Get Recalbox running on a Pimoroni Picade

  • Hi


    Two years ago I bought the Pimoroni Picade (1st version) Arcade cabinet. It's slighty bigger than the current, 2nd version, has a 800x600 pixel display and a Pimoroni Picade PCB extension board - and I got Recalbox running without any troubles.

    A few weeks ago I replaced it with the Pimoroni Picade (2nd version) Arcade cabinet. It's slightly smaller than the old, 1st version, has a 1024x768 pixel display and a new Picade X Hat extension board - and I didn't get it running at all!

    The reason why Recalbox on the new Picade does not work is because the "Picade X Hat" extension board needs to have a driver installed. That's no problem with RetroPie, but it's NOT an easy thing with Recalbox, if it is even possible.

    So I thougth I simply order the old Picade PCB and replace the new Picade X Hat. But I learned that even with the Picade PCB installed, I didn't get Recalbox running, because I didn't get the controlls (joystick and buttons) configured.

    So I contacted the friendly guys from Pimoroni; and they had the solution for me - and for everyone else!:

    It's the firmware of the Picade PCB which is now (obviousely) newer then the firmware shipped with the PCB 2 years ago. But Pimoroni provides the previous firmware on it's Github channel.

    As soon I flashed the firmware "picade_original.hex" to my Picade PCB, all troubles vanished. Now it's again possible to configure the joystick and controlls/buttons within the Recalbox configuration dialog wizard.

    The Picade PCB is an Arduino compatible board and fully corresponds to an Arduino Leonardo (ATmega32U4 AVR). The provided firmware is in Intel Hex format (*.hex) and can be flashed with "avrdude" quite easily. You will need a avrdude supported programmer (like the AVRISPmkII). I'm not sure if it's possible to flash a *.hex file within the Arduino IDE to the board.

    The guy from Pimoroni additionally mentioned that the other provided firmware "picade_gamepad.hex" should work as well, because this firmware emulates a standard gamepad. I've never tried out this solution, but if anybody does, let me know how it works! 😉

    I hope I could describe the way to get Recalbox running on a (every!) Picade. Excuse me bad english, it's not my native language.

    If anybode needs additional help, please contact me.

  • Supplement / clarification:

    When I say that you get Recalbox running on a Pimoroni Picade with my provided procedure, then I mean that:

    • Recalbox itself can be operated fully
    • MAME emulator games can be played (if a few buttons are configured in the MAME / Input (general) configuration menu)

    Although you can (after appending my procedure above) configure the controlls in the Recalbox menu without problems, the hotkey button for example does for unknown reasons not work in all emulators (maybe somebody in this forum can imagine why?), even there are no other USB-Controllers connected.
    But since many non-MAME games anyway need often more then the few Arcade buttons, I play them with an additional controller, like the Xbox360 USB controller.

    If you want to be sure your Arcade cabinet controlls / buttons are fully supported (including the Hotkey button) in all emulators, you can alternatively connect your controlls directly to the GPIO pins of your Pi but leave the Picade PCB connected and use it only for volume control purposes.


  • Hi Roman,
    there is another way to use old Picade PCB with Recalbox: read this

    But I would like to use Picade X Hat instead... there is a way?


  • I had an official answer from Pimoroni:
    "The drivers for the Picade X HAT are written for Raspbian, which is what Retropie is based on. I believe Recalbox is based on Arch linux, which could well explain why the drivers aren't working. I'm afraid we don't have any plans to update them for compatibility though."
    So, no Recalbox on new Pimoroni Picade...

  • Staff
    Global moderator

    @amilanesi67 said in Get Recalbox running on a Pimoroni Picade:

    Recalbox is based on Arch linux


  • Staff
    Global moderator

    @amilanesi67 As @acris said, Recalbox is NOT based on Arch Linux, but is built from scratch using Buildroot.

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