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.

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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Egon Aszmann

Thanks for the special guide. Help me a lot! My device is a EN1040K with S905x3, 2GB RAM, Memoria Flash eMMC 8GB + MicroSDXC card Sandisk Extreme 64GB, class 10, up to 160Mb/s. I used the “sm1_s905x3_2g.dtb” option from device tree. I followed the initial steps and everything was fine until it was time to boot my TV Box from a correctly mounted pendrive. By the method of restarting the system, it entered a configuration screen and it was not possible to make any selection there. By LibreELEC and Terminal methods, access was denied by the need of Root. If… Read more »

Egon Aszmann

Thanks so much for the tip Kim. I will search the indicated article for a future purchase.
For now I’m using Kodi’s IAGL addon in conjunction with Retroarch (to run N64 and Sega Dreamcast). Despite the performance not being the best possible, I am managing to have good memories of the classics.
Thanks again for all the help!

Chris

Hi, I recently wanted to upgrade from the super console x to the HK1 box. So I have had no problems etching and booting emuelec previously. However with the HK1 box S0905x3 4g device, it always boots to the android no command menu. I tried both the toothpick method and libreelec boot app. And tried 3 different SD cards, a sandisk 128 g, and a samsung 32 and 128 gig. I don’t know what to do anymore

Chris

Not yet, thanks. Will try that next, any USB stick requirements?

Chris

Thanks Kim, it worked! I’m so glad. Loading takes a while though, possibly an issue with the usb. Will look further into it. Thanks again

Mark C

Thank you very much for producing this guide. I have followed your instructions very carefully and am having some issues, I would welcome any advice. I am trying to install EmuElec 4.1 onto an X96 Max Android 10.0 4GB I have tried 2 brand new micro SD cards, one San Disk Ultra 32GB and a 128 GB variant both formatted as FAT32 I first tried the sm1_S905x3_4g_1gbit device tree but have also tried the other X96 variants. If I try to reboot via the console the box will just reboot into Android if I try to reboot via LibreELEC I… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Mark C
Joe Blow

Try the sm1_S905X3_4GB. Not the 1gbit unless your box has gigabit ethernet

Joe Blow

Also from what I know the X96 max runs the S905X2 and the X96 max plus runs the X3. Max plus might have gigabit ethernet but the X96 max does not.
Try the X2 4GB one

Ridwan Irwansyah

Does emuelec recognize hdd external with 1 tb storage. Because when I put all my roms to it, it won’t update games and when you boot, it stuck on the loading screen like it still reading the hdd external.

Ridwan Irwansyah

Even Seagate external hdd which doesn’t need external power? 🤔

Ridwan Irwansyah

Yeah maybe that’s why. Thx for the help.

Glenn J Novak

Hi. I am using the super console x pro for Emuelec. My CPU Model is S905M rev b 1gb of memory. Which tree file can I use?

Olimpus

Hi guy, it’s possible install on the M8S box?

Olimpus

Thanks