The PiGRRL Zero Advance uses Retropie which is a overlay for the RetroArch software setup and utilizes EmulationStation as its file management and overlay system. I've created a pre-configured img file that can easily be installed on your MicroSD card. Once you install the img file on the card you should be able to just plug the card into your PiGRRL Zero Advance, and everything should be working right away. Please note that booting will show a white screen for 20-30 seconds when you first boot the device.

retropie img files

Modified PiGRRL Zero Advance Retropie 4.4 (Last Updated 09/03/2018) - 2.99 GB

step 22. installing retropie img file

The easiest way to install Retropie on your SD card is by using software called Etcher ( Etcher can be used with Windows or Mac, and has a really simple interface for how to install your files to your card. Just select the image file you downloaded from above, then find and click your SD card, and go ahead with "Flash" to flash the image file to your SD card.



This was such a huge part of getting this 3.5" PiTFT screen to work properly, I couldn't not mention it on its own. The first problem I had with this design was getting the 3.5" PiTFT to work properly with FBCP, which comes on the original img files from Adafruit for the PiGRRL Zero. Unfortunately FBCP hasn't been updated for quite a few years, and doesn't work appropriately for the 3.5" screens. Early this year, a github user by the name of Juj released FBCP-ili9341 which is self described as "A blazing fast display driver for SPI-based LCD displays for Raspberry Pi A, B, 2, 3 and Zero". This has taken the 3.5" PiTFT from a laggy, screen tearing screen with Retropie, to a powerhouse display that seems to be able to tackle about anything you throw at it.

outline of other tweaks

  • Custom Theme (ES Theme GBZ35) for 3.5" screens

  • Added Custom Splashscreen with PiGRRL Zero Advance Logo

  • Added Battery Indicator (Martin Hanlon) to Software

  • Customized Buttons and Controller Configurations for GPIO settings


1080p Splashscreen Logo

480x320 Splashscreen Logo

4:3 Splashscreen Logo

connecting to wifi

In order to connect to wifi, you will need to have a keyboard handy.

  1. Go to the "RetroPi" and select "Configure WiFi".

  2. Select "1 Connect to WiFi network" with the Enter key.

  3. Highlight and select your network.

  4. Type in your WiFi password.

  5. Your Pi's IP address will display in the top of the WiFi Menu, make sure to write this down.

  6. Choose "Cancel" to exit the "Configure WiFi" menu.

uploading roms

There are two major methods to uploading your ROM's.

  1. Over Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) - Requires Keyboard

  2. Over Plugged in USB

SFTP - Use your desktop computer and your preferred SFTP client to connect. I like to use the following:

  • Cyberduck (Mac)

  • WinSCP (Windows)

These software packages typically have a place where you type in the information for your device. You can view the IP Address of your device in "Retropie-Setup" under "Show IP Address". 

  • IP Address - example: 10.1.10.XXX

  • Username: pi (default)

  • Password: raspberry (default)

Go to the following directory to upload ROMs


Upload your ROMs to the proper emulator folder.

USB (From Github) - From RetroPie version 3.0 a file manager is available, it allows you to manually transfer files between USB-stick and Raspberry Pi SD card. File manager can be run from 'RetroPie' Emulationstation menu. Quick file manager (MC) guide can be found here. Your USB-stick should be mounted in /media/usb. The directories for the ROM files are located in ~/RetroPie/roms/SYSTEMNAME, where SYSTEMNAME is the short name of the corresponding system.


  • When connecting headphones, you can still hear the speaker faintly in the background. Looking for a software solution to this, as I used mono for the speaker option, I could just switch L to R when the headphones are plugged in.

  • Haven't tested to see if HDMI connection is fully working yet. I know that FBCP-ili9341 should be setup correctly to work with this, just haven't had the time to go through this.