platforms that perform just about any function you can
Table 2 provides a basic comparison between the
Raspberry Pi and the Arduino families of computing devices.
Configuring Your RPi
What I hope to do in this article is to show you how
to bring up a brand new RPi so you can start
experimenting with it. You will need the following:
TABLE 2. Raspberry Pi vs. Arduino.
Suggested Retail Price
~$25 to $35
~$22 to $65
700 MHz ARM with
hardware floating point.
ATMega Family with clock
speeds of 8 MHz or 16
MHz. Software floating
1. A Raspberry Pi Model A or B.
2. A USB power supply/charger capable of 500 mA
or more with USB cable.
3. An SD memory card (and card reader/writer) that
is at least 2 GB in size.
4. A monitor or TV with an HDMI input.
5. A USB keyboard and mouse. It is best if both of
these devices work through a single USB
6. A network your RPi can connect to.
256 MB or 512 MB
2K to 8K
1 or 2
HDMI and composite
Stereo 3. 5 mm jack +
SD card up to 128 GB
32K to 256K Flash
8 × GPIO, UART, I²C, SPI Up to 54 GPIO, 10-bit ADC, USART, TWI, SPI
3. 3” x 2.1”
Various sizes from
postage stamp size to 2.1”
1.5W to 3.5W
>=0.5W depending upon
Official Operating System
No operating system
NOTE: The Arduino Duo has been left out of this comparison because it is
ARM instead of ATMega based.
The first step in the process is to download the
latest Raspbian Wheezy version of Linux from
pi.org/downloads and transfer it to your SD memory
card. How this is done depends on the type of
computer you are using. Detailed instructions for
Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux are available at
SD_Card_Setup. With the operating system on the SD
card, insert the SD card into your RPi, connect the
monitor, keyboard, mouse, Ethernet cable, and power
supply. Your RPi should boot up when power is applied,
and in the process you should see the boot messages
racing past on your monitor.
Once the initial boot completes, the RPi
configuration program raspi-config automatically runs;
refer to Figure 2. From here, you set your initial
configuration and (in a sense) Americanize your RPi.
Remember the RPi is a product from the UK, so initially
was configured for UK users. Each of the provided
menu items are described in Table 3 and suggest how
you might want to set each one. If you don’t understand
what these configuration items do, don’t worry. Just
follow my lead. Use the keyboard arrow keys to move
through the menu items and the return/enter key to
select the highlighted one.
If you made changes to the defaults,
you will be asked to reboot in order for
them to take effect. Do so now, if
necessary. When your RPi comes back
up, it will be running with the
configuration changes you just made.
If you ever want to change the
configuration again, run
sudo raspi-config from a shell.
Figure 2. The raspi-config screen.