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This content is taken from the Raspberry Pi Foundation & National Centre for Computing Education's online course, Teaching Physical Computing with Raspberry Pi and Python. Join the course to learn more.
A Raspberry Pi computer with all its peripherals
A Raspberry Pi computer with all its peripherals

Connecting all the things

Plugging in your Raspberry Pi

  1. Begin by placing your SD card into the SD card slot on the Raspberry Pi. It will only fit one way.
  2. Next, plug your keyboard and mouse into the USB ports on the Raspberry Pi.
  3. Make sure that your monitor or TV is turned on, and that you have selected the right input (e.g. HDMI 1, DVI, etc).
  4. Connect your HDMI cable from your Raspberry Pi to your monitor or TV.
  5. If you intend to connect your Raspberry Pi to the internet, plug an Ethernet cable into the Ethernet port, or connect a WiFi dongle to one of the USB ports (unless you have a Raspberry Pi 3 which has a WiFi chip already on the board).
  6. When you’re happy that you have plugged in the SD card and all the cables correctly, connect the micro USB power supply. This action will turn on and boot your Raspberry Pi.

An animation of peripherals being plugged into a Raspberry Pi

Connecting more devices

Loading the operating system

When your Raspberry Pi boots up, it will load its operating system. This is the software that manages the computer, and is responsible for managing all the peripheral devices and resources for the software you might run.

Image of the latest Pixel Desktop

You’re probably used to operating systems such as Windows, MacOS, Android and iOS. Raspbian is the operating system we recommend for use with the Raspberry Pi. It is based on a popular version of the free and open source operating system Linux, called Debian. Linux operating systems are extremely popular. Computers running Linux are installed on most of the servers on the internet. Even popular operating systems such as Android and ChromeOS are varieties of Linux. We’ve tried to make Raspbian as user friendly as possible, so you’ll probably notice that it shares many of the features you are used to.

Once you’ve got your Raspberry Pi up and running, why not share your success or any failures along the way in the comments below or in our gallery?

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This article is from the free online course:

Teaching Physical Computing with Raspberry Pi and Python

Raspberry Pi Foundation