I downloaded the latest version of RetroPie (v4.3) to a formatted SanDisk 16GB SD card. When I try to boot RetroPie on a brand new Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+, it gets stuck on a rainbow screen.

I've tried adding boot_delay=1 to the config.txt but nothing seems to work. My brother's Pi3 seems to be booting fine with the same SD card and the power works great too.

Why does RetroPie fail to boot on my Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+?


3 Answers 3


You need to use the new 'RetroPie 4.3.15 Stretch image'. This includes changes required for the Pi3B+ otherwise you will see issues that look like lack of power.


  • +1! "otherwise you will see issues that look like lack of power." There is some serious wisdom in that quote. I've spent ~3 hours over 2 days swapping (old) SD cards from my other Pis, swapping out power supplies, measuring output power, etc. Only after trying out a freshly downloaded Raspbian image, did I figure out that my existing images were just too "old" for my new 3B+. I shoulda checked here first!
    – D. Woods
    Commented Aug 23, 2018 at 1:10

If you have a Raspberry Pi Model B+, you must use RetroPie v4.4 or newer.

RetroPie 4.4 is out, bringing with it Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ support via our new Raspbian Stretch based images. Raspbian Jessie is no longer receiving firmware and kernel updates, so the move to the new version was required.

For RPI users it is recommended to start from a fresh image with this update. It is possible to upgrade the system from Jessie to Stretch but there have been reports of issues by some people when doing so.

RetroPie 4.4 is released - 14th April 2018

Old Answer

RetroPie v4.3 has a known compatibility issue with the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+.

The bootloader included with Raspbian Jessie (v8) doesn't support the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+. As a result, RetroPie v4.3 fails to boot on a Pi 3 B+ with a rainbow screen and a low-power symbol. RetroPie's developers are currently testing an update to support Raspberry Stretch (v9).

Until RetroPie v4.4 is released, Pi 3 B+ owners have two options.

Method 1 - Install a RetroPie 'Stretch' beta image

Follow the standard install process for RetroPie, only using the latest beta.

  • Download the newest beta image for RetroPie 4.3.x (Stretch).
  • Format your SD card
  • Write the .img.gz file to your SD card.
  • Insert the SD card into your Raspberry Pi and turn on the power.

Method 2 - Manually install RetroPie over Raspbian Stretch

You can find the full manual install guide on GitHub, but to summarize:

  • Make a clean install of Raspbian with the NOOBS installer.
  • Update existing APT packages.

    sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade
  • Verify that locale settings have all been set. (Usually to en_US.UTF_8)

  • Install required packages for RetroPie's setup script

    sudo apt-get install git lsb-release
  • Download and execute the latest RetroPie setup script

    git clone --depth=1 https://github.com/RetroPie/RetroPie-Setup.git
    cd RetroPie-Setup
    chmod +x retropie_setup.sh
    sudo ./retropie_setup.sh
  • On the setup menu, select Basic Install

You should now be able to launch RetroPie from the terminal by typing emulationstation.

If you want to boot directly to RetroPie on startup, re-open the setup script and select:

Configuration / tools -> Autostart -> Start Emulation Station at boot

The new Pi3 B+ is less forgiving when it comes to power supplies. Try a different power supply, preferably one rated at 2.5A or more.

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