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Getting started with the Raspberry Pi 4

28 August 2019

In the second part of this exclusive series, Sven Pannewitz, Product Manager, reichelt elektronik, talks you through getting started with the Raspberry Pi 4.

Since its release in early 2012, more than 23 million Raspberry Pi boards have been sold worldwide, and not without reason. While other manufacturers have brought single board computers onto the market in recent years, some of which have even attracted attention with better hardware, no other manufacturer has even come close to the popularity of the Raspberry Pi.

The open source computer is backed by a huge worldwide community that provides advice and support, develops project ideas and publishes ready-made concepts in forums or on video platforms. And the community is getting larger as more people are buying models of the mini-computer. 

The types of projects makers and hobbyists are developing is changing as technology is changing. With the rise of smarter gadgets and devices for the home and workplace, the projects that makers are choosing to create are getting smarter too, especially in-home automation. This is thanks to the versatility of the Raspberry Pi and how it can be used effectively in so many different ways. Whether it’s creating a retro games console or upgrading some old speakers to making a smart security camera or smart door bell, the Raspberry Pi can do it all. 

But now we come to the new Raspberry Pi 4 and its clear added value compared to its predecessors. Usually, new Raspberry Pi releases are a little faster with one or two extra features compared to previous iterations, but the 4 makes a huge technical leap forward.

This time the Raspberry Pi Foundation is not only releasing a new Raspberry Pi, but three different models at the same time, although the only difference here is the amount of RAM.

In my previous article on the new Raspberry Pi 4 last week, I looked at how the mini-PC finally brings more RAM, fast Gigabit LAN, USB 3.0, 4K resolution for two monitors, a USB-C charging socket and greater speed to the table. These new capabilities open up even more technology avenues to explore and the best part is, everyone can use a Raspberry Pi, even if it’s just at home for surfing the internet. But where do you start?

What you need to get started

There are a few pieces of hardware and software to install to ensure your mini-PC functions seamlessly: 

• Micro SD card with Raspbian installed
• USB keyboard
• USB mouse
• Power supply
• Monitor
• Micro to HDMI cable 

Usefully, the RPi also has an audio jack, ethernet port for internet connectivity and USB and micro USB ports for all your devices. 

Setting up your Raspberry Pi

1. Install Raspbian via NOOBS to your Micro SD card. This is an easy process and you can download the software from www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/. Simply download the zip folder and copy and paste onto the SD card. Make sure you insert the SD card before connecting and booting up the board. 
2. Connect screen, mouse and keyboard via any of the USB ports. 
3. Connect to the internet wirelessly or via the ethernet cable. 
4. Connect the power supply to boot up your RPi. At this point you should see the RPi display appear on your monitor. 
5. A set up guide will automatically launch. Follow the step by step process as directed. You will need to set the internet source, language, time zones etc. It’s also a good opportunity to set a secure password if you are connecting to your WiFi. 

Your Raspberry Pi is now set up and ready to run. It’s important to note that Raspberry Pi uses an operating system called Linux – this differs to Windows and Macs. It works by typing in commands rather than clicking and searching menu options as you may be used to on ‘traditional’ sized computers. 

By following this simple set up guide, you can begin to explore the capabilities of the 4th generation of Raspberry Pi. What project will you create next?

Stay tuned for the third and final part of this exclusive series, where Sven Pannewitz will go through four great uses of the Raspberry Pi.


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