Break stuff. Now.

Hands-on: Raspberry Pi 2 B

My first encounter with a Raspberry Pi

January 5, 2016

So today, the package arrived. I got my Raspberry Pi 2 B! And even more amazing is it's so simple to set up! I got it as part of the CanaKit Raspberry Pi 2 Complete Starter Kit. It includes everything you need to even make your TV into an instant media center/super huge PC monitor. It even came with a bunch of manuals for me to entirely ignore (which I did). And so my adventure starts...

Quick setup WITHOUT a display, mouse or keyboard

...by hitting a brick wall. Unfortunately, the manual did say I'd need an HDMI display. I have no access to a display with an HDMI port and NOOBS starts off with a graphical installer. I had to find a way to install Raspbian while the Pi is totally headless. And so...

  1. Opened the SD card on the PC and backed-up everything.

  2. Deleted all folders under os except Raspbian.

  3. Appended silentinstall to the command in recovery.cmdline.

  4. Put the sdcard on the Pi, connected the ethernet and powered up the Pi.

  5. Watched a YouTube until the green LED stops blinking.

  6. Located the IP address of the Pi

  7. Ran the following on my laptop

     ssh pi@IP_ADDRESS_OF_PI #password "raspberry"
     # I'M IN!!!
     sudo apt-get update
     sudo apt-get upgrade
     sudo apt-get clean
     # I could have stopped here and controlled the Pi via ssh, but I wanted to
     # control it using my laptop and/or phone via VNC. So...
     sudo apt-get install tightvncserver
     vncserver :1
     # Access from a VNC client as IP_ADDRESS_OF_PI:1

What steps 1-4 really do is just tell NOOBS to automatically install the first OS (in our case, the only OS) found under os. That way, the Pi avoids waiting for user interaction in the graphical installer. This procedure is actually documented in NOOBS and several other articles:


I got ssh access to the Pi, and even controlled it on my laptop and phone. Nothing fancy, although it's really snappy for a tiny machine. It comes with bare essentials like a browser and office suite. It even comes with Samba and I can see my NAS from the PI. Can't wait to turn the Pi in to a media server or a fancy, always-on task runner.