It’s not a fruit pie, but the Raspberry Pi is amazing in its own way. Heard a lot about this little computer, but have no idea what it’s really about? Here’s what you need to know.

everything you need to know about Raspberry Pi

Maybe small, but the Raspberry Pi is capable of a lot. This is why there is so much information about the computer and this is where things can get confusing.

We’ll help you get to grips with all things pi-flavored by looking at:

  • What is Raspberry Pi? (including Pi 3 and Pi Zero)
  • Where can I buy a Raspberry Pi
  • Projects you can run on the Pi
  • How to turn on Raspberry Pi
  • How to set up the Pi
  • What to do for SSH in Raspberry Pi
  • How to Program on Raspberry Pi

What’s the Raspberry Pi deal?

Released in 2013, the Raspberry Pi is a credit card-sized computer originally designed to encourage the teaching of computer science in schools. Also equipped with GPIO pins and USB ports, the computer went through several iterations.

At the time of this writing, the Raspberry Pi 3 is the mainstream version, although the Raspberry Pi Zero W is also a slim alternative.

everything you need to know about Raspberry Pi

One of the most interesting things about the Raspberry Pi is that it is a British designed computer. I was lucky enough to visit the headquarters of the Foundation in Cambridge in 2014 and meet founder Eben Upton before visiting the production line in South Wales.

The Raspberry Pi continues the British tradition in computing: it’s built using the ARM architecture, and its ease of use to interface with other hardware is reminiscent of the Sinclair computers of the 1980s.

Of course it has competitors and it’s more complicated than the Arduino (and often used when a simpler solution fits). But the Raspberry Pi is an amateur’s dream. Perfect for tinkerers and programmers alike, it’s available for around $35, though you’ll find a Pi with all the hardware you need for a bit more.

Projects you can do with Raspberry Pi

Its small size, low power consumption, and use of Linux operating systems (usually Raspbian) have led to the Pi being accepted as the solution to many problems.

However, it is also widely used as a media center as well as a retro gaming device. There are many ways to use the Raspberry Pi, it can be a little overwhelming.

Think of it this way: think about how flexible your desktop computer is. Then scale that flexibility down to a credit card-sized device.

everything you need to know about Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi does just about everything from monitoring your network to running a print server for older printers. Oh, that was in space too: a Raspberry Pi was brought aboard the International Space Station by British astronaut Major Tim Peake in 2016.

In short, there are many different projects you can do with your Raspberry Pi.

Where can I buy a Raspberry Pi?

Millions of Raspberry Pi computers have been produced and can be purchased from many places online and offline. But if you want as soon as possible, the best place is the Amazon.

Here you can choose between a single Pi or a set with a case, cables, and a microSD card. If you choose the former, you’ll need to make sure you already have these components.

What is Raspberry Pi 3?

As noted, the current version of the computer is the Raspberry Pi 3. This device, released in 2016, has hardware that surpasses previous versions (and even the Raspberry Pi Zero). It features a 1.2GHz quad-core ARM processor, 64-bit ARM processor, 1GB of RAM (which is shared with the GPU), and built-in wireless and Bluetooth.

everything you need to know about Raspberry Pi

All Raspberry Pis require a microSD card to install the operating system, although it is possible to boot the Pi 3 from USB.

The Raspberry Pi 3 has four USB ports, an Ethernet board, and an HDMI video output. There is also a TRRS 3.5mm connector and a MIPI display interface for connecting an LCD (a touch screen device is especially suitable), as well as a MIPI camera interface for connecting a camera.

Clearly, this is a powerful little box of tricks. The hardware specification even makes the Raspberry Pi 3 ideal as a basic desktop replacement.

Don’t buy an older Raspberry Pi! We’ve previously covered the reasons why it’s time to upgrade to the Raspberry Pi 3.

What about Raspberry Pi Zero?

The first release of the Raspberry Pi Zero, released for just $5 in 2015, is a smaller version of the Raspberry Pi without Ethernet and USB ports and GPIO pins. If you need to use a GPIO, you can either attach your own or solder directly to the header holes.

everything you need to know about Raspberry Pi

Nearly everything has been shortened, reducing the board’s width and height. There is one USB micro B port, as well as a similar power port. There is also a Mini-HDMI for video and audio output.

The basic version of the Raspberry Pi Zero is available for less than $10, although you should check out the Raspberry Pi Zero W. This wireless variant has built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, just like the Raspberry Pi 3.

Meanwhile, if you want a narrow Raspberry Pi but also need GPIO pins, the Raspberry Pi Zero WH was released in late 2017.

Are you unsure whether to buy a Raspberry Pi 3 or a Pi Zero? Check out our comparison more.

How to set up your Raspberry Pi

Setting up the Raspberry Pi is quite simple, but different from connecting a standard PC. And it’s completely different from using a laptop or smartphone.

everything you need to know about Raspberry Pi

First you need to make sure that the keyboard, mouse and display are connected. You will also need to flash a copy of Raspbian to a microSD card using your desktop PC. Without this, the Raspberry Pi computer will not work!

With all that done, it’s time to plug in your Raspberry Pi and watch a whole new world of computing open up to you. Log in with default credentials — username pi and password raspberries — then change them!

You’ll find a suite of apps and tools (even a custom copy Minecraft ) to help you get started, including LibreOffice, the Chromium browser, and various programming utilities. It’s also worth looking into the Raspberry Pi configuration tool, raspi-config. .

How to turn on Raspberry Pi?

Turning on the Raspberry Pi means connecting the power cable. This should be either from an official adapter (or other reliable device) or a power source for portable projects.

Once the cable is connected, the Pi will boot up. There is no power switch.

The Raspberry Pi 3 is best equipped with a reliable connector that delivers the required 2.5A; as long as the power supply provides it, you should have trouble-free operation. But how do you turn off your Raspberry Pi?

Because the Pi doesn’t have a power switch (you can add one just as easily as installing a reset switch), you need to power off the Pi via the desktop.

This can be done by selecting the Shutdown / Restart option, or by opening a command prompt and typing:

sudo shutdown -h 

This is just one of many Raspberry Pi commands you should know.

Raspberry Pi remote control with SSH, VNC or RDP

everything you need to know about Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi needs a display, as well as a mouse and keyboard to interact with it. But it doesn’t have to be related. Instead, you can simply plug your Raspberry Pi into your router and connect remotely.

Three remote access options are available:

  • SSH: This is a text option for using your Raspberry Pi without headphones .
  • VNC: A remote desktop option that requires a VNC server on the Pi and a client on your PC.
  • RDP: Another Remote Desktop Service, this time using the Microsoft Remote Desktop Protocol.

We have explained how to set up all three remote control options on In particular, using SSH can save you a lot of time, especially if you switch operating systems regularly.

You can even enable SSH on your Raspberry Pi before using the computer. While the microSD card is still in your PC, navigate to the /boot/ directory (if you’re using Windows, this is the only part of the microSD card you’ll be able to see) and right-click in the folder window. ,

Select here New> Text Document and name it ssh. Make sure you remove the .txt extension. When your Raspberry Pi boots into Raspbian for the first time, the operating system will check for the presence of the ssh file and enable it.

You can then connect remotely via SSH using a suitable application (PuTTY is popular on Windows) and the default username and password.

How to Program on Raspberry Pi

Another thing you’d like to know about the Raspberry Pi is that it’s a great device for learning programming skills. It doesn’t throw you straight into coding; rather, the Raspberry Pi provides more convenient tools that will make things easier for you (like Scratch.).

Raspberry Pi FAQs and answers you've been waiting for from scratch

The Raspberry Pi is a great device for kids, there is even a kid-friendly version called Kano.

This combines the Raspberry Pi with some Lego-esque principles: easy-to-hold components, a clicky case, and clear, bright instructions. If you have young children that you want to encourage into the world of computers, this is a good start.

Raspberry Pi: everything you wanted to know

While you can’t eat a Raspberry Pi, it’s a terrific little computer that can do a lot more than fill your belly and rot your teeth.

Do you need more information before deciding if the Raspberry Pi is right for you? Check out our dedicated guide to

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