“Raspberry Pi Part III”

Setting Up You Pi

Using the kit I had bought off fleebay, I hooked the Pi up to my LCD TV through the scart. The SDCard that came with the kit was pre-installed with Debian “wheezy” 6.0. Personally I didn’t get on with it too well. The Pi might not have the most powerful CPU on the block, yet under “wheezy” it just seemed awfully sluggish, especially compared to Lubuntu running on the Nomad or the small 3.5″ fanless VIA C3 600mhz board I have.
Visiting the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s website, you can find a wealth of information. The forums are a great source for bug fixes and general chitchat about the Pi. There is also a download section, which contains all the current distros availible for the Raspberry Pi. The foundation have several versions which they recommend users download. Atm Raspbian seems to be the OS of choice for most Pi users, as it offers good all round performance. So I downloaded that.

RPi download section
http://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads

SD Cards and Image files

The main storage medium for the Pi is it’s SD card slot. Most people opt for either 4 or 8 GB capacity. I chose to go with 4GB as it came with the kit I bought. One thing to note before downloading any image files, is that you will need to write the image to the memory card. Do NOT COPY the file directly to your SD card, it wont work! If you’re using GNU Linux, you will need to use the UNIX tool “dd”. If you’re using Windows, Win32DiskImager, the offical RPi guide can be found here. For convienence I am reposting it here as well, so as to keep as much of this guide centralized.

Copying the image to an SD Card on Windows

  1. Download the image from a mirror or torrent. The remainder of this assumes you are using the Raspbian “wheezy” download 2012-07-15-wheezy-raspbian.zip
  2. Extract the image file 2012-07-15-wheezy-raspbian.img from the downloaded .zip file.
  3. Insert the SD card into your SD card reader and check what drive letter it was assigned. You can easily see the drive letter (for example G:) by looking in the left column of Windows Explorer. If the card is not new, you should format it; otherwise Win32DiskImager may hang.
  4. Download the Win32DiskImager utility. The download links are on the right hand side of the page, you want the binary zip.
  5. Extract the executable from the zip file and run the Win32DiskImager utility. You may need to run the utility as Administrator.
  6. Select the 2012-07-15-wheezy-raspbian.img image file you extracted earlier
  7. Select the drive letter of the SD card in the device box. Be careful to select the correct drive; if you get the wrong one you can destroy your computer’s hard disk!
  8. Click Write and wait for the write to complete.
  9. Exit the imager and eject the SD card.
  10. Insert the card in the Raspberry Pi, power it on, and it should boot up. There is an option in the configure script that comes up to expand the partitions to use all of the SD card if you have used one larger than 4 GB

In Windows the SD card will appear only to have a fairly small size – about 75 Mbytes. This is because most of the card has a partition that is formatted for the Linux operating system that the RPi uses and is not visible in Windows.

Links

SD Card Setup
http://elinux.org/RPi_Easy_SD_Card_Setup

Win32DiskImager
https://launchpad.net/win32-image-writer/+download

I’ve not had chance to try dd through Linux, only Win32DiskImager on Windows. The process could not be any simpler. Using the prepared guide, writing the image to the SD card was a breeze. There are some aspects to the RPi, such as the community, that truly are impressive. A lot of credit has to go to those anonymous contributors, who write up the guides such as the one above.

Stay tuned for more in part 4

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