The Aquaplus P/ECE was released in the early 2000s. Because of this, the included drivers no longer function on modern Windows. Fortunately, the P/ECE was released with extensive documentation, as well as source code for several of the included tools. Because of this, we are able to use the P/ECE both on modern Windows machines and even on operating systems the P/ECE was never intended to be used with.
Installing the Operating System
Out of the box, the P/ECE will require you to install the operating system. This will require a few things on your part:
This download will contain two DLL files. Put these files in your “C:/usr/PIECE/bin” directory.
This allows the existing P/ECE software to communicate with the P/ECE using the driver you installed previously.
You will need to copy these files over to the directory of any additional P/ECE software you may install, including games with P/ECE features like Odekake Multi and Utawarerumono.
After you’ve done this, you will have a working P/ECE environment that will allow you to transfer files to your P/ECE, update the firmware, develop your own games, grab screen captures, and so on.
Installing the Firmware
In your “C:/usr/PIECE/bin” directory, there will be a program named “winpku.exe.” Running this program will open the interface below.
If you’ve successfully installed the drivers and your P/ECE is connected to your PC, information about it will show up in the left-hand panel. You’ll note that my P/ECE is updated to BIOS version 1.20, a current BIOS. In the right hand panel, you will see information about the update you’re about to apply. By default, this will be the update in the “C:/usr/PIECE/update/” directory. If you installed all of the updates in the correct order, this should be listed as BIOS version 1.20. Press the button labeled “アップデート” to install. If you check the box below this, it will also reformat your P/ECE.
If you’ve done this correctly, you should see this screen on your P/ECE:
Congrats! Your P/ECE is now fully operational.
Transferring Files to the P/ECE
At this point, your P/ECE is fully functional, but the only applications on it are one to adjust the real-time clock and one to use the P/ECE as a USB gamepad. Update your system time if you’d like, then run “winisd.exe” from the same directory you ran “winpku.exe” before. You should see this screen:
The stuff on the right is primarily for developers, but the stuff on the left is what we want. There are two panes here. The one on the left is for files on the PC, and the one on the right is for files on the P/ECE. By default, they are as follows:
startup.pex – The included P/ECE menu. Others exist with additional functionality, but this is the default.
While this is replaceable, you will be stuck in a menu
date.pex – A utility for changing the system time. Feel free to delete this after you’ve done it once.
gamepad.pex – A utility for using the P/ECE as a usb gamepad. Feel free to delete this as well.
You’ll want to select a directory to store your P/ECE files in as well, as it will default to the “C:/usr/PIECE/bin” folder otherwise. You can do this using the box above the two file listing panes. Drop some P/ECE compatible files into that directory and you’re ready to transfer.
Transfer controls are below:
Transfer to P/ECE
Transfer from P/ECE
Restore last deleted file
When you transfer a file, the screen will briefly blank before popping back up with your transferred software listed in the menu.
Helpful Tips, Controls, etc.
Pressing Select + B in the menu will put the P/ECE into standby mode. Pressing Select + Start will bring the P/ECE back out of standby. Standby mode will be disabled while the P/ECE is connected to USB power.
Pressing Select + Start in software for a couple of seconds will quit back to startup.pex, or (in some cases) to the title screen.
Holding Start in the menu will take you to the settings. From here you can disable the battery display, change the volume and contrast, and so on.
Holding Select + Down while resetting the console will take you to a recovery mode. If your filesystem gets corrupted somehow, you can reinstall a fresh operating system from here. While in recovery mode, only basic functions like USB connections are available. You will need to reset the console again to return to normal operation.
Some P/ECE fans are still active on Twitter. They are very helpful!
Your P/ECE includes copies of the source code for almost every component of the operating system, including the bootloader, kernel, menu, and many of the games. If you get curious, poke around a bit.