What is Raspberry Pi & How to get started

By | May 23, 2020
raspberry pi

Today I will write about raspberry pi to introduce my readers, what is raspberry pi and how you can use it?. How many features it have, how it can work as a computer, and what peripheral components you need to make it a desktop computer. We can call this board by its term name as RPI.

What is raspberry pi how it is useful?

RPI is a series of single-board computers made by the raspberry pi foundation, a UK charity, that aims to educate people in computing and developing countries, the focus of this foundation is to create easier access to computing education of adults and children.

It is first launched in 2012 and there have been various versions have released since then. RPI is a cheap, credit card-sized computer that you can plug to the LCD or computer monitor and use standard keyboard and mouse. It is little but capable to do all things than a desktop computer can do, like browsing the internet, watching high-resolution videos, making word documents, and playing games. It enables people of all ages to explore computing and to learn how to do programming using scratch and python.

The first RPI had a single-core 700MHz CPU and 256KB Ram, but the latest release, which is RPI 4, has 4GB ram and four Arm Cortex A72 cores running at 1.5GHz. All the RPI models have almost the same price which $35 or less. RPI zero is cheap, has a $5 price only.

RPI is one step ahead than a normal computer because it has GPIO(general purpose input/output) pins, Wifi, and Bluetooth connectivity. You can use these GPIO pins to control electronics components, do automation projects. Moreover, it let you interact with the real-world allowing you to make IoT, home automation, and great electronic projects.

Application of raspberry pi:

It depends on you how you use it for your Project. A raspberry pi board is just like a computer but small in size so it can be used in all places where you can use your computer. Mostly RPIs used in controlling projects like automation and IoT. If you want to get detail idea of applications, go to this link

Components need to start with raspberry pi.

When you buy raspberry pi board it just a single board that does nothing without peripheral components. You need accessories to get started.

There are many components that you can use for raspberry pi projects, it depends upon the work that you want to do. On the basic level, if you want to get started with RPI you only need a power supply and memory card. Without a memory card, it is useless.

Power supply:

You need a 5V power supply adapter like the below picture, which provides a minimum 2.5A. I will recommend a mobile charger for supply for those who don’t want to spend extra money.

raspberry pi adapter

Memory card:

Raspberry pi does not have a hard drive, so you need a high-speed memory card of minimum 8GB memory and class 10. The operating system of raspberry pi is installed on this card and also all the files of your work will save in this memory. For your comfort, there is available pre-installed noobs SD card available with built-in features, Such as Pimoroni, Adafruit, and The Pi Hut, or you can buy an empty card and install an operating system by your own. Follow the installation guide to do it.

raspberry pi memory card

Overview of Raspberry Pi 4 model.

The figure below shows the RPI model 4 board.

raspberry pi 4

Different generations of raspberry pis and when they release.

  1. February 2012: pi 1 Model (A&B)
  2. July 2014: pi 1 Model B+
  3. November 2014: pi 1 Model A+
  4. February 2015: pi 2 Model B
  5. February 2017: pi Zero Model Zero
  6. January 2018: pi Zero Model W/WH
  7. February 2016: pi 3 Model B
  8. June 2019: pi 4 Model B(1GB/2GB/3GB/4GB)

If you want to start with raspberry pi I suggest buying the latest model 4 or RPI zero for small projects. In the below list, you can see the features of pi model 4 written on the raspberry pi website.

  • Broadcom BCM2711, Quad core Cortex-A72 (ARM v8) 64-bit SoC @ 1.5GHz
  • 1GB, 2GB or 4GB LPDDR4-3200 SDRAM (depending on model)
  • 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz IEEE 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 5.0, BLE
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • 2 USB 3.0 ports; 2 USB 2.0 ports.
  • RPI standard 40 pin GPIO header (fully backward compatible with previous boards)
  • 2 × micro-HDMI ports (up to 4kp60 supported)
  • 2-lane MIPI DSI display port
  • 2-lane MIPI CSI camera port
  • 4-pole stereo audio and composite video port
  • H.265 (4kp60 decode), H264 (1080p60 decode, 1080p30 encode)
  • OpenGL ES 3.0 graphics
  • Micro-SD card slot for loading operating system and data storage
  • 5V DC via USB-C connector (minimum 3A*)
  • 5V DC via GPIO header (minimum 3A*)
  • Power over Ethernet (PoE) enabled (requires separate PoE HAT)
  • Operating temperature: 0 – 50 degrees C ambient

You can buy an RPI basic kit to get started from this link

Raspberry pi Pinouts

All the raspberry pis have standard 40 pins. In the RPI 4 model, there are two 5V pins and two 3.3V pins, in the same place as previous models have. Along with the power pins, this model have 8 ground pins that are used to connect components like sensors and LEDs. Additionally, In 40 pins some pins can support I2C, SPI, UART, and PWM functions.

The figure below describes the Pinouts of the RPI 4 model.

raspberry pi pinouts

Wrapping up

I tried to give a basic guide about the raspberry pis board. I hope it will be helpful for you to start with RPI. If you don’t have an RPI board till now Please purchase it now because you are missing many amazing Projects. I will post the Complete tutorial of installation soon please keep connected with me.

If you want to use it with Arduino and MQTT please read about them with below links

What is MQTT? & How does it work

What is Arduino & Types of Arduino Boards?

Thanks for reading if you have questions please ask me in comments.

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