Getting Started with Raspberry Pi

The official Raspberry Pi magazine just announced that over 12.5 million of the affordable little Linux boards have been sold since the original Pi was launched in 2012. As The MagPi points out, this puts the Raspberry Pi past Commodore 64 sales, according to some estimates. That would make the Pi the third best-selling “general purpose computer” ever, behind Apple Macintosh and Microsoft Windows PCs. As commenters have pointed out, this isn’t a precisely fair comparison, because there were other Commodore models than just the 64, but it’s still a nice milestone all the same. The Verge

The Raspberry Pi is a powerful credit-card sized single board computer that plugs into your TV and a keyboard. It is a capable little computer which can be used in electronics projects and for many applications, it also can be used on many of the things that your desktop PC does, like spreadsheets, word processing, browsing the internet, and playing games.

What is it used for

The main goal of the Raspberry Pi foundation was to promote the teaching of basic computer science in schools and in developing countries to provide a programming learning opportunity to everyone around the world. However today the Pi is used in many interesting projects made by makers and hackers. The following list represents the Raspberry Pi key applications in use today:

• Low cost PC/tablet/laptop • IoT applications • Media center • Robotics • Industrial/Home automation • Server/cloud server • Print server • Security monitoring • Web camera • Gaming • Wireless access point

• Environmental sensing/monitoring (e.g. weather station)

Raspberry Pi Models

Over the years several generations of Raspberry Pis have been released, starting from the first generation Raspberry Pi 1 Model B witch was released in February 2012 to the latest Raspberry Pi Zero W witch was launched As of 28 February 2017.

These are the models of the Raspberry Pi which are currently available: the Pi 3 Model B, the Pi 2 Model B, the Pi Zero, the Pi Zero W and the Pi 1 Model B+ and A+.

Let’s Get Started

In this tutorial you’ll learn how to install a Raspberry Pi operating system image on an SD card and setup your configurations. You will need another computer with an SD card reader to install the image. We’ll be using the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B with a built-in WiFi and BLE Bluetooth.

What will we need in this tutorial

For this tutorial we’ll need the following parts:

  • Raspberry Pi
  • Mouse
  • Keyboard
  • Monitor
  • Internet connection
  • USB WiFi Dongle/Ethernet cable (don’t need one for the RPi 3)

1. Download the OS image

We’ll start first by downloading the Raspbian image: the official Raspberry Pi Linux Debian based OS.
Go to the Raspbian download page and under RASPBIAN JESSIE WITH PIXEL click on DOWNLOAD ZIP.

2. Writing the image to the SD Card

Note that the minimum recommended card size is 8GB. For this step you’ll need an image writing tool and we’ll use Etcher.

Etcher is a graphical SD card writing tool that works on Mac OS, Linux and Windows, and is the easiest option for most users. Etcher also supports writing images directly from the zip file, without any unzipping required. To write your image with Etcher:

  • Download Etcher and install it.
  • Connect an SD card reader with the SD card inside.
  • Open Etcher and select from your hard drive the Raspberry Pi .img or .zip file you wish to write to the SD card.
  • Select the SD card you wish to write your image to.
  • Review your selections and click ‘Flash!’ to begin writing data to the SD card.

3. Booting Up

Once done plug your SD Card to your Pi, plug your mouse, keyboard and screen, finally plug the power adapter to the micro USB and you should see your Pi booting up.

The default login for Raspbian is username pi with the password raspberry. Note that you will not see any writing appear when you type the password. This is a security feature in Linux.
To connect to your network, on the top right of the screen go to the WiFi icon next to the Bluetooth one and connect to your network.

4. Configuring the Pi

This can be done using either two methodes:
I. Raspberry Pi Configuration
II. raspi-config
the first one is easier and quicker.

I. Raspberry Pi Configuration

Now that you’re presented with your desktop open the Menu –> Preferences –>Raspberry Pi Configuration

Once opened go to the interface tab and enable ssh and click OK. That’s it now ssh is enabled.

PS: The 2 screenshots bellow are from:

II. raspi-config

Now that you’re presented with your desktop, open the terminal and type sudo raspi-config The sudo is required because you will be changing files that you do not own as the pi user. You should see a blue screen with options in a grey box in the center, like so:

raspi-config is the Raspberry Pi configuration tool written and maintained by Alex Bradbury. It targets Raspbian. We’ll start by expanding the Pi’s file-system, this will ensure that all of the SD Card storage will be available the OS.
On the first option of the menu 1. Expand Filesystem hit enter and enter again to select Ok.
Now we’ll move to the second option in the menu 2. Change User Password. The default Raspberry password is “raspberry” and since this password is publicly known you have to change it to prevent anyone who tries to login your raspberry pi with the default credentials. Hit Enter, write your new password and confirm it.

Next go to 8. Advanced Options, select ssh and select yes to enable it. SSH allows you to remotely access the command line of the Raspberry Pi from another computer. SSH is disabled by default. When finished select Finish and select No to not reboot the pi because we need first to find the IP address of the pi so that we can connect to it later using ssh.
Go to the terminal and type ifconfig this command will show you your IP address alongside with other information

In this case mine is yours might differ keep that address in your head or save it somewhere because we’ll be using it next to connect to the pi via ssh.

5. Updating and Upgrading

To update software in Raspbian, you’ll need to use the apt tool in a terminal window. First, update your system’s package list by entering the following command:

sudo apt get update

Next, upgrade all your installed packages to their latest versions with the command:

sudo apt get upgrade

Doing this regularly will keep your installation up to date, in that it will be equivalent to the latest released image available from

6. Remote Access

Sometimes you need to access a Raspberry Pi without connecting it to a monitor, keyboard and mouse. Perhaps the Pi is embedded in something like a robot, or you may want to view some information from it from elsewhere. Maybe you simply don’t have a spare monitor.
Raspbian supports many remote access techniques and protocols but for the sake of this tutorial we’ll stick with ssh witch we enabled previously, sftp that will allow us to transfer files to and from the pi and vnc witch will give us a remote desktop on our PC.
PS: Soon there will be another detailed tutorial dedicated to the remote access.

SSH: (Secure Shell)

You can access the command line of a Raspberry Pi remotely from another computer or device on the same network using SSH.
The Raspberry Pi will act as a remote device: you can connect to it using a client on another machine. You only have access to the command line, not the full desktop environment. For a full remote desktop, you can use vnc.

Remember previously when we enabled ssh on the pi and found the pi’s IP address. Well now we’ll connect to the raspberry pi from our PC without the need for a screen, mouse or keyboard, just power up your pi and follow me. As mentioned above our PC is the client machine that will connect to the remote device, the raspberry pi in our case. To do that we need to install an SSH client program on our machine. The program we will be using is PuTTY. Download the program, install it and you should be presented with this interface

In the Host Name text field enter your raspberry pi IP address check that the port is set to 22 and the connection type is SSH and click open, that will open a new window asking for username, type pi and hit enter it’ll ask you for a password enter the password that you set earlier if you didn’t change your password then the default password is raspberry.

And that’s it your now connected to the raspberry pi through ssh and you can type any command that you would normally type in the raspberry terminal.

SFTP (SSH File Transfer Protocol)

The SSH File Transfer Protocol is a network protocol that provides file access, file transfer, and file management functionalities over SSH. By using SFTP you can easily change, browse and edit files on your Raspberry Pi. SFTP is easier to setup than FTP as Raspbian has SSH enabled by default.

Like SSH, with SFTP we need a client program to connect to the pi and for that we’ll use FileZilla a cross platform program. Download the latest FileZilla Client version for your operating system from Next launch FileZilla and go to File > Site manager.

Fill in the IP address, user name and password (the same you used with SSH) of your Raspberry Pi in the dialog and choose SFTP as the protocol.
Click Connect and you will see the home folder of the user.

VNC (Virtual Network Computing)

VNC is a graphical desktop sharing system that allows you to remotely control the desktop interface of one computer (running VNC Server) from another computer or mobile device (running VNC Viewer). VNC Viewer transmits the keyboard and either mouse or touch events to VNC Server, and receives updates to the screen in return. You will see the desktop of the Raspberry Pi inside a window on your computer or mobile device. You’ll be able to control it as though you were working on the Raspberry Pi itself.

You must enable VNC Server before you can use it: instructions for this are given below.

On your Raspberry Pi, run the following commands to make sure you have the latest version of VNC Connect:

sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install realvnc-vnc-server realvnc-vnc-viewer

You can enable VNC Server at the command line using raspi-config:

sudo raspi-config

Or if you are working from a screen you can enable VNC Server by doing the following: Navigate to Interfacing Options.

Scroll down and select VNC > Yes.

Now for the VNC client we need to install the VNC viewer program, download it from here and install it.

One thing to do before connecting to the remote desktop is to start the vnc server in the raspberry pi by typing in the Pi terminal:

vncserver :1

after that go to your vnc viewer and enter your Pi’s IP followed by “:1” which is the port number to connect through. ex. and That’s it.


The Raspberry Pi is all about experimenting and exploring and I encourage you to do that now that you’ve had an introduction. You’ll always find interesting content over at the home of the Raspberry Pi. You’ll find projects to work on, tips and tricks, help from other folks who are working on Raspberry Pi, lots of different resources. Above all, when you’re playing with the Raspberry Pi, keep a sense of adventure, don’t be afraid to make mistakes, don’t be afraid to occasionally blow up electronics parts, that’s all part of the fun and be sure to be careful.

If you have any question or problem with this tutorial please don’t hesitate to comment or email me at , I hope you enjoyed this Introduction as I enjoyed making it and Thanks for reading.



Originally published at on December 21, 2017.

Bayrem Gharssellaoui

Written by

From #Microcontrollers to #Cloud & #Mobile on a journey to discover the full-stack

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade