RetroNLabo’s Retron 5 Custom Firmware


This page provides step-by-step instructions on how to install Retronlabo’s firmware update for the Retron 5 system, taken from both Hyperkin’s site, as well as Retronlabo’s.  If you need any assistance, I suggest trying the Assemblergames thread, or if you already purchased the firmware try Retronlabo’s member’s only forum:

Tools needed:
– Retron 5 system
– 2 SD card’s, minimum of 512MB each.
– One wired controller, either NES, SNES or Genesis
– The following free software:

1)  Format both SD cards using SD Formatter. Card #1 will just be used for this installation and can be formatted again after, but Card #2 will be the one the Retron 5 uses to play roms.  Both need to be at last 512MB.

2)  Power on your Retron 5 and insert an SD card that’s at least 512MB and formatted to FAT32.  This can be either card, as this is just to collect the update file. 

3)  Go to settings, scroll down to “Write firmware update request to SD” and allow the Retron 5 to create the file on the SD card.

4 )  Crate a folder on your desktop called “labo” and move the retron-update-request.dat to that folder.  This folder is just to keep everything in one place, but should be saved after you’re finished, in case you ever need to re-flash the firmware.

5)  Go to and donate.  The maximum donation of 1000 Yen is only about $8, so I recommend that one; Retronlabo put a lot of work into this and has to pay for hosting, so if you can afford the few extra dollars, it would be nice to donate the higher amount.  When you’re sending payment, make sure to include your Twitter name in the notes, as that’s how he’ll contact you.

6)  When Retronlabo contacts you, respond to his email and attach the retron-update-request.dat your system generated in step 3.

7)  He will then respond with an attached certificate.  You’ll need to save that to the “labo” folder and install it on your computer:  I used Chrome and installed it by going to Settings, scrolling down to “Show Advanced Settings…” and hitting the “Manage Certificates” button. Then I just hit “import”, browsed to the file (I had to select “all files” for it to appear), added the password and finished the installation.

8)  Then, go to and click on the icon in the center of the screen.  If your certificate installed correctly, it should ask you to select your certificate and hit OK.  You should now see “downloads” appear at the top-right of the screen – Click on that.

9)  Download the following files to the “labo” folder:  “”, “retron-update.bin” and “” (the one labeled ‘support file pack’).

10)  Download and install the Win32 Disk Imager application from here:

11)  Download the RetroN 5 v0.2.2 firmware “full reset” image from here: and extract it to the “labo” folder.

12)  Connect SD card #1 to the PC and launch the Win32 Disk Imager application (some versions of Windows will need to right click and “Run as administrator”).

13)  In the imager app, select the device/drive corresponding to the SD card (ie G:\), and make sure it’s the correct device, otherwise you’ll format the wrong drive!!!

14)  Select the “boot-recovery-SD-fullreset-v0.2.2.img” file, hit “Write”, then “Yes” to confirm.

15)  Extract the contents of the “” file to the root of SD Card #1, overwriting “update.img”.

16)  Extract BOTH the “retron-update.bin” file and the contents of the Support file pack to the root of SD Card #2.  You can also use this opportunity to put your roms in the subfolders that are already created:  SDCARD\Retron\Roms  

17) Power OFF your Retron 5

18)  Insert SD Card #1 and power your system back on.

19)  Using a wired controller, navigate to, and select, “Update rkimage from external storage”. 

20)  When finished, navigate to, and select, “Wipe data/factory reset” and when asked, please select “Yes — delete all user data”.

21) When this procedure is done, please REMOVE the SD Card from the Retron 5  and select “Reboot system now”. The Retron 5 will now reboot.

22). After the reboot, your Retron 5 will prompt you to make a request file. DO NOT DO THIS!  Simply insert SD Card #2 and the update box will appear after a few seconds.  Now it’s safe to update.

23)  After the update is finished your Retron 5 will reboot. If everything went well, you will be greeted with the standard RetroN 5 home screen, but with an SD Card icon as the second option in the main menu. CONGRATULATIONS, YOUR RETRON 5 IS NOW HACKED.

24)  Insert any real game into the Retron 5 system.  It doesn’t matter what system, as long as there’s a game inserted.

25)  Select your game from the SD LOAD ROM menu and hit “copy”.

26)  Go back to the main menu and hit “play”.

27)  If everything is working properly, you’re finished with SD Card #1 and can format it.  I’d still keep all the files in the “labo” folder, just in case you ever run into an issue and need to re-flash the firmware.

Here’s some tips for use:

To play an original game:
– Remove the game that’s currently in the system.
– Remove the SD card
– Go to the SD LOAD ROM menu
– Navigate to the #Internal storage folder
– There should be a subfolder of the last system you used.  Enter that subfolder and delete the game that’s in there.
– Insert the original cartridge
– Hit play on the main menu.

To dump a rom from a cartridge to the SD card:
– Remove the game that’s currently in the system.
– Go to the SD LOAD ROM menu
– Navigate to the #Internal storage folder
– There should be a subfolder of the last system you used.  Enter that subfolder and delete the game that’s in there.
– Insert the original cartridge
– The rom will automatically be copied to the corresponding system directory.
– As long as you don’t hit “play” on the main menu, you can continue to insert as many cartridges as you’d like (one at a time) and each game will simply “load” and dump onto the SD card.
– Once you hit “play”, you’ll need to repeat the above instructions to dump more cartridges.


Here’s more notes from Retronlabo’s readme, for your reference:


You will only need to do this update procedure once.
The update file you have received for this hack, “retron-update.bin”,
is encrypted with the device-specific ID for YOUR RetroN 5 and will not work on any other systems.
IF any error should occur during the update, please use the first SD Card again to initiate Retron 5 Recovery System
and select “Wipe data/factory reset”. After this, please try and run the update procedure again.

â– Preparation

1. Refer to the “\Retron\Roms\Config\Readme.txt” in the SD card, prepare the necessary files.
2. Insert the SD card into the RetroN5, select the “LOAD ROM” → “#Config” from the top menu.
3. Copy all files.

â– How to update Gameinfo database

1. Edit the contents of the “\Retron\GameInfo\ja(en)\~.txt” of the SD card.
2. Insert the SD card into the RetroN5, “LOAD ROM→#GameTitle” from the top menu
3. Copy .txt files.

â– How to load ROM

1. Copy the ROM in the “\Retron\Roms\(SystemDir)” to the SD card. (Please do not change the directory name)
2. Insert the SD card into the RetroN5.
3. Insert the cartridge somewhere in the slot of RetroN5.
4. Select the “LOAD ROM→(SystemDir)” from the top menu.
5. Copy ROM which you want play.
6. Wait a few seconds, title is displayed after the completion of the copy dialog.

※ In the “\Retron\Roms\(SystemDir)” to SD card, please refer to the Readme.txt.
※ If the Rom does not recognize correctly, Try to change cartridge (other system).

â– How to change the emulator

the original emulator RetroN5 and emulator of other systems is already installed.
if you want to play FDS and, MEGA-CD, you should change emulator.

1. Insert the SD card into the RetroN5.
2. Select the “LOAD ROM→Cores→(EmulatorDir)” from the top menu.
3. Copy .so file.

※ when you restart the RetroN5, emulator is initialized.

â– Appendix

・How to edit save data

If you play the original emulator of RetroN5, save data will be encrypted,
If you play the custom emulator, after the game play, when you return to the main menu
In the “SETTINGS”→”File Manager”→ “internal storage”→”Sram”→”Raw”,
Save data of each system that you’ve played in the last has been saved.
and you can edit and overwrite encrypted savedata.

By retronlabo


Please head back to the main Retron 5 page, or check out the main page for more retro-awesomeness.