WHAT DO I NEED
If you're interested in setting up, configuring and using a Raspberry Pi computer, you will need the following:
- A Raspberry Pi model A or B. I would recommend only the B and the more recent models have 512MB of RAM. You can buy your Pi from RS, Farnell or a number of other suppliers. Suppliers usually offer the various accessories too: power supply, SD card, leads, etc.
- An SD data card with or without an operating system loaded. You can buy them pre-loaded with Linux or you can load it yourself. You'll need one that's at least 4GB and an 8GB card would be better now that the more recent images are nearly 3GB. If you buy your own SD card, be aware that not not just any card will do. Visit here for an up-to-date list of tested cards.
- A USB keyboard.
- A 5V 1A power supply with a microUSB connector.
- A computer monitor (a TV that accepts a yellow video feed, or a TV or computer monitor that accepts an HDMI connection). A modern flat-screen monitor with an HDMI input is recommended to provide better quality and fewer set-up problems.
- Either an RCA video cable or HDMI cable depending upon your choice of monitor above.
If you wish to connect your Pi to an Ethernet network (LAN), you'll need:
- An RJ45 straight-through (as opposed to cross-over) patch cable.
- A live network port to connect to. This could be an RJ45 socket on a hub, switch, router, etc.
- If you want to connect your Pi directly to a PC without any intervening hub or switch, you'll need a cross-over RJ45 patch cable.
The following items are optional:
- USB Mouse
For a comprehensive list of compatible and incompatible peripherals visit here.
Visit here for a brief description of the Pi hardware and details of components, schematic drawings, power requirements and the differences between the A and B models.
If you're serious about programming your Pi then you'll need some books. I have a few recommendations.
It is important that your 5V power supply is able to give 700mA, or the Pi may not not work. Using a power supply that is rated at 1A should be fine.
The Model B Pi only has two USB ports and if you need more you should consider a powered USB hub to increase the number of ports. The PI may be able to power the hub but using a separate power supply is recommended.
USING WIRELESS USB DEVICES
Most wireless USB devices will work with the Pi but some may cause peculiar problems. Microsoft wireless mice seem slow to respond and a combined USB wireless keyboard and mouse device may produce odd problems like repating characters. Where possible use cabled keyboards and mice, though I prefer to use the command line rather than a GUI which avoids a mouse altogether.
Model B Types
The Model B was originally supplied with 256MB RAM but this has been increased to 512MB. You can tell the two different types by looking at the main chip. The 2G means 2Gbit (256MB) and 4G means 4Gbit (512MB).