DIY Project – Raspberry Pi

Before I explain my project, I should first explain what a Raspberry Pi is. A Raspberry Pi is basically just a circuit board with all the essential parts of a computer attached to it, such as a processor, video card, and a SD memory card(which acts as the hard drive). All of these elements, combined with USB, HDMI, and Ethernet ports create a small piece of hardware that can be used for many different things.

My DIY project was to take my Raspberry Pi, and turn it into a multimedia player, so I could attach it to my projector, or my stereo system. When I first started thinking about this project, I was worried that it would either be way too challenging for me to complete, because I have never really done anything else like it in the past. I was also worried, because if in the end my Raspberry Pi ended up not working, I would be lost on this assignment.

When I started working on the project the majority of the problems were with myself misunderstanding many of the written tutorials created for the Raspberry Pi online like this one from Rasplex (Hamel “1Rasplex”), as many of them lacked detail. The tutorials came from a few sources, they  came primarily from the creators of Raspberry Pi (Raspberry Pi Foundation “2Noobs”),  telling you how to install general operating systems on the device. The tutorials also came from independent individuals or organizations (OpenElec “3stepbystep”) who had created their own operating systems, and displayed steps on how to install them. The remaining tutorials I looked at came in the form of videos (Teachme Show “4PiCast”), although these videos can be extremely informative and show you many things with the Raspberry Pi, they were often not what I was looking for. The other problem with videos was that they would frequently have incompatible information from what I needed. For example I would search OpenElec (an operating system) install tutorial, and the tutorials shown would be using a Raspberry Pi 2 instead of the original.

The sources that I found most helpful were from independent organizations, because the tutorials from the Raspberry Pi’s site only told me to drag-drop their image file onto the Pi. On this particular page (Raspberry Pi Foundation”5Preinstalled”) they even tell you that the best way to get the formatted SD card is with their program preinstalled. Whereas the independent organizations taught me how to convert their zip files into .img files which could be placed on the SD card. This helped me enormously later on, because it showed me how to take files other than operating systems and put them onto the SD card. I came across these tutorials by searching for particular operating systems, because the general Raspberry Pi site only had basic operating systems which could not perform the functions I wanted. I also searched on Youtube for operating systems, which helped narrow my search even further.

Normally my best learning type is visual, so videos are usually the best way for me to learn. Written instructions are usually harder for me to follow, but during the duration of this project, I found that having written directions was very useful, because I could easily refer back to something I had previously done.

After completing the Raspberry Pi, I was really glad I chose to work on it for my DIY.  Even though it took up a significant amount of time, it helped me look at some aspects of computer science and computer engineering both of which I am interested in.

  1. “Manual Installation Instructions.” – RasPlex. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Sept. 2015.
  2. “Download NOOBS for Raspberry Pi.” Raspberry Pi NOOBS Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Sept. 2015.
  3. “HOW-TO:Installing OpenELEC.” – OpenELEC. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Sept. 2015.
  4. “PiCAST 2.0 (Chromecast-like Project) – Setup, Start, & CAST for Raspberry Pi & Linux.” YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 10 Sept. 2015.
  5. “Raspberry Pi NOOBS Setup.” Raspberry Pi NOOBS Setup Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Sept. 2015.
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