A Quick Start Guide to Raspberry PI ⚡️

I am super excited when I finally got my Raspberry Pi 3 Model B!

Figure 1. The RaspberryPi 3 Model B starter kit

In fact the day turned out to be very productive as I ticked off a lot more tasks than I ever did (clearly I’m so excited to go home). Only to find out that my old square Phillips monitor only supports VGA input. So I have to hold on to the itch of setting-up this bigger than it’s size computing device until I get an HDMI-to-VGA converter the next day.

Get Ready

Someone has to start somewhere. And if you are here for a quick start guide (so as the title, duh), well this offer a more descriptive variation of that sort. So to begin, you need to prepare the following:

  1. MicroSD Card — the official website recommends a piece with a minimum 8GB capacity. Luckily the package provides with a class 10 variant suitable for fast write speed (guaranteed minimum write speed of 10MB/s or higher). Flash this MicroSD with NOOBS (New Out of Box Software). NOOBS setup instruction here.
  2. Keyboard and mouse — these devices will be connected through USB. In my case I have my Bluetooth wireless mouse lying around so in case you are wondering, it works! Raspberry Pi 3 is Bluetooth 4.1 enabled.
  3. Monitor/TV — be sure it supports HDMI input or provide a converter.
  4. Power supply — my package comes with Pro-Elec 5.1V/2.5A Micro USB Switching AC power supply specially designed for sensitive portable 5V devices. You may use other power supply as long as it complies to the safety guide,
This product shall only be connected to an external power supply rated at 5V dc, and a minimum current of 2Amp.

You don’t want to risk and break both your Pi and your heart. :(

5. Raspberry Pi — this guide will focus on Pi 3 Model B. There might be slight differences but you can always refer to the official website.

6. Connectivity (Optional) — the Pi can be connected through an ethernet cable or via Wi-Fi (802.11.b/g/n Wireless LAN). The connection is necessary for updates.

When you have everything ready in place, start plugging-them to the Pi “in order”. Although the peripherals can be interchanged, just plug-in the power supply last.

Gallery 1. Setting up the Pi 3

Boot up NOOBS

Gallery 2. Setting up NOOB

Now you will see at your monitor that the Pi is booting up. On the setup screen select “Raspbian [RECOMMENDED]”. A mark [x] indicates that you have selected. Now click “Install (i)”.

Take note that the required disk space for the installation is ~3.6 GB. If you want larger available space to allocate for your apps consider using a MicroSD card with larger capacity according to your preference. This is not required.

The installation will take time. Remember that Pi runs the installation process on a MicroSD with fairly limited write speed than your desktop PC. While waiting you can read a book, enjoy coffee or tea or milk, visit xkcd. In my case, the installation took 33 minutes. (I took the time drafting this article and taking pictures of the more photogenic starter kit.)

After the installation process, the computer will restart and boot in text-mode. This is normal. So don’t worry. Let it finish and you will see the Pi in GUI mode. The distribution uses LXDE, a lean desktop environment for resource-constrained computers. The panels, menu, theme and settings are just right for both beginners and experienced Linux users so everyone can quickly familiarize with the interface. You can customize it’s appearance via “Appearance Settings”.

Few “Things to do after setup”

Test other peripherals available.

I wanted to test the headphone jack so I connected a speaker and played “I Won’t Dance by Fred Astaire” on YouTube. The problem is there is no sound. So I searched the documentation and found Audio Configuration. The documentation states two ways of configuring audio: command line and raspi-config. I tried the command line way first.

I intended to play it in auxiliary mode and not via HDMI since my monitor doesn’t support that and run a command:

amixer cset numid=3 1

The last digit switches with the following config: 0 is automatic, 1 is analogue and 2 is HDMI. Choose a digit that corresponds to your audio output of choice.

After running the command, I can finally hear Fred sing! 🎼

If you still can’t hear any sound, you may choose to set by raspi-config. Although rare, you might resort to manually edit config.txt. All instructions are on the documentation.

Stay up-to-date

Installing the newest versions of all currently installed packages on the system and intelligently resolving dependencies is as easy as two commands.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

Go!

Wow. You actually made it to this part of the article! Good job! (And thank you! This is actually my first article.)

My plan is to create a home media file server, simple surveillance camera, some robotics and a bitcoin rig. I’ll post every progress I make and see where this goes.

Where to go from here? I myself is young to this vast land and keeps on exploring. The community for Raspberry Pi is growing. To stay updated with the latest news and happenings visit MagPi Magazine: The official Raspberry Pi magazine. (No I’m not affiliated. Apparently, I’m more of a reader than a writer.) Watch YouTube channels. Create content just like this (better than this of course) so that others will learn from you.

Now your Pi is all set. What project ideas do you have in mind? Share your thoughts. 💭

The possibilities are limitless.