Author - Web Developer - Educator
Found 1 result for tag "blinking"
RSS Feed

Raspberry Pi: The (Unofficial) Missing Startup Guide

Raspberry Pi Logo If you just ordered a Raspberry Pi (like me) and unboxed it only to find a circuit board and no instructions, let me outline a few things for you and make it simple to go from "box" to "running" with little to no hassle:

(also because the "Quick Start" guide was a little more confusing than expected - based on the directions, I thought it required a Windows-based computer to set up a Linux circuit board. I'm glad I was wrong, but it took me a while to find it out)

Step 1: Gathering the Necessary Parts/Cords


Here is a list of items that you will need to set up your Raspberry Pi:

  1. Micro-B USB Power Cord (with at least a 700 mA / 5V output - most cell phone chargers will work)
  2. A USB Powered Keyboard (hopefully with an input power of ~100mA)
  3. An HDMI cable (for HDMI TV's or Monitors) OR an double male RCA-RCA cable (for CRT TV's - if you have a double yellow male Video-Video cable, that will work too, as you will only need the yellow video jack). Don't expect to get a VGA connection out of this, because HDMI-VGA connectors are super expensive
  4. A Network cable (recommended)
  5. A dedicated blank (or can be blanked) 4GB+ SD Card (or Micro SD card with a full SD Reader - that's what mine is)

The SD card is here because that is the "hard drive" of the Raspberry Pi. Which means that the Pi does not come with it's own pre-installed OS, as I found out the hard way.

Alright, all of the parts have been gathered.


Step 2: Get the OS


Next, you'll need a functioning computer with internet, and go to raspberrypi.org/downloads to get an operating system.

Note Note: When I saw "For your free download go to raspberrypi.org/downloads " on the box, I thought it was for some free open source items - they didn't say "Go here for your Operating System"

At the time of this writing, the latest version of the common Raspberry Pi OS is a Debian-based distro called Raspbian (specifically, "2013-02-09-wheezy-raspbian").

Download the ZIP or Torrent of the OS to your hard drive (about 1.8GB in size) and unzip if you downloaded the ZIP.

Now, you will have to process the IMG to the SD card using a specific program.

Linux/Mac: you can use dd from a terminal
Windows: Follow the instructions on raspberrypi.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/quick-start-guide-v1.1.pdf to use Win32DiskImager

I'll be discussing Linux instructions from here.

Linux


Put the SD card into your machine (or into the USB Dongle if you don't have a card reader). Once your machine recognizes the card, find the specific location of where the card is located in the mounted file system (Debian: Go to "Applications" > "System Tools" > "Disk Utility").

Once you find the location, format the card (if you haven't done so already) so it is blank (I recommend formatting using a FAT system). Now, unmount the card, but don't pull it out of the machine.

You will need to perform the following command to get the Pi to properly read the card:
 
sudo dd bs=1M if=[location of your img file].img of=/dev/[card location]
 

Example:
 
sudo dd bs=1M if=2013-02-09-wheezy.raspbian.img of=/dev/sdf
 

NoteNote: You will want to write to the whole card, not just a partition. Double check to see if there are any numbers after your mount location. If there are, you may be writing to a partition and not directly to the card

That process will take a couple of minutes. Once it is done, confirm that it transferred the full amount to the card (1.8GB). If it did not, repeat this process from the "Format" step.

Note Note: This took me about 12 tries before the card was properly written to for the Pi to read it

Once it is properly written to, you can just remove the card, but I recommend "Powering down the device" first.

Step 3: Starting up the Pi


Hopefully, everything up to this point has been successful. If so, please proceed.

  1. Assuming you haven't already, open the Raspberry Pi from the box. I have a Model B
  2. Put the SD card into the slot below
  3. Plug in the Network cord, USB Keyboard, and HDMI/RCA cable into their respective slots (also, make sure that your TV/Monitor is on the right Input setting to receive signal)
  4. Plug in the Micro B cord into the small port opposite the Network port for power

Success! You should now see a Red LED (PWR [Power]) in the corner light up. If it did, you have power!

You should also see a Green LED (ACT [Activity]) start to flash. If it is, your Pi is reading the SD card. If it is not, your SD card may have not been written to correctly (as in my case). If it's blinking, please refer to elinux.org/R-Pi_Troubleshooting for Troubleshooting tips.

Note Note: For the longest time, I could not figure out why the Red LED would come on, but I wouldn't get any display or additional LED's. From some of the forums I was on, they called for pulling out a multimeter and testing the power flow between points. I was expecting this to be an "easy DIY project", not "easy, but you need some electrical engineering experience before you can boot up" kind of deal. Luckily, my problem was the SD card, which I was able to finally rectify.

If your Network cord is plugged in, you should also see 2-3 additional lights: FDX (green [File Data Transfer]), LNK (green [Link Connectivity]), and 100 (100Mbps, orange if 100, nothing if just 10).

Step 4: Setting up


Alright! Hopefully everything went well and your Pi is powered up, fully connected, and reading the SD card properly.

I recommend to at least do the following, just so your Pi has a standard basis for operations, unless you have other plans for it.

  1. On your screen, you should see the Startup logo and sequences (unless you are reading this slower than it took to start up). Regardless, you should see a large blue box with options
  2. Select the 2nd choice: expand_rootfs. This will expand the root file system to the SD card for usability and storage
  3. Set your Locale (if necessary)
  4. Set your Timezone
  5. Turn on SSH
  6. Hit "Finish" and confirm a reboot

Default Login: pi
Default PW: raspberry - I recommend changing this to something you will remember

Last Note


I would highly recommend running "sudo apt-get update; sudo apt-get upgrade" before too long, just to make sure you have the latest system updates.

That's it! Your Raspberry Pi should be fully configured as a base to do whatever you want it to do. Go explore the options!

What can I do now?


There are a gazillion+ things that you can do with a Raspberry Pi. My first project was to create a webcam-based monitoring system from the instructions I received from pingbin.com/2012/12/raspberry-pi-web-cam-server-motion/ (including making it Wifi).

You can make a:
  • personal music server
  • small desktop environment (try startx after you reboot)
  • small network file storage system
  • media center (see openelec.tv)
  • small web server
  • sensor for recording temperature, light, wind, speed, etc
  • lightweight search engine
  • multi-core cluster processor
  • ...and more! Go google something

Enjoy!

PS: This site/guide/reference point does not in anyway endorse Raspberry Pi or the manufacturer. This guide was written as a hope to help others get started without the hassle of spending half a day to figure it out, or (if like me) have little experience tinkering with projects like this.


Tags:#raspberrypi #startup #guide #power #led #blinking #help