Batocera how to turn your Android TV-Box or miniPC into a retro emulation machine

Batocera is one of the easiest ways to turn our Android TV-Box, mini PC, portable retro console or Raspberry into an attractive retro console with multiple emulators and hundreds of games to enjoy.

One of the positive points of Batocera is that it does not modify the internal storage memory of the Android TV-Box, mini PC gaming or other compatible device. Just remove the memory or the card we use when we do not want to use Batocera and our machine will return to its original state without any modification. A system similar to EmuELEC that we can also try.

Batocera

WHAT IS BATOCERA?

Batocera software based on Debian distribution is a group of emulators that allows us to load games with their covers and other extras to play in an orderly way dozens of emulators of different machines. To play them you need the ROMS or ISO of the games and some of these systems also require the BIOS images of the machine to emulate.

Batocera also supports Android, PC or MacOS computers of all kinds, Raspberry Pi boards, many portable retro consoles… for which there are exclusive distributions. Batocera installation is simple, it is easy to configure, its interface is nice, easy to use and the list of supported emulators is huge.

batocera android

BATOCERA COMPATIBLE DEVICES

We can run Batocera on multiple devices, since we have system images for each of these that we must install on a USB stick or micro SD card, we will have to try it for ourselves. There is no problem when testing because as we have indicated the emulator only runs temporarily and does not modify our systems.

  • Android TV Box Amlogic S905 / S905X / S905W and S905X3 (gen3).
  • Raspberry Pi and Odroid boards.
  • Older 32-bit and new 64-bit computers.
  • MacOS computers and laptops.
  • Retro consoles Anbernic and Powkiddy.

Batocera devices

INSTALL BATOCERA ON USB PENDRIVE OR MICROSD

To install Batocera we need the IMG.GZ file for our device, to download it we only have to enter the Batocera website and save it in our computer. Then thanks to the Rufus software we will create the boot drive that will allow us to run the system without modifying our device.

Create boot drive for Batocera

After downloading the necessary files we can generate the SD memory or USB drive to boot this system, running the Rufus program. If it does not work on our device by USB drive is recommended to use an SD card, in any case we must have the fastest possible drive if we are going to use it with this method.

  1. We require a microSD card or USB drive as fast as possible, at least 16 GB and a PC card reader.
  2. Launch RUFUS, select the USB drive or micro SD card in the Device section.
  3. Click on Select and load the downloaded Batocera *.img.gz system file.
  4. Click Start and wait for the process to finish.

Batocera files

Enable graphics acceleration with NVIDIA GPU in PC

To get the most out of the emulators in Batocera PC we can enable graphics acceleration using the NVIDIA drivers that come by default in this package.

  1. On the newly created Batocera USB drive we go to the root folder.
  2. Open to edit the batocera-boot.conf file.
  3. Look for the line where it says “#nvidia-diver-true” and delete the # sign leaving it in “nvidia-diver-true”.
  4. It has to look like the following image.
  5. Save.

Batocera nvidia

Enable DBT for our TV-Box

By default the Batocera IMG file that we record in the USB comes configured for a one device, in the case of the Gen3 image for S905X3 the default system is the TV-Box H96 Max+ identical to the X96 Max+. Maybe we have to try other DTBs with the right configuration for our TV-Box.

  1. Enter in the root folder of the Batocera USB drive and edit the file = uEnv.txt
  2. Change the meson-sm1-h96-max.dtb for another one that seems compatible in the “Batocera/Boot” directory.
  3. Start the Box with this configuration and test it. If we have black screen use another DTB file.

batocera dtb file

BATOCERA BASIC CONFIGURATION

To start up the Batocera system we must introduce the memory prepared by Rufus and indicate to the system that we want to boot that operating system, in each device this is different.

  • NOTE: Some Wifi network adapters are not 100% compatible, often you have to opt for Ethernet cable.

First boot on Android TV-Box

  1. With the TV-Box turned off, we insert the micro SD card or USB drive prepared with Batocera.
  2. Connect a compatible USB or BT Gamepad, XBox and PS USB controllers are the most compatible.

To boot the system on an Android Box we have several methods available, basically the two options are through the update button of the TV-Box or from Android coming to this thanks to an app that restarts the system to run Batocera.

  • Method 1: Start the TV-Box with the update button pressed, in the box or inside the audio jack.
    Batocera boot android
  • Method 2: Use the LibreELEC app for Android that restarts the TV-Box in update mode.
  • Method 3: If we are root from a terminal in Android we do “su” and then “reboot update”.
  • The process of the first boot is slow and we should not turn off the TV-Box until it reboots.
  • The system will always boot in Batocera until we remove the SD card.

Booting Batocera on PC

To boot Batocera on PC we need a USB drive connected to the PC and boot with it, on modern devices we will have to change the BIOS boot mode from UEFI to LEGACY which is how this emulator works.

  • Start BIOS mode by pressing DELETE, ESC or F2 when booting.
  • We can also have a key to show the boot drive selector, see manual of our motherboard/laptop.
  • Select boot drive with the memory created in Rufus.
  • If the USB stick DOES NOT BOOT you have to change the boot system to LEGACY in the BIOS, normally it is in the BOOT section of the BIOS in the Boot mode = UEFI/LEGACY section. If it gives us problems later to boot Windows we return to change that adjustment.

Other devices

  • Consoles or Raspberry Pi: Insert micro SD and boot the device.

COPY ROMS AND BIOS IN BATOCERA

We can copy and manage our ROMS and BIOS files in several ways with Batocera, we will explain in a simple way how to do it without much complication using a PC.

Copy ROMS and BIOS over the network

From Windows file explorer or similar we can access our Batocera device by connecting to our home network. We just need to access the default shared folders at the following addresses.

  • \\BATOCERA\share\roms = place to copy the roms of the games.
  • \\BATOCERA\share\bios = place to copy the bios of the emulators.

Batocera files

Using another USB drive for ROMS and BIOS

We can also use another USB device to copy our ROMS and BIOS if the network system gives us problems, the procedure is very simple, and it makes quite comfortable to copy contents without worrying.

  1. We connect a USB memory stick enters in our device. IT WILL BE DELETED.
  2. Inside the main menu of Batocera we go to SYSTEM SETTINGS > STORAGE DEVICE > SELECT NEW DRIVE
  3. You have to reboot the device to create the file structure in this unit.
  4. Go to Batocera Menu > QUIT > RESTART SYSTEM.
  5. We take out this USB drive when it restarts and connect it to our PC.
  6. Inside the USB drive we will have the ROMS and BIOS folders where to copy our files.

Download covers and scrapers

If we want our Batocera to look more attractive we can activate the Scrapers to have images of box covers, videos and even manuals of the emulated games.

  1. We register on Screenscraper.fr with a username and password, we write them down.
  2. Click Start to go to the Batocera menu.
  3. Go to SCRAPE > SCRAPE FROM > SCREENSCRAPE
  4. We can change the shape of the images in IMAGE SOURCE and that of the boxes in BOX SOURCE.
  5. You can also activate the LOGO type and other fields such as manuals, maps, fanart…
  6. Enter your username and password in the fields “Username” and “Password”.
  7. Click on the SCRAPE NOW button.
  8. Wait for the Scraper process to finish.

Batocera Scraper

BATOCERA MAIN CONTROLS

To manage our emulators we have some basic main controls that we can use with our Gamepad connected. In addition, each emulator has independently other controls to control specific functions.

Batocera controls

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Josemar Leite Preté

You forgot to talk about choosing the dtb for the tv box! And also to say that it still doesn’t work properly with the SoC S922X, which performs better with EmuELEC.

Você esqueceu de falar sobre escolha do dtb para a tv box! E também dizer que ainda não funciona adequadamente com o SoC S922X, o que tem melhor desempenho com EmuELEC.

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