The Raspberry Pi

"a low cost, credit-card sized computer"

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The Raspberry Pi B+

The Raspberry Pi B/B+ is a mini-computer:

  • plug a mouse and keyboard into the USB ports,
  • attach a monitor or TV to the HDMI port,
  • insert a micro SD card with Raspbian,
and you have a fully functional computer running Linux.

Internet access can be via the built-in Ethernet port, or you can plug a wifi dongle into one of the USB ports.

There are several models and versions available. The first generation has models A, B, and B+. The second generation so far has just an upgrade for B. If you don't have a Pi yet, the Raspberry Pi 2 model B is very much recommended.

Essential Hardware

A Raspberry Pi comes without any other hardware, so there are some extras you'll need to gather. You might have some of these lying around, or you could buy a starter kit that has most of these included:

  • A micro SD card of at least 4GB and a decent speed (like class 10)
  • A micro SD card reader. Some computers (especially laptops) come with an SD card reader. With a micro SD card adapter you can use it to read & write micro SD cards. Alternatively, you can buy a USB micro SD reader.
  • A 5V power adaptor to power your Pi (at least 1000-1200 mA)
  • An HDMI cable to connect a monitor to your Pi*
  • A USB keyboard and mouse you can spare for a few minutes*
  • If you want to connect to your wifi instead of via a cable, a wifi dongle
  • And if you want to fit your Pi in a nice case, you'll find plenty of options in various online shops (or you can 3D print one)
* Not entirely essential. You could connect your Pi to your router, find its IP address, and do everything through a terminal window on your main computer.

(micro) SD card hardware
A micro SD USB reader, a micro SD adapter, and an SD card slot in a laptop.

Essential Software

Assuming you have a Windows computer, there are a few (free) programs you'll need:

  • Win32 Disk Imager, a free tool you can use to write to and read from a (micro) SD card.
  • MobaXterm, a free terminal program that lets you connect to your Pi from your computer.
  • The latest Raspbian image, the OS of choice for your Pi.

Mac Alternatives (I don't have a Mac so I can't recommend any):

Next

Setting up a new Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi - First Time Configuration