDK stock Useless firmware or the RetroFW?

I only used them on the useless FW so far and they run not that good imo, neogeo games run at 60-80% speed for example.They run much, much, much better on my RS-97 and New Bittboy.

I will install the new FW and report back asap to see how they run on that.

davidgilmour

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Re: How to install RetroFW on your LDK/RS-97
« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2019, 09:44:23 pm »
Ok, so here is my update.

Genesis/Megadrive runs amazing!
SNES runs amazing !
PC Engine runs amazing ! (Except for one game on the Supergrafx, Ghouls n Ghosts. This game starts dropping frames to 40-45 fps after 30 secs in the game. This is a known difficult game to emulate. Only the GCW Zero with Temper emulates it good! )

GBA is gone  :'( :'(
Mame still sucks.
GNGEO is gone  :'( :'(
FBA runs great !

eltehero

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Re: How to install RetroFW on your LDK/RS-97
« Reply #15 on: April 21, 2019, 08:25:01 am »
Mame still sucks.

Hoping Slaanesh likes the LDK and ports mame, like he has done for other devices
« Last Edit: April 21, 2019, 08:33:47 am by eltehero »

Jutleys

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Re: How to install RetroFW on your LDK/RS-97
« Reply #16 on: April 21, 2019, 11:05:54 am »
Well if slaanesh joins the discord found in my signature i could try to arrange him a LDK device for development.

davidgilmour

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Re: How to install RetroFW on your LDK/RS-97
« Reply #17 on: April 21, 2019, 12:20:12 pm »
@slaanesh made XMame for the GCW zero and that one runs fantastic! Much better than Mame4all .

Hope he can update it for the LDK Game as well. Fingers crossed!

slaanesh

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    • Slaanesh Dev
How to install RetroFW on your LDK/RS-97
« Reply #18 on: April 21, 2019, 12:48:55 pm »
Hi!
So what?s the LDK?

Oh I see I like it!
Good specs. Best place to get one?
« Last Edit: April 21, 2019, 12:58:25 pm by slaanesh »

Jutleys

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Re: How to install RetroFW on your LDK/RS-97
« Reply #19 on: April 21, 2019, 12:59:21 pm »
Latest current Deals:
RetroMiMi:BITTBOY, LDK & MORE https://retromimi.com/collections/all?aff=5
Use code 'happy2019' for 20% off a Bittboy!

For people in the UK, LDK , BITTBOY & MORE use code 'DX10' for 10% off here: https://droidbox.co.uk/gaming/retro-gaming-consoles.html?acc=44f683a84163b3523afe57c2e008bc8c

 

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