Last updated: 19MAR2021 (see Changelog for details)
Transferring files to and from your RG351P’s SD card is a little tricky, so I decided to write a dedicated guide to walk you through the process. Note that this guide is specific to Anbernic’s unofficial fork of EmuELEC, the firmware that ships with your RG351P. For information about the other RG351P firmware options, see 351ELEC and ArkOS.
Table of Contents: EmuELEC SD card partitions Transfer game files via SD card Linux file transfer software Transfer files via WiFi Changelog
EmuELEC SD card partitions
The RG351P has only one storage source — a single SD card. This SD card contains your operating system as well as your game files, across a series of three partitions:
PARTITION 1: “EmuELEC” — The firmware (operating system) that ships with the RG351P is an unofficially modified version of EmuELEC. The system files required to run this operating system are all stored on this “EmuELEC” partition. For the current working iteration of EmuELEC on this device (v3.7), the partition is 537MB, and the entirety of this partition is taken up by the system files. This partition is a FAT16 partition, which means that it can be read by Windows and Mac computers with no problem. Long story short: you don’t need to, or want to, mess with this partition. For more information on how to backup, restore, or upgrade your SD card, check out my firmware guide.
PARTITION 2: “Storage” — This second partition contains files used by EmuELEC and its emulators, that you may need to access. For example, this partition stores your cheat files, screenshots, save states, save files, shaders, and themes. This partition is set at 1.36GB, and about 400MB of this space is taken up by the stock software files. That gives you about 1GB to work with in terms of adding themes, shaders, etc. This partition is a Linux-based EXT4 partition, which means that you cannot just plug the SD card into your PC and start adding files (more on that later).
PARTITON 3: “Games” — This is the bread-and-butter partition, where you will store your game and BIOS (system) files. Inside this partition you will see a bunch of folders, one per system. There is also a “bios” folder where there should be all of the system files pre-loaded. This partition is FAT32 (MS-DOS) partition, and can be read by Windows and Mac computers. Note that this partition is unique to the RG351P, and not found in other (official) versions of EmuELEC prior to EmuELEC 4.0.
Note that if you are using a version of Windows that is older than Windows 10, you won’t see these SD card partitions (this became a native feature only in Windows 10). You will only see the EmuELEC partition. So you will need to do the following workaround:
- Download and install the program Bootice
- Insert your card and open the program.
- Select the drive (in this case your SD card), click “Parts Manage”, and you will see the three partitions.
- Select Games and click “Set Accessible”.
- In “My Computer” the drive will be changed from EmuELEC to Games. You can access the whole partition there, and place your ROMs.
- Once you’re done, set the partition back to EmuELEC.
Transfer game files via SD card
The fastest way to add game files is to remove the SD card from the device and plug it into your computer. Depending on the SD card reader you use, you can get upwards of 80mb/s transfer speeds for larger files, and about 40mb/s for collections of larger files. I use this SD card reader from Anker, which is between $10 and $15 on Amazon and worth every penny.
This step is pretty simple: just drag and drop your game files from your computer to the appropriate folder in the “Games” partition. If you are unsure where to put the files, here is a guide that shows the system, RetroArch core (emulator), folder, and accepted file types. If the folder you are looking for doesn’t already exist, you can simply make a new folder (following the naming convention of the guide) and place your game files inside — EmuELEC should recognize the folder and games.
Here is a list of the major game systems supported by EmuELEC. Conveniently, EmuELEC comes pre-loaded with all of the necessary cores, so all you have to do is add the games to the appropriate folder — they’ll start right up.
Atari 5200 (and 800)
PC Engine (TurboGrafx-16)
PC Engine CD (TurboGrafx-CD)
Nintendo Entertainment System
Famicom Disk System
Sega Master System
Sega Saturn (poorly)
Neo-Geo / CD
Game and Watch
Nintendo Game Boy
Nintendo Game Boy Color
Nintendo Game Boy Advance
Nintendo Virtual Boy
Sega Game Gear
Neo-Geo Pocket / Color
Wonderswan / Color
Commodore 64 (and C16/Plus4, C128)
Final Burn Neo
Neo-Geo / CD
Note that if you transfer files using a Mac, you may find mysterious files on your device that start with a “._” prefix in addition to your regular game. So for example you’ll see both Sonic.bin as well as “._Sonic.bin”. These are files created by MacOS to aid in their QuickLook function. You can delete these files from your device by pressing SELECT > Edit game metadata > Delete. Or, you can also clear them from your SD card while on your Mac, using this method:Open the Terminal app, and type “sudo dot_clean-mn/Volumes/SD/” where “Volumes/SD” is the path to your SD card.
Linux file transfer software
If you want to access your “Storage” partition (say, to add themes or cht files) without having to use WiFi, there are dedicated programs that will allow you to read and write the Linux EXT4 partition. These programs essentially mount the EXT4 partition on your system like any other drive, making it very simple to use.
These software apps are provided by a company called Paragon Software, and they have a free trial if you want to see how the software works. After that, you’ll have to pay $20 for the PC version, and $40 for the Mac version.
It should be noted that I have read many accounts of people having file/disk corruption issues when using Paragon’s Linux file transfer software. I’ve personally had to re-flash my SD card a few times after testing the software, so use it at your own risk. NOTE: It has been pointed out to me that you must unmount the disk partition via the Paragon software before ejecting the rest of the SD card if you want to preserve your data and avoid file corruption.
Moreover, I don’t like the idea of paying for software that costs a significant portion of my device for only one use. So let’s talk about WiFi transfer options.
Transfer files via WiFi
Early copies of the RG351P shipped with a WiFi antenna built-in, but it was later discovered that the antenna interfered with the speaker cable, creating a hissing/clicking noise when in use. To fix the problem, Anbernic simply removed the WiFi antenna from all future models, which is a bit of a shame. If you have a device with internal WiFi, here is my guide on how to fix the noise issue (which wasn’t terrible to begin with).
As a consolation, Anbernic dropped the RG351P price, and has been shipping its units with a free USB OTG adapter and a USB WiFi adapter. So you can still connect to your WiFi network, albeit with a couple dongles. But it turns out that WiFi file transfer is very easy and convenient.
If you don’t have an early RG351P model with an internal WiFi antenna, you will need to use an OTG adapter and a WiFi USB module (I have personally tested this Wifi module, and I have been told that this one works, too). In EmuELEC, press START, then select “Network Settings”. Turn on the “Enable WiFi” toggle, then add your WiFi details. Back out of this menu with the B button and your device will connect to the network. Go back into the Network Settings and make note of your IP address; it will be something like 192.168.86.##, with the last two ##s the number your router assigned to your device (this number will change periodically, so be prepared to enter in a new IP address from time to time). Next, go to the “EmuELEC Settings” menu, and make sure that “Enable SSH” is ON.
Open up your FTP client, like WinSCP for Windows/PC, or ForkLift for Mac. Create a new SFTP connection, and for the server/address, add your IP address. The username is “root” and the password is “emuelec” (no caps).
Once you connect, you should immediately see the storage folder. Note that you can also wirelessly transfer games onto your device with this method (you’ll find all your game folders in the “roms” folder). Here are some of the most common folders you may wan to access:
/storage/roms = game (and bios) folders /storage/database/cht = cheat files /storage/savefiles = save files /storage/savestates = save states /storage/shaders = shaders /storage/.config/emulationstation/themes = themes /storage/.config/emulationstation/es_settings.cfg = EmuELEC settings /storage/.config/emulationstation/es_systems.cfg = EmuELEC system settings
Note: if you are on a Mac and using ForkLift, and you happen to get assigned an IP address that you have already connected with, you may get an SSH error and it won’t let you connect. To fix this, go to Finder > Go > Go to Folder… and enter “~/.ssh” to find the “known_hosts” file. Open this file and delete any mentions of the 192.168.86.## IP addresses; honestly, unless you use your Mac for SSH functions elsewhere, you can basically delete all of the text in this file. Save the file and re-start the SFTP process and you should be good to go.
– added information about Bootice workaround
– published guide