My First Raspberry Pi

A few days ago I purchased the new Raspberry Pi 3 Model B, and though “why don’t I write about it?”

As many of you already know, Raspberry Pi is a mini computer (motherboard), on it you can run lightweight versions of Linux or even windows 10 IoT. Obviously it is less powerful than your standard laptop, but considering its size, it works great.

So, to start with the basics, the new Raspberry Pi 3 Model B has the following:

  • A 1.2GHz 64-bit quad-core ARMv8 CPU
  • 802.11n Wireless LAN
  • Bluetooth 4.1
  • Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)
  • 1GB RAM
  • 4 USB ports
  • 40 GPIO pins
  • Full HDMI port
  • Ethernet port
  • Combined 3.5mm audio jack and composite video
  • Camera interface (CSI)
  • Display interface (DSI)
  • Micro SD card slot (now push-pull rather than push-push)
  • VideoCore IV 3D graphics core

And according to raspberry.org Raspberry Pi 3 has complete compatibility with Raspberry Pi 1 and 2.

RPi1_2

When you buy the Raspberry Pi the box will contain only the board. So, you will need other things to run the Raspberry Pi:
RPi2

  • Case: The case is not a must to run the Raspberry Pi but it is highly recommended to use it to protect the board from dust, shocks, or conductive surfaces.
  • Power supply: You will need to find a micro USB connector power source that output 5V and at least 1.2A (the current required will depend on what you connect to the Pi, according to raspberrypi.org 1.2A will provide enough power to run the Pi).
  • Micro SD card: There is no hard drive, or internal memory (no BIOS installed) on the Raspberry Pi. The Pi will store everything in a micro SD card, and because it has no BIOS it will always boot from the SD card.
  • USB Keyboard and mouse: The raspberry Pi is a computer therefore it you will need a keyboard and a mouse to properly use it (most USB keyboard and mouse will work with the PI).
  • Display: Depending on the display you want to use you will need a HDMI cable or a composite-video cable.

You can connect your Pi 3 to the Internet either via WiFi or Ethernet, in case you are using Ethernet you will need the appropriate cable (Ethernet cable Rj-45). Optionally, you could get a heat sink or fan to keep the Pi cool.
RPi3

Like any other computer we will need to install a Operating System. There is a number of OS you can install into your Pi being Linux the most popular. You can download the image file of the OS you choose to install from: https://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/ (I downloaded Raspbian; The Linux Debian version for the Pi).
RPi4

Once you have chosen and downloaded the OS you want to install you will need to create a bootable USB. As I mentioned above the Pi boot the OS from the SD card, therefore you will need to install the OS on your SD card using the image file you downloaded. The easiest way to do so is using a Windows PC and using the program Win32DiskImager.exe to create the bootable SD. The Win32DiskImager is a free application that allows you to write images to SD cards. You just need to insert the SD card to your PC, select the image file to be written on the SD and click Write.
RPi5

After creating your bootable SD card, insert the SD in the Pi, connect the display you choose to use and plug in the power supply.
RPi6

To configure your Pi, you can open the LXTerminal and type the following command: sudo raspi-config
RPi7

The raspi-config windows will open. There are a few options you will need to configure before you start using your Pi.

  • Expand filesystem
    If you wrote the image to an SD card yourself, then part of the card will be unused. By choosing expand filesystem, you will expand your installation so that the Pi can use the rest of the space available on the SD card. You will need to reboot the Raspberry Pi. Note there is no confirmation; selecting the option begins the partition expansion immediately.
  • International Options
    By selecting International options you will be directed to a sub-menu with the following options:
    RPi8

    • Change Locale: Here you can select your locale to select your language and character encoding preferences.
    • Change Timezone: Here you can configure your local time zone starting with your region (Asia), then selecting a city (Tokyo). You can type the first letter to speedup the search.
      RPi9
    • Change Keyboard Layout: This option will open another menu for selecting your keyboard layout. The default keyboard in Debian (Linux OS) is the English layout, if you have a English keyboard you don’t need to change this. However in my case, I am using a Japanese keyboard. To change the layout select the Generic 105-key (Intl) PC then choose Other and Japanese.
      RPi10

You will have other options in the raspi-config windows, to review each option you can check the following page: https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentation/configuration/raspi-config.md

After you configuring your Pi, you are ready to start using it.

In my case I did one more thing. I need to be able to write Japanese characters with my Pi. To do so, just type the following commands on the terminal:

To update your Debian OS
sudo apt-get update
Then, install the Japanese fonts with:
sudo apt-get install fonts-ipaexfont
Finally install the software to input Japanese characters:
sudo apt-get install uim uim-mozc
RPi11

Now, you can type Japanese with your Pi.
RPi12

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