Simple Raspberry Pi setup
So you've bought a Raspberry Pi for your child, but you have no idea about single-board computers, Linux, or electronics. This guide will give you some basic information and knowledge to enable you to support your child in their adventures with Raspberry Pi.
Raspberry Pi peripherals
The Raspberry Pi is a computer, and just like any other computer it needs power, a monitor, a keyboard, and a mouse.
You can buy these peripherals new if you like: any USB keyboard and mouse, micro USB power supply (5V), and HDMI monitor will do. You can also repurpose old equipment, such as using a mobile phone charger as a power supply, and use your TV as a monitor.
- Computers also need a hard drive. This is used to store all the software that makes the Raspberry Pi work (called an operating system), as well as all the files that your child will create. The Raspberry Pi uses a micro SD card as a hard drive.
Getting an operating system
The operating system (OS) is crucial to the Raspberry Pi. Without a micro SD card with an OS installed, the Raspberry Pi won't work. The OS that's recommended for the Raspberry Pi is Raspbian.
There are several ways of getting a micro SD card with an OS on it. Full instructions are provided in the software setup guide.
Buying a pre-installed SD card is, without a doubt, the easiest way. You can buy them from here.
- However, it's always a good idea to learn how to write your own SD cards. As your child learns more about the Raspberry Pi and experiments with different projects, they will undoubtedly want more than one SD card. They'll probably make some mistakes as well and occasionally corrupt their cards, so it's useful to know how to reinstall Raspbian on an old card.
Plugging it all in
- You can follow the more detailed hardware setup guide if you want, or have a look at the diagram below for how to set up the Pi. Simply put, plug the USB keyboard and mouse into the USB ports, the monitor or TV into the HDMI port, and the micro SD card into the micro SD card slot.
The Raspberry Pi, unlike most computers, doesn't have an on/off button. You start it by plugging in the power supply.
- If all goes well, the green LED on the Raspberry Pi should blink and, within a few seconds, Raspbian should load.