Having determined during a visit that these grandchildren were ready for a Raspberry Pi and their father was willing to fund one, I did the following:
I ordered the following on November 3, 2014. Choices might be different at a later date.
This 32 GB SDHC card is a bit of overkill, since an 8 GB card would work. The adapter is not needed for the B+ model of the Raspberry Pi being bought, but is useful when you want to connect it to a desktop computer for installing the operating system onto it or for backing up its contents to a desktop computer.
Although the Raspberry Pi generally needs only about 0.5 A, adding a camera, connecting to the GPIO pins, and adding a USB WiFi dongle or USB keyboard/mouse combo requires additional power. It is generally felt that a 2A supply should be used. Even so, any power-hungary USB accessories should be self-powered.
This is an excellent book to introduce the Raspberry Pi software and hardware to kids.
There is also a Model A+ available which has no Ethernet port, only one USB port, 256MB of RAM, and uses less power, but is otherwise the same. Normally, one will want the extra USB ports and maybe the Ethernet port. The HD television-cable converter box at the grandkids house has both WiFi and an Ethernet port. It seemed easier to use the Ethernet port for the network connection. The model A and B are older versions which use a bit more power than their + versions.
This is needed to connect to the television HDMI input. There is no cable supplied with the computer since not everyone will be connecting to an HDMI display.
A case is not essential, and some people make their own. There are many different models of cases available. I like a clear one that shows the insides. This one is a bit more expensive than others, but is highly rated.
Total before taxes and shipping: $101.22
Note: A keyboard and mouse are still needed, but the grandkids already had a USB keyboard and a wireless mouse so none was purchased.
The operating system I selected is called Raspbian. It and how to put it on the SD card are explained at http://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads. It will only use up about 15% of the space on the SD card.
Upon booting up for the first time, Raspbian presents a configuration screen with the following choices:
This should be selected so that you can use all of your SD card.
The original user is 'pi' with the password 'raspberry'. I did not change this initially so that the kids could later do it while I explain its importance. I will also have them become separate users under their first names.
I also did not enable this so that they could learn how the Desktop is actually run from an initial command line prompt after logging in. I will later show them how to enable a boot straight to the Desktop.
This allows the settings for language, keyboard, time zone. For language, you should select en (us) and unselect en (uk). For character set use en-UTF-8 (us), keyboard probably 105-key (us) with no special options, and for time zone us, Pacific Ocean.
Since they will not have a camera at first, I did not enable the camera. This must, however, be done once a camera is installed.
Rastrack is a web site that shows a global picture of where and how many Raspberry Pi's there are around the world. I did not register it yet, but when done, one needs GPS location information.
I don't like to push my computers faster than the manufacturer feels is safe. So I did not overclock the Raspberry Pi. Overclocking can make modest speed increases while compromising reliability.
I changed some of these. See below.
Information about this configuration program. It can be run after the first boot by doing
The Advanced Options menu contains the following:
There was no need to set this for my converter or their HD display.
I did not change this, leaving it at the default
raspberrypi. It only needs to be changed when there are additional Raspberry Pi's on a local network.
There is no need to change this.
I enabled this so that I could get into the Raspberry Pi from my other computers. I will disable it before leaving it with the grandkids because an open SSH server is a security weakness.
I did not change this. It might be needed when one attaches SPI-based hardware to the GPIO connector.
I did not change this. It might be needed when one attaches I2C-based hardware to the GPIO connector.
This is rarely needed and I did not enable it.
I set this to send the audio out the HDMI connector to the HD display, but I also had to set a different configuration file. (See below.)
Definitely do this once you have a network connection.
When it asks to reboot, say yes since you probably changed very fundamental features of the Raspbian system.
The system does not start with the
vim editor, but rather with a smaller, more difficult-to-use editor. To install
vim, do the following:
sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get upgrade sudo raspi-update sudo reboot
Then, to get it to look pretty, give colored syntax hints, and to jump to the location last edited do
sudo vi /etc/vim/vimrc
and edit it so that the following lines no longer start with a double quote:
syntax on set background=dark if has("autocmd") au BufReadPost * if line("'\"") > 1 && line("'\"") <= line("$") | exe "normal! g'\"" | endif endif
And also add this line at the end of the
To get sound to come out the HDMI cable, I find that I had to edit the file
/boot/config.txt to remove a '#' from the start of a line that ended with
drive=2 . It was necessary to use
sudo vim /boot/config.txt to do the editing.
I added the following directories
TypingTest contains a program I wrote long ago for the Commodore-64 and rewrote a few years ago using Python. A compressed tar file of it and its supporting dictionary files is here.
The other directories were filled with a few things representative of document, picture, music, and sound files.
(I also installed
dosbox to run
Kanji-Flash/BTJ, a DOS program that I wrote long ago for teaching scientists and engineers to read technical Japanese. Even though that program was written in 1991, it still runs fine in DOS emulation programs like
I bought a Wacom CTH-480 drawing tablet to aid in doing art on the Raspberry Pi. Unfortunately, the Raspbian system has not supported this tablet and to get it to work, I needed to follow the detailed instructions provided by user
Icww1 on the Raspberry Pi organization help forum (posted on Sun Nov 02, 2014 6:26 pm):
I created a
~/Wacom directory for doing the actions specified by
Icww1 to create the necessary
wacom.ko module file, placed that file in the
/lib/modules/ directory, and added
wacom to the end of the file
/etc/modules. Until this driver is included in Raspbian, this file must be added to each new version when Raspbian is updated. To do so, I put the following script in
~/bin with the name
sudo mkdir /lib/modules/`uname -r`/kernel/drivers/input/tablet sudo cp /home/pi/Wacom/input-wacom-*/3.7/wacom.ko /lib/modules/`uname -r`/kernel/drivers/input/tablet/ sudo depmod -a
If a major revision of the Raspbian system is released that still does not include the
wacom.ko driver, it will be necessary to go through the actions specified by
Icww1 once again. For minor revisions, the above script simply needs to be run after the system update program
rpi-update is run.
To introduce the grandkids to command line control of a computer, I wrote these notes.
Last updated: November 25, 2014
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