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Raspberry PI : Crash Course

 

“The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card-sized single-board computer developed in the UK by the Raspberry Pi Foundation with the intention of promoting the teaching of basic computer science in schools.”

-from Wikipedia

Raspberry Pi is an ARM cortex based board developed for Electronic Engineers and Computer Hobbyists. It’s a Single Board Computer(SOC) working on low power. With the processing speed and memory, Raspberry Pi can be used for performing different functions at a time, like a normal PC, and hence it is called Mini Computer in your palm.

The module finds its own applications in video, image and in audio processing. High end processing features can be applied on this pocket computer and with such an added compatibility feature the Raspberry Pi to make a difficult project in simple and easier way.

Why Raspberry Pi?

Its tiny form-factor and incredible price make it irresistible to anyone who’s interested in understanding how computers work, or those who want something small, powerful and flexible to tinker with. As it has an ARMv7 processor, it can run the full range of ARM GNU/Linux distributions, including Snappy Ubuntu Core, as well as Microsoft Windows 10(lite version) and other Linux based OS.

Types of Raspberry Pi boards

There are different types of Raspberry Pi boards available in the market now, with Raspberry Pi 2 Model B being the most popular but Raspberry Pi 3 Model B / B+ is the latest in this category; it is almost similar to Raspberry Pi 2 Model B, with some advance feature like on board Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, more powerful CPU etc.

1. Raspberry Pi 1 Model B (Apr-Jun 2012)     

2. Raspberry Pi 1 Model A (Feb 2013)

3. Raspberry Pi 1 Model B+ (July 2014)          

4. Raspberry Pi 1 Model A+ (Nov 2014)

5. Raspberry Pi 2 Model B (Feb 2015)            

 6. Raspberry Pi Zero (Nov 2015)

7. Raspberry Pi 3 Model B (Feb 2016)

 

We will discuss few characteristics of “Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+” now.

Specification: Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+

  •  Broadcom BCM2837, a quad-core 1.2GHz 64-bit ARMv8-A Cortex-A53 Processor             powered Single Board Computer
  •  It is provided with 1GB RAM for the compact running of bigger and more powerful           applications.
  •  3rd party add-on boards are also supported as the extension to this .
  •  Fully HAT (Hardware Attached on Top) compatible.
  •  40 pins extended GPIO to enhance your “real world” projects. GPIO is 100%     compatible  with the Model B+ and A+ boards. First 26 pins are identical to the Model   A  and Model B boards to provide full backward compatibility across all boards.
  •  Connect a Raspberry Pi camera and touch screen display
  •  Stream and watch Hi-definition video output at 1080P
  •  Supports Video Core clocked at 400MHz for video processing and the 3D graphics   processor running at 300MHz .
  •  Micro SD slot for storing information and loading your operating systems.
  •  Advanced power management: You can provide up to 5V 3 AMP(recommended) via         micro USB port by using adapter .
  •  10/100 Ethernet Port to quickly connect the Raspberry Pi to the Internet
  •  Combined 4-pole jack for connecting your stereo audio out and composite video out.
  •  Have on board Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. The WiFi is compatible with 2.4GHz       802.11 b/g/n networks and the Bluetooth 4.1 supports BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy)         both are supplied by the BCM43438 ( This feature is not available in its previous version)

Quick Comparison :

The Raspberry Pi 3 offers a really nice jump in performance from the Pi 2, which itself was the biggest leap we’d seen so far in the life of Pi. The CPU performance is about 60% faster than the Pi 2. It’s worth remembering that as software is optimized for the new processor it should be able to flex its 64-bit credentials more and increase the performance gap further. Memory speed seems improved, although these benchmarks no doubt also benefit from the boost in CPU performance.

The on-board Wireless LAN and Bluetooth will undoubtedly be the biggest talking point though and, it shows very similar performance to the Official Raspberry Pi USB WiFi dongle, with transfer speeds of up to about 40MBit/sec. All in all, the Raspberry Pi 3 is a very worthy successor to the Pi 2

OS Installation Guide:

To get started with Raspberry Pi you need an operating system which can be downloaded from Downloads section of Raspberry Pi official website or follow the link given below

https://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/

All the supporting OS for the RASPBEERY PI are listed, where you will find official and third party OS.  You can download and install any OS on Pi which is listed there.

Here, we are going to download official supported Operating System for Raspberry Pi, which is “Raspbian”. But, for beginner it is recommended to go for NOOBS (New Out Of the Box Software) which is an easy operating system install manager for the Raspberry Pi.

Steps

1.Getting OS
  • Using a computer with an SD card reader, visit the Downloads page.
  • Click on the Download ZIP button under ‘NOOBS (offline and network install)’, and select a folder to save it to.
  • Extract the files from the zip.
2. Format your SD card

We recommend a minimum 8-GB class 4 SD card(16-GB Class 4/10 preferable). It is best to format your SD card before copying the NOOBS files onto it. To do this:

 Recommended Way

  1. Visit the SD Association’s website and download SD Formatter 4.0 for either Windows or Mac.
  2. Follow the instructions to install the software.
  3. Insert your SD card into the computer or laptop’s SD card reader and make a note of the drive letter allocated to it, e.g. F:/
  4. In SD Formatter, select the drive letter for your SD card and format it.

Simple Way

3. Drag and drop NOOBS files
  1. Once your SD card has been formatted, drag all the files in the extracted NOOBS folder and drop them onto the SD card drive.
  2. The necessary files will then be transferred to your SD card.
  3. When this process has finished, safely remove the SD card and insert it into your Raspberry PI

 

First Boot
    1. Plug in your keyboard, mouse and monitor cables.
    2. Now plug in the USB power cable to your Pi so a red led will glow which indicates the power.
    3. Your Raspberry Pi will boot, and a window will appear with a list of different operating systems that you can install.
    4. Raspbian is an Debian based OS  created for  Pi hardware. It is a user friendly OS, it comes with over 36,000 packages, pre-compiled and arranged in a suitable manner for easy installation on your Raspberry Pi hardware. So we recommend that you use Raspbian – tick the box next to Raspbian and click on install.

Raspbian will then run through its installation process. It can take around 15-30 minutes or even more for first boot up.

When the install process has completed, the system will reboot and you are ready to go for your credit size computer

.

Make your projects , from here on !

Warnings:

  •  Preferable  to use an  external power supply rated at 5V DC, and a minimum current of 600-1800 mA.
  • It should be used in a well ventilated encloser and, if used inside a case, it should not be covered and have a duct fan (if possible).
  • It should be placed on a  non-conductive flat surface in use and should not be contacted by conductive items, as it short the board.
  • The connection of incompatible devices to the GPIO connector may affect compliance or result in damage to the unit and invalidate the warranty.
  • Connecting peripherals should be provided with proper insulation from an conducting surface or such.

To avoid malfunction or damage to your Raspberry Pi :

  • Do not expose it to water, moisture or place on a conductive surface at its on condition.
  • As it is designed to work on normal room temperature, do not expose it to any heat source.
  • Handle with care to avoid mechanical or electrical damage to the printed circuit board and connectors.
  • Avoid handling the printed circuit board while it is powered. Only handle by the edges to minimize the risk of electrostatic discharge damage.
  • The Raspberry Pi is not designed to be powered from a mini USB port on other connected equipment, if this is attempted it may malfunction.

Configuring Raspberry Pi 3 : WiFi and Bluetooth

The latest model of PI i.e. Raspberry Pi 3 comes with built in wireless connectivity over WiFi and Bluetooth BLE. Here, we will go through the steps for setting up your Pi 3 WiFi via GUI and terminal command window, and connecting a Bluetooth device like a speaker to play audio. The steps will be similar for both the previous versions of Raspberry Pi (PI 2 and Model B+ , which requires USB Dongles for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Connectivity.

Setting up Wi-Fi via the Graphical User Interface

Before starting, kindly make sure that you have the latest version of Raspbian OS or any third party updated OS running on Raspberry Pi. If, you are confused about OS Installation then you can also follow the steps provided in our ‘Raspberry Pi : Crash Course’ blog  to complete the installation.  Once, you have the latest version of the OS installed on your PI hardware then follow the steps, as given here:

Step 1:  Go to the top most right corner of your home screen (desktop) and click on the network icon to see the list of available networks. From there you can see all the available networks in the vicinity of the Pi

Step 2: From the drop down list select the desired Wi-Fi SSID (network’s name)

Step 3: A dialogue box will appear that will ask you Wi-Fi password, type it into the text box and click Ok. That’s all, you are connect to the Wi-Fi network. You should now see your network’s signal strength displayed in the upper task bar on the right.

 

Setting up Wi-Fi via the Command Line Interface

You can follow this method, if you don’t have access to the GUI that is if you don’t have a monitor or display screen connected with Pi and you are using serial console cable to command the Pi. No additional software is required for this; everything is already included on the standard Raspberry Pi image.

 Step 1: First, you have to scan for local wireless networks using the command :

sudo iwlist wlan0 scan

This will list all available Wi-Fi networks with all sorts of other useful information like its IP address, Ports, etc.

Step 2: From the list find your Network’s Name(SSID); which will be listed next to ESSID.

Step 3: Under the ESSID you should also see your authentication method, which could look like the following IEEE 804.11i/WPA2 Version 2. As in this case, the authentication method is WPA2, which is the newer and more secure method; these steps will work with both WPA and WPA2 type of security

Step 4: Now you need to add your Wi-Fi settings to the wpa-supplicant configuration file. Type the following in the command line to the configuration file:

sudo nano /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf

 

Go to the bottom of the file and add the following Wi-Fi setting, adding your setting in the quotation marks.

network={
ssid=”The_ESSID_from_earlier”
psk=”Your_wifi_password”
}

 

Save the file by pressing CTRL+X and then Y on the keyboard and press enter to confirm. At this point, the wpa-supplicant configuration file will normally notice within a few seconds

when a change has occurred and it will try to connect to the Wi-Fi network. If the Wi-Fi does not connect then a reboot maybe required with sudo reboot . Once your Wi-Fi has connected successfully you can verify it by typing ifconfig wlan0; if the inet addr field has an IP address in it then it has successfully connected.

Setting up Bluetooth :

Type help in the command line, and you can find the commands related to the Bluetooth such as paired-devices, pair, scan and other.Also, Bluetooth can be accessed in the same way through GUI as WiFi, previously.

 

By giving this command the pull up resistor is enabled, as each GPIO pin has software configurable pull-up and pull-down resistors. When the button is pressed the false state will be returned.

Figure below shows a sample code and the indication result in the python shell tab

 

With some addition of code you can perform many operation based on it.

 

Thus, in this tutorial you learned to use the basic python commands on Pi and also to use the GIPO pins as Input/Output and interface a Led and Button, which is like the first step for making electronics project with Pi.

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