TUTORIAL: EmuELEC turns your Android TV-Box into a retro console


Today we present our EmuELEC Installation Guide where we show you how to install it quickly and easily. EmuELEC is a compilation package of emulators with which we can play with countless consoles and retro recreational machines. We can use it as a KODI addon or as a stand-alone system from an SD or USB drive in our TV-Box, even the cheapest ones with 1GB of RAM. In this article we will see how to execute and configure it in a simple way.

  • Our recommendation is the Android TV-Box X96 Max Plus available in Amazon, Geekbuying or Aliexpress only for $35.99 (32€) for the version 4/32GB shipping included.
  • Read the X96 Max+ Review to know more details about this Android Box

WHAT IS EMUELEC?

The EmuELEC software is a group of emulators that allows us to load roms, covers and other extras to play dozens of different systems in an orderly manner. 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.

  • Popular emulators: AMIGA, MSX, NES, SNES, GBA, MG, DREAMCAST, NDS, PS1, CPS1 / 2/3 …
  • Not supported: PS2, PS3, GAMECUBE, 3DS, WII, XBOX
  • Full list of emulated systems

ANDROID TV-BOX MODELS COMPATIBLE WITH EMUELEC

This is one of the points where we can have doubts when testing the system, but as we have seen we do not run any risk because we can test it without risking the installed Android system. Some TV-Boxes such as the Beelink have official support from this community and other Boxes can be compatible with the generic EmuELEC images, we will have to try it for ourselves. Normally we can emulate up to PS1 with powerful processors like the new S905X3 and S922X.

  • List of the Best Android TV-Box models
  • Amlogic S905Y2/X2/X3/X4/S922x/A311D: Beelink Gt-King / X96 Max+, Hardkernel Odroid N2, Khadas VIM3.
  • Amlogic S905/S905X/W/H/S912: Supported in v3.9, not compatible with v4.
  • Rockchip: Not supported in stand-alone version using KODI Add-on.
  • Allwinner: Not supported in stand-alone version using KODI Add-on.

EMUELEC INSTALLATION ON ANDROID TV-BOX

We have two ways to use EmuELEC, under KODI or through a USB memory or SD card that runs with a minimum Linux system to run and has many advantages over using KODI on Android even also some inconvenience associated with this system.

  • Advantages EmuELEC independent OS :
    – The system only consumes 100 Mb of RAM
    – EmuELEC fits perfectly to the hardware of our device
    – We have automatic soda change to avoid the Judder effect
  • Disadvantages EmuELEC independent OS:
    – We cannot run Android apps
  • Disadvantages EmuELEC as KODI add-on:
    – The system consumes more resources by keeping Android running in addition to KODI + EmuELEC

EmuELEC independent in SD or USB

With this system EmuELEC brings out all the performance of our hardware. Each SoC family has a specific project branch where we can obtain the necessary files to operate EmuELEC or EmuELEC in our TV-Box.

IMG – system image

How to create the boot unit for EmuELEC

Once we have the installation program, the EmuELEC system file and the device tree of our device we can already create the SD memory or USB drive to boot this system, we run the installation program. If it does not work by USB drive it is recommended to use an SD card, in any case you have to have the fastest possible drive if we are going to use it with this method.

  1. We need a microSD Card as fast as possible, at least 16GB and a PC card reader.
  2. Start RUFUS, select the USB drive or microSD card in the Device section.
  3. Click on Select and load the EmuELEC *.img.gz system file that we have downloaded.
  4. Clicking on Start and wait for the process to finish.
  5. At the end if you can ask us to format the card, we ignore it by pressing Cancel, if we do not have to repeat the process.

DTB – device tree

Once we have created the SD or USB drive we need the device tree of our specific TV-Box model or the one that is closest to the configuration of our device. It is a simple process if we follow the following steps.

  1. Within the unit that we have created we go to the “device_trees” folder
  2. Inside we need a compatible device tree compatible with our system, we observe:
    – for EmuELEC v4 SoC name: S905X2/X3/S922X/A311D
    – For EmuELEC v3 SoC name:
    S905X = gxl_p212
    S905W = gxl_p281
    S912 = gxm_q200 / gxm_q201 (test)
    S905D = gxl_p230
    S905/H = gxbb_p200
    – Concrete model or generic model.
    – RAM: 2GB, 4GB …
    – Network: 10/100 MB or 1 Gigabit
  3. Copy the file xxx.img more similar to our hardware to the root directory of the EMUELEC SD card drive.
  4. Rename it as “dtb.img” we overwrite if necessary.

EmuELEC as KODI add-on

This is the easiest way to use EmuELEC although it does not take full advantage of the hardware performance of our TV-Box.

EMUELEC BASIC CONFIGURATION

First boot

Before turning on the TV-Box, we must insert the prepared SD card and connect a compatible USB gamepad.

  1. With the TV-Box turned off introduce the microSD card or USB drive prepared with EmuELEC.
  2. Connect a compatible USB or BT Gamepad, the X360 and PS3 USB controls are the most compatible.

To start EmuELEC independently we have several methods available, basically the two options are by means of the update button of the TV-Box or from android reaching this mode by software.

  • Mode 1: Start the TV-Box with the update button pressed, in a box or in an audio jack.
  • Mode 2: Use the LibreELEC app for Android that restarts the TV-Box in update mode
  • Mode 3: If we are root from a terminal on Android we do “su” and then “reboot update”
  • IF YOU DON’T START: Try another device tree file from the folder we have in the SD.
  • The first boot process is slow and we should not turn off the TV-Box until it restarts.
  • The system will always boot into EmuELEC until we remove the SD card.

EmuELEC Gamepad Configuration

As we have mentioned, the compatible USB or BT Gamepad that are easier to connect only those of the X360 and PS3 type are the most compatible but we have others, even if we are lucky they can be used by the TV-Box’s Bluetooth adapter.

  • Bluetooth gamepads will not work if EmuELEC cannot detect our Wifi / Bluetooth chip.
  • Xbox S / Xbox 360 / Xbox one (via cable) Does not work on BT!
  • Steam Controller (Only with the dongle)
  • Sony PS4 / PS3 / PS2 (with USB adapter)
  • 8bitdo SF360 Pro (BT and cable)
  • Logitech F310
  • Hori Horipad Switch controller
  • USB RetroPad Adapter (Used to use original console controls)
  • Switch joycons – Not recommended

In the first boot of EmueLEC we will always be asked the key configuration of our connected Gamepad, we just have to press the correct keys for each function.

  • Press B / O to enter the menus and A / X to exit.
  • Select: we enter OPTIONS where we adjust the list of games and folders in the current system.
  • Start: we enter the general settings MAIN MENU, we can redefine the controls and other system settings.
  • Tip: to exit the games press Hotkey + Start 2 times.

EmuELEC user environment

In the first boot of EmuELEC we are shown different sections of each installed emulator where we have the games installed, at the bottom we can see what action keys we have available.

  • IMPORTANT NOTE: EmuELEC must always be turned off from MENU> QUIT> POWER OFF or the system may be corrupted.
  • Tip: At the beginning ONLY Emulators are shown with games installed, if we don’t have games, emulators are not shown.

TV-Box temperature control in LibreELEC

If we are going to use LibreELEC intensively with powerful games, it is advisable to control the working temperature, if it reaches very high figures of 80ºC / 176ºF or more, the TV-Box can be turned off automatically.

INSTALL GAME ROMS, COVERS AND BIOS FOR EMUELEC

How to install ROMS on EmuELEC

There are several methods to install games in EmuELEC, in the internal memory of our SD card or using an external USB drive where we copy the games we want to emulate.

Copy game ROMS to SD Card with EmuELEC v4

Since v4 version we can copy directly the game ROMS to the SD card using a PC.

  1. To be able to copy games BEFORE you have to boot EmuELEC one time in the box to generate the partitions.
  2. Only compatible with WINDOWS 10.
  3. Connect the EmuELEC SD card in your PC.
  4. Open a file explorer and go to the EEROMS drive.
  5. Copy inside the system corresponding folder the ROM file of your game (usually in zip).
  6. Put the SD card back into our TV-BOX and when we run EmuELEC we will be able to play the ROMS.

Copy games ROMS to internal storage via network with EmuELEC v3.9 or higher

For version v3.9 or lower we need to connect via network to access the internal SD card folders.

  1. Connect the TV-Box to our home network, it is recommended by cable although it can be by Wifi.
  2. In the settings MENU we go to NETWORK SETTINGS and point our IP address, eg 192.168.0.XX
  3. On our PC in the file explorer bar we write the IP in this route: \\192.168.0.XX (with both against bars)
  4. We will be shown the EmuELEC internal folders, we enter the ROMS folder.
  5. Within this folder we have the folders corresponding to each system, we have to copy the roms in this folders.

Copy ROMS to external USB storage

  1. We connect to our PC a USB memory formatted in NTFS.
  2. Inside the USB memory we create a folder with the name of ROMS.
  3. Inside ROMS we create an empty file with the name “emuelecroms (without extension).
  4. Within this ROMS folder we must create a folder for each emulator that interests us, respecting these names.
  5. We copy inside the folder with the name of the emulator the roms.
  6. We connect the USB to the TV-Box and restart it.

How to install BIOS on EmuELEC

Some systems such as PS1, PCEngine, NeoGeo, Dreamcast, GBA … require the BIOS files for the emulator to work, can be found on several websites, we cannot provide them.

  1. The process is identical to copying roms that you can see in the previous step.
  2. BIOS files must respect these names, rename them accordingly.
  3. The bios must be copied into EEROMS drive > BIOS folder either in the EmuELEC SD or in the external USB drive.
  4. We can check if we have the BIOS loaded in MAIN MENU> GAME SETTINGS > MISSING BIOS.
  5. Without the exact BIOS files, the games will not load

How to download game covers on Emmuc

To give a more attractive touch to EmuELEC we can install the covers of the games from the internet in various formats, the covers are downloaded automatically and also add information with descriptions.

  1. Connect our TV-Box to the internet.
  2. Press START in MENU> SCRAPER.
  3. Within ORIGIN OF THE BOX we can change the format between 2D and 3D.
  4. Click on GET SCRAPES NOW.
  5. We can limit to which emulators we want to download covers.
  6. Click on START.
  7. The SCRAPING process will begin, we wait for it to end.
  8. Once the process is finished it is recommended to restart to see the results.
  9. Within each category of games in OPTIONS we have to change the GAME LIST STYLE> BOXES

 

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candra

hello i bought the recomended x96 max plus 4g ram 32 g rom to run emuelec but it doesnt pick up any wifi any thoughts thanks?

candra

if you mean wifi networks no i cant see any. i tried all 3 s905x3 dtb’s and it only booted up on the 1st one.

candra

that is all 3 dtb’s for 4g

sportsvcd

After giving up the ghost with my rockchip rk3066 (yagala box) i realized i had an old MX_III (k200_MXIII_1g) i was just wondering before i tear my hair (what little hair i have left ) if this will work with EmuELEC?

Matt

I use emuelec on X96 MAX + The boot procedure holding down the update button does not work, I enter recovery mode but I can not do anything but reboot. Using the terminal from android and writing sudo update the system is restarted and Emuelec works. But after using emuelec and turning off the system, android is loaded and not emuelec when restarting. So every time I have to start emuelec from the terminal

Yagode

Hi what dtb file is recommended for GT King Pro with Amilogic S922X-H?

kartking

i installed emuelec on a clean reformatted 32gb usb drive…..instillation was a success and it works fine on my android box…
my question is…..
my 32gb with emuelec on it only show 1.32gb free space and says the total size is only 1.99gb….
what happened to the 32gb drive i had…is emuelec that big of a prg to take up almost all of the 32gb drive?
and
why does it say its only 1.99gb total size and 1.32gb free?

any help would be appreciated

kartking

thx for the response
i do install the games via the network but can only install like three 1.5gb games then it does not allow me to install any more…if i want to install another game i have to first delete one….
how can i fix this problem

i have this version installed on my android box
EmuELEC-Amlogic.aarch64-4.0-Generic.img

Last edited 19 days ago by kartking
kartking

i only see a storage folder and inside no EEROMS drive folder
i do see a rom folder with sub folder of all the different names of console/gaming devices…thats where iv been putting my roms in the corresponding folder
but like i said earlier…i can only install like three roms of 1.5 gb in size….if i want to install a different rom i have to delete one of the prior roms

is there a telegram/discord group?

Last edited 19 days ago by kartking
dave b

Windows has not assigned a drive letter to it thats all,go to Disk management and assign a drive letter to that partition.

kartking

finally got the EEROM drive but its empty..no folder in there at all….
i tried several times reinstalling and starting from scratch…made no difference so what i did was deleted the EEROM drive and just used the free space(free gigs) in the storage folder….
been working fine like that

I woukd like to say thank you to Kim and all the others that helped me out with this problem…
Hopefully when i learn/get more experienced i can give back
Thxx once again

BraiNfiNga

Is h96 plus max compatible

4gb/32gb android 8.1

I think is a s905, right??

Last edited 19 days ago by BraiNfiNga
beregoth

hello need help.
the installation was succesfull but when shutdow to the menu and unplug power emuelec don’t restart.
the box run with android.
thx

Dante

Hello, is the X95 still a recommended box for 2021?

Eran Lenga

Hi.
Where i can download games pack?

kribbio

Hi Kim

is there a possibility to rename .zip roms? to have a more ordered list, I tried but if I change the game does not start.

DaVyper

You need to rescan/reimport your games. When you scan/import it reads the filenames and adds them to a file for later lookup, if you rename one/more of them it is still looking for the old name(s).

jiko

ps3 with bluetooth csr4.0 usb dongle can?

Uka

Hi Kim. Is raspberry pi 4 better than any android box for emulator? Retropie vs Retroarch

kribbio

Hello

when i insert the sd card in the windows pc i see only one partition in the explorer, the others i see in disk management but i can’t access the roms, i use windows 7, should i use windows 10?

Uka

Hi. Between a small form factor pc and android box..which one is better in performance for emulator?

Uka

Where can i download the games rom from?

and how do i install emuelec on rockhip device

Adam Friel

hi thanks for your guide, all works fine, but with my 360 controller buttons work in game menus, and also partly in game, for example street fighter type games work fine, but anything that requires you go left and right up and down e.g rayman, nothing happens i can make him jump etc but not move? this happens in nearly all games. xbox 360 controller set up as in your description but nealry all dreamcast games dont work when need to move?

MaryJane

Do you have a list of devices compatible with EmuELEC 4.0 (64bit support)?
Thanks!

FER68

Bonjour j’ai une box T95+ jais installer Emuelec sans problème sur une carte SD les rom fonctionne aussi aucun problème mais quant je veux mettre les rom sur une clés USB ça fonctionne pas jais suivi votre tuto ça donne rien jais formater la clés en ntfs et mis les dossier rom des que je branche la clés sur la box et plante comment résoudre le problème ? sil vous plais.

Russ

A quick question, I am considering taking the plunge with my X96 Air Box. But I want to retain the Android portion. Can I just boot into Andoitd without the SD inserted?

Jimmy

Hello … I have a problem … I just can’t find the right emuElec and the device tree for my (M8S Pro L) (S912 3G) … in the instructions it says … for EmuELEC-Amlogic.arm-xxx- generic.img.gz for S905 / S912 … but in the device tree there is no S912 noted ???? 🤔 .. can you help me please?

jaggs25

yes same I am also facing … mine is also S912 3GB but there is no dtb file. hope someone can help here.

Last edited 2 months ago by jaggs25
jaggs25

Finally I found the solution to just share with you in case you have not still resolved.
I downloaded v3.7 instead latest one.
Because I believe your box is also S912 3GB ram same as mine so use this file : gxm_q201_3g_1gbit else try gxm_q200_3g. Either of them should definitely worked as it worked for me like a charm. Let me know if worked? 🙂

jaggs25

I am having Mac only no Windows. As per Rufus it requires windows only… ,,is there any other way or alternate then Rufus?

jaggs25

Thanks for the reply …. I already tried using Etcher. Now stuck in another problem.
After everything done my system is not booting while USB is plugged and it stuck on boot logo. I am currently using H96 pro+ (Amlogic S912 with 3GB RAM) however there is dab file for this specs as it has S902/S922 etc but nothing is there for S912. Please can you help. I tried couple of other dub file but no luck. Thanks in advance.

E H

Hi All,
Please help
I have a android box and was wondering if anyone has tried or know if emuelec would work on it ??

Also, in the device tree section of the instructions which *.dtb file should I use ??

My android box is:
PENDOO X11 PRO
4GB RAM
AMLOGIC
p281
4XARM CORTEX- A53 @ 1512 MHZ
64 BIT ARM V8-A (32 BIT MODE enabled)
4 CORES

disk

I have a PS3 controller that works with the wired connection, but it doesn’t recognize the Bluetooth connection.

How can I use them wirelessly?

disk

OK.Thanks.

Alroy

Hi im having issues getting Emuelec to run.

Did the install and rebooted box with Libreelec and get the start up sound of emuelec but no picture.

Any suggestions

Tv box is mecool m8s pro w with the s905w chip

David

hi everyone, it’s possible to install emuelec direct to into a tv box?

Moaes

Hello! Does this requires us to have a rooted Android TV box? 🙂

Iorge

Ann’s without reset?

Joe Mummer

Is there any way to add more cores for RetroArch? The PS1 core I have does run games smoothly but the games don’t stream their music at all. I’d love Beetle PSX for the GTE hacks.

Joe Mummer

Man, I found out it’s possible but I can’t seem to access the contents of EmuELEC at all. I just tried the USB method of sending ROMs but it doesn’t get recognized at all. I tried the tutorial from their GitHub and I don’t see any “setup” options. When I insert my USB the box just restarts. I respected the paths, format, file format, nothing works. I’ll try the SMB share method now. But I gotta say the PS1 emulation on this completely sucks for now; 3D games suffer even more, and still no music streaming.

Antony Endall

How any one got this to work with a 256gb sd card as I just run into errors

Rob

Try formating it to FAT32. Android don’t accept exFAT

Aamer.Helmy

can i rum it on mi box s

jay

has anyone used this with the khadas VIM3-A113D or VIM3L with S905D3 amlogic? Odroid N+ S922x?

CYRIL HENRY

Hello
Thanks for tuto ! But when I want to add roms even in /roms or storage /roms or usb/roms … I tried with snes/name-of-roms.zip … still not appear in emulationstation … what should I do ?

Rob

Tried unzipping them prior?

Buckethead

I have bought the x96 max plus because you recommended it for emuelec, but I can’t get it to boot in emuelec at all. I have emuelec 3.7 burned on a SD card. I do the reset button thing and its just stuck at the x96 logo screen. I think I placed the correct dtb.img file in the root folder. (S905x3). What could I be doing wrong?

Buckethead

Good to hear that. I will try another SD card then. I used the same SD card with a T95 max plus, which worked. I tried emuelec 3.5 which also didn’t work. So maybe it’s the SD card.

Frank

I have a transpeed TV BOX with a S905X3 chip and mali g31 GPU.. I was not able to get emuelec to work… It stays stuck on the transpeed logo but it will not boot. I tried all files from the device tree that I could and followed all boot options recommended here with no success. Any Ideas?

MrMei

Hi, i have m9+ Amlogic S905x 1GB which dtb file do i need to boot? as i do not see my model there.

Paulo Rosa

Hello,
I have a TX3 Mini 2gb 16gb, but the dtb.img don’t work.

George

Hello! If the picture is yours we have the same box! (A95X)
Have you tried Geforce NOW app from PlayStore? Im asking brcause it works amazingly good but after a while the screen freezes but the audio and keyboard keep working. If you have time and curiosity try the app 😀

zhidd

Can I use the internal rom of the TV Box and install emuelec?

Peter Bull

Hi. My TV Box is the MeCool ms8 pro l 3gb 16gb. I see that the device tree is for the 3gb 32gb model. Would it make a difference if I booted it on the 16 gb model?