Raspberry Pi Off-grid Gaming & Movies 


A RPI-based gizmo for our T@B 320 camper to help entertain during inclement weather.   

CamperPi's  functionality currently includes video gaming, movies/videos and music.  

Hardware/components associated with the project were acquired to install in a  2021 T@B 320 with 12v Jensen Audio/Video system. 

*** 2023 Usage note:  I seldom use CamperPi and NEVER when Boondocking - I'm rarely indoors and have learned to be frugal with power usage during overcast/low solar conditions ***

Background, Capabilities & ToDo's

CamperPi was originally tossed together to explore entertainment options when spending time off-the-grid where streaming apps and services are unavailable.    

The initial CamperPi was a Kodi-based gizmo plugged into the camper audio/video system to serve up music and  movies/videos.   

The latest version uses RetroPie as a base with more focus on video gaming with a Kodi "Port" for Movies and Music.  

Level of Difficulty & Prep Time

Will probably take a few sessions to get this thing setup ... lots of options!

Intermediate Techies should be able to work thru RetroPie and Kodi interfaces.  Menus and controller buttons will take time to get used to.

No need for Linux knowledge but SSH and command-line access certainly does help!


Final Config (velcro'ed to back of T@B 320 TV as needed):

*Note:  Affiliate Links, I may get kickback from Amazon if you click/buy!


Started with Kodi, but had many struggles with gaming.  Settled on RetroPie as base w/ Kodi Addon/Port for music & movies.

 // RetroPie downloaded/flashed via Rasp Pi Imager //

Step By Step 

Install RetroPie and Friends (Ports)

Singing along with RetroPie Quick Start Guide.  See also How to Install Kodi on RetroPie

Initially configure RPi with a network connection and the trackpad, keyboard or gizmo you plan to use with RetroPie. 

Install Steps 

Post Install Cleanup 

Couple of Cleanup Items ...

Via SSH ... (use default raspos uc/pw)

1) Install a couple of handy commandline tools

2) Create a few directories for Game/Music/Videos - ssh in and create under /home/pi directory just to keep them apparent.

3) Teach RetroPie to turn off it's display (backlight too!) when screensaver kicks in (my own howto came in handy!  See also:  Putting Raspberry Pi Monitor to Sleep (DPMS)

4) Fire up Kodi and skinny down the main menu to simplify

Download & test Movie, Song & Game

*** Disclaimer ... The RetroPie File manager details below MAY work  but it is cumbersome
Personally, I now use Samba on the CamperPi and simply drop games and media onto shared drive ...
I need to retrace my steps and document that setup some point ***

See Also:  https://retropie.org.uk/docs/Transferring-Roms/ or  Midnight Commander underpinning.

Copy in a few games, movies & music to test things out.   

There are probably easier ways to load files to RetroPie but pulling files from an FTP server works best for our library of games, movies and music.   The step by step below uses RetroPie File Manager to copy files from our server followed by some shuffling around to add things to Kodi Library or appropriate RetroPi ROM directories.  

Downloading Test Media

Building a legal library of music, movies and games is a totally separate discussion ... We'll start with one free movie, song and game downloaded from  the Internet Archives:

Transferring Files

Select RetroPie (Configuration), then File Manager ... it's a side-by-side (Source->Destination) interface

Step by Step to Copy file from A to B (You'll get the hang of it!)

Unzip or Move?

Downloaded games will typically be zipped (archive of multiple files).  In the case of DOS games, like Bio Menace, you'll need to unzip them into appropriate RetroPie directory (DOSBOX uses /RetroPie/roms/pc).  Arcade games will often be moved and stored as zip files, they are unzipped when they are played.  Super Tank is a Mame game, it's zip file simply needs to be moved to /RetroPie/roms/mame-libretro directory.  Lots to learn here!

If you select a zip file in the Left (source) pane and copy (fcn-F5) the zip archive will be copied.  If you select the zip file and hit <enter> you will open the zip and be able to copy/move individual files.

Lots of options here, it really depends on the game.  Some DOS games will require you to run a DOS install under DOSBOX, arcade games seem to be copied as zip files.

Exiting out of this mess

Minimally have to restart EmulationStation to have new games show up on RetroPie GUI.  


Odds N Ends

August 2023 - Couple of notes from experience

 May 2022

March 2022 

Random Links, Notes, struggles, etc

Kodi multimedia formats @ https://kodi.wiki/view/Features_and_supported_formats#Format_support


Notes on generations/attempts

Initial project used Kodi as a base and attempted to get Kodi gaming working - was truly a struggle.  If you DO use Kodi as a base, https://libreelec.tv/ is probably the best path.  Settled on this distro for our MoviePi's - it simplified life considerable 

Can't recall where following came from, but looked to be handy/keeper!

The HOTKEY ENABLE button will allow you to easily perform actions while in a game:

Hotkey + Start


Hotkey + Right Shoulder


Hotkey + Left Shoulder


Hotkey + Right

Input State Slot Increase

Hotkey + Left

Input State Slot Decrease

Hotkey + X


Hotkey + Y"Emulation 


Very random stuff follows!

had to enable ssh and update the system before getting dosbox or kodi installed

error:  E: Repository 'http://raspbian.raspberrypi.org/raspbian buster InRelease' changed its 'Suite' value from 'stable' to 'oldstable'

N: This must be accepted explicitly before updates for this repository can be applied. See apt-secure(8) manpage for details.


turn on ssh via raspi-config (seems ok to change pi pw)


sudo apt update -y


sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get -f install

sudo apt-get dist-upgrade


Weird audio issues when working with 3.5mm audio jack


Low-Power CamperPi!!

Winter attempt to create a smaller, lighter and lower power version ... notes to self at this point ...

*** I'm pretty excited about this one ... RPI 0w + 128g microsd running RetroPie w/ Kodi 'Port' connected via 5v, 550mA power supply is serving up Movies, Games and Music without breaking a sweat!  NO THROTTLING, 25-30% CPU during Movie Playback! *** How can this be ?!?! 

Deep Dive into Raspberry Pi Zero 2w Power Consumption ...
@ https://www.cnx-software.com/2021/12/09/raspberry-pi-zero-2-w-power-consumption/
Raspberry Pi Zero W power analysis @ http://robertthewombat.com/power-requirements-for-the-raspberry-pi-zero_w/
Script to monitor voltage @ https://jamesachambers.com/measure-raspberry-pi-undervoltage-true-clock-speeds/
Script to Check Power Supply @ https://bia.is/2019/02/02/raspberry-pi-check-your-power-supply/

more Pi Power Analysis HERE