Raspberry Pi – Starters Guide


So you have heard about this new tiny computer that is cheap to help youngsters get into programming.
This is my starters guide on how to get started with one.

First you need to get your hands on the Pi.
When I tried to get one I had a 2 month wait though this will get better over time as the demand decreases.

Register you interest at:
http://downloads.element14.com/raspberryPi1.html?isRedirect=true&ICID=raspberrypigroup_Europe

I had a wait until I could then purchase my Pi.
So you wait for an email that they will send you asking which version of the Pi you would like to purchase.
I purchased Model B which is a touch more expensive at £29.46 (after TAX).

Next you will need the additional parts to use it.
See for all parts required:
http://uk.farnell.com/raspberry-pi-accessories

This is what I purchased from Amazon to keep the costs down:
£8.39 – SanDisk 16Gb SDHC SecureDigital High Capacity Card
£2.78 – Sony Ericsson EP-800 3 Pin Mains Charger & EC-700
£4.99 – 3M HDMI Male to SVGA VGA M Converter A/V Cable Lead (be careful with this as you need to ensure that you can convert the Digital signal to analog)

I already have a moniter and keyboard at home though you can pick one of these up easily online also.

So my total cost to get started with the Pi is: £45.62 (not a bad price for a computer)

About 2 weeks before you receive your Pi you’ll receive and email stating when it is to be delivered and a link to the download centre for you get started.
www.element14.com/community/groups/raspberry-pi

So now you can download an OS to install on your SD card.
I decided to download Debian for ARM as this is the one they recommend then install on the SD card with Win32DiskImager.
Username: pi
Password: raspberry

Worth looking over this blog post about your partition on the SD card as I ran into this issue.
http://blogs.arcsoftwareconsultancy.com/pi/2012/02/23/how-to-make-a-bootable-sd-card-for-the-raspberry-pi-using-windows/

If you need to extend the size of the SD card (due to it only providing a small amount on the partition) you can run sudo raspi-config
and then using expand_rootfs to expand the disk

Once you Pi arrives you connect up all the parts (SD card, network cable, mouse and keyboard, HDMI to monitor and finally the power supply).

I ran into an issue that there was no output to my screen once it booted, so after checking the SD card image I tried to SSH into the Pi through the internet router which worked.
So I will be sending it back for it to be replaced if the HDMI cable works elsewhere.

The first thing I do with all new OS installs is to update, so type in the following commands to complete that process:
(You are likely to not be logged in as route so I start all comands with sudo)

sudo aptitude update
sudo aptitude dist-upgrade
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

And that is now the OS updated to the latest stable version and a fully working Linux machine.

Also worth noting that you type in the following to shutdown the Pi so you don’t ruin your version of the OS.

There have been cases of people having to reinstall the OS onto the Pi when just pulling the power cable out.

Restart:

sudo shutdown -r now

Shutdown:

sudo shutdown -h now

My next posts will be using the Pi for some neat hack ideas I have… so keep an eye on this blog.

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