Getting Started with the Raspberry Pi 2 (things you’ll need)

Working with your Raspberry Pi 2 isn’t as easy as popping it out of the box and starting it up. There’s a little work involved to get it going. It’s very easy to do if you have everything set, and a handy guide like this. You can start working with your new Raspberry Pi board out of the box within the hour.

Here is our list of parts we think you need to get started, with links included for products we have bought and are happy with:

1. Raspberry Pi 2 Model B

2. Micro SD Card (These are larger and have adapters to work with your PC, if needed.)

3. Micro USB to USB cord (with wall plug adapter recommended)

4. HDMI Cable

5. HDMI-capable monitor

6. USB WiFi Dongle

7. USB Mouse and Keyboard

We ordered our Raspberry Pi 2 Model B from MCM Electronics for $35 and $5.99 shipping. As of the date of this post, you can order it for $35 with $4.99 shipping. It can be found here: http://www.mcmelectronics.com/content/en-US/raspberry-pi

This is the cheapest price we could find, and probably the cheapest price there is, although you are free to shop around. The service was without issue. We ordered the board on Monday and received it that Friday. (We are in New York City.)

Be aware (unlike us), this product does not come with a Micro SD card. We opened the package expecting to get right to work and were disappointed to see that we did not have everything we needed. (For that matter, if you don’t have a USB to Micro USB, or Micro USB wall adapter, you will also be disappointed. See: http://www.raspyfi.com/the-best-raspberry-pi-power-supply/)

We ordered an 8 GB SD card from Amazon for $6.20. We have Prime so it showed up a couple days later.  We also suggest that you get an adapter to hook up to your PC, or a bigger MicroSD card if you would like. Be aware: the formatting for a Raspberry Pi Micro SD card, Fat32, can only handle up to a 32 GB Micro SD card. That is your limit. We have also read that backing up your projects is very important, as mistakes like popping out the MicroSD card or powering off the Raspberry Pi 2 without a full shutdown, on accident, commonly forces you to reformat (clearing) your MicroSD card. For only a couple dollars more than what we paid for 8 GB you can get a 16 GB MicroSD card with an SD or USB adapter. Amazon Product Link

We started working with the board expecting to hook it up to the PC with an ethernet cable and leeching internet from the host computer.  This became a much more complicated project than we expected, so we ended up buying a “plug n’ play” USB WiFi Dongle from Amazon. We highly recommend this product. Our router is about 50 feet away and through a wall. This little thing gets better reception than the full USB antennae on our desktop at the same distance.

The board recognizes the device automatically and we set up the connection through the GUI. A good tutorial can be found here. Scroll down to “Desktop Setup”. Basically, the only thing you need to know is your WiFi router password.

Since you’re probably just getting started with a Raspberry Pi board, you’ll most likely be using Raspbian. This comes with its own graphical user interface (GUI, desktop) that is very similar to the Linux ones, as they are both open-source Unix based OS. Because you are probably going to, or want to, begin by working with the GUI, then we also recommend that you have an HDMI cable and an HDMI-capable monitor. This way you can simply hook up the board to a monitor. Along with that and a USB mouse and keyboard, you can begin using your Raspberry Pi much like a regular computer.

Before all that, you have to set up your Micro SD card and install the OS. We will cover these steps in a following post, but those links are a great resource and are all you really need.

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Hello world!

Since purchasing and tinkering with a Raspberry Pi 2 since March 2015, we have finally got around to developing this blog in order to keep a good record of everything we have done so far. This website is for ourselves and the community.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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