Continuing My Retro Pie Build – More Difficulties

December 30, 2014

Been plugging away at my RetroPie build this Christmas holiday and keep running into all sorts of frustrations. I guess that’s the name of the game when you’re using an open source development board but I had hoped that things would go a bit smoother since it’s now been well over a year since the Raspberry Pi came out.

Since my last post I’ve managed to get it booting reliably. I downloaded a new image of RetroPie from a different source and that one works, so I’m not sure what happened to the first one I downloaded. After finally getting that booting up properly I setup the regional settings using sudo raspi-config. I also ran a firmware update and updated all the linux binaries by using the following commands:

sudo rpi-update
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

I destroyed my laser cut acrylic case while working on it the other night so I decided to sacrifice an old NES system I had laying around. After playing one last round of Dr. Mario (pretty much the only game it was willing to run) I said my goodbyes and pulled it’s guts out. They are now lying in a box which I’ve tucked aside in case I decide to rebuild it later on with another case or perhaps I’ll just sell it for parts on eBay.

The case itself looks quite roomy and I think it will fit the Raspberry Pi and a powered USB hub quite comfortably. I’m just debating either painting the case or maybe trying to bleach it with hydrogen peroxide as right now it has a really gross yellowy brown thing going on like most old electronics seem to develop.

I spent some time getting the wireless internet going on it using an Airlink 101 which is one of the recommended dongles. I got it a while back when I was using it as an XBMC machine but never really got around to play with it. Thankfully it worked out of the box, driver wise, but I still had to do some configuration to get it to connect and from there I ha to go into raspi-config again to turn on SSH so I could tunnel in remotely.

Sure enough, after all that work I went to install my Bluetooth dongle and it seems to have gone into La-la Land. After waiting an hour for the install and having the SSH connection drop on me so eventually I rebooted it and found the WLAN was no longer working. After a bit of monkeying around I noticed the dongle was smoking hot when I touched it so at that point I called it a night and unplugged it. Today I ran a network cable to the spot where I was working on it so now I will at least have that as a backup. After firing it up it seems that both my LAN and WLAN connections are running so I guess that’s good. Still not happy if it’s overheating but for now I can continue with my work. It just means I need to wire in a LAN connection on the back of this NES as I may need it as an alternative.

So I continued with my Bluetooth installation. I had used the git repo recommended in this video which was git clone https://github.com/the-raspberry-pi-guy/Wiimote.git but it just didn’t want to work. The device showed up when I typed lsusb but when I typed sudo service bluetooth status I got bluetooth: unrecognized service in response. Running /etc/init.d/bluetooth.dpkg-new status I got [FAIL] bluetooth is not running … failed! so I was dead in the water at that point.

At this point I jumped to another method and ran sudo apt-get install bluetooth bluez-utils blueman and when it was done installing I ran /etc/init.d/bluetooth status.

[ ok ] bluetooth is running.

Success! That’s right my less than $2 bluetooth dongle from Deal Extreme was working. It only took a few hours of tinkering, but it worked 🙂

Next up was to start scanning for devices. I ran hcitool scan and got two devices listed back, my laptop and my phone. Awesome. Next I turned on the Wiimotes and scanned again… and only my laptop and phone were listed. Darn. After a bit of reading I discovered I had to press 1+2 on the Wiimote for a few seconds before scanning.

Scanning ...
        1C:65:B2:A1:4A:D0       Samsung Galaxy S5
        A4:2F:68:22:8G:09       FETTESPS-LAPTOP
        F0:1F:B9:45:E3:78       Nintendo RVL-CNT-01
        F0:1F:35:D1:76:21       Nintendo RVL-CNT-01

Brilliant. It’s always so simple once you know the solution.

At this point I think I’m going to stop and make an image of the SD Card as I was regretting not doing that when it last when unresponsive. I’d highly recommend doing this every time you get a big step of configuration done and then you have a backup if you mess up while working on the next steps. That’s it for this post!

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