Anbernic RG353 Series Setup Guide (RG353V, RG353M, RG353P, RG353VS, RG353PS)

Buy the Anbernic RG353PS here:

Recommended Accessories

Initial Setup Guide

We’re going to be installing ArkOS in this guide, which is a custom firmware available for the Anbernic RG353 Series. I personally think ArkOS is a much better operating system to run than stock and has great community support. It’s the best available operating system we have for them. 

As always, before we start, you need to have a branded, quality SD card and reader. Do not use the stock SD card that comes with the device, throw it out. This also includes the ROM SD card – if you’re here before buying the device, do not buy the ROM SD card, and if you’re here after, throw it out. Besides the fact that these SD cards are unbranded and low quality, meaning prone to failure and issues. The ROMS are low quality and have a ton of issues as well. A big one being the lack of ability to save progress, which really angers Pokemon fans – do a search on Reddit for Pokemon saves if you don’t believe me. I’ll be showing you how to find ROMs as well, as subtly as I can. For a quality SD card and reader, it depends on if you want to do a one SD card setup or two. If you just want one SD card, the Samsung Evo 128GB is the best option, or if you’re doing a two card setup, that same card for ROMs and a 64GB SanDisk is a great combination. One or two SD cards is personal preference – if you’re price conscious, just stick with the one.

Now, the last thing you need is your ROM and BIOS library. If you just want a big list of games and then you can curate them yourself if you’d like, you can download a ROM pack called the Tiny Best Set. I can’t provide the link to this set, but I do show it in the video above as well as in this starter guide video. This set comes with a big curated list of ROMs and BIOS files. To make things easy, with a 128GB card, you want to download the filenames: + We can get the artwork through scraping in ArkOS itself, so don’t worry too much about that. You can extract all those zips to the same place, and you should have a few folders with BIOS, and a bunch of ROM folders. If you want more platforms that aren’t available in this package, it’ll be on you to source them yourself through Google, Reddit or other means.


Okay, so you have your SD card, SD card reader and your ROMS and BIOS files ready to go. Let’s move on.

As far as software goes, the two things we need are Rufus and 7-Zip. Head to the website, and download the portable Rufus tool. This is going to help us format our SD card as FAT32 – especially if your card is above 32GB, but just use Rufus to avoid issues. Head to the 7-Zip website, and download the exe that matches your Windows version, so likely the 64-bit

Let’s also head to the ArkOS wiki, and we’re going to grab the RG353M image if you have the RG353M, RG353P or RG353PS, otherwise grab the RG353V or RG353VS image if you have either of those devices. Download it from the GDrive or Mega link. After you’ve downloaded it, use 7-Zip to extract the zip. 

Formatting the SD card

Connect your SD card to the PC using the SD card reader. Now let’s format the operating system card as FAT32 – that’s the 64GB card for two card people. Or if you’re doing the one card method, your single SD card.

Open up Rufus, and make sure the device listed is the SD card that you connected – should match the drive size. On the right, click select, and navigate to the folder you extracted from the ArkOS zip and select the image file. Leave everything else as default and click start. Make sure you’re selecting the image file you extracted, a lot of people make the mistake of trying to flash the downloaded file before extracting.

From here on out, after the image is put on the SD card, you may get pop ups in Windows that say the card is not formatted, or errors with partitions, or anything else. Ignore all of that, if you format the card after all of this, you need to redo everything all over again. It’s just Windows not knowing how to handle a FAT32 card. 

Once Rufus is done, you can safely eject the card using the taskbar and then you want to put it into the slot labelled TF1 in your device while it’s powered off. Then, power on the device. It’s going to reboot twice, don’t touch anything and just let it do its thing.

When you see the EmulationStation menu, that’s when you know you’re good and ready.

Now we need to get our ROMS and BIOS files on here. Turn off the device by pushing Start, then scroll to Quit. This next step depends on if you’re doing the one card method or two card method. One card method can skip this next part and jump to the Both Methods section, as I’m going to show how to get a second card working. 

Two Card Method Only

Connect your second SD card to your PC using the SD card reader. Open up Rufus, and make sure the device listed is the SD card that you connected – should match the drive size. Now under boot selection, change it to Non bootable. Change the label to whatever you want, I leave mine as the drive size, so 128GB. Then checking near the bottom, make sure file system is FAT32 or Large FAT32. Click Start – you might get warnings about partitions, data etc., just go ahead and yes to all of them to get started.

Should be quick and it’ll format your second SD card as FAT32. When it’s done, safely eject it and insert that card into slot TF2 with the device powered off. Turn the device on, and when you get to the menu, head to the Options tab, then Advanced, then click SWITCH TO SD2 FOR ROMS. When that’s done, we’re all set and the folder structures have been setup for the second SD card. Turn off the device.

Both Methods

Okay, for single and dual card users, connect your SD card back to the PC. The second SD card for ROMS if you’re doing the two card method – so the 128GB or bigger one. You should see an EASYROMS partition in File Explorer, head into that, if you’re doing the single card method. Otherwise, you’ll just see ROM folders if this is your second SD card labelled to whatever you set in Rufus before. If you don’t, open up Windows Disk Management and assign that partition a letter.

It should be pretty self explanatory at this part, but these are all the platform folders where you can put your ROMS in, as well as a BIOS folder. What you want to do now is grab your ROMS and BIOS files from the Tiny Best Set collection we grabbed earlier, and put them in the right folder. The folder names likely don’t match for a lot of them, so you’ll have to just copy the ROM files inside the Tiny Best Set folders to the right location on the EASYROMS partition. If you get stuck and you’re not sure what platform is what, check the ArkOS wiki’s emulator page and it’ll show you, as well as the right file types and BIOS needed for each platform. 

Once you’ve moved all that over, safely eject and put your card back in the powered off device. For dual card users, you will always need the operating system card to be in slot TF1 to boot properly, and your slot two is your games card.

Turn on the device, and you should see all your games setup and ready to go. 

Box Art

Let’s get some artwork on here though. Turn on your WiFi in the Options, Advanced section. It’ll send you back, then come back to the same spot and choose Wifi. Once you’re done setting up your Wifi, back out to the main EmulationStation menu where all the systems are and push Start. Head down to Scraper. At this point, you’ll want to setup an account at Screenscraper’s website, and then come back here and enter those details in. The other options are personal preference, I don’t want or need ratings or videos, so I’ll turn that off. If you want actual box art, choose box 2d for image source. When you’re ready, click Scrape Now and you can customize which systems you want to scrape, or just do the whole thing. I’m going to do the whole thing, so just click start when you’re ready. 

Retro Achievements

Another thing to show, and that’s enabling Retro Achievements. For those unfamiliar, you can get achievements in retro games, which is awesome, so we want that feature. If you don’t have an account already, head to the RetroAchievements website and make one as we’ll need your username and password. On the device, go to Retroarch from the main menu, and you’ll see two RetroArch instances. We’ll have to login on both, steps are the same. Open one then head to Settings, Achievements, Enable Achievements and then enter your username and password in each field. Disable hardcore mode if it’s enabled. After that, back out to the main RetroArch menu and go into Configuration, then Save Configuration. Then quit RetroArch. Repeat these steps again for Retroarch32.


Speaking of RetroArch, there’s a few settings that aren’t on that should be in my mind. First, fast forward isn’t mapped for some reason, so let’s head to Settings, Input, Hotkeys, and let’s select Fast Forward Toggle and make it R2. Let’s also set show FPS to Y. This makes it so we push SELECT + these Hotkeys to turn these functions on, since SELECT is our hotkey button. Back out one menu, and let’s turn off Confirm Quit, so you don’t have to do Start+Select twice to exit a game. Now let’s back out again and jump into Saving. Right now, ArkOs is not auto saving state on exit, so if you want that, Enable Auto Save State. In the same way, when you load a game, it’s not loading the save state automatically, so enable if you want that. I want both. Back out twice to get back to the main RetroArch menu, and then Configuration, Save Current Configuration. Quit RetroArch and now repeat all these same steps for the other RetroArch version.


If you want to change your theme, from the main menu in ArkOs, press Start, then UI Settings and you’ll see a few themes here. If you want to add more, head to the Arkos Wiki and you’ll see instructions on how to do so. 


Check out my guide here:

Remote Services

If you want to load your games remotely, head to Options and Enable Remote Services. Then in any local network web browser, type that IP address in. Default username and password is lowercase ark for both. Now you’re able to upload, download, remove and do whatever you want to the files on the ROM SD card. Super useful for just adding games remotely to your device. 

Updating ArkOS

And lastly, how do you update ArkOS? It’s very easy. You go to Options and then scroll down to Update. Click it and it’ll give you a warning about not stopping the script, click Okay and then you have to write OK. Then set it down and let it update. 

Now just jump into some games and have fun. For normal usage, that’s all you need to do and that was the main point of the guide. Get you up and running and now the world is your oyster.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Select the fields to be shown. Others will be hidden. Drag and drop to rearrange the order.
  • Image
  • Price
  • Content
  • Additional information
Click outside to hide the comparison bar