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(Parent page for this and other small getting started with Raspberry Pi tutorials)

I have notes for translators, if you would add a translation.

What you need to start enjoying

Raspberry Pi

filename: pt0FirstBuy.htm

To start with the Raspberry Pi by the path I would suggest, you need the following. I'll give you the information in two sections- the minimum "stuff", and some recommended "extras". The prices were right August 2018, before p &p or taxes. If I've put a question mark, it is because I'm quoting the price for something cheap and cheerful. You might want to pay a bit more for better quality.

Note what I said in my main Pi help getting started page: There are many paths you could take to Pi Bliss... this is just one of many.

Main things you need

In many cases, you could easily already have something suitable. Also, if it turns out that Pi is not for you, remember that many of the following will have usefulness elsewhere.

Pi: Model 3 B. First of all, be aware: Pi's come in models 1, 2 and 3. In some cases, there are "A" and "B" variants of a given model.

If you are just starting with Pi's, and don't have a 3 B, despite what I said about not spending money, do yourself a favor. The $40 will be well spent, for saving you the frustrations of having to figure out when something current applies to you and when it doesn't. Some of the earlier Pi's were a pain to hook up to keyboards and mice. When you are no longer a complete beginner, you will have the foundations in place to use one of the earlier, more limited Pi's, too. But why struggle when you are new?

microSD card: You'll probably also want the adapter that usually comes with them, a "thing" that looks like an SD card, but has a slot which the microSD card can be plugged into.

16 Gig minimum, Class 10 minimum.

"preferably with the install image...". You're a beginner. You have enough challenges before you. Spend a few bucks to avoid one challenge: By a card which is ready to go into a new Pi, and set things up. Any Pi supplier has them. My advice: Start with the Raspbian operating system. You may see a mention of "NOOBS", too. It is the operating system INSTALLER. I believe if you see "NOOBS", you can assume that Raspbian will be one of the options open to you. (It may be the only one! (but just ignore them, for now, if there are others.)) If you see "Raspbian", I believe there will also be something... probably NOOBs... to install it. (These are "complicated" issues that we can more or less ignore, at this point, if we get a microSD card "with OS". "With OS" will almost certainly be enough to identify something suitable. And if Raspbian isn't present, you can try again... an extra microSD card will never go unloved for long.)

Monitor to be driven from an HDMI signal. It doesn't have to be fancy. Just the other day a friend GAVE me a monitor. It only had a VGA input, but you can buy adapters to derive a VGA signal from an HDMI signal. (If you try the adapter route, try to find an adapter that is powered separately, not from the HDMI port. It may work. It may not. Don't tear too much hair before just getting an HDMI monitor!)

Adequate Power Supply: I bought a "starter kit" from a good source. It came with a 2.7 amp power supply.

Highly desirable other bits and pieces

If you have a home network, a LAN, that will open things up. I prefer, at least initially, to connect things via a cable. Look at your "internet box". Are there extra sockets for ethernet cables? If so, a Pi 3 B can simply be plugged in, if you buy a cable. ($8?) Or, either initially or afterwards, you might connect your Pi to your internet box via WiFi.

An easy way to connect stuff to the GPIO headers...

This can be achieved all sorts of ways. I like the "Pi Wedge" from Sparkfun. $10.

To go with that, you'll need a breadboard with at least 20 columns. E.g. Sparkfun's PRT-00112 (60 columns, posts for power, $10)

And some bits and pieces... solid wire, buttons, LEDs, resistors

I'd recommend an enclosure for your Pi... as much to protect the connectors from "tear them from the board" forces, as to cover things that you really don't want shorted out by inadvertent contact with something metal on your desk. The Sparkfun "Pi Tin" is well made, without any silly frills. $5, I think it costs. There are others, of course.

As you may have guessed, I'm leading up to suggesting a Pi Starter Kit. Again, I will recommend Sparkfun not because a family member works there, but because I have found them a great source of Stuff for years. Not the cheapest, but their goods never let me down, it is a "one stop shop", etc, etc. Their kit (14644) really is a very intelligently chosen selection. It includes the "FDTI" adapter that I am not going to discuss, but which you would need for "headless" use of the Pi... something many will want to do.

The Sparkfun kit... be sure you order "14644", not "13826" (that's "only" a Pi 3, not a Pi 3 B+"!)... costs $90. A lot of money. But you'll have the things you need, other than the keyboard, mouse, monitor, cable to monitor and ethernet cable. If you bought...

... separately, you'd be looking at about $82. And you'd have the hassle of placing the orders. And you wouldn't be SURE they were all right for each other. AND the kit gives you that and more... the FTDI connector (and it's cable), buttons, LEDs, resistors, jumper wires.

One other "nice to have" item, not in the kit: a second microSD card. As long as it is at least 16G and Class 10, any one will do. Or go for a 32G card.

I'm assuming that you will also have an "ordinary" computer available. Linux, Windows, Mac... any will do. (There's a task relating to the microSD cards that, while optional, I would recommend. And then there's the fact that if you can use the computer you are used to to read stuff (like this!) as you get to know your Pi, it will make it all so much easier for you!

Hope that helped?

I hope that was helpful. Getting started is always so tedious. This page was just "a sidebar" off of my main "Getting started with Raspberry Pi" page. Feel free to contact me (see below) with comments, suggestions, questions... save the next reader being confused by something? Please cite this page's URI, if you do: pi0FirstBuy.htm.


Please remember that this material is copyright. (TK Boyd, 2018) There are further notes in this page's parent page.

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