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Raspberry Pi Insider Guide

Raspberry Pi Insider Guide

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Raspberry Pi Insider Guide

619 pages
5 hours
Nov 27, 2014


Raspberry Pi Insider Guide: Everything you need for the Model B/B+ and more
Taking You from beginner to Expert!
The most up-to-date Raspberry Pi guide available.
Everything you need to make you an expert using the Raspberry Pi Model B and B+.

Taking you from beginner to expert. Even as an absolute beginner you will start on a journey that will ultimately leave you knowledgeable and with the confidence to work your Raspberry Pi to the limit. All you need is this book and some time to work through it.

The world of computing moves fast and since the Raspberry Pi was launched in 2012, a lot has changed. Raspberry Pi Insider Guide is the most complete up-to-date guide available. This comprehensive volume covers the Raspberry Pi and its software as it is today.

What you do with your Raspberry Pi will be driven by your interests and perhaps the interests of your family. High on the priority list is to learn, to experiment and to enjoy - Raspberry Pi Insider Guide will show you how.

Raspberry Pi Insider Guide is organised in seven sections, each containing chapters aimed at taking you the next step. From connecting your Raspberry Pi to choosing and selecting add-ons and using the Raspbian Operating System and desktop environment, you will be well on your way to expert status. Raspberry Pi Insider Guide will show you how to use hard drives and printers and how to connect cameras to take great pictures. Create your own website and then a stunning media centre to manage all your TV and music needs. You’ll even learn how to make your Pi speak and create an amazing home office using free world-class software.

Moving on, you will learn to master programming and become proficient in some of the industry standard languages available to you, including Bash, Python, Scratch and assembly language. Learn about other Operating Systems available for the Raspberry Pi, including RISC OS , Pidora and Arch Linux. Finally, discover the Raspberry Pi board itself, and find out how you can use the GPIO port to connect and control the outside world using simple examples.

Raspberry Pi Insider Guide will show you many things including how to:

* select the bare essentials you will need to get your Raspberry Pi up and running.
* copy and install the Raspbian Operating System.
* identify and connect everything together, switch it on and get it all working.
* use the command line to issue instructions and access important information.
* use the Desktop environment to run programs and games.
* use essential software to maintain your Raspberry Pi in tip-top condition.
* add additional devices such as disk drives, printers and cameras.
* have fun with the Camera Module or a webcam and take and edit photos including using time lapse photography.
* play high definition videos and top quality sound including music.
* start to program in several industry-standard languages including Python.
* create a simple website for use as a home information centre or anything you want!
* update and upgrade your Raspberry Pi and find and install new software.
* install and use LibreOffice for all your administrative and business needs.
* create a media centre and access great free-to-air TV and video channels.
* make your Raspberry Pi talk!
* install and use RISC OS as a second Operating System and become familiar with Pidora and Arch Linux.
* understand the components on the Raspberry Pi and what they do.
* connect devices to the GPIO port and use them from a language of your choice.
* make your Raspberry Pi go faster by selecting Turbo mode.
* ideal for beginners, the Raspberry Pi Insider Guide assumes no prior knowledge and will turn you into an expert.

This book covers the all models including the A, B, A+ and B+.

Nov 27, 2014

Despre autor

Bruce Smith was the chaplain of Toronto s King Bay Chaplaincy and the pastor of the Rock and River Congregation in Mississauga,Ontario. A native of Gainesville, Texas, Bruce is the former co-captain of the Toronto Argonauts and coaches all-star of the Canadian Football League. He was also a member of the 1972 Grey Cup champion team the Hamilton Tiger Cats. Upon retiring from football, Bruce enjoyed a highly successful career in real estate before entering the ministry. Bruce works with at risk youth in the Toronto area and has been a strong youth advocate, identifying the issue of fatherlessness as one that must be addressed because of the adverse and sometimes devastating effect it is having on the lives of young people.

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Raspberry Pi Insider Guide - Bruce Smith


Read Me!

About this eBook

This is a free-flow eBook. As such the on-screen formatting is almost totally decided by your eBook reader default settings.

This may be important in chapters such as those in Section Four: Programming where the formatting of programs is critical, especially Python (Chapter 19). You are therefore encouraged to download the program files from the website (see Companion Website section below) and view these in the appropriate editor for the language (explained in the corresponding chapter) and refer to them whilst reading the text.

Please remember, if you have an early generation eReader, you can obtain free eReading devices for use on PCs and Macs which are capable of rendering the formats used in this book if they do not display as intended on your particular eReader.

About the Author

Bruce Smith purchased his first computer — an Acorn Atom — in 1980. He was immediately hooked, becoming a regular contributor to the mainstream computer press, including ‘Computing Today’ and ‘Personal Computer World’. With the arrival of the BBC Micro his magazine work expanded into books and his 1982 title ‘Interfacing Projects for the BBC Micro’ (published by Addison Wesley) has become regarded as a classic of the time, as the first book showing home users how to connect the computer to the outside world. He was one of the first to write about the ARM chip when it was released on the Acorn Archimedes in 1987.

Well over 100 books later Bruce has written about all aspects of computer use. His friendly, lucid style of writing caused one reviewer to write, ‘This is the first computer book I have read in bed for pleasure rather than to cure insomnia!’ Bruce’s books have been translated into many languages and sold across the world.

Bruce also writes about sport and his publishers have included BBC Books, Virgin Books, Rough Guides, Headline and Mainstream Publishing. He has been a regular contributor for BBC local and national radio and has appeared on Channel 4’s The Big Breakfast and BBC World Service.

Follow Bruce on Twitter: @brucefsmith or Facebook: authorbrucesmith and check out his occasional blog Alan Turing Rocks which can be found on the website.


No book is perfect and I doubt this one is either. Whilst we have tried as hard as possible to ensure that this book is as accurate as possible before going to press, because of its technical and complex nature errors may exist. Thankfully due to the world of digital media they can be rectified and corrections implemented quickly. If you think something isn't quite right then please visit the book errata page at www.brucesmith.info. Click on the book icon and locate the link to the errata page — you will be able to see if any issues are already known. If you do not see something covered and feel that you may have discovered an error or anomaly then please email me directly via the Contacts Page on my website. That way I can confirm or otherwise and if the former is the case, provide you with an acknowledgment and make the change.

Companion Website

Go to www.brucesmith.info and locate the page for Raspberry Pi Insider Guide. Here you will find links to additional resources in support of the book. This includes additional reading material, examples from the book — including programs — and direct links to websites of places mentioned in the book, plus others you might also find interesting.

Second Edition

This book has been updated and revised to include coverage of the 24 December 2014 release of Raspbian. This release made numerous aesthetic changes to the way the Desktop (detailed in Chapter 8) looked and how certain options were accessed by the user. Functionally, in terms of software operation, little changed. The original Chapter 8, as well as the new revised Chapter 8, are included in this eBook.


There’s a first time for everyone, at everything, and learning to use a microcomputer is no different. In these early chapters you’ll learn how to make your small investment come to life and make it ready for the exciting things that lie ahead. The skills you’ll learn here will provide you with a perfect foundation for things to come.

The Insider skills you’ll have at the end of this section will enable you to:

understand what you can use the Raspberry Pi for and gain some insight into what your own goals and targets might be.

be clear about the difference between hardware and software.

know and understand the basic items you will need to get your Raspberry Pi working.

understand the purpose and function of the Raspberry Pi components.

be able to choose and download the Raspbian Operating System.

confidently plug together your components to create a working Raspberry Pi

1: Welcome Home

You have or are about to get a Raspberry Pi, awesome! You are about to embark on an amazing journey of exploitation and enlightenment. The Raspberry Pi opens up a world of possibilities — and in this chapter learn about just some of the things you could be doing with your Raspberry Pi very quickly.

‘Taking you from beginner to expert’. That statement is on the cover of this book. It’s quite a bold one, but it’s well intentioned and readily achievable by you. The definition I’m using for expert is: ‘A person who is very knowledgeable about or skilful in a particular area.’

So, after reading this book you won’t know everything there is but you’ll have enough knowledge to be very confident with your Raspberry Pi and have the ability to find out more in the particular areas that interest you.

What you do with your Raspberry Pi will be driven by your interests and perhaps the interests of your family. My aim is that you will combine learning, experimentation and enjoyment. Here’s a quick look at some of the things you could be using your Raspberry Pi for. Many of these we’ll have a closer look at during the course of this book and I’ll show you how to do them for yourself.

Information Centre

At the very least you can use the Raspberry Pi to surf the web — look at pages on the Internet or watch free television services from around the world.


With a vast range of high quality software available to you free of charge you can use your Raspberry Pi to do all your home or business administration. Create great looking letters and documents, get your accounts into order with state-of-the-art spreadsheets and produce stunning colour graphics and illustrations. All this is possible, including the ability to produce files compatible with industry standard software such as Microsoft Office.

Media and Photo Hub

You can watch High Definition output on your HDMI compatible TV from an Internet service or by reading files from an attached USB device. Or take stunning pictures using an (additional) attached Camera Module and display the results.

Learn to Program

Raspberry Pi comes with industry standard programming languages. Learn about them and how to use them to write your own programs and customise others for your own needs.

Play Games

Many classic games are available to play on the Raspberry Pi, and more will become available. While away the hours with your favourite pastime. Some of the retro classics are from the Atari, Commodore and Sinclair classic library.

Learn Electronics and Control the World

There are many extra bits you can plug onto your Raspberry Pi that allow you to control a variety of external devices. Some of these are ready to go. Others you can build from scratch. From turning a light on and off to home automation programs — it is all possible and relatively simple if you have a bit of practical ability and a willingness to ‘give-it-a-go’.

Security and Monitoring Systems

Add a camera and record video or take time-lapse photographs to monitor an area — or just see what the dog gets up to while you are out of the house! The Raspberry Pi also makes a great baby monitoring system so you can record what your bub does when the door is closed!

Of course these are really only a few of the things you might want to do with your Raspberry Pi. There are many, many more things you can do and I’ll also show you the best places to look to find out about these.

Need to Learn

After the surge of interest in home or hobbyist computing in the 80s many of the popular computers of the time such as the BBC Micro, Commodore 64, Amiga, Spectrum and Atari found themselves curiously superseded by relatively low cost industry standard PCs. The home computer hobbyists still existed but their numbers diminished and with them the number of people learning about computers and their operation, especially school children. We had moved from being computer programmers to computer users. Where was the innovation to come from?

The Raspberry Pi Foundation set out to right that wrong, and did so by launching the Raspberry Pi in February 2012. It had created a low cost computer, capable of using industry standard parts with access to vast amounts of free software, and crucially, it was supported by a sector of the industry creating expansion and add on boards that furthered the capabilities of the product. So much so that the Raspberry Pi had passed the three million sales by the middle of 2014.

The Raspberry Pi is a little different from other computers you may be used to. Most notably it isn’t a complete system. You may be used to computers that come in one box: for example, a laptop where everything you need is in a single package. Or a PC which is supplied with a main unit (often mistakenly called the ‘hard disk’ although this is just one of the components inside it), a monitor, keyboard and mouse. In contrast the Raspberry Pi comes in a small electrostatic bag and it’s up to you to bring everything else it needs together to get going. This is where the Raspberry Pi Insider Guide comes in: it will guide you through that process and take you on a journey that shows you how to install and use the software and in turn use it to create a working environment that you might never have dreamed possible before.

So how do you learn about the Raspberry Pi? In the first place be prepared to make some time to do so. If you get the ‘bug’ then making the time will not be an issue for what will become a rewarding experience. Be prepared to get a bit frustrated at times. You will make mistakes, but one of the most rewarding things you’ll find is that working out what the mistake was and solving it is incredibly satisfying. There are plenty of things to do and resources to use, and after a while it will all come together. What this book provides, I hope, is some real down-to-earth tuition, in one place, that shows you all the neat things that you can do and probably will want to do. Hopefully by the end of the book you will be a confident Raspberry Pi user who can show the light to other newbies. Then they will consider you to be an expert!

How to Use This Book

If you have a skim through the Contents pages you’ll see that the Raspberry Pi Insider Guide is arranged into specific sections. I’ve tried to organise things logically so that you can progress from one aspect to another with enough information to make what follows intelligible and understandable.

If you work through the book systematically then you will have taken the journey from beginner to expert in your stride. That said, you might want to jump around a bit. For example Section Five is entitled Home and Office and in here you can find some nifty software and projects to get started with. At this stage of the book some assumptions have been made, but that is not to stop you working through the text as is and using the contents list to directly access the pages that allow you to brush up on things you might need to know. Section Four is about Programming. You will really need to know what went on in the early chapters to get through the chapters here as the basic concepts are important.

Jargon and Assumptions

One of the biggest hindrances to beginners understanding technology is the jargon — the words and terms often applied to the use of computers seem as though they themselves have come from a degree course on computers!

Unfortunately these items of jargon are part and parcel of the learning process. However, many in themselves have become everyday terms. If you are interested in devices such as smart phones, TVs and DVD players then you will probably be familiar with many of them already, even if you don't know exactly what they do. For example, USB or HDMI.

So, my intention in this book is to keep it simple with a motto of ‘Don’t use one word when three are clearer’. That's not to pad the book out but simply to keep it easy to read — the last thing you want is to be working out the meaning of some nine-letter word while trying to learn a new concept. (Besides I’m not that clever.)

I'll also try to avoid the chicken and egg syndrome as much as possible. To that end there may be the occasional white lie. Well, not so much a lie as an over-simplification or slight stretching of the truth — but necessary when you need to know two new concepts in one to understand one other. But I'll own up at the appropriate point!

What you will need to do is to read through the chapters as they happen. Although I’ve implied that you may want to jump around a bit, it is probably preferable to tackle the chapters in turn, or you may miss out on some important ‘building block’ material. The main thrust of the first part of the book is to move you through the familiarity minefield — get you used to using and occasionally abusing your computer. From there we'll look into what you can do with it and, most important just how to use it. And, providing you join in and try the examples given and then create a few of your own, you’ll soon be wondering what all the fuss was about.

The above is easy to write but often difficult to put into practice, so there have been a few assumptions made. For example, I’m assuming you have a basic understanding of what a computer is and know how to use a keyboard and mouse— even if you don’t do so regularly. You also know about the Internet, and will probably have dabbled with email and might even have your own email account.

I am also assuming that you have never gone past the above points, so that will be where we start. Even if you have, just like reading a review of something you have already bought, reassurance is a great thing.

So let’s get started!

2: Bare Essentials

Making sure you have the right components to connect up your Raspberry Pi is essential for a smooth start. One way of achieving this is to buy a starter kit; the other is to gather up items that you might already have to hand. But what are these bare essentials?

Just how difficult is it to get a Raspberry Pi up and running, and by running I mean getting it working so you can start using it? I would allow an hour or so, although in reality it should take you a lot less. It you have all the components you need then it will only take a few minutes to plug them together. It is actually bringing it to ‘life’ and getting it to work that may need a bit more time and a bit of patience on your behalf. Frustration is your biggest enemy here, so it is important to get yourself in the right frame of mind. Everything you will do as part of the set-up process is quite logical and systematic. So one-step-at-a-time is your guiding mantra here.

Bear in mind that millions of Raspberry Pi machines have been sold, and each one has had to be set up in this way. So it works!

Mobile Phones

(Bear with me on this one guys.) It is pretty likely that you or someone in your family has a mobile phone. Most likely it’s a smart phone — this is a phone that can do more than make phone calls.

There are lots of different types of phones — iPhones, Galaxy, HTCs, Nokia and so the list goes on. These names pretty much describe the maker of the phone (iPhone is Apple, Galaxy is Samsung...) and this physical part of the phone is the hardware. The phone unit itself comes with a charger (the power supply), sometimes a keyboard, a lead to connect it to a computer and other accessories such as headphones and maybe a CD or DVD disk.

What really distinguishes the phones from one another though is the software or Operating System they run. iPhones run iOS, Galaxys and a lot of other phones run Android and various versions of Android. This software defines how they operate, what they can do, and how they go about doing it.

It is the same with the Raspberry Pi. To use the hardware you must select the Operating System you want to run on it. This will define how you use it and what you can do with it. On the Raspberry Pi you are spoilt for choice and there are several Operating Systems — or OSs — you can select from. That said there are versions that are more popular than other ones. We’ll look at a couple of these in due course, giving you the opportunity to decide which one you want to use.

The Operating Systems are accessible and available to us in two ways. The first is already pre-installed on something called a NOOBS Card which can be purchased with the Raspberry Pi (or bought separately from the same or similar outlet). The second can be downloaded from the Internet and then copied onto a memory card that is not too dissimilar to the one you have in your smart phone or camera — an SD Card. In this case the software is free but you may need to purchase a memory card to copy it onto if you don’t already have one. By the way, NOOBS is pronounced ‘New-bs’ and is an acronym for New Out Of the Box Software.

Bare Essentials

With the above in mind, this would be your bare essential shopping list — the absolute minimum number of things you need to get your Raspberry Pi up-and-running and usable. We’ll examine each in turn shortly. Here’s the list:

USB Power Supply

USB Keyboard

USB Mouse

HDMI compatible Monitor

HDMI cable

SD Card and adaptor (potentially a NOOBS Card)

If you don’t have a NOOBS Card then you will also need a means of downloading the software and putting it onto the SD Card, and this requires one or two more items to do:

A PC or Apple Computer with Internet access

SD Card Reader/Writer (if your computer does not have one already in-built)

You don’t need the additional computer to physically connect to your Raspberry Pi — or even have it in the same city as your Raspberry Pi (!) — you just need access to it. You may already have access to a computer (PC or Apple Mac) at home or work or via a friend or neighbour and you only require its use for ten minutes or so. The final item is an SD Card Reader/Writer — unless your ‘other’ computer has one in-built.

SD Card Reader/Writers only cost a few dollars and it is worth investing in one of these.

These physical components are what are often referred to as the hardware. Anything that you can physically touch and feel and can exist on its own is called hardware. The hardware is used to operate or allow the software to operate. Software is the programs (sometimes called the applications) that you run on the computer hardware to do things with. An example of a piece of software is a word processor which can be used to write documents such as letters and reports.

We need access to the PC or Apple computer to be able to select and choose the software we want to run on the Raspberry Pi and this Operating Software is written using the SD Card Reader/Writer.

An important point here: you do need a PC or an Apple Mac, a tablet device such as an iPad or Android machine will not be suitable and won’t work.

It's Different

If you have used a PC or Apple Mac or something similar before then you will realise that the Raspberry Pi looks a lot different. For a start the small board is just that — a small board and it is bare and exposed to the elements. With a PC or an Apple the computer board is neatly packaged inside a box specific to the type of computer it is.

However, if you were to look inside a PC or Apple case you would find that it contains a lot of — well — space. In some instances this is so you can add in extra bits and pieces to expand its capabilities, but also because computer components can generate a lot of heat and this needs room to be dissipated.

Unless you have purchased your Raspberry Pi as part of a starter kit then you will be dealing with just the bare Raspberry Pi board itself. You can purchase boxes or cases for the Raspberry Pi (you can even make them from cardboard or Lego) but for the time being we’ll assume you don’t have one. As such you need to handle it with care — although they are quite robust you should treat it with respect.

One of the big enemies of computers is static electricity — if you get a discharge when you touch a Raspberry Pi board you might damage the components on the board. Although the Raspberry Pi isn’t immune to static electricity it is pretty robust and I would have to say you would be very unlucky to damage your Raspberry Pi this way. But forewarned is forearmed! (This is why the Raspberry Pi and other associated add-ons come supplied in a protective anti-static bag)

If you happen to purchase the add-on Camera Module for the Raspberry Pi, then this is susceptible to static electricity so these few words of warning and details of avoidance measures are in order.

Static Electricity

Static electricity refers to the build-up of electric charge on the surface of objects. If the surfaces are both insulators, they'll build up an electrical charge. One object will have a positive charge (because it has lost electrons) and one will have a negative charge (because it has gained electrons). If one of the charged objects then touches a conductor, like a piece of metal, the charge will neutralise itself, causing a static shock.

After removing an item of clothing or rubbing against a fabric, if you occasionally get what feels like an ‘electric shock’ when you touch a surface in your house or office — this is the spark of static electricity discharging — so you should then certainly be wary. For example, when you walk on a wool carpet, your shoes react with it and your body then builds up a charge. Then, when you touch a metal doorknob, you know what happens. You don't want the discharge to happen when you touch the Raspberry Pi board. To avoid this happening to you, if you think you have accumulated a charge, before you handle the Raspberry Pi make sure you ‘Earth’ yourself first by touching a metal object that is ‘earthed’, like a water pipe.

Making Jam

Raspberry Pi users around the world meet regularly at aptly-named Jams. There are Jams meeting everywhere and I have attended them in London and Sydney — just about opposite ends of the world! I would encourage you to find out where your local Jam is and try and get there for a meeting. The Jams are generally run by bright people ‘in the know’ and they will welcome you with open arms. Jams are great for beginners and you’ll find they often have themes and goals for each meeting. In addition to being learning platforms they are a great way to find people who are willing to help you if you are stuck and to get questions answered. Installing an Operating System is a daunting task when you are new to it all, and although it really is relatively straightforward (when you know how!), local Jammers can give you the benefit of hands-on experience or provide access to the computer you might need to create it with.

To find your local Jam just search the Internet for:

Raspberry Pi Jam ‘CITY’

Where ‘CITY’ is your nearest point of reference.

Another great source of information for newcomers is the The MagPi. This is a monthly magazine specifically for all things Raspberry Pi and it is available free of charge to download at www.themagpi.com. You can also download all the back issues and have an instant encyclopaedia of neat Raspberry Pi things. You might even come across the odd article by yours truly!

Figure 2a. The MagPi is a free magazine for Raspberry Pi users and should be considered essential reading.

I will also direct you to my website at www.brucesmith.info where you will find additional material for this book in the form of projects from it, as well as additional written material to support the contents here and which couldn’t make it into the final pages for reasons of space.

3: Board Anatomy

The Raspberry Pi has gone through a few changes since it was released. The Raspberry Pi B+ should be considered as the standard Raspberry Pi and is the one supplied by default. However the original Models B and A (shown below) are still available. In this chapter we’ll look at all of them and explain what all the bits and pieces do!

The Raspberry Pi Model B+ is now the standard Raspberry Pi and has been shipping since its release in July 2014. The B+ was released as an upgrade to the original Model B, and contained significant enhancements which were aimed at rectifying some of the usability issues inherent with the original Model B. ‘Issues’ is perhaps a strong word, but the Model B+ provided end users with what you might call the perfect piece of pi! Production of the Model B was due to continue as long as demand remained — this is to assist those who had integrated the Model B as an essential part of their businesses. The differences between the two will become obvious shortly, but from a learning point of view there is not much between them so whether you happen to have a Model B+ or a B, this book is still 100% applicable.

As you might rightly assume, a Model A and A+ also exist and these again are virtually identical operationally, although they have less of the connection capabilities of the B+/B and they cost a few dollars less accordingly.

If you have not purchased yet and are undecided as to which model to get then I would suggest you go for the Model B+ over the Model B and Model A/A+. At the time of writing the Model B and B+ cost the same, while the cost increment of B+ over A+ is really insignificant in pure bang-for-bucks terms, especially when only purchasing one or two. However, if you plan to purchase a lot and don’t need the extra functionality of Model B+ then it would make monetary sense to purchase Model A+.

As I have intimated, in terms of operation and usage the boards are almost identical. Differences only exist when it comes to physical arrangements. I’ll identify these when and where they come about.

The following page breaks down the various component parts of the Raspberry Pi B+ and Raspberry Pi B and also provides some brief descriptions of what each part does.

You may find it useful to invest in a small plastic box or container as you will find you ultimately end up with an assortment of leads and cables, and will need somewhere to store them. Wrapping an elastic band around leads is also a handy way of ensuring they don’t get tangled, but make sure not to fold them over too much otherwise you may damage the fibres in the leads themselves.

Around the Boards

The Raspberry Pi measures just 8.6cm long by 5.4cm wide, making it a little bit bigger than a credit card. Figure 3a shows the Model B+ and Figure 3b the Model B, and even a quick glance will show you that there are some physical differences between the two. The B+ has some additional sockets which allows you to connect more devices to it at once, and which are arranged in such a way that the plugs that go into the sockets are limited to single sides of the board rather than all the sides.

Figure 3a. The Raspberry Pi Model B+ has been revised to include additional sockets and a more streamlined layout.

The small black square in the centre of each board is a critically important chip. This is what makes the whole Raspberry Pi device work. Indeed this ‘chip’, which is called an ARM microprocessor, is so powerful that it is used by virtually every smart phone and tablet device available today and also forms the heart of many of the satellites that orbit our planet. The Raspberry Pi is a seriously clever device!

Figure 3b. The Raspberry Pi Model B with the original connection layout.

The various components are labelled in Figures 3a and 3b — here’s a brief description of each:

SD Card Slot

This is mounted on the underside of the Raspberry Pi board and is where you insert the SD Card. On a Model B+ it is a micro SD Card while on the Model B it is a standard SD Card.

Micro USB Power Socket:

Connect your 5V Power Supply here.

HDMI Socket

Plug an HDMI cable here to connect to your HDMI Monitor.

Camera Connector

The Camera Module board (if you have one) plugs in here.

Network Port — Ethernet R45 Socket

You can connect your Internet or LAN cable here.

USB Ports

These allow you to connect standard USB devices such as keyboard and mouse. On the Model B+ there are four; on the Model B there are two.

Status LEDs

Small lights that indicate what your Raspberry Pi is doing!


Connect all your external projects here. The Model B+ has a 40-pin connector; the Model B a 26-pin connector.

Audio Video Combined (Composite) Jack

Model B+ only, combines an RCA Monitor and 3.5mm Audio plug. Connect either or both of the two items below here.

3.5mm Audio Jack

Connect headphones or a speaker here. Model B only.

Composite Video Jack

Connect to an old RCA monitor or TV. Model B only.

SD Card

The SD Card plugs into the SD Card Slot. SD Cards are memory cards — they have (almost) no moving parts and they are identical to the type of card you may use to store photos on if you have a digital camera of some sort. There are many types of SD Cards and you can purchase them in electrical stores and camera shops — even in general high street stores! Depending on which model Raspberry Pi you are using you will require a specific SD Card:

Model A+ and B+: Micro SD Card

Model A and B: Standard SD Card

Figure 3c illustrates these two cards. A micro SD Card is very small — the size of a finger nail perhaps, whilst a standard SD Card is much bigger. As the image shows, there are adaptors the size of a standard SD card that micro SD cards can fit into and this is to allow you to use them in other devices. Many PCs have in-built SD Card readers which would not take a micro SD Card directly. Although these cards are physically different, there is absolutely no difference in the way you use them.

Figure 3c. A micro SD Card (left) and a standard SD Card. The SD Card label indicates its size and class. Notice that it is also possible to physically lock the card against read/write operations by shifting the lock slider located on one side of the card.

If you have used other computers before then the SD Card on the Raspberry Pi pretty much replaces the hard drive. The SD Card is used to hold the Operating System that you choose to use on your Raspberry Pi. It also has enough space for you to save your own files and programs.

SD Cards come in different memory sizes and an 8GB card might currently be considered the best size and value for money. The GB stands for Gigabyte, being a measurement of memory space.

SD Cards are also rated according to the quality of the components used which affect the speed of the card — this is how fast they can be accessed. For the Raspberry Pi you should buy a Class 4 SD Card. This is the one that works the best. Some people swear by Class 6 cards and others use even higher class cards. But these are more expensive and might not offer any performance improvement in this environment.

As previously mentioned the SD Card is used to replace the function of a hard drive in a normal office computer. It is on here that you will copy the software you want to use and also where you will save and store any information, programs or data that you create for future use.

You only really need one card, but if you are really going to experiment with your Raspberry Pi I would recommend that you get at least three, so you can have SD Cards pre-prepared and ready to use for different tasks. You can totally change how your Raspberry Pi works simply by changing what is on the SD Card inserted into it!

USB Power Supply

The Raspberry Pi does not come with any form of power supply. You need a 5V DC regulated supply and this is generally the kind that most smart phones utilise. For example, if you have a Samsung Galaxy phone charger it will almost certainly work right away. If you have an iPhone charger — the type where the lead itself can be detached, then this will almost certainly work. You will just need to substitute the iPhone cable for a micro USB to Standard USB cable (These can be bought for just a few dollars at most general electrical retail and phone accessory stores). Note that not all phone chargers can supply 5V so you should take time out to read the detail on the case of the charger. Do not use

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