Anbernic RG351 AmberELEC OS Master Guide

Even when AmberELEC has its own website for troubleshooting, I still feed a need of a comprehensive AmberELEC guide for starters. As usual, what I want to accomplish is a master guide that is short but thorough. So after 1 minute of reading, you’re ready to enjoy your new handheld.

Officially, AmberELEC is a custom firmware for every Anbernic RG351 handheld, which are RG351P, RG351M, RG351MP and RG351V. It’s possible to make AmberELEC working on other RK3326 handhelds, such as PowKiddy RGB20S, though the process is quite complicated and the end result isn’t really worth the hassle.

Before you read

You need to install AmberELEC on your RG351 handheld or other RK3326 variants. I write a tutorial on how to install AmberELEC on Anbernic RG351.

Global Shortcuts in AmberELEC

AmberELEC consists of both RetroArch and RetroRun for playing retro games. While RetroArch is the more popular emulator to use at the moment, RetroRun offers some improvements for Saturn emulation. Though I don’t really advise to experience Saturn on any RK3326 handhelds, if you care about the system, you should learn the global shortcuts from RetroRun as well.

The only difference between the RG351V with other devices is its lack of right analog stick, as well as R3 button. As a result, it needs a different button combo for accessing RetroArch menu: L3 + Function.

Source: AmberELEC

Full version of global shortcuts in RetroArch, which is quite similar to other custom firmware using RetroArch as the main emulator:

Button combinationActionImportant?
SELECT + X or L3 + R3RetroArch quick menu access
SELECT + START (x2)Quit RetroArch menu
SELECT + APause. Quite necessary sometimes because Sleep function is bad on retro handhelds.
SELECT + BTake screenshot
SELECT + R1Save state
SELECT + L1Load state
SELECT + R2Fast forward. Super necessary on unskippable scenes.
SELECT + L2Rewind. Can cause trouble.
SELECT + UP/DOWNSelect save slot
L3 + R1/L1Adjust brightness (increase/decrease)
L2 + SELECT/STARTKill process of games, return to EmulationStation.
POWERSleep Mode

Remembering that RetroRun is a separate emulator from RetroArch, so there is no menu access or controller configuration for this emulator. As a result, you don’t get the convenience of save states and load states that you usually have with RetroArch. RetroRun only enables fast forward process that shares the same button combination as above.


AmberELEC uses EmulationStation as the user interface frontend, and this is the same as JELOS custom firmware.

  • Use D-Pad or analog sticks to switch between games. Press A to select the game you would like to play.
  • Press B to cancel.
  • Press X to open Game Options.
    • Game Medias: View game manual, fulscreen video or game achievements
    • Game: Save snapshots, open Netplay options or delete game
    • Collections: Add to Favorites or other custom collections
    • Options: Scrape or open Advanced Game Options
  • Press Y to filter games.
  • Press SELECT to quick access and view options.
    • Quick access: You can launch Screensaver, restart EmulationStation, restart system or shutdown
    • View options: You can filter games by text, choose games by first letter, select random game, sort game, etc… The section includes Advanced Game Options
  • Press START to access Main Menu.


By pressing START while in EmulationStation, you can quickly access the Main Menu. The first setting you want to know is the Scraper section, which automatically adds metadata, boxart and even video snapshots for your games. The feature requires stable connection to Internet, and the source websites aren’t down.

  • Scrape from: By default, the EmulationStation built-in Scraper will pull datas from either thegamesdb or screenscraper
  • Scrape ratings: Toggle on/off to show ratings for your games
  • Scrape now: Start the process
    • Filter: Various filters for choosing systems to scrape images
    • Systems: Manually choose the systems that you want to scrape images
    • User decides on conflicts: On by default

System Settings

By pressing START while in EmulationStation, you can quickly access the Main Menu. Then you can access System Settings.

  • System:
    • Information: To read general information about the system
    • Timezone: To set current timezone for the handheld
    • Show Clock in 12-hour format: Select between 12-hour and 24-hour formats
  • Hardware
    • Brightness: Adjust the handheld brightness, you can change with shortcuts in-game
    • Enable Overclock: Overclock the CPU for higher performance, at the cost of battery
  • Advanced
    • Developer: Quick shoutout for AmberELEC developers
    • Danger Zone!: Backup, restore from backup and factory reset

Games Settings

By pressing START while in EmulationStation, you can quickly access the Main Menu. Then you can access Game Settings.

  • Tools: Update Gamelist: Refresh the list of games, to show new games that you’ve just added
  • Default Global Settings: Change the global settings for every emulator, for example game aspect ratio, filtering…, which is similar to RetroArch settings
  • Settings: Open the Advanced Game Options, which is similar to RetroArch settings
  • System Settings
    • Retroachievements Settings: Configure settings for using Retroachievement – an online set of achievements for your retro games, which is similar to RetroArch settings
    • Netplay Settings: Enable Netplay, a local network for enabling multiplayer in retro games, which is similar to RetroArch settings
    • Missing BIOS: Scan for missing BIOS files, you still need to add manually later

Sound Settings

By pressing START while in EmulationStation, you can quickly access the Main Menu. Then you can access Sound Settings.

  • Frontend Music: Enable or disable background music in EmulationStation
  • Display Song Titles: Show the song names in EmulationStation
  • How many seconds for song titles: Display the music’s playtime
  • Play theme music: Choose the default background music from your themes
  • Lower Music when playing video: Reduce background music when playing video snapshots
  • Enable Navigation Sounds: Enable or disable custom navigation sound when hovering each game
  • Enable Video Audio: Enable or disable video snapshots’ audio

UI Settings

By pressing START while in EmulationStation, you can quickly access the Main Menu. Then you can access UI Settings. UI Settings consists of 3 parts:

  • Startup Settings
    • Start on System: Select which system is selected as default
    • Start on Gamelist: Start Game Collection when turning on
    • Systems displayed: To choose which systems to display or hide
  • Display Options
    • Transition Style: To select between fade-in transition effect, moving effect or change instantly effect when starting a game
    • Carousel Transitions: Show next/previous system in carousel
    • Game Launch Transition: Select between auto, slide, fade or instant
    • Show Clock: Display clock on EmulationStation
    • On-screen Help: Display helps for buttons’ actions in EmulationStation
    • Show Battery Status: Select display for showing battery icon
  • Gamelist Options
    • Show Favorites on top: Put games in Favorites to top of the list
    • Show hidden files: Show every hidden files by default, for example gamelist.xml
    • Show folder: Show folder hierarchy or only games
    • Show ‘..’ parent folders: When subfolders are shown, enabling this will show a .. entry to go back one folder, this entry can be hidden
    • Show Filenames in Lists: Show the filename instead of name. For example it showed Tales of Innocence (Japan).nds instead of Tales of Innocence

That’s it, if you have any other questions, please find it in my RG351 tutorial. Remember that AmberELEC custom firmware is also available for the Anbernic RG552.