Setting up Raspberry Pi

This is a departure from the main crux of this blog.  But I wanted to gather some notes on my pitfalls I encountered with setting up a Raspberry Pi device.

Hardware and SD Card Set Up

I had the version 2 B 512 version of the Pi.
I used a PNY 16GB class 6 SD card
I used a solar/electric battery to power it
I used a usb keyboard
and a standard hdmi cable

I started this all off by downloading the official Raspberry “wheezy” distro (2013-05-25-wheezy-raspbian) from the direct download link.  However, I couldn’t unzip it on windows… although the download was the correct size, windows’ default unarcher gave me a “can’t read” this file error.  However, 7zip would read it and uncompress it… I figured this was just a problem with Windows.

Butut when I used the img file that it produced to drop on the SD card… it corrupted the SD card.

Again – this was the direct download official link of the “wheezy” distro.  

At this point he SD card would read “18mb left of 56mb” yet this was a 16Gig card.  I freaked out a bit thinking the card was now damaged.  However I read that it only needs to be reformatted….

I tried to reformat using Windows’ reformat tool (right click / format)… but the card would always read “56mb avail.”

I in fact had to now download the official SD formatter… ugh.  Ok, Now that got me back to 16gigs.

I tried multiple downloads from that direct download link – all with the same problem!

Then I tried the torrent.

They recommend the torrent, but I hate using torrents.  I always end up with spyware from the torrent clients… anyway, I installed bit torrent and downloaded the distro via the torrent, and then uninstalled bit torrent afterwards.

I did get the torrent to download, it was about 10x faster then the direct link.  I also was able to unzip it fine without the error’s encountered from the direct link.

I put the SD card back in the Pi, and plugged it back in… It booted up great.


When it boots up successfully you’ll see something resembling the old PC Bios menu.  This is how you’ll configure your Raspberry Pi.

At the configuration screen, you’ll want to:
1. set the thing to use the entire space on the SD card, it’s the first option in this boot menu.
2. after that, if you want to boot to a desktop, go to that option, if you use a console only, skip it.
3. To turn on SSH (so you can remote into the box via SSH) you need to go to advanced settings and then choose SSH and then Enable.
4. If this is a public facing device, you might want to change the password as well – it’s a option on the boot menu.
5. I also changed the hostname (it defaults to ‘raspberrypi’)

After that I chose to finish and reboot.

From here on out, you’ll log in as your user “pi” with the password you picked… or use the default (raspberry.)


To SSH to this box, first get it’s IP by running ifconfig from the command line.  You’ll see “eth0” and in there a line inet addr:.  take that address.

From another box, using either terminal on mac, or Putty/supper putty on PC, you can just ssh over to:
ssh [ip]
login as user pi and input your pass.

Installing Software from the Command Line

If you’re used to installers in Linux (like Centos’ YUM) then you’ll get the same thing here, but it’s apt-get.  You’ll sudo each command like this.  So: sudo apt-get iw tshark would install iw and tshark (for packet sniffing.)

Find the tools you want and they should give you the proper apt-get install commands.

Shutting Down the Raspberry Pi

Also another important thing.  The official site for Raspberry Pi, says to shut it down you just “unplug it” from what I’ve read this could damage the SD card.  So… you must run an official shutdown:

sudo shutdown -h now

From the UI, you click the red icon and choose shutdown.  Wait for the proper screen statement "system halted," and then remove the power cable.

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