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Setting up a Raspberry Pi

Setting up a Raspberry PI

You will need…

Item Price (approx)
Raspberry Pi £27
SD Card £10
Monitor £110
HDMI Cable £2
Powered USB Hub1 £20
Mouse £7
Keyboard £10
Ethernet Cable2 £2
Wifi Dongle3 £9
Total Price £197

Note that half of these things are not required if you are going to use your Raspberry Pi remotely.

You should already have…

  1. A (working, preferably windows) computer with an SD Card slot
  2. A router that has an (unlimited) connection to the internet4
  3. 3 Wall sockets

Useful Knowledge

Knowing the following things will prove very useful5:

  • General Linux architecture
  • Bash - Needed to get around and ‘do stuff’ – It is the language used in the Linux terminal.
  • Python - The recommended programming language for beginners.

Getting Started

Installing the operating system on the SD Card

  1. Turn on the working windows computer with an SD Card slot.
  2. Insert the SD Card into the SD Card Slot
  3. Download the Win32 Disk Imager from here:
  4. Go to
  5. Find and download the latest Raspbian Wheezy DistributionFor reference, here is it’s logo:
    Wheezy Logo
  6. Open the Win32 Disk Imager (you will need administrator rights).
  7. Select the Raspbian Wheezy Disk Image that you downloaded in step 4 in the ‘image file’ box (in the top left)
  8. Select the SD card’s Drive in the ‘Device’ box
  9. Double check you have the correct device selected by going to ‘Start -> Computer’
  10. Press ‘Write’ (bottom rightish)
  11. Wait ~5 minutes until it has finished (there is a progress bar displayed)
  12. Eject the SD Card from the computer

Starting the Raspberry Pi for the First Time

Plugging things in

Plug the following things into each other

  • The HDMI cable into the Rapberry Pi and the Monitor
  • The power supply for the monitor into the monitor and the second wall socket
  • The Powered USB Hub and the third wall socket
  • The Keyboard and the powered USB Hub
  • The Mouse and the powered USB Hub
  • SD Card and Raspberry Pi
  • The Wifi dongle and the powered USB Hub6
  • The Ethernet cable and the router / wall socket
  • The wall socket plug and the Raspberry Pi with the Micro USB to USB cable
  • The wall socket plug and the third wall socket – Remember that this must be done last, as the raspberry pi will start immediately after you do this!

Using the Raspberry Pi

Logging in

When your raspberry pi has started up, it will ask you for a username and password. THe default login details are as follows:

Username: pi
Password: raspberry


Now that you are logged in, you now have the full power of a Linux console at your fingertips!

There are a few things that you will want to do:

Configuring the Raspberry Pi with raspi-config

The raspi-config configuration utility comes with the Rasbian Wheezy Linux distribution. To Access it, type sudo raspi-config. The resulting menu can be navigated with the arrow keys and the enter key. The left and right arrow keys can be used to select the ‘buttons’ at the bottom. The following things should be done:

Expanding the File System

Expanding the file system allows the Raspberry Pi to use all of the space available on the SD Card. This is the first option on the list.

Changing the login password

This can also be done with raspi-configDo not change the username as some scripts you may download will require the username to be pi.

Enabling support for the camera

A camera can also be bought7 and used with the Raspberry Pi. Enabling the camera now is a good ides so you don’t forget later.

Note: The camera is extremely static sensitive! Remember to always use a grounded anti-static wristband when handling it.

Updating the Raspberry Pi

Updates are handled by 2 different command line utilities:

Updating packages

Linux works with packages. These are similar to programs. Everything is a package, including all the core Linux systems. The list of repositories of packages can be updated with the following command: sudo apt-get update

The repository index should always be updated each time before apt-get is used.

To update the packages currently installed, type this: sudo apt-get upgrade.

Updating the Raspberry Pi’s Firmware

The Raspberry Pi’s firmware can be updated by installing a neat little utility, called rpi-update. This is one of the very few programs that is not installed via apt-get. It requires git though, so we need to install that first. It can be installed by running the following commands:

sudo apt-get install git-core
sudo wget -O /usr/bin/rpi-update && sudo chmod +x /usr/bin/rpi-update

If you encounter problems, simply replace git-core with git.

Now the Raspberry Pi’s Firmware can be updated by running rpi-update.

Updating the raspberry pi should be done regularly.

Starting the GUI

The GUI can be started by typing the following: startx. Note that it is a bad idea to have the GUI start automatically (this can be done through raspi-config, but is not recommended.

  1. The Powered USB Hub Must be powered by an external socket as the Raspberry Pi can’t supply enough power for a keyboard an mouse (let alone wifi). 
  2. Only one of these is required. The wifi dongle can be used for wireless internet access, and the ethernet cable for a wired connection. An internet connection is strongly recommended to keep the Raspberry Pi up to date. 
  3. Only one of these is required. The wifi dongle can be used for wireless internet access, and the ethernet cable for a wired connection. An internet connection is strongly recommended to keep the Raspberry Pi up to date. 
  4. An unlimited connection to the internet is advised as a very large file will need to be downloaded. 
  5. Scratch can be used on the Raspberry Pi, but if that is all you are going to use it for, you are better off installing scratch on an existing computer and using that. 
  6. Once you have started the GUI, there is a link on the ‘desktop’ to a wireless configuration utility. This can be used to setup a wireless connection. 
  7. It costs about £25. 

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