Raspberry Pi

Ever dreamt of an embedded platform which is fast, power efficient, reliable and handy? Then Raspberry pi would whet your appetite. Generally pi can be specified as a mini computer which serves you to solve many a problem. You can have a web browser or can perform computing and programming without being the owner of a PC. Of course all the mentioned applications are cost effective in pi compared to the conventional PC. 

The idea of raspberry pi sprouted in the minds of the personalities Ebon Upton, Rob Mullins, Jack Lang and Alan Mycroft.  They started the venture to build a mini computer by hand and tried the same with the help of AT mega644 microcontroller clocked at 22.1 MHz and a 512K SRAM for data and frame buffer storage. 19 of Atmel’s 32 GPIO lines were used to drive the SRAM address bus. The system looked like what is shown below:

Raspberry Pi for beginners


Overview of Raspberry Pi

raspberry pi overview

The figure shows a sample raspberry pi development board. It contains the following features:

  • Micro USB power  (5V 1A DC)
  • SD card slot
  • DSI Display connector
  • GPIO headers
  • RCA video out
  • JTAG headers
  • Audio out
  • Status LEDs
  • USB 2.0
  • Ethernet out
  • CSI connector camera
  • HDMI out
  • Broadcom BCM2835 ARM11 700 MHz chip

The heart of the pi is the Broadcom 2835 System On Chip, which has the 32 bit ARM11 RISC CPU, version 6. The default clock speed is 700Mz. The kernel of the pi boots from the SD card. HDMI Out port provides the video output. Audio can be taken from both HDMI and stereo jack. Network speed of 10/100Mbps can be achieved. Raspberry model A has single USB and model B has two USB sockets. USB is expandable via regular or powered hubs. The board is powered using the micro USB plug.

GPIO Pin Diagram

Specifications of Different Models of Raspberry Pi

GPIO Pin Diagram
CPU ARM 11 family, Version 6, 700MHz ARM 11 family, Version 6, 700MHz ARM 11 family, Version 6, 700MHz
USB 2.0 PORTS 1 2 4


10/100Mbps Ethernet USB adapter

10/100Mbps Ethernet USB adapter
POWER RATINGS 300mA(1.5W) 700mA(3.5W) 600mA(3W)
VIDEO INPUT 15-pin MIPI camera connector (CSI) 15-pin MIPI camera connector (CSI) 15-pin MIPI camera connector (CSI)
AUDIO OUTPUT 3.5mm jack, HDMI 3.5mm jack, HDMI 3.5mm jack, HDMI

Software Support

To get started with Raspberry pi you need an operating system. The operating system reside on the SD card and the pi is booted from the card. The various Operating Systems supported include Raspbian, pidora, OpenElec, RaspBMC, Arch Linux and RISC OS. NOOBS (New Out Of the Box Software) is an easy operating system install manager for the pi. Refer this article: How to Install Android on Raspberry Pi

How to Get and Install NOOBS

Requirement -  an 8GB SD card (recommended)

  • Download the NOOBS and extract the files from the zip folder. The NOOBS is available for download at the raspberry pi website.
  • Before copying the NOOBS file, format the SD card.
    • Download the SD Formatter 4.0 for either windows or Mac
    • Install the software
    • Insert the SD card into the host system. Note the drive letter allocated
    • In SD formatter select the drive letter for your SD card and format it.
  • After formatting, drag all the files in the extracted NOOBS folder and drop them onto the SD card drive.

Starting the Pi

  • Plug in the keyboard, mouse, monitor cables and last the USB power cable.
  • A boot screen will appear and an option to choose the required OS.
  • Select the OS of your choice(lets choose Raspbian as an example) and click install.
  • Then the pi will boot the Raspbian OS.
  • In the configuration menu appearing you can set the time and date, enable camera and even create users.
  • To login use the default username “pi” with the password “raspberry”.
  • Finally start the graphical user interface by typing “startx”
Related Items