Raspberry Pi for Beginners

Raspberry Pi for Beginners

Recently I had reason to learn to use a Raspberry Pi for a particular job. I struggled to find a comprehensive user guide to get started and subsequently compiled my own. As this falls within the “In A Nutshell” theme of this blog, I reproduce it here in the hope that someone will find it useful.

– NOTES – mounting devices, file transfer and ssh


For full set up and installation instructions visit http://www.raspberrypi.org/qsg
For an overview of the Pi see:

see http://www.raspberrypi.org/qsg for linux and mac instructions.
In order to use your Raspberry Pi, you may* need to install an Operating System (OS) onto an SD card.
*the pi3 comes with raspbian and noobs.

An Operating System is the set of basic programs and utilities that allow your computer to run; examples include Windows on a PC or OSX on a Mac.

Think of the SD card like a Hard Drive on other computers with the added advantage that you can change it for another Hard Drive very easily. These SD cards can then be used either for a single purpose, or, for many things like a regular computer with various programs e.g Raspian Jessie with GUI (graphical user interface)).

The following instructions will guide you through installing a recovery program on your SD card that will allow you to easily install different OS’s and to recover your card if you break it.
1. Insert an SD card that is 4GB or greater in size into your computer
2. Format the SD card so that the Pi can read it
i. Download the SD Association’s Formatting Tool from https://www.sdcard.org/downloads/formatter_4/eula_windows/
ii. Install and run the Formatting Tool on your machine
iii. Set “FORMAT SIZE ADJUSTMENT” option to “ON” in the “Options”* menu
iv. Check that the SD card you inserted matches the one selected by the Tool
v. Click the “Format” button
*the version I downloaded in July 2017, didn’t have these options!
3. Format the entire disk as FAT 3. Download the New Out Of Box Software (NOOBS) from: downloads.raspberrypi.org/noobs
4. Unzip the downloaded file
i. Right click on the file and choose “Extract all” (for example, use CAM UnZip)
5. Copy the extracted files onto the SD card that you just formatted (using a free program called Etcher https://etcher.io/)
6. Insert the SD card into your Pi and connect the power supply.

Your Pi will now boot into NOOBS and should display a list of operating systems that you can choose to install. If your display remains blank, you should select the correct output mode for your display by pressing one of the following number keys on your keyboard;
1. hDMI mode – this is the default display mode.
2. hDMI safe mode – select this mode if you are using the HDMI connector and cannot see anything on screen when the Pi has booted.
3. Composite PAL mode – select either this mode or composite NTSC mode if you are using the composite RCA video connector
4. Composite nTSC mode

Note: The built-in Windows formatting tool will only format the first partition that Windows can read not the entire disk. For this reason it is advisable to use the official SD Card Association Formatting Tool.


1. Begin by slotting your microSD card into the microSD card slot on the Raspberry Pi, which will only fit one way.
2. Next. plug in your USB keyboard and Mouse into the USB slots on the Raspberry Pi. (NB. only 1 USB slot available on Model A+).
3. Then connect your HDMI cable from your Raspberry Pi to your monitor or TV.
4. Make sure that your monitor or TV is turned ON, and that you have selected the right input (e.g. HDMI 1. DVI, etc).
5. If you intend to connect your Raspberry Pi to the internet, plug in an ethernet cable into the ethernet port next to the USB ports. Or, connect via Wi—Fi by entering your Wi—Fi pre-shared key. For more connectivity instructions go to http://www.raspberrypi.org/qsg
6. When you are happy that you have plugged in all the cables and microSD card required, finally plug in the micro usb power supply. This action will turn on and boot your Raspberry Pi.


1. Once your Raspberry Pi has completed the boot process, a login prompt will appear. The default login for Raspbian is username
with the password
Note you will not see any writing appear when you type the password. This is a security feature in Linux.
2. After you have successfully logged in, you will see the command line prompt pi@raspberrypi~$
3. To load the graphical user interface (GUI), type
and press Enter on your keyboard.

When up and running, visit https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentation/usage/terminal/ to learn about where to type in commands (the terminal) in order to make your pi work.
The important thing to do is type the following (there will already be updates for your new pi)
sudo apt-get update
and possibly you’ll also need to type;
sudo apt-get upgrade

Visit https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentation/remote-access/ssh/ to learn about ssh (secure shell) typing the command
sudo raspi-config
is one way of allowing you to enable ssh and set your locale, timezone, hostname etc.

[Note: using ‘sudo raspi-config’ to enable ssh assumes you are accessing the Pi using the USB port or you have a monitor and keyboard attached. The Debian image from Raspberry.org does not have ssh activated by default, so after you burn the image to uSD, mount the uSD boot partition and add a file named ‘ssh’ (does not need anything in the file, just the filename in the folder).
to do this:
Place uSD card with Jessie Lite in card reader and mount on Laptop/Desktop. There are two partitions – boot and root. IF using linux then ‘sudo touch ssh’ in boot partition, otherwise just create an empty file with a text editor and save as ‘ssh’ in boot partition.]



Mounting a usb Device in order to Backup wallet.dat:

mkdir mountedusb
Mount /dev/sdx mountedusb
X is the USB device address usually a or b


Enabling SSH on a headless Raspberry Pi:
from https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentation/remote-access/ssh/

For headless setup, SSH can be enabled by placing a file named ssh, without any extension, onto the boot partition of the SD card. When the Pi boots, it looks for the ssh file. If it is found, SSH is enabled, and the file is deleted. The content of the file does not matter: it could contain text, or nothing at all.
see also (for windows) – https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentation/remote-access/ssh/windows.md
(linux and mac) – https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentation/remote-access/ssh/unix.md%5D


Putty can be used to connect to serial ports and Secure Shell(SSH) to Raspberry Pi’s.

Putty is often used on Windows to connect to remote devices. It can also run on a Raspberry Pi.

to install Putty:

Open a terminal/shell window on your Pi and run the following command:

sudo apt-get install putty -y

After the installation Putty should appear in the menu bar under the ‘Other’ menu.

Now Putty is installed you can use it to connect to all sorts of devices.


This free ftp (file transfer protocol) program can also be used to ssh into the pi and transfer files (with a GUI)






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