Raspberry Pi - 240p Output

 

Introduction:

This guide shows you how to enable analog 240p output from the Raspberry Pi 2&3. This will allow you to connect the RPi to an RGB monitor for arcade and console emulation.

 

What you'll need (all software is free):

- Raspberry Pi 2 or 3. I recommend getting a good power supply for it.

- Analog adapter for the RPi. Depending on your setup, you could use SCART or VGA:

- Pi2SCART from Arcade Forge - Only a SCART cable is needed. Works with all software.

- GERT VGA Adapter
If your monitor only accepts RGBs (not RGBHV), then you'll need a sync combiner like the UMSA, Kenzei, or an Extron Rxi. If your monitor accepts 240p RGBHV (such as some Mitsubishi and NEC monitors), then you can just use a VGA or VGA-to-BNC cable.

- RGB-Pi SCART Cable - This is a direct conversion cable that even offers its own software (use the RecalBox installation instructions below, but there's no need to edit the config file, as it's already set).

- RPi2SCART - Not yet released, allows for Genesis and Neo Geo controllers to be used.

- MicroSD card. I use a 64GB card in mine.

- Emulation software. I recommend using Recalbox or Lakka, but this guide will work with many different software packages, including Retropie.

- SDCard Formatter  I recommend downloading the fat32formatter software as well.

- Win32diskimager for software that requires you to image the SD card (Retropie, Lakka).

- Some installations (like Recalbox) will require access to a Linux or Mac machine, or a virtual machine like Virtual Box.

- The correct cable to connect to your display (VGA, SCART, etc).  

- If you're going to use this setup in an arcade cabinet, I suggest the Pi2Jamma adapters: http://arcadeforge.net/PiJamma:::51.html

 

Video Tutorial:

Here's a video of everything explained in this guide:

 

Prepping the MicroSD Card:

Regardless of what software you use, start by inserting your MicroSD card into your computer and load the SDFormatter software.  Make sure to hit the "option" button and set "FORMAT SIZE ADJUSTMENT" to "ON".

If you're using a 64GB MicroSD card, you may want to format a second time using a DOS program (this is required for Recalbox installations with larger SD cards!):

- Download the fat32formatter software and extract it to a folder on your computer (I just used the root of my D:\ drive). 

- Open a DOS window, navigate to where you extracted the file and run the command "fat32format X:", replacing "X" with the drive letter of your MicroSD card (mine was "F:" in the pictures below). 

- Hit enter after typing the command, then yes to all prompts.  If you get an error, close all Explorer windows (or any program accessing the card) and try again.  Click the picture below for a full-sized view. 

 

 

Retropie / Lakka Installation (or any software that uses a pre-configured image file):

Using this mod with software like Retropie or Lakka is extremely easy! After formatting, simply load the image via win32diskimager (some machines will require you to right click on the icon and hit "run as administrator" for it to launch properly).
 

Once it's finished, open the SD card and find the file "config.txt" in the root.

Open the file, scroll to the bottom and add the following code:

dtoverlay=vga666
enable_dpi_lcd=1
display_default_lcd=1
dpi_group=2
dpi_mode=87
#hdmi_timings=336 1 10 30 34 252 1 15 3 42 0 0 0 50 0 6400000 1 # 336:252 6.4MHz progressive
#hdmi_timings=336 1 10 30 34 252 1 15 3 42 0 0 0 50 0 6400000 1 # 336:252 6.4MHz progressive
#hdmi_timings=256 1 6 17 18 192 1 26 22 29 0 0 0 60 0 4800000 1 # 256:192 Sega Master System (NTSC)
#hdmi_timings=256 1 8 17 21 224 1 7 10 24 0 0 0 60 0 4800000 1 # 256:224 NES, SNES (NTSC)
hdmi_timings=320 1 20 29 35 224 1 10 14 16 0 0 0 60 0 6400000 1 # 320:224 Sega Genesis (NTSC)
#hdmi_timings=320 1 14 46 28 256 1 17 32 9 0 0 0 50 0 6400000 1 # 320:256 Amiga (PAL)

Save the file, eject the SD card and connect your RPi to your RGB monitor.

That's it, really easy!!

 

Recalbox Installation (or any software that installs after first boot):

- After formatting, copy the Recalbox files to the FAT32 formatted MicroSD Card.

- Eject the card and insert it into your Raspberry Pi.

- Boot the Pi with it connected via HDMI to a TV. The first boot must be via HDMI, otherwise it won't work.

- After the software configures itself, it will reboot to the main screen. Do not go any further until you see the main screen!!!

- Power off the RPi and insert the MicroSD card into a machine that can read Linux partitions.

- Navigate to the "boot" partition and find the "config.txt" file.

Open the file, scroll to the bottom and add the following code (same as above):

dtoverlay=vga666
enable_dpi_lcd=1
display_default_lcd=1
dpi_group=2
dpi_mode=87
#hdmi_timings=336 1 10 30 34 252 1 15 3 42 0 0 0 50 0 6400000 1 # 336:252 6.4MHz progressive
#hdmi_timings=336 1 10 30 34 252 1 15 3 42 0 0 0 50 0 6400000 1 # 336:252 6.4MHz progressive
#hdmi_timings=256 1 6 17 18 192 1 26 22 29 0 0 0 60 0 4800000 1 # 256:192 Sega Master System (NTSC)
#hdmi_timings=256 1 8 17 21 224 1 7 10 24 0 0 0 60 0 4800000 1 # 256:224 NES, SNES (NTSC)
hdmi_timings=320 1 20 29 35 224 1 10 14 16 0 0 0 60 0 6400000 1 # 320:224 Sega Genesis (NTSC)
#hdmi_timings=320 1 14 46 28 256 1 17 32 9 0 0 0 50 0 6400000 1 # 320:256 Amiga (PAL)

Save the file, eject the SD card and connect your RPi to your RGB monitor. That's it!

 

HDMI to VGA in 240p

You can use an HDMI to VGA adapter as well if you'd like.  You won't be able to use any custom timings, so overall the picture quality might not be as good, but if you already own an HDMI to VGA adapter, maybe this is a good way to try it out?  Basically, follow all the same instructions as above, but use this code instead:

disable_overscan=1
hdmi_ignore_edid=0xa5000080
hdmi_pixel_encoding=2
hdmi_force_hotplug=1
hdmi_cvt=320 240 60 1 0 0 0
hdmi_group=2
hdmi_mode=87
DISABLE_SPLASH=1
config_hdmi_boost=4
dtparam=audio=on
gpu_mem_256=128
gpu_mem_512=256
gpu_mem_1024=256
overscan_scale=1

 

Summary:

This page makes it look like there are a lot of steps, but it's actually pretty quick and easy. By far the hardest part for me was just finding a way to edit the Linux partitions. Once I used a Linux boot CD (or virtual machine) instead of trying other ways to access the card, everything went really quickly.

That's it! Enjoy 240p RPi gaming!!!

 

 

If you're done, please head back to the main Arcade / MAME page for more information.