Raspberry Pi – Post 2

Herewith some quick notes on my slightly frustrating, but ultimately successful RPI experience!

Objective for this session
Get the Pi on the network, preferably with WiFi.

Did I manage it?
Sort of!

So, SD card loaded with the Debian Wheezy OS.

Started the Pi up, tried out the X desktop by typing startx.
Now to try to get it on the network… I want to use Wifi.

I plugged my old Belkin wifi dongle in. Didn’t really expect it to work first time.
It didn’t. I needed firmware for Debian – the boot up screen for Debian told me so.

Nuts. Error message for the dongle. No firmware driver… so, shutdown the Pi as there’ll be no way to get it on there short of plugging it in to the router with a wire.

So, I downloaded the relevant firmware from http://wiki.debian.org/zd1211rw
Then copied it onto the SD card using Windows. I knew this would be a problem… getting at it on Linux.

I started up the Pi with the SD card back into it.

So… it’s on the SD card… which means it’s a FAT partition, so I can’t get onto it directly. So, mount the filesystem… Found this article:

Then, in an xterm.
fdisk -l
This lists all the disks including the SD card.

I forget what it comes up with, let’s just call it /dev/wibble.

Make the folder for the mounted drive:
mkdir /mnt/SD

Then mount it:
mount -t vfat /dev/wibble /mnt/SD

Then go into it with cd /mnt/SD.

Then copied the folder with the firmware in it to /lib/firmware/zd1211

What I could have done is use Linux’s ‘aptitude’ to install it:
I kind of wish I had done, but I wasn’t willing to fall back to cabled LAN yet!

Right, so that’s the drivers installed. Reboot. Piss about with iwconfig trying to set it up from the command line.


Realise that it’d be easier with a gui for managing the network. Bugger. Get fed up. Plug it into my router with a LAN cable and screen, mouse, keyboard.

Start to follow this guide for using the GNOME network manager.

Give up as not only did it not install, it also began to dawn on me that a 2GB SD card is just not going to cut it!

More adventures next time once I have a bigger card!

Raspberry PI – First experiments

I received my Raspberry Pi on 22nd June and now, on 24th June I finally have time to play around with it.
My first experiment will be simply to get a Linux distro up and running and displaying on my downstairs television (which is a Toshiba Regza).

1. Unboxing
Just a few pics of unboxing the RPi. This shows the box it came in and the contents – the Pi itself, the Safety information/Regulations sheet and the Quick Start guide. I’m sort-of following the quick start guide (I will explain in a minute). I apologise for the length of this page… the Blogger HTML editor isn’t helping!

As you can see from where my little finger is pointing, SD card slot is visible.

2. Downloading
I downloaded the 2012-06-18-wheezy-beta distro from here. This isn’t the one they recommend (which is the April Debian 6 release) but I felt adventurous… well, as adventurous as a geek gets! I also downloaded the Win32 Disk Imager from here.

3. SD Card time
I have this SD card from MobyMemory:

It’s a bit old and battered, but good enough for now.
This is what it looks like when inserted into the Pi. I’m not all that keen on the way it sticks out, but heigh-ho.

I ran the tool and chose my Wheezy image, then wrote it to the SD card. This took about 4-5 minutes.

4. Peripherals
There’s a list of recommended equipment on the quick start guide.
This is what I’m hooking up:
A keyboard

A USB mouse.
My Toshiba Regza TV via HDMI cable.
Eventually, I’ll add a network cable, or a wifi dongle, which I need to research.
I was very disappointed that it didn’t come with a mains cable. Not everyone will have a mains-to-micro-USB charger… I have a Samsung phone, though, so I do have one of these fortunately. If you ask me, there’s no excuse for not offering one of these at point-of-purchase.
Soapbox mode off!
So… let’s see what we get when we just put the SD card in and hook everything up…
See next post!