Netboot with Raspberry Pi

Netboot Raspberry Pi

This project it to get Sega Naomi netboot working with a Rasbperry Pi in place of a PC or laptop.

Firstly take a look at my other article about how to get netboot working with the Sega Naomi arcade system using the NetDimm module.

Sega Naomi-NetBoot

The next step is to replace the Laptop or PC used to send the game image to the NetDimm, with something more discreet and smaller.

Netboot with Raspberry Pi

I originally found an article on Arcade Otaku showing how the Raspberry Pi could be used to load the games. After a bit more research I fount that an LCD screen could be used with another tool called PiForce Tools. the LCD and control board are useful to display the game title and allow for selection.
PiForce Tools

At the core is a Java implementation of the original Sega Transfer.exe, and is fully Linux compatible.

Hardware requirement

  • Raspberry Pi with Ethernet port (recommend first gen model B)
  • Raspberry Pi case (optional but recommended)
  • SD Card (recommend 8 or 16Gb class 10 card)
  • Adafruit LCD shield – LINK
  • Crossover RJ-45 cable
  • Micro USB cable
  • Jumper wires with female connector


The Adafruit LCD shield is very easy to assemble, and comes with everything you need.

When it’s assembled, install on the Raspberry Pi board.
I also modified a cheap white Pi case by cutting a large gap for the LCD screen to mount in to.

Finished PI and plate Finished PI and plate

To power the Raspberry Pi I needed to locate an accessible 5v line. I found this on the Naomi filter-board, on CN12. I made a custom Mini-USB cable to link to this power point.



You can setup PiForce Tools two ways.

Firstly you can setup a bootable OS on the raspberry Pi, configure the SD card partitions and network settings. Then set the python script to run on startup.

The other option is to download the pre-configured SD card image from the website, and just copy over your roms. I went for the full install and setup option as it gave me more control over the system and network settings.

All you need to do after this is move your game images (ROMS) to the FAT32 partition of the SD card. Sorry I cannot give any link to them.

In use

With the games in place on the SD card and all the correct network settings to talk to the NetDimm module, all you need to do is switch on and select the game title.

The buttons on the LCD plate allow you to cycle through the game titles. Pressing select starts the transfer process. Then just like transferring from the PC or Laptop, game data is sent to the NetDimm. Easy!

So that’s about it.

Thanks for reading. 8bitplus 2015.

17 Responses

  1. Goran Radojkovic says:

    My problem is that it doesnt shows me on the rasperry all games from the rom folder. All in the folder are bin files. I have naomi, atomiswave, triforce and chihiro roms. It doesnt show fzero for triforce system i think and maximum tune 1 and 2. why? I changed the names of the bin files to not be that long. Didnt help. I formated the sd care to ex fat. Didnt recognize. What can i do?

  2. Mark says:

    Is there anything special you have to do to the SD card that is specific to the Pi? I have 2 (purchased) Naomi-Pi loaders. One works perfectly. The other one also work perfectly but only with the same SD Card. I made a new card (copied the working one exactly) but it will not boot on the Pi. The working SD card, it will boot to the loading screen (on either Pi) and then it’s ready for game selection. But the copied card, it won’t boot (on either Pi). It just remains blank on the display. So it seems to be an issue with the SD card. So my question is – is there something that I need to do to get the copied SD to boot? Is there a hidden file?
    Thanks for any help!
    Lastly, is there a way for an automatic loading of the last game used? I own a real arcade with real Naomi games – and it would be helpful to have the last game loaded to automatically start or have that as a feature within the menu. My Wild Riders game cart died and I replaced the dead cart with a net boot setup. It’s just a pain to load the game every morning. Or if I get a new battery, would that retain the game in memory?

  3. Erik says:

    Hey, I followed this write-up and the GitHub for the premade images but I’m having some difficulties and thought I would reach out. I have the image burned and it’s loading fine but I can’t seem to get any games to show on the Pi. When I cycle through the menu, three options show, Favorites, Ping Dimm, and Shutdown. I’ve put a roms folder in the root of the SD card and in the piforcetools folder, still no go. I made sure the names matched the games list names and still nothing and this is where I’m currently stuck. Any suggestions?

    • 8bitplus says:

      Hi Erik. Sound like you’ve done everything right to me. If the folder path and the file names are correct, I cannot see why its not picking them up on boot. Check the “” for the file names. Lots of them use underscore in the file names and make sure the roms are unpacked and not zipped.

      • Erik says:

        I’ve matched the file in every configuration I could think of but still cannot get anything but Favorites, Ping Dimm, and Shutdown to show. I’ve attached a photo of the games path and the file. I’ve attempted to put the .bin files in the root of the roms folder, in their own folder with the game title as the name of the folder in both the SD root and piforce root, nothing has worked so far. Is there something I’m overlooking?

        • 8bitplus says:

          Seems to me like to problem is the program isn’t seeing the roms folder at all. Did you expand the partition and move as per the instructions? perhaps connecting a monitor and keyboard and check the file system. Is the FAT32 partition mounted and accessible? Send me an email is that’s easier than the comments

  4. Gnomx says:

    I must buy adafruit kit or can I use other LDC with buttons??

  5. Sergio Arcade says:

    Hi, for me it works perfect, thanks!
    But I have a doubt , how is the best way to turn off the raspberry and naomi motherboard?

    Best Regards

    • 8bitplus says:

      I just switch the power off. You can make changes to the raspberry pi to get a read only filesystem so powering off dosnt corrupt the ad card

  6. Vijit says:

    Hi. I want to buy the Rasspberry netboot kit with sd card 32g with all games and ready to use. How mush is it and with shipping to Thailand by EMS mail.
    Thank you

    • 8bitplus says:

      Sorry, but I do not stock them for sale. They are easy to make if you already have the NetDimm. The Raspberry Pi and screen are easy to find.

  7. vaughan says:

    what case did you use?
    the pictures are missing from the guide.

    thanks :).

  8. Pat says:

    Great guide but the link is wrong to the LCD kit.
    I bought 5x of those that you mentioned:

    Received them and realized its the wrong model, those are for the Arduinos.
    I needed these ones:

    Nice waste of money 🙁

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