Monthly Archives: December 2012

Initial Configuration of the Raspberry Pi

First Step – Getting the Raspberry Pi to Boot

Required Items

  • Raspberry Pi
  • 2 GB or larger SD Card
  • Keyboard
  • Monitor (Composite or HDMI)
  • Display cable (Composite or HDMI)
  • USB Power Supply
  • USB Cable for power (Micro USB)
  • PC connected to the internet with a card reader

Optional Items

  • Case for Raspberry Pi
  • USB Mouse
  • Book – Raspberry Pi User Guide
    by Eben Upton & Gareth Halfacree
    ISBN: 978-1-118-46446-5 (Amazon Link)

NOTE: I am running these steps from a Windows 7 PC. If you are running from another OS be certain you read the information on the http://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads page for information for your OS. I am also using a 16 GB SDHC Card.

Steps

  1. Go to the download section at http://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads
  2. If you are running a Windows PC, download Win32DiskImager
    I downloaded the version 0.5 binary (win32diskimager-binary.zip)
  3. Download the Raspbian “wheezy” image
    I downloaded via the direct download.
    The version at the time of this blog entry is 2012-12-16-wheezy-raspbian.zip
  4. Open the zip file (2012-12-16-wheezy-raspbian.zip) and extract the image file (2012-12-16-wheezy-raspbian.img)
    The following steps are modified from the “Easy Way” section from http://elinux.org/RPi_Easy_SD_Card_Setup
  5. Insert the SD card into your SD card reader and check what drive letter it was assigned. You can easily see the drive letter (for example G:) by looking in the left column of Windows Explorer. If the card is not new, you should format it; otherwise Win32DiskImager may hang.
  6. Extract the Win32DiskImager utility files from the zip file (win32diskimager-binary.zip) and run the Win32DiskImager utility (Win32DiskImager.exe). You should run the utility as Administrator! (Right click on Win32DiskImager.exe and select “Run as administrator from the context menu.)
    001
  7. Select the 2012-12-16-wheezy-raspbian.img image file you extracted earlier
    002
  8. Select the drive letter of the SD card in the device box. Be careful to select the correct drive; if you get the wrong one you can destroy your computer’s hard disk!
    003
  9. Click Write and wait for the write to complete.
    004005
  10. Exit the imager and eject the SD card.
  11. Insert the card in the Raspberry Pi, power it on, and it should boot up. There is an option in the configure script that comes up to expand the partitions to use all of the SD card if you have used one larger than 4 GB

Second Step – Initial Configuration of the Raspbian “wheezy” distribution

When you boot up the Raspberry Pi, the Raspi-config utility will launch.

There are a few things that you should configure right away or you may have problems later.

  • Expand the root partition if your SD Card is greater than 4 GB (Optional)
    1. Select “expand_rootfs” from the Raspi-config menu
    2. The Raspi-config widow will disappear for a bit then a new window will display telling you that the root partition has been resized and the file system will be enlarged upon the next reboot. Click enter to close the dialog.
  • Configure the keyboard (You must do if you are not using a UK keyboard!)
    I did not perform this step the first time I booted up the Raspberry Pi and I had issues as I could not use the pipe symbol. The “|” was mapped as a tilde “~” symbol.

    1. Select “configure_keyboard” from the Raspi-config menu
    2. You may keep the default “Generic 105-key (Intl) PC” model or change it to match your keyboard
    3. Press enter or Tab to the bottom options and select “<OK”>” and press enter
    4. If you are not using a UK keyboard, select “Other”
    5. Press enter or Tab to the bottom options and select “<OK”>” and press enter
    6. Select your country of origin from the list (i.e. English (US))
    7. Press enter or Tab to the bottom options and select “<OK”>” and press enter
    8. Select the keyboard layout (i.e. English (US))
    9. Press enter or Tab to the bottom options and select “<OK”>” and press enter
    10. Select the option for the AltGr modifier (i.e. The default for the keyboard layout)
    11. Press enter or Tab to the bottom options and select “<OK”>” and press enter
    12. Select the option for the Compose key (i.e. No compose key)
    13. Press enter or Tab to the bottom options and select “<OK”>” and press enter
    14. Select an option for the Control+Alt+Backspace key combination
    15. Press enter
    16. There will be some delay as the options are saved
    17. The Raspi-config menu will reappear
  • Change the locale (You should do if you are not in the UK)
    1. Select “change_locale” from the Raspi-config menu
    2. Scroll down to the “en_GB.UTF-8 UTF-8 option and deselect it by pressing the spacebar (You do not need to remove it. You may keep it if you like.)
    3. Scroll through the list to find the locale(s) you wish to install and select it/them by pressing the spacebar (i.e. en_US.UTF-8 UTF-8)
    4. Tab to the bottom options and select “<OK”>” and press enter
    5. Select the default locale for the system (i.e. en_US.UTF-8 UTF-8)
    6. Press enter or Tab to the bottom options and select “<OK”>” and press enter
    7. There will be some delay as the options are saved
    8. The Raspi-config menu will reappear
  • Change the time zone (Unless you want to stick to UTC)
    1. Select “change_timezone” from the Raspi-config menu
    2. Select your geographic area (i.e. US)
    3. Press enter or Tab to the bottom options and select “<OK”>” and press enter
    4. Select your time zone (i.e. Eastern)
    5. Press enter or Tab to the bottom options and select “<OK”>” and press enter
    6. There will be some delay as the options are saved
    7. The Raspi-config menu will reappear
  • If you have a hardwired internet connection, you may try to update Raspi-config
    1. Select “update” from the Raspi-config menu
    2. Press enter or Tab to the bottom options and select “<OK”>” and press enter
  • Once you are done making changes, press the tab key to jump to the options at the bottom of the screen and select “<Finish>”
  • Depending on the options selected, you may be prompted to reboot. If given the option, reboot your Raspberry Pi as most options do not take effect until the Raspberry Pi reboots.

USB Video Capture Devices Review

I wanted to grab some video of the Raspberry Pi booting up with the Raspbian “wheezy” distribution. To do this, I planned to capture the video on my PC by using a USB video capture device. I bought two devices from Microcenter in hopes that one would work reasonably well but I was disappointed with the results from both devices. I later purchased another device from Newegg which worked much better and is used for all of the initial screen captures of the Raspberry Pi.

First a review of the low cost devices

Other than the quality of the video, I was rather disappointed with the way they did not play well with other video capture software. Each comes with some video capture software but I wanted to use Corel’s VideoStudio Pro X4 or Windows Live Movie Maker. At first it did not appear that the hardware devices would work with either software but I was able to figure out how to use them with Corel VideoStudio Pro X4. The default input on the device is S-Video not composite. In Corel VideoStudio Pro X4, you need to select composite input in the Options > Video Properties.

Neither device would work in Windows Live Movie Maker. When the capture device was selected and an attempt was made to capture video, the following message would be displayed. “Sorry, Movie Maker can’t record audio or video from the selected device.”

Devices tested

  • Sabrent USB 2.0 Video and Audio Capture Device (USB-AVCPT)
  • Sima GO DIGITAL Transfer Cable (SFG-1)

Sample video of the Sabrent

Sample video of the Sima

Now, the device I am currently using

  • DIAMOND USB 2.0 HD 1080 Game Console Video Capture Device (GC1000) USB 2.0 Interface

The Diamond GC1000 has much better quality however there are still some issues. The biggest issue is that it will not work with any software other than the included capture software. The good news is that the software works well. I did have a few issues at first but I was able to work through them and get it to work well. The other issue with the device is that the video displayed on the PC lags considerably from the live video. This is not too much of an issue and can be worked around by connecting a monitor to the output and working with that monitor rather than the video on the PC.

Sample video of the Diamond GC1000 – Composite Video with S-Video adapter (Now I connect to the Y jack of the Component Video)

Sample video of the Diamond GC1000 – HDMI

Conclusion

The bottom line is you get what you pay for, The cheaper devices I purchased from Microcenter work but the quality is not very good. I found them unacceptable for capturing video from the Raspberry Pi as the text was difficult to read in the captured video.

The Diamond GC1000 has much better video quality however there are still a few quirks that you need to deal with but they are not difficult to overcome and the resulting video is acceptable.