Using old Raspberry Pi A (2011)

Hi folks, sorry if this has been asked before…
I have been enjoying experimenting with arcade using the miowbit so far but have a few old Raspberry Pis (model A) from 2011 and I wanted to know if anyone has been able to get the old model A working with arcade for cardboard.

So far I have uploaded the arcade cardboard firmware and plugged into a monitor with hdmi. I’m getting the configuration program and can see that the pins are accessible for wiring buttons/joystick

I’m guessing the big hurdle is being able to upload games from a pc onto the pi as the usb has to act as a device rather than a hub? If this is not possible, can I just put the game files directly onto the sd card and restart the pi?

Many thanks

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@mmoskal what’s the magic flag to produce the .elf file directly?

You can go to and compile some games. When you hit download you should get a file ending in .elf. Put it in prj folder on the SD card. Feel free to rename them, but keep the .elf extension.

Good luck!


Maybe we should also support and document how to use those older RPIs. I’ve got a bunch of them lying around.

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@thebodger did you have to change anything in the image to make it boot? did the trick with rawELF work for you?

Thank you for your help.
I havent yet uploaded it to the pi - I’ve been really busy this week but I did test the old pi A with the standard pi arcade os and reconfigured the smaller number of pins. The preloaded elf files work fine. I’ll try soon and let you know.

Just an update.
I am now using an old Rpi A (2011) and it works well. I’m using it in school with an arcade machine setup for class lessons on Microsoft Arcade. The great advantage, as well as being able to use the older hardware, which frankly most people have sat in a cupboard gathering dust, is that you can easily put the ELF files in the games directory and players can choose which games to play from all the students games in the menu rather than having to upload each game separately when you want to play them. The only limitation is that you can only use 2 player controls (not 4) due to the smaller number of pins.