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What is the Raspberry Pi computer?

James, Lead Picademy Trainer for Raspberry Pi, explains what a Raspberry Pi Computer is and what it can be used for.

It may not look much like the computers you are used to, but this is because we are accustomed to seeing a computer in a case, with a monitor, keyboard and mouse attached.

The Raspberry Pi computer

The Raspberry Pi comes without any of these peripheral input, output and storage devices.

It is known as a single-board computer, and the fact that it comes without any additional peripherals, and uses hardware components more usually found in mobile phones and tablets, means it can be sold for as little as $35.

Raspberry Pi with pins highlighted

The Raspberry Pi has several ports that enable you to connect a variety of devices.

Input devices

Input devices let you send data to a computer. The two most common input devices are a keyboard and a mouse. You can plug a USB keyboard and mouse into two of the four USB ports on the Raspberry Pi.

Output devices

Output devices let the computer send data to a user. Two of the most common output devices are a monitor and speakers. You can connect an HDMI monitor or television to the Raspberry Pi using the single HDMI port. If you don’t have an HDMI monitor, then you’ll need to use an adaptor.

You can connect speakers or headphones to the Raspberry Pi using the 3.5mm headphone port.

Storage devices

Storage devices are used to store data. On most computers, this would be handled by a hard drive. Most modern computers, tablets and mobile phones now use Solid State storage devices. The Raspberry Pi uses a type of Solid State storage device called a microSD card.

This will be used to store the Operating System, your software, and all the files you create.

The last thing you’ll need to do is provide your Raspberry Pi with power. For this, we use a micro-USB power supply.

If you’d like to learn more about Raspberry Pi and its computer. check out the full online course, below.

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Teaching Physical Computing with Raspberry Pi and Python

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