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Raspberry Pi is a small, low cost, energy efficient, powerful computer that runs a version of the Linux operating system. This page is a portal to Raspberry Pi news and resources available on this site and elsewhere. 

Overview

When you setup a Raspberry Pi computer, the system will start from an SD card that is inserted in the device. It’s a good idea to keep your own files on an external drive in case you have problems with your Raspberry Pi. Having your primary files on an external drive makes it possible to easily use another computer. An external flash drive formatted as MS-DOS (FAT-32) which ensures it can be used on Raspberry Pi (Linux), Windows, and Apple. Keeping your Raspberri Pi as simple as possible, using mostly the included software, ensures that you would have a fairly simple recovery process. 

Getting Started

To get started with a Raspberry Pi computer, you will want to purchase a kit that includes the parts and accessories that can be easily assembled following the included instructions. [Learn More] In addition to the computer kit, you will need a keyboard, mouse, and a display (or two). A modern television or computer display capable of HDMI input will work. If your kit doesn’t include a mini-HDMI to standard-HDMI cable, you will need to purchase one (or two). Once the hardware is assembled, you will follow some instructions to install the Raspberry Pi operating system. Here are some essential links for getting started.

  • Raspberry Pi 4 Model B – Best Kits, Enclosures, Cases, and Cooling [View]
  • Installing Screen Capture Snipping Utility [View]
  • Installing the Thunderbird Email Client Software [View]
  • Installing TeamViewer for Remote Tech Support [View]
  • Setup Your HP Printer [View]
  • Updating Raspberry Pi OS [View]
  • Portable Tablet, Display, and Laptop Enclosures [View]
  • LibreOffice Calc Spreadsheet Timestamp – Entering The Current Date and Time [View]

Faster Startup Drive with High Speed MicroSD Card

The Raspberry Pi system starts and runs the operating system, program files, and some user data files from a primary microSD card. The card typically included with the Raspberry Pi kit is a slower microSD card. You will likely want to purchase a faster microSD card. Examples would include the SanDisk 64GB Extreme [View] or SanDisk Extreme Pro 64GB [View] which would both provide much faster startup and running.

Energy Efficiency

One benefit of using a Raspberry Pi computer is energy efficiency. The computer uses about 3 watts of power. By comparison, a typical desktop computer may use 300 watts of power. The reduced power consumption makes the Raspberry Pi a good choice for those wanting to use renewable energy sources. A single standard-sized solar panel produces 100 watts at peak. Portable battery packs can provide 100 watts of power at 5 volts for an hour, or 3 watts of power for several days. [Learn More]

Battery Powered

Raspberry Pi computers are typically used with approved power cords that offer the proper voltage and amps. However, it is possible to use a battery pack to run your Raspberry Pi. Using a USB A to USB C cord for the Raspberry Pi 4, a power pack could run the system for many hours. [View on Amazon]

Cooling and Thermal Management

Early versions of the Raspberry Pi computers had less computing and graphics power, so it was possible to run them with limited thermal management. The tasks assigned to them were also relatively easy to perform so processors were not running at their maximum capacity, nor were they overclocked.

Today’s Raspberry Pi 4 models can get very hot if not cooled properly. Heat sinks are metal fins that help naturally dissipate heat. Sometimes a fan is added to increase the cooling efficiency. However, most Raspberry Pi fans and cooling assemblies, while adequate, have limitations.

For example, the standard small cooling fan that comes with the CanoKit packages will be a bit noisy even when running at the slower speed. The logo design eteched into the top cover doubles as an air intake or exhaust (depending on what direction you install the fan), but it is obstructed and too small to permit optimal airflow.

The best cooling solution for a Raspberry Pi is to use a USB-powered quiet 9-inch fan that blows over the top of the open case to completely move the warm air away from the device, and allow cooler air to replace the warm air. [View on Amazon]

Helpful Commands

Many tasks on Raspberry Pi can be performed by typing in commands. These commands can be used in terminal mode, sometimes called command prompt mode. The commands are listed here by topic with a description and the command information. For most examples below, commands are shown inside of quote marks, but those are not needed when typing the command at the command line.

  • Active Monitoring. For some commands, it is desirable to have the resulting output updated regularly for continuous monitoring, such as temperature. You can do this with a “watch” modifier. So, for example, to continually monitor temperature you can use this command: watch vcgencmd measure_temp
  • Root Login – Disable. If you have enabled the root user account login as described below and subsequently want to disable it, you can use this command which causes root to have an invalid password and thus not work for login: sudo usermod –pass=”*” root
  • Root Login – Enable. Normally one would avoid enabling root login because if you login using the root user account, you will be logged in as a super-user with the potential for harmig the computer file system if you do something incorrectly. The only time to use this would be if you have attached a hard drive with user permissions that are making it difficult to recover files.
    (1) Type “sudo su –” and press enter.
    (2) Then type “sudo passwd” to set a root password.
    (3) Logout of your Raspberry Pi user account and from the login screen username drop-down menu choose Other and then type in root and the password you set in step #2 above.
  • Software – Install. To install a software program, use this command: sudo apt install [package-name]
  • Software – Remove. To remove a software program, use this command: sudo apt remove [package-name]
  • Temperature. If you are running an intensive task on your Raspberry Pi, the processor temperature could rise which can cause the processor to slow down. This is caused throttling. If you have poor passive cooling, or inadequate active cooling (with a fan), and the temperature gets too  high, the unit could become damaged. You can check the temperature with this command: vcgencmd measure_temp
  • Throttling Status. If you are concerned about your Raspberry Pi overheating and causing throttling, you can check the throttling status with this command which should return a zero x zero result: vcgencmd get_throttled

Support Topics

These are some topic links to articles here and elsewhere.

  • SD Card Speed. The Raspberry Pi starts up from an SD memory card as its primary hard drive. There is some concern about varying speeds depending on which SD brand and standard are used. The official Raspberry Pi blog has a good article about this topic from March 2020. [View]
  • Video Display – 4K. If you are using a 4K video display for your Raspberry Pi you may notice it connects at 30 frames per second (fps). This can result in poor video quality or mouse tracking. To switch to 1920 x 1080 with 60fps, go to the Raspberry Pi menu > Preferences > Screen Configuration. From the Configure menu, choose Screens > HDMI1 > Resolution > 1920×1080. Your display may flicker or need to be reset for proper framing of the new resolution.

Recent Articles

Below are documents on this site relating to Raspberry Pi setup and use.

Raspberry Pi – Portable Tablet, Display, and Laptop Enclosures

Raspberry Pi – Portable Tablet, Display, and Laptop Enclosures

Raspberry Pi - News and Resources The Raspberry Pi is an economical, small, energy efficient computer which is normally used as a desktop computer, but recently portable enclosures and displays are becoming more readily available. Below are some examples. Click any...

Raspberry Pi – Installing TeamViewer for Remote Tech Support

Raspberry Pi – Installing TeamViewer for Remote Tech Support

Raspberry Pi – News and Resources For remote support, TeamViewer software works well and it's free for personal use. If you are installing TeamViewer for use on Raspberry Pi OS, you may get an error message that states: "Failed to install file. A package could not be...

Raspberry Pi – Installing Screen Capture Snipping Utility

Raspberry Pi – Installing Screen Capture Snipping Utility

Raspberry Pi – News and Resources Whatever computer system you use, you will want a screen capture utility. With Raspberry Pi, at the time of writing this article, it's necessary to install this utility. Install Using Simple Command Line Steps You can use the...

Raspberry Pi – Installing the Thunderbird Email Client Software

Raspberry Pi – Installing the Thunderbird Email Client Software

Raspberry Pi – News and Resources People who use Gmail or the Microsoft Outlook email service online typically use a web browser to check their email. However, if you have multiple email accounts, and/or utilize an email service that does not have a full featured...

Raspberry Pi – Setup Your HP Printer

Raspberry Pi – Setup Your HP Printer

Raspberry Pi – News and Resources Follow these steps to setup your HP Printer on Raspberry Pi OS. Go to the Terminal mode by clicking on the >_ icon at the top of your screen.Type in sudo usermod -a -G lpadmin pi and press the enter/return key on your keyboard....

Updating Raspberry Pi OS

Updating Raspberry Pi OS

Raspberry Pi – News and Resources Follow these steps to install updates for your Raspberry Pi operating system. These instructions assume you have the latest release of the operating system. If you need to upgrade to the latest OS, you'll find those instructions...

Raspberry Pi 4 Model B – Best Kits, Enclosures, Cases, and Cooling

Raspberry Pi 4 Model B – Best Kits, Enclosures, Cases, and Cooling

Raspberry Pi – News and Resources The Raspberry Pi computer is a small computer that when purchased as a kit can cost about $100 to $120. [View] Raspberry Pi operating system is available for free. [View] The computer appeals to hobbyists and tinkerers because it has...

Raspberry Pi 4 – Setup and Getting Started Video Guide

Raspberry Pi 4 – Setup and Getting Started Video Guide

The video below was created by Chris Sherwood of Crosstalk Solutions. Included are steps for Raspberry Pi 4 setup and getting started. From the video description: "This video covers the basics of getting started with the Raspberry Pi. We start with an overview of the...