Your Raspberry Pi is amazing, so it would be wrong not to give it the chance it deserves to change your life. Whether it’s the convenience of a compact desktop, an inexpensive media center, or perhaps some more outlandish project, it’s up to you.

But if you get it wrong, you will miss out on the Raspberry Pi experience. This tiny computer won’t be able to fill your world with possibilities with a magic inexpensive flexible device.

There are several ways people abuse their Raspberry Pi and fail to reach its full potential. If you’re new to a Raspberry Pi or planning to buy one, make sure you don’t make the same Raspberry Pi rookie mistakes.

Buying low-quality cables and cards

A new Raspberry Pi costs about $35, while a Raspberry Pi Zero is much cheaper. But if you’re buying just the device, you’ll also need to plug in cables and a microSD card. This can be a stumbling block for many Raspberry Pi beginners.

In short, low quality microSD cards — waste of time. Cheap microSD cards are often buggy, prone to damage, and rarely offer the storage capacity they require. In short, it’s a disaster as a means to install a reliable operating system.

Likewise, low quality HDMI cables Bluetooth and Wi-Fi dongles and Ethernet cables can be problematic. Therefore, it is best to look for and buy quality equipment. You can also opt for a complete Raspberry Pi kit such as this one, which can be found on Amazon.

The external hardware you connect to the Pi should be of the same good quality. For example, things like HATs and GPIO peripherals should be purchased from reputable vendors. Check the reviews to make sure you are getting a reliable kit!

Choosing the wrong distribution

Installing the Linux operating system (or «distribution», short for «distribution») on a microSD card is simple and easier than doing it on a desktop computer or laptop.

5 Raspberry Pi Mistakes Beginners Should Avoid muo diy raspizero jessie

But it can be confusing. A simple scale of options means you can easily install a distribution that doesn’t suit your purposes. Even worse, if you’re using some sort of beginner’s guide, chances are it will apply to Raspbian, the main Raspberry Pi Linux distribution.

While there are many versions of Linux for the Raspberry Pi, we recommend that you stick with Raspbian Jessie with its slick PIXEL desktop environment. This can be downloaded for free from the Raspberry Pi website. Please note that most of our tutorials can be completed remotely via an SSH connection. . However, the latest version of Raspbian now disables SSH by default, so you either need to boot from your keyboard and monitor first and then use the config utility to enable it, or after writing the image to your microSD card, simply add an empty file called «ssh» to the boot section.

However, if you want to consider an alternative, take a look at one offered through the NOOBS installer. This is a tool that makes installation much easier, but again, we recommend starting with Raspbian Jessie

Get out of the deep

On a similar note, you shouldn’t rush into a project that you don’t have ready or are unsure of completion. First of all, you will need the correct version of the operating system — using the wrong version of Linux, and following some instructions will lead you to a dead end. Make sure the OS you are using matches the one in the manual.

5 Raspberry Pi Mistakes Beginners Should Avoid muo diy robot pi

Most importantly, stay within your limits for at least the first few days of using your Raspberry Pi. Choose projects that allow you to expand and develop your abilities that you can digest and learn from. Once you have the necessary experience, you should feel comfortable moving on to other more advanced projects.

Use any old power supply

Returning to the previous point about cables and peripherals, it is very important to use a power supply with the correct specification.

5 Raspberry Pi Mistakes Newbies Should Avoid

Although the Raspberry Pi itself does not draw more than 1A under load, it is recommended to use a quality 2.5A power supply, especially when using USB peripherals. If the USB cable you’re using isn’t capable of carrying it reliably, or the AC adapter isn’t strong enough (or poorly designed and therefore inefficient), then your Pi may not work properly. It might not even load. Damaged SD cards are likely due to slow, sluggish or non-existent performance.

Whether you’re using a mains power source or a battery or other portable power source, make sure it — and the cable — matches the requirements for your Raspberry Pi model. This way you can be sure that your Pi will be stable throughout the current project.

If you’re going to be using power-hungry USB peripherals, you may also need to connect them via a powered USB hub rather than connecting them through the Pi’s ports.

Attack with soldering iron

Speaking of knowing your limits, there’s really no reason to solder anything directly for larger Pi models (although «zero Pi» is a different story). Instead, use the HAT extensions located on the GPIO array. or a drop cable that allows you to work with a breadboard instead. For more permanent projects, the perma-proto board allows you to solder components in place and then tie them to GPIO pins.

Weller Soldering Iron and Station

As with any computer, shorting the wrong GPIO pins can cause your Raspberry Pi to become credit card-sized junk. Sure, it may be an inexpensive computer, but its inherent charm will make it a tragic moment.

An understanding of soldering and electronics would be vital before embarking on any project that requires a soldering iron!

Get the most out of your Raspberry Pi

As you can see, there are a few steps you need to take to ensure your Raspberry Pi is running successfully. Just remember that while this is an inexpensive computer, it shouldn’t be treated as such. Don’t buy cheap equipment, make sure it has the power you need, and treat it with respect.

Have you experienced any beginner issues with your Raspberry Pi? How did you overcome them? Tell us about it in the comments.

Image Credit: studiovin via, Multicherry via Wikimedia Commons

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