Getting started with Raspberry Pi

All of my smart home projects are currently controlled from a Raspberry Pi. I’m using the Raspberry Pi 4 although older versions may still work.

If you want to use a Raspberry Pi as the control centre for your own home automation projects, or for anything else, you’ll need the following components:

If you’ve got some of the parts available already that’s great but The Pi Hut sell a starter kit with everything you need to get started with your first Raspberry Pi

If you opt for The Pi Hut Starter Kit your Pi should be ready to go with NOOBS already copied to the SD card to make the Raspbian install as straight forward as connecting the Pi to an HDMI display, powering on the Pi and following the on-screen instructions to install Raspbian. If that’s the case you can begin configuring your Raspberry Pi

If you decide against The Pi Hut Starter Kit and opt to buy your parts separately (maybe the official red and white Pi case isn’t to your taste or you want the option to store more than 16Gb on your micro SD card) the install needs a little more effort as your SD card isn’t likely to come pre-loaded with the NOOBS installer. In addition to the parts listed above you will need access to a computer (Windows, Mac or Linux is fine) and a USB SD card reader if the computer doesn’t have a card reader already built in.

Once you’ve got all the necessary parts, using your Windows/Mac/Linux machine, you’ll need to download:

NOTE: There is a wide choice of third party operating system images available but I prefer the official Raspbian image. As the 16Gb SD card has plenty of storage space for my needs I use the Raspbian image with desktop and recommended software but, depending on which projects you wish to carry out, you may find Raspbian Lite sufficient if you don’t need access to a GUI.

Once both downloads have completed:

  • Connect the SD card reader to your computer if it doesn’t have one built in
  • Insert the SD card into the reader
  • Open balenaEtcher and select from your hard drive the Raspberry Pi .zip file you have just downloaded
  • Ensure the correct SD card you wish to write your image to is selected.
  • Click ‘Flash!’ to begin writing data to the SD card.
  • When the flash process is complete remove the SD card from the card reader and insert it into the Raspberry Pi
  • Connect the Raspberry Pi to a HDMI display, keyboard and mouse and power it on.

Once powered on, you are ready to begin configuring you’re Raspberry Pi

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