The Raspberry Pi is an SBC board whose success has opened up a new market. of similar plates. In fact, in our blog we did an article analysing many of them. The success has been such that new versions of this board have been launched, from the 1A and 1B to the 3B version, which is the most current at the moment, passing through intermediate models such as the 2B and the Zero. An industry has also flourished around the Pi to complement its functionalities, which we will talk about later and learn how to configure the Raspberry Pi.
This success is partly due to its low price.The computer is a great way to have a complete computer to experiment with, but it is not the only reason. There are other reasons too, such as its versatility for learning about computing or the interest it arouses in the world of DIY and developers. But now another great advantage has been added, and that is the IoT (Internet of Things) craze. With the advent of IPv6 there will be many more IP addresses for everything to be connected and this type of board, along with the Arduino, are very interesting for creating IoT projects.
The world of Pi
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In this section, which could well be the title of a film, we are going to talk a little bit about all of those elements that have been created around the Raspberry Pi board. The projects we are talking about range from a multitude of operating systems and software for them, to other hardware projects. In addition, the other big project, Arduino, has also reached out to create great projects in combination with the Raspberry Pi board.
In this blog we have also made a great compilation of the best operating systems for the Raspberry Pi. There are a multitude of Linux distributions available and more and more are being added to the long list. Some are generic and others are oriented to specific purposes, such as media centres, video games, etc... Because of its success, even Microsoft has been encouraged to think about the development of projects for the IoT and has provided its Windows 10 IoT Core for the Pi board.
In terms of gadgets and hardwareThere are SD cards with pre-installed NOOBs, power supplies, different cases, etc... You can also find these in our shop. And the HATs and boards we were talking about are electronic boards that can be connected to the Raspberry Pi thanks to its GPIO pins (see All about GPIOs) and extend its functionalities. Some of them are focused on connectivity, prototyping, motors and robotics, etc...
Therefore the possibilities are almost endless, the limit is your imagination... But you can find from projects to build your own video game console, audiobook player, security recording systems, cheap Media Centers, create your own cloud, bitcoin mining, home automation projects, servers, to simply use it as a small portable computer for general use. If you want, you can see many of these projects explained step by step in our blog from here.
Now that we have learned something about what the Raspberry Pi is and the possibilities it offers, we can start with the tutorial on the Raspberry Pi. step-by-step configuration to take our first steps. The material required is:
- Image of the chosen operating system. In our case we will use NOOBS, which is an image from which to test several of the officially supported ones in a simple way. You can download it from the official website or find uSD cards with NOOBS already installed.
- A computer running Mac OS X, Windows or GNU/Linux with which to download NOOBS and transfer it to the SD.
- Raspberry Pi boardYou can also find them in the shop together with kits so that you don't miss anything. Otherwise, you will have to get auxiliary items such as a suitable power supply with cable, an HDMI cable to connect it to a screen or TV, compatible microSD card (>4GB), etc...
- Other elements you will need are: microSD card (and adapter to insert it into your computer's card reader), monitor or TV with HDMI or RCA cable, USB keyboard and USB mouse to operate it. If you want more than the Raspbian OS included in the NOOBS Offline image, you must also have an Ethernet cable or a USB WiFi card to insert into your Raspi and have an Internet connection, so you can download more systems (only with versions prior to version 3, as it now has built-in wifi).
You should know that the NOOBS project is somewhat dynamic. You can find out a bit more about NOOBS in our special article. As you know it is an image that includes a simple graphical menu in which you can select the operating system to load among several of them and install it automatically, when you get tired, you can change it without deleting anything, using the same SD card.
But the project varies as we have said, if you have looked at the download website, you will see that there are two types of dischargeNOOBS offline integrates Raspbian OS already included and the rest of the systems (Raspbian OS, OSMC, OPENELEC, RISC OS...) are installed from the network; and NOOBS Lite is lighter since it doesn't include any system and you can download them from the network as you need them. This change in the new version of NOOBS has the advantage of not weighing so much and not wasting so much space on the SD card, but I particularly liked the older versions where all the systems were already included and you didn't have to download them one by one.
If you still have an image of Older NOOBSIf you've been following our blog, you'll know that since version 1.3.10v (currently 1.9.x) was released in September 2014, this new system has been integrated, which partly simplifies the process. If you have been following our blog, you will know that since version 1.3.10v (currently 1.9.x) was released in September 2014, this new system has been integrated, which partly simplifies the process, but on the other hand makes you depend on the network to install other operating systems (these also vary in the different versions).
Assembly and configuration
If you have acquired the complete kit or a case for the Raspberry Pi, the first thing to do is to insert the board into the case in the only position where it can be inserted, matching the openings for the ports properly and then tighten the 4 small screws that are attached. Now it is ready and protected to be handled in a better way.
Afterwards, you can start connecting all cablesThe Pi will be connected to a USB port, such as the USB keyboard and mouse which will be used to operate within the system, connect the HDMI to your screen or TV and the power supply, but do not connect it to the mains, as this will cause the Pi to turn on and we have not yet inserted the SD card with the operating system. Then this will be next.
Prepare the card with the operating system is simple. As I say, in our case it is NOOBS, but if you have chosen another system, the procedure is the same, replacing the NOOBS image with that of the other system, although some operating systems may differ slightly in the procedure:
The first thing is download our ZIP from the web, If you have purchased one of our SD cards with NOOBS pre-installed, you can skip these first steps and go straight to inserting the SD card into the Raspberry Pi to boot it:
- Once downloaded NOOBS I advise you to check the MD5 sum or SHA-1 hash with some application to determine that the downloaded image is not wrong. As you can see on the website, there are two types of download, direct or via BitTorrent. If you have chosen BitTorrent, it is not necessary to check the sum, as in the clients of this download protocol it is done automatically to check that the download has been correct.
- Unzip the NOOBS ZIP file you have downloaded. You will have to transfer the content to our previously prepared SD card as indicated below.
Prepare the SD from Windows
Once you have downloaded the NOOBS ZIP file from the official website, proceed as follows:
- Format the SD using the application SD Association's Formating Tool or directly with the Windows formatting options. To do this, go to Equipment (My Computer) with the SD card inserted in the slot of your PC and right-click on the drive corresponding to the card. Click on Format and leave the default values (it should be FAT as format), if you wish you can write a volume label name.
- Now the unzipped content of the ZIP you must copy and paste it or drag it into the SD. If you use compression/decompression software, you can choose the extract option when you open the ZIP file and select the SD as the destination directly.
- Once you have done this, you have NOOBS installed, you can now safely remove the SD card from the PC slot and insert it into the Raspberry Pi. If you have a Pi with a microSD slot, you must also remove the adapter.
Preparing the SD from Mac OS X
If your operating system is OS X, you can also opt for the SD Association's Formating Tool available for Mac, or do it from within the system:
- Insert the SD card into your Mac.
- To format the SDclick on Applications inside your Mac's hard drive and go to Utilities. We click on Disk utilities and the application is launched. Select the SD icon and click on Delete. If you want, you can give it a name. Choose the FAT format option from the drop-down menu. Format and finally click on Delete (which appears in the bottom right corner). Now confirm that you want to delete in the pop-up window.
- You wait for the process to complete and it's ready to go. unzip the ZIP content and save it in it. You can then remove the SD card and insert it into the Raspi, remember to remove the SD card adapter if your Pi has a microSD slot.
Preparing the SD from GNU/Linux
However, if you are a Linux user, you can do it by various methods and programs. One way is by using the command parted from the terminal, the other more graphical way is from the GParted program:
- Start GParted with our SD card inserted. Enter the password root it will ask of us.
- In the top left menu we choose the SD (in my case it is /dev/mmcblk0). Here you will see all the partitions of your system, choose well.
- Disassemble the SDYou can do this from the GParted menu by right-clicking on it and then right-clicking on the option Dismantle. Or you can use the traditional method from the terminal to unmount a device.
- Now in the main window we go to the partition or SD partitions that will appear and press Delete on it/s to delete them. If it is a new SD card, only one partition should appear.
- Now click on the unallocated space that has been generated and select New to create a new partition.
- In the pop-up window you select the FAT file system and leave the other options as default. You can type the name of Label if you wish.
- Finally we confirm by clicking on the green icon (tick) at the top. We will be warned that all data will be deleted, we accept and wait for it to complete.
- Now all you have to do is pass the content unzipped NOOBS ZIP file and save it on the SD. Remove the SD and insert it into the Raspberry Pi, previously removed from its adapter if the slot of your version of Pi is microSD.
First boot and operating system selection
Earlier I told you not to connect the power supply to the mains because it would start the Pi automatically (remember that the Pi has no ON/OFF switch), now is the time to do it because you have inserted the SD with NOOBS in its slot and the rest of the cables are connected. The LEDs will start flashing and you will see some colours on the screen first and the next thing will be the NOOBS main menu when we boot up our Raspberry Pi. The screen of the Recovery Tools will show you the operating systems available in the version of NOOBS you have downloaded. You can also select the language in the Language and switch to Spanish.
If for some reason this does not happenIf you have made a mistake or something has gone wrong in the previous steps, you may have made a mistake. The first thing you should do is to check the connections, especially the power and HDMI cable to see if they are correctly connected. If everything is OK and the Pi is working, you can check if NOOBS is not corrupted or has been correctly copied to the SD card. Another common mistake is to connect the Raspi to a TV and not change the TV input from the remote control, so the TV keeps showing the signal from the antenna and not from the HDMI.
To start using one of available operating systems (remember that in the new versions of NOOBS only Raspbian OS is available for offline use, the rest you must download to install them), select the one you want and press ENTER or on the button Install that appears. To change OS, just press the key Shift when booting the Raspi. By the way, as you can see, an icon appears to the right of each operating system entry in the NOOBS menu and you will see how the systems that are on the SD have an SD card symbol and the ones you have to install from the network have an Ethernet connection symbol.
Thanks to a partition management systemNOOBS is able to save users and settings so that you can switch back to the previous operating system and retrieve them without any problems. Now you can have fun with NOOBS.
Let's assume that you are going to use Raspbian OSone of the main and most recommended for generic use and it is also the only offline one that is integrated in NOOBS. When you start Raspbian for the first time, it is no longer necessary to log in as in the old versions and then enter the command startx to start the graphical system, now it does it automatically.
Once you have finished, if everything has gone well, you can now start using your miniPC and install the applications you need - enjoy!
You can leave a comment if you have any questions or suggestions... we will try to get back to you as soon as possible. I hope this simple tutorial has helped you to get started in this world.