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Getting Started With The Raspberry Pi

I got a new Raspberry pi Model B board on the next day I watched the Life of Pi Movie. So these “Pi”s are now influencing my life. So it is time to tweak with Raspberry Pi. I googled the net for unboxing installing tweaking starting up and have fun with Raspberry Pi.


So What is Raspberry Pi ?

Wikipedia says – “The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card-sized single-board computer developed in the UK by the Raspberry Pi Foundation with the intention of stimulating the teaching of basic computer science in schools. The Raspberry Pi is manufactured through licensed manufacturing deals with Element 14/Premier Farnell and RS Electronics. Both of these companies sell the Raspberry Pi online.”.

I am trying to use Raspberry Pi for python programming, watching videos etc. The model B board comes with 700 MHz ARM1176JZF-S core CPU, Broadcom BCM2835 Chip, 512 MB (shared with GPU), 2 USB Port, 1 Composite RCA port, 1 HDMI Port, 1 Audio Port, a 10/100 Ethernet (RJ45) port.

The power source of Model B is 5 volt via MicroUSB or GPIO header. Power rating of Raspberry Pi Model B is 700 mA (3.5 W) and Model A is 300 mA (1.5 W).

Things needed before powering up Raspberry Pi

Essential Things

  • One SD Card – 2GB
  • One SD Card Reader and a computer to write the Raspberry Pi OS Image to SD Card. (Linux  / Mac / Windows)
  • One Power Adapter (Rating 5V 700mA output) (5V 1A preferred) with micro USB output (Samsung Mobile charger I used)
  • A USB mouse and keyboard
  • Monitor with HDMI Support or TV with RCA Input
  • Speakers
  • RCA Cable / HDMI Cable
  • Audio Cable
  • Ethernet Cable for network connection and also internet

Optional Items

  • A Plastic / acrylic  Case ( you can buy it one online ) for Raspberry Pi
  • USB Hub with 4 USB ports (Optional) (needed when connecting keyboard, mouse, wifi adapter)
  • USB wifi adapter (can take advantage of available wifi network

these are the essential things needed for booting a Raspberry pi. Because Raspberry pi is a computer without hard disk, cabinet and power supply. A good case is essential because short circuts, electrical disturbances may damage the Pi.

I have

  • Raspberry Pi Model B
  • raspberry pi acrylic case
  • 2 SD Cards (Sony 8 GB – One with Raspbian and one with Raspbmc)
  • Old Samsung Android Mobile Charger (5V 700mA Rating)
  • Dell M110 Projector with HDMI Cable / Samsung LCD TV with HDMI Input and RCA Input
  • Belkin USB Extension Port with 4 ports
  • Dlink Wifi Adapter
  • Creative Desktop Speakers

With these accessories I started the Pi.

Write OS into the SD Card.

I downloaded the Raspbian from http://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads.

Torrent 2012-10-28-wheezy-raspbian.zip.torrent
Direct download 2012-10-28-wheezy-raspbian.zip
SHA-1 3ee33a94079de631dee606aebd655664035756be
Default login Username: pi Password: raspberry
Size 455.5 MB


Torrent is better. You will get a Zip file unzip it you will get 2012-10-28-wheezy-raspbian.img file 1.9 GB size. Next step is to write this img file into the SD Card. The procedure is different for different OS.  I am using Fedora Linux there is a nice graphical tool for fedora to write this img to SD card called Fedora ARM Image Installer. You can download and install the RPM. This tool is also available for windows also.

In Linux the simplest way is to use the DD command to write the img file into the SD Card. A detailed instruction is with eLinux website.

Write SD Card image of Raspberry Pi using Ubuntu using DD command

unzip the zip file into your home directoryusing the terminal way. Press Ctrl+Alt+T your terminal will come or choose terminal from accessories.

Now insert your SD card into the card reader slot. The card will be automatically mounted. On terminal type

sudo fdisk -l

then you will get the sd card listed in the terminal as sdb like

Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sdb1   *          62    15620279     7810109    c  W95 FAT32 (LBA)
/dev/mmcblk0   *          62    15620279     7810109    c  W95 FAT32 (LBA)

If you are using more than one hard disk or something then the sdb may be sdc or sdd etc. find the SD card listing ( I assume that this is sdb)

Now it is very simple to use the dd command

sudo dd bs=4M if=~/2012-10-28-wheezy-raspbian.img of=/dev/sdd

if it is /dev/mmcblk0 then the command will be

sudo dd bs=4M if=~/2012-10-28-wheezy-raspbian.img of=/dev/mmcblk0

the parameter after if is the full path of the img file and parameter after of is the device mount of SD card.

Write SD Card image of Raspberry Pi using Ubuntu Image writer

imagewriter is a graphical progrmme in ubuntu to write this img file to SD card

Install imagewriter

sudo apt-get install usb-imagewriter gparted

then type


in terminal

Ubuntu Image Writer
Ubuntu Image Writer

Select the desired .img file and target device, in this case, 2012-10-28-wheezy-raspbian.img, and /dev/mmcblk0

that is it.

Write SD Card image of Raspberry Pi using Fedora

install Fedora ARM Image Installer . Just download the RPM and install it using the application installer.

launch the programme by type


Fedora Arm Installer

Fedora Arm Installer

in the terminal. Press the refresh button in the source box and destination box to get your SD card detected on the programme

Browse  the source img file as 2012-10-28-wheezy-raspbian.img, and destination as  /dev/mmcblk0

Press Install button to install the img file to SD card.

Write SD Card image of Raspberry Pi using Windows

If you have windows 7 or vista then download Win32DiskImager, which you can download here or here. Unzip it. Download the Raspbian img file and unzip it also. Then insert your SD card into your reader. Make note of the drive letter. Double click on Win32DiskImager.exe. Ignore the error message.


Click the blue folder icon in Win32 Disk Imager and select your Raspbian image file, and ensure the Device listed is the same drive letter as your SD Card.

Once you open your image, click “Write”, click “Yes” to confirm the write.

Booting Raspberry PI from SD Card

Now everything is ready. Just plug the SD card into the Raspberry Pi, connect keyboard and mouse, connect your TV or Monitor, connect wifi adapter and finally plug the adapter then switch on the adapter.

After some time Pi boots.

It is a standard linux booting procedure. after booting you will get a text mode setup screen called “raspi-config.” You can configure various parameters of Raspberry pi using this text mode tool. use arrow keys to navigate and tab key to select between options.



Raspi-config Options

“expand_rootfs” wlll give you the option to resize your SD card partition to full size. The installer image is only 2GB if you are using an sd card of 8 GB or 16 GB then this option will resize the home directory to full size.

Overscan option will help to resize the display area of the monitor. If you have a large monitor and the OS display area is less than actual size then you can resize the display. If your screen looks fine, though, you can skip this step.

configure_keyboard option will assist you to setup a custom keyboard layout.

change_pass will help you to change the password of pi user. The default Username: pi Password: raspberry

change_locale will change the character set. the default character set is UK. If you are not in Great Britain then you can select another locale.

change_timezone will help to set appropriate timezone for the system clock. You’ll be presented with a list of regions first. The next dialogue will show you a list of zones within that region.

memory_split will help to set the amount of memory used for Graphics.

ssh option will enable or disable the ssh server. if ssh is there then you can ssh into your Rapsberry pi and control various options.

boot_behaviour will change the option of booting to text mode or boot your Raspberry pi directly to graphical mode. This option will set direct boot to Desktop of LXDE. If you set this option and reboot your Pi then the next boot will go directly to the desktop

If you finish the raspi-config tool then you will get a command terminal. Just type startx to get into the graphical desktop of LXDE. This is a full-fledged Linux box running Debian.. The default browser is Midori


Running XBMC on Raspberry Pi

Raspberry pi can be used as a media player in living room. You can play almost all kind of videos into Pi using XBMC. There are three OS based on XBMC are available now to used with Raspberry Pi.

The easiest way to install XBMC on an R-Pi is to use one of these pre-made OS/XBMC packages:

All the three OS are on development stages. I tested Raspbmc and Xbian on my Pi. Both work fine. the only problem is they use the CPU more than 70%. In the case of OpenELEC the cpu usage is very less compared to the other two.

Download Raspbmc


Raspbmc has a nice Installer UI for windows. You can download it from the official website.

Network Image (recommended) – the default installer image, always gets the latest version of Raspbmc.

Standalone Image – If you just want a standalone image that can be booted without a network connection for initial setup, then you can get the latest image here.

Download Xbian

Xbian is in Alpha stage.

XBian 1.0 Alpha 3

Download OpenELEC

You can get the latest OpenELEC Images from source.openelec.tv. Dont forget to read the Readme

All the three os providing img files. Just write them using the instructions above. I tested all the three OS on my TV and working fine.  Also you can use additional SD cards or overwrite the same SD card. Keep your favourite OS on your Living Room Raspberry Pi Computer. You can build a #35 Media Center with Raspbmc and Raspberry Pi.

This is a short introduction about running Raspberry Pi. Share your experience.



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