CrimsonTome's blog

Introduction to Raspberry Pi

So you want to find out about the Raspberry Pi?

I would be surprised if you've never heard of them, since they seem to have exploded in popularity in recent years. They are very popular with those who want to get into programming and electronics, or Linux in general.

Just a quick disclaimer, though I have been using Pis in some form for over 5 years now I can only really say I have casual experience with Pis and as such what is written here may be subjective or incorrect in some ways. I suggest you do your own research if you want to get into them, or if you're someone with knowledge of them and want to correct me feel free to contact me.

But first, just a little bit of history

The Raspberry Pi Foundation (RPF), based in the UK launched their first model of the Raspberry Pi in 2012, this was the Model B. The RPF has made one of the first affordable credit card sized computers. The Pis are designed to be intuitive (especially with Raspbian Desktop - its main OS) and suitable for educational purposes. They are still making models to this day, with the Raspberry Pi 400 being launched in November 2020 and the Pico (Microcontroller) being released in 2021.

So, why should you get a Pi?

It may seem like these single board computers are a bit underwhelming. What, the best model only has 8GB of RAM?! Well you see not everyone has the money to spend hundreds or even thousands of pounds on a computer. This leads me to what I think is the best thing about these: they're cheap. For example the Raspberry Pi Zero costs ~£5 and can do plenty of things that it's successors can. Sure it does it to a lesser extent but to me at least that is part of the fun, given what you've got how can I make x work?
Another reason is that if you have an idea, you can probably make it with a Raspberry Pi. As you'll see in the resources section, there are so many different things you can do, and for a lot of them you don't really need to know that much beforehand, just get stuck in. Want to make a NAS, retro games player, host your own website, play around with some electronics? The Pi has you covered.

Series

Zero

The Raspberry Pi Zero (released in 2015) is a much smaller device - around half the size of the Raspberry Pi model A+. The original Zero had these specifications:

Given its size and low specifications, it is highly portable and has very low power consumption. This also makes it suitable for use in embedded systems. For example it would work well in a drone with a camera attached to the Zero.

Pico

The Raspberry Pi Pico was released in 2021 with a price of ~£3 with these features:

Like the Zero, the Pico can also be used as part of an embedded system such as acting as a temperature sensor for someewhere like a greenhouse

Other

A popular model of the Raspberry Pi is the Model 4B:

The Pi Model 4B can be powerful enough to run some quite intensive things, given the right environment. For example (though not with a 4B) I used to run Retropie for running some retro games with decent performance.

  1. Raspberry Pi Official site
  2. Raspberry Pi Documentation
  3. Raspberry Pi Forums
  4. Raspberry Pi YouTube Channel
  5. Sample Raspberry Pi Projects
  6. Raspberry Pi StackExchange
  7. Opensource.com Pi
  8. Instructables Pi
  9. Hackaday Pi
  10. Jeff Geerling's YouTube Channel - Jeff has a lot of videos based on Raspberry Pi projects along with some unusual testing like attempting to get modern graphics cards to function on the Pi (spoiler alert he's had very limited success with this). He also has a series on Ansible, Kubernetes and more.
  11. Jeff Geerling's Pi PCI site
  12. N-O-D-E
  13. NetworkChuck's YouTube Channel - has some good pi videos
  14. Retropie - If you want to relive the glory days of retro games
  15. Setting up VMware on a Raspberry Pi 4
  16. TuringPi
  17. Pinout
  18. SBRL blog

Some project ideas

  1. Build a NAS
  2. Setup Emulation Station (a personal favourite)
  3. Bitwarden
  4. Internet Speed Monitor
  5. Pi-hole
  6. Git server
  7. Projects from Raspberry Pi

Resources compiled by various Freeside members, a huge thanks to everyone who helped!