Raspberry Pi

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What is Raspberry Pi (RPi)?

A small ARM based single board computer which uses a Linux operating system.  ARM processors are used in many items such as smart phones, tablet PC, Routers etc.
The Raspberry Pi is built around the BCM2835 ARM processor made by Broadcom and was developed in the UK by the Raspberry Pi Foundation. The RPi was and still is intended as an educational based system but has become popular with hobbyists of all ages and all levels of ability or technical knowhow.

The RPi is now available in 7 models A, A+, B & B+ & Model 2 (B). Zero They are sold at fixed prices of $25 US for model A, $20 for model A+ & $35 US for model B or B+ & Model 2, $5 for Zero..... plus S&H and taxes if any.
I expect the A version will be discontinued. B version will be made as long as there is a demand.

They are sold only by a few specific distributors. See the RPi web site for a vendor list.
RPi's being sold by other vendors such as Amazon, Ebay etc. were bought from one of the official RPi distributors and resold.

The official Raspberry Pi WIKI page is here

Other official items: 7" Touchscreen Display, Camera modules.  2 cameras types are available.  A standard camera and an IR camera at a fixed prise of $25.00 US each. The camera module is directly connected to a special ribbon port on the RPi board. (Only 1 camera can be attached to the RPi).

What the RPi is not:
When first reported by the news media, you might have been led to believe you would get a complete computer system to do everything you can do on a desktop or laptop for only $35. This is not the case.
The RPi is not a gaming computer (simple arcade games do work fine).
The RPi is not a power web users machine. The OS image software includes a couple of web browsers.  No in browser 'Flash' video. Java enabled web sites work but task the CPU to the max and are slow. Non Java browsing works OK.
You can purchase video CODECs which will allow you play MPEG2 video. The CODECs are registered to a RPi boards serial number and can not be used with a different RPi board. See RPi web site  for details.

RPi a Learning Tool
With some patience and a willingness to 'tinker' and learn new things, you will have an enjoyable fun experience with the RPi.
The possibilities are endless. Some popular projects include a web server, Media or NAS server, Remote camera controller, Robot control. etc etc.
A set of General Purpose Input Output pins (GPIO) are available on the RPi board to make it possible to add your own circuits and with programming make things happen... Turn on LED lights, control a stepper  motor. etc etc.
The RPi is useful as a learning tool for programming as well.

RPi as a General Purpose Computer
If you don't have a special project in mind then the RPi makes a great 2nd + computer to do light web browsing, email etc. 
I have even loaded and run Libre Office on a RPi.

Model B Rev 2 shown here
RPi Rev2

Feature Model A
Model B
Model A+
Model   B+
 Model 2 (B)
HDMI Out with audio
Processor Speed MHz7007007007009001000 
Composite  (Output to TV)
USB 2.0 Ports
Memory MB (Not upgradeable)
Network 10/100 (RJ45)
Audio Out 3.5mm Stereo
GPIO (General Purpose In/Out port)
26 pin
26 pin
40 pin40 pin40 pin40 pin
Micro USB Power Jack
Status LED's (Power, network etc.)
SD Card Slot
1 SD
1 SD
1 micro SD1 micro SD1 micro SD1
DSI connection (LCD Display)
11 1110
CSI connection for camera11 11 10
* Note the newer model B rev 2 boards have 512 MB memory. Older Model B rev 1 boards had 256 MB.  Beware of that when you go to purchase a board.
** The A+ and B+ boards have combined audio and video out into a single 3.5mm (4 ring) jack. Use with a 'camcorder' type AV cable.

 Model 2 (B) Changes / Enhancements:
 B+ Model Changes / Enhancements Compared to Model B:
A+ Model Changes / Enhancements Compared to Model A:

At a minimum you will need the following additional equipment:
Expect costs of these items to add an extra $30 to $60 US not including a monitor/TV.

Other Recommended Items:

Optional Items:
Optional Infrastructure:

Handling Precautions:
The Raspberry Pi board has exposed circuitry and electronic components which are subject to irreparable damage or destruction by static electricity.
You don't have to see, hear or feel a static discharge. Damage can be done without knowing it.
Damage is not always instantaneous.  ESD related failure can show up days or months later.
You must take anti static ESD precautions as you would with all exposed electronic circuits such as memory cards, motherboards,  peripheral cards etc.

Also do not allow metal objects to come into contact with a powered on RPi board, especially the GPIO pins.

Getting Started:
I suggest that you take notes as you go along so you can redo everything if you run into problems and have to re-image the disk.
This writeup is based on using the Raspbian 'weezy' image. If not using that image you will encounter some differences such as login password etc.
See links below for step by step instructions on how to make an image on your SD card.

Shutting Down or Rebooting:
Note that the RPi does not have a power on/off button or switch. You must plug / unplug your power supply to power the system on or off.
Before pulling the plug however, the RPi should be properly shut down to prevent data loss.

Shutting down or rebooting from GUI:
If in GUI just go the menu and choose shutdown or reboot.

Shutting down from command prompt:

 To shutdown enter: sudo shutdown -h now
 To reboot enter: sudo shutdown -r now

The system will take some time to completely shut down. If you watch the Status LED's the green LED will flicker some then make 10 distinctive flashes. You can remove power after the 10 flashes.

How to:
(Some basic beginner tutorials)

Projects Current and Planned:

Raspberry Pi is a trademark of the Raspberry Pi Foundation

This is not an official site of the Raspberry Pi Foundation

Questions or Comments Email here

Last updated  Jan 23, 2016