Raspberry Pi First Run

I checked the UPS tracking number periodically today. My Raspberry Pi was marked as delivered at about 2:30 today.

When I got home, I found the package. I still needed to prepare the SD card, so I brought up the RasPi Wiki instructions for SD card setup and went with the Debian Squeeze distribution to start with. While “dd” was doing its thing, I was preparing other things.

The LCD monitor I want to use needed to have its built-in stand removed. There wasn’t room to attach the HDMI cable to the HDMI to DVI adapter and fit that to the while the stand was on.

I located a USB keyboard and trackball. I also found a USB trackpad.

Back to the Ubuntu box and the SD card. I went through the steps to resize the SD card partition with parted. I got some weird messages from the two steps following parted, but apparently one other step was needed: remove the SD card and reader, then plug it back in. With that done, the SD card looked to be in good shape.

I unpacked the USB hub and plugged in power. I hooked up the USB Y cable to the USB to Micro B cable and the hub. I plugged the keyboard and trackball into the hub.

Then I opened up the RasPi package. The package held a packing list (one RasPi, of course), a “Getting Started” single sheet document, and a plain cardboard box. The RasPi was in an antistatic sleeve in the box. It came out, and I started hooking things up.

The SD card holder gave me pause. There’s a gold-plated bar that the card meets, and it took me a moment with a magnifying glass to make sure that it was intended to move when the card was inserted. It looks to be a switch arrangement to indicate the presence of a card.

Then the HDMI cable went in. The monitor changed from its “no signal” display to a blank black screen.

I hooked up a USB data cable between the RasPi and the USB hub.

Then I plugged in the power. There was about a three-count before the monitor started displaying the initial boot-up screen. Things proceeded nicely from there.


The RasPi all hooked up.


Here’s the USB hub and a couple of USB peripherals of interest, an audio interface and a GPS.


And here is the RasPi system hooked up and driving the monitor, showing the default X Windows desktop.

The RasPi doesn’t like my Logitech USB trackball, but it works fine with a trackpad. I’m having some trouble with the keyboard, but I expect that it is the keyboard’s fault. These accessories are pretty ancient by computer standards.

It’s a bit disappointing that the USB WiFi adapter that I have on hand doesn’t seem to be working with the system. I’ll give it another try before moving on to other stuff. That means I’ll need to put the RasPi setup where I can run a physical Ethernet cable.

Looking at dmesg, both the GPS and the audio interface appear to be recognized OK. That’s about as far as I’ve gotten on that.

The word is that the platform I’d like to deploy on won’t go out for two to four weeks, so I have a little time to organize and develop a RasPi-based data collection system. The first step went nicely enough that I’m hopeful about the rest.

Wesley R. Elsberry

Falconer. Interdisciplinary researcher: biology and computer science. Data scientist in real estate and econometrics. Blogger. Speaker. Photographer. Husband. Christian. Activist.