How I bough Raspberry PI Zero #1

Or, a noob’s journey into Raspberry Pi. Here I will write what I wanted to read before I started all this. So I assume that for some reason you want RPi, be it a robot project, or a media project or just to have some “fun” as far as linux and programming can be called fun. So there are many versions of RPi out there, I chose zero because of its price and because the final gadget must be autonomous and should not consume too much power. The negatives of zero is that it does not have Wi-Fi, and has only one USB port.

What you need to buy/have handy:

  • RPi (I got RPiZero it from Pimoroni and in my case I had to buy pins as well)
  • Micro SD card (about 4GB but now they are so cheap that I got 16GB)
  • Adapter microSD-full sizeSD (usually it comes with the card)
  • Powered USB2 hub + WiFi dongle + keyboard + mouse

Soldering pins is quite easy. The only thing to mention is that I had a trouble soldering some of the pins with 25W soldering iron, but 60W one did the job much better.

Now you need to flash the SD card in FAT32 and burn Raspbian operating system on it. This is Rasbian download. And this is a guide how to do flashing on Mac. I work on Mac, so all the rest setup is for Mac.

  • Search and open Disk Utility and erase SD memory card using FAT32 format
  • Search and open Terminal, run diskutil list, remember what is the name of your SD card, mine was /dev/disk1
  • Run diskutil unmountdisk /dev/disk1 to unmount your SD card
  • Go to the folder where you downloaded your Raspbian, in my case cd downloads/, you can always check where you are by running pwd command and check if the file is there by running ls (L not 1), really handy for control freaks.
  • Finally burn the image by running dd if=2016-05-27-raspbian-jessie.img of=/dev/disk1 bs=4m (Name of the file can vary; obviously type in the one you downloaded. Similarly with the disk address; use the address of your SD card. Double check the command before executing, it can erase stuff from you favourite hard drive if disk chosen incorrectly) It will take some time, so if it seems that it crashed just wait.

Now you would normally place the microSD in the raspberry pi, connect it to the screen, to power and to the hub (with mouse, keyboard and wifi) and start setting up WiFi. BUT. I don’t have a usb2 hub, and my usb3 hub did not work wit Pi zero.

I have two options now. Connecting via USB, which is apparently only works with RPiZero, or to get USB2 hub. We will try both. So it is to be continued…


Human Alex