So, let's go to the first technical article: How do I get a RaspberryPi up and running?!
Now some people will think that there are already about a million tutorials on this planet. Yes, that's true and probably the number is not even exaggerated. But what I find a pity with many tutorials is that almost every one assumes a certain background knowledge.
I try to write this (and the following) tutorial(s) in a way that even those who have just learned for the first time that there is such a thing as the internet will be able to successfully get a RaspberryPi(RasPi) up and running.
I know the following notes are always kind of annoying and seem unnecessary. Unfortunately, many people who knew "better" have lost eyes, fingers or other things due to carelessness or injured themselves. Data loss is almost negligible in comparison, but even these can be really annoying. Therefore, please take five minutes to read the safety instructions. Because even the coolest project is not worth injury or other trouble.
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What is the RaspberryPi and why do I need it?
The RaspberryPi is a small computer, about the size of a credit card, which has (almost) all the necessary components on one board.
To get it up and running, all you need is a memory card, a microUSB cable+power adapter (almost any cell phone charger+cable will do here), a screen and a keyboard. If you want to use it like a real computer, a mouse is also quite helpful.
However, if you want to use the RaspberryPi (and here we come to the "why do I need it?") to automate something, then you only need the keyboard, screen and mouse for setup. Once set up, the RaspberryPi can be set up and operated via the network.
The RaspberryPi is very universal due to its size, its price (about 40€), the many connections and the large community. I use it for various projects, which I will describe here. Therefore, this tutorial is often a prerequisite.
What can I do with it?
The following projects are only an excerpt:
- central for a home automation system
- Network Hard Drive/Backup Server
- Homemade router
This is a RaspberryPi 3:
In the foreground you can see the four USB 2.0 and the 100MBit/s network port.
The headphone, HDMI and microUSB ports can be seen on the left side.
On the right side there is a GPIO header which can be used to connect various sensors/actuators.
In order to use a RaspberryPi you have to buy it first. I recommend to buy the current version 3, because it has the best price/performance ratio and also a WLAN and Bluetooth interface integrated. This is not the case with the previous versions.
You will also need a power supply to power the RasPi and an SD card to store the operating system of the RasPi.
Below I have linked the relevant articles at Amazon.
In the following list you will find all the parts you need to implement this article.
Prepare operating system image and programs:
Load Raspian image:
To get the RasPi running, the first thing we need to do is install an operating system.
Similar to the computer you are reading these lines, the RasPi needs an operating system. Basically this is a (somewhat complicated) piece of software that controls the RasPi and provides you with an interface to control it.
There are different versions and types. However, the simplest is the "Raspian" recommended by the manufacturer. The manufacturer of the RasPi has tailored this operating system specifically to the RasPi and also makes it available for download free of charge.
That is, before we can install it, we must first copy it to our computer.
To do this, we go to the manufacturer's site: https://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/
And then in the section of "Raspbian Stretch with desktop" on "Download ZIP".
A download window will open. (If the download window looks different and you don't get any further, read the article on Downloads through. After that, downloads are certainly no longer a problem for you).
Now the Raspian image is copied to your computer.
This can take a while, depending on the size of the image (Raspian is constantly being developed and can therefore need more or less disk space later) and the speed of your internet connection. For me it takes about 30 minutes.
What you have just copied to your computer is an image of the complete Raspian operating system. The advantage of an image is that you can write it as it is completely on the SD card. This makes the installation process a bit easier.
Load Win32 Disk Imager:
To copy the image to the SD card later we need another tool: Namely the "Win32 Disk Imager". This is also available for free download at: https://sourceforge.net/projects/win32diskimager/files/Archive/
Now you see a list. There are different program versions listed. You need now the newest program version which contains the addition "binary". Currently this is the "Win32DiskImager-1.0.0-binary.zip". (It is possible that there will be new versions of this program soon. Then the 1.0.0 becomes a higher number (version number). Then always choose the program version with the highest version number and the addition "binary").
Load SD Formatter:
To prepare the SD card to which we will copy the image we need another program. Before we copy the image to the SD card, we have to format it. For this we download the program "SD Formatter" at https://www.sdcard.org/downloads/formatter_4/ down.
If you open the link, you will find the download link to the program a little further down (see photo).
Click there on "For Windows". On the next web page you have to accept the "Eula".
Prepare SD card:
Now that you have prepared all the necessary programs, it is time to prepare your SD card. It works for the RaspberryPi like the hard disk of your computer. The operating system is loaded from it and data can also be stored on it.
Take your SD card and insert it into the card reader of your computer. The SD card should be recognized.
Now install and open the previously downloaded program "SD Formatter". It should then start and look like this.
To format your SD card you have to select the appropriate drive letter of your SD card under "Select Card". If you are not sure which one it is, remove your SD card from the card reader again. Now click on Refresh and remember all available drive letters in the selection field. Now put your SD card back into the card reader and after clicking on "Refresh" again a new drive letter should be added. This will be the same as the drive letter of your SD card.
The rest of the settings should be exactly as shown in the picture.
Now click on "Format" at the bottom right.
Write image to SD card:
To write the downloaded Raspian image to the SD card we need the downloaded program "Win32DiskImager...".
To unpack it, right-click on the archive and select "Unpack to Win32DiskImager...".
The archive is then unpacked into a new folder. From this folder you can start the program by running the file "Win32DiskImager.exe".
To unpack the image you need WinRar.
The started program should now look like this.
In order to copy the image now, we have to set a few things.
Under "Disk" you have to set the drive letter of your SD card again. You should still know it from formatting the SD card.
Under "Image File" you have to select the previously downloaded and unzipped Raspian image file.
All other settings should look like in the screenshot of the program.
To start the writing process you have to click on "Write".
The writing process is now running, which you can see by the "growing" green loading bar.
The whole writing process takes 5-15 minutes. So enough time to get a new coffee, cookie or kids bar now. Most of the work is done up to here 🙂 .
After the writing process is finished, the confirmation "Writing was successful" should pop up.
You can confirm this with "OK" and then close the program.
Now it finally goes to the RaspberryPi.
Connect the RaspberryPi and put it into operation:
To get the RaspberryPi up and running after all the preparation we first have to connect it to keyboard, mouse, monitor and power supply and insert the SD card.
Insert SD card:
Put the RasPI in front of you and turn it onto its back. You can now see the silver SD card slot on the left side. Push the SD card into this slot until it only sticks out as shown in the picture below.
Connect mouse and keyboard:
Connect power supply or microUSB cable:
The microUSB cable serves as power supply for your RasPi. Almost every cell phone charging cable can be used for this purpose, since most cell phones have a microUSB port nowadays. But you should make sure that your power supply (the part that is plugged into the socket) has enough power. You can tell by the maximum current printed on it. Somewhere on the power supply you should find an indication of the current. This is indicated either with the unit "mA" or "A" and should be greater than or equal to 2000mA or 2A. More is not harmful at all. Less can lead to crashes, but that's not too bad at first. In the worst case your RasPi will not start correctly. Then you know that you need a stronger power supply.
Connect HDMI cable:
So that you can see for your first start also what the RasPi does you must connect me of course also to a screen. The RasPi has only one HDMI port. That means you also need a screen or TV with HDMI connection. But this is now quite widespread, so it should be no problem to find one.
Once you have set up the RasPi, you don't need to have it connected to a screen all the time.
First start of the RaspberryPi:
Your RasPi is now ready to start for the first time.
For this purpose, the RasPi does not have an "on" switch. As soon as the microUSB cable is plugged in, it starts. 🙂
So as soon as you turn on the screen and power the RasPi with a USB power supply it should start.
Now there are a few basic settings that should be made at the beginning.
How to do this, what set and why you should do it is in the article
RaspberryPI - The First Configuration explained.
Have fun with the project
I hope everything worked as described for you. If not or you have questions or suggestions please let me know in the comments. I will then add this to the article if necessary.
Ideas for new projects are always welcome. 🙂
PS Many of these projects - especially the hardware projects - cost a lot of time and money. Of course I do this because I enjoy it, but if you think it's cool that I share the information with you, I would be happy about a small donation to the coffee fund. 🙂