Given this project’s complexity, we’ll be testing and re-testing the system to validate our progress. Confirm your system passes each test before advancing to the next. Mis-steps are very time-consuming!
We’ll build and test the Raspberry Pi and PiTFT display with a USB keyboard plugged in. The arcade controls and cabinet will come later.
It's time to build your kit! Heat up your soldering iron and lets get started!
The PiTFT may come pre-assembled. If so you can skip the soldering part here
Note the position of the key (notch) on the male header, facing the center (not outside edge) of the board. Vitally important!
After soldering, peel the backing off the tape strips and position the screen on the board, leaving a little space between the header and the metal edge of the screen.
Once you’re satisfied with the soldering and screen alignment, the protective film can be peeled from the display. This is not a screen protector like on your phone!
Connect a USB keyboard (not shown here) and plug the Raspberry Pi into a power supply.
Within about 10 seconds of connecting power, you should see the display come to life, with geeky Linux boot messages scrolling by, and eventually a game selection menu (list will be empty if no games have been loaded on the card yet).
If nothing happens for 30 seconds or longer…either a black or white screen…disconnect power, remove the PiTFT board, plug the Raspberry Pi into a regular monitor and power up again.
If RetroPie starts normally on the HDMI monitor: Pi and SD card are fine, PiTFT is not. Examine your soldering closely, looking for any bridges or solder balls. Make sure the headers on the PiTFT and Raspberry Pi board are correctly aligned. Make sure the metal edge of the LCD is not contacting any of the header pins.
If it does not boot on either the PiTFT or monitor: possibly something wrong with the SD card; perhaps the operating system was not properly installed or something is amiss with the PiTFT assembly. Is it plugged in right? (Sometimes the header pins are off-by-one and it doesn’t work.)
Press F4 to exit to a command line prompt, then type:
Wait about 20 seconds for this operation to run before disconnecting power.
Do not proceed until you have a working system, including the PiTFT.
With the system powered off, remove the PiTFT board from the Raspberry Pi. Take the ribbon cable included with your kit…
Careful now…the header on the Raspberry Pi board is not keyed! Pin 1 (white wire) should be near the edge of the board with the SD socket. Make sure the pins are aligned, not off by one. This end of the cable should point out in the open, not overlapping the Pi.
- Double-check the cable orientation and alignment, make sure nothing’s turned around or off by one.
- Shut the system down, remove the ribbon cable and re-connect the display directly atop the Pi. If it won’t boot now (but did before), something’s gone wrong with the SD card. Otherwise…
- If everything checks out but it still won’t boot with the ribbon cable connected, the cable may be defective. Visit the Adafruit Customer Support Forums, post a photo of your hardware and we’ll look it over for any gremlins or will have a replacement sent.
If you have any ROM files loaded in the boot/advmame/rom folder, you can select a game from the menu (using the arrow keys and enter) and see if it works. This is a good time to decide which games run well or not.
Press the ESC key to exit and return to the game menu.
This concludes the first phase of testing. Do a proper shutdown again (ESC from the game menu) and wait about 20 seconds before disconnecting power.
Do not continue to the next step until you have a working system.