The Raspberry-Pi is a small, affordable, and amazingly capable, credit card size MotherBoard that plugs into a computer monitor or TV and uses a standard keyboard and mouse to use it as a computer. It is a capable little device that enables people of all ages to explore computing and to learn how to program in languages like Scratch and Python. It’s capable of doing everything you’d expect a desktop computer to do, from browsing the internet and playing high-definition video, to making spreadsheets, word-processing, and playing games. 
It is developed by the Raspberry-Pi Foundation, and it might be the most versatile tech ever created. The father of this small computer is Eben Upton’s whose goal was to create a low-cost device that would improve programming skills and hardware understanding. Due to its small size and price of the device, it has become the centre of a wide range of projects by tinkerers, makers, and electronics enthusiasts.

How to start with Raspberry-Pi?

For this tutorial, you need a Raspberry-Pi. In our examples, we use a Raspberry-Pi 3, but this tutorial should work for most versions.

Hardware needed:

  • Raspberry-Pi computer.
  • MicroSD memory card (We recommend a class 10 with 16 GB or higher).
  • MicroSD to SD memory card adapter (usually included with the MicroSD card).
  • Micro USB power supply to power the Raspberry-Pi (2.5A or greater recommended).
  • WiFi/Ethernet Cable connection for the Raspberry-Pi (Not needed for Raspberry-Pi 3 as it has built-in WiFi).
  • A working computer with internet and SD memory card reader used to get the OS (Operating System) for the Raspberry Pi onto the memory card). In our tutorial, we use a Windows computer for this, but you can use a Mac or Linux computer if you prefer.
  • HDMI monitor, USB keyboard (we need these only temporarily for the first boot of the Raspberry Pi).

How to Write Raspbian OS Image to MicroSD Card?

Before we can start using our Raspberry-Pi for anything, we need to get a OS installed.

Raspbian is a free operating system based on Debian Linux, and it is optimized Raspberry-Pi.

Download the latest Raspbian image from https://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/raspbian/ to your computer.

We use the “LITE” version in our tutorial since we are setting the Raspberry-Pi up as a headless server (we will connect to it through SSH, without having a keyboard/display connected to it). You can use whichever version you want, but this tutorial is written with the “LITE” version as its focus.

Insert the MicroSD memory card in your computer (via the SD adapter if needed). Open File Explorer to verify that it is operational.

Etcher is a program for flashing images to memory cards. Download and install Etcher from https://etcher.io/

Launch Etcher:

Etcher Tool Launch View
SD-Card bootable Tool

Click “Select image” button and find the Raspbian zip file that you downloaded.

Click the “Select drive” button and specify the memory card as the target location.

Click the “Flash!” button to write the image to the memory card.

After Etcher is finished writing the image to the memory card, remove it from your computer.

How to Set up Your Raspberry-Pi?

To get the Raspberry-Pi ready to boot we need to:

  1. Insert the MicroSD memory card into the Raspberry-Pi
  2. Connect the USB keyboard
  3. Connect the HDMI cable
  4. Connect the USB Wi-Fi adapter (or Ethernet cable). Skip this step if you are using a Raspberry-Pi 3
  5. Connect the micro USB power supply
  6. The Raspberry-Pi should now be booting up

When the Raspberry Pi is finished booting up, log in using username: pi and password: raspberry

How to Set Up Network on the Raspberry-Pi?

If you will use a Ethernet cable to connect your Raspberry-Pi to the internet, you can skip this step.

For this section we will assume you have a Raspberry-Pi 3, with built in WiFi.

Start by scanning for wireless networks:pi@raspberrypi:~ $ sudo iwlist wlan0 scan

This will list all of the available WiFi networks. (It also confirms that your WiFi is working)

Now we need to open the WPA-supplicant file, to add the network you want to connect to pi@raspberrypi:~ $ Sudo nano /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf

This will open the file in the Nano editor. Add the following to the bottom of the file (change wifiName and wifiPassword with the actual network name and password):network={
  psk=”wifi password”

Press “Ctrl+x” to save the code. Confirm with “y“, and confirm the name with “Enter“.

And reboot the Raspberry-Pi:pi@raspberrypi:~ $ sudo reboot

After reboot, log in again, and confirm that the WiFi is connected and working:pi@raspberrypi:~ $ ifconfig wlan0

If the WiFi is working properly, the information displayed should include an IP address, similar to this:inet addr:

Write down that IP address, as we will use it to connect to the Raspberry-Pi via SSH.

How to Enable SSH, Change Hostname and Password?

Now your Raspberry-Pi is connected to the internet, it is time to enable SSH.

SSH allows you up use the Raspberry-Pi without having a monitor and keyboard connected to it.

(You will need a SSH client for this on your non-Raspberry Pi computer. We use PuTTY for windows)

Open the Raspberry-Pi Software Configuration Tool:pi@raspberrypi:~ $ sudo raspi-config

You should see a menu like this:

Raspberry-Pi password change
Rasberry-pi Software

Select option 5 Interfacing Options:

raspberry-pi interfacing options
Raspberry Pi Configuration Tool

Select option P2 SSH, to activate SSH:

raspberry-pi P2 SSH activation
Raspberry-Pi Configuration Tool

Confirm with YES, to activate SSH:

raspberry-pi SSH enabled
Raspberry-Pi Configuration Tool

SSH is now enabled, and you should be in the main menu again.

Select 1 Change User Password, and follow the instructions to change the password. Choose a secure password, but something you will remember:

raspberry-pi change user password
Raspberry-Pi Configuration Tool

After you have finished changing the password, you should be back in the main menu.

Select 2 Hostname, and follow the instructions to change the hostname:

raspberry-pi Host name
Raspberry-Pi Configuration Tool

After you have finished changing the hostname, you should be back in the main menu.

Now we will close the menu and save the changes:

raspberry-pi configuration
Raspberry-Pi Configuration Tool

When selecting Finish, you will get the option to reboot. Select Yes to reboot the Raspberry Pi.

raspberry-pi reboot
Raspberry-Pi Configuration Tool

You can now unplug the monitor and keyboard from the Raspberry Pi, and we can log in using out SSH client.

Open PuTTY, type in the IP address for your Raspberry Pi, and click Open:

raspberry-pi  putty configuration
PuTTy Configuration

Log in using the username pi and the new password you specified.

You should now see a command line like this: (we used w3demopi as our hostname)pi@w3demopi:~ $

You are now able to run your Raspberry Pi in “Headless-mode”, meaning you do not need a monitor or keyboard. And if you have a WiFi connection, you do not need an ethernet cable either, just the power cable!

How to Install Node.js on Raspberry Pi?

With the Raspberry Pi properly set up, login in via SSH, and update your Raspberry Pi system packages to their latest versions.

Update your system package list:pi@w3demopi:~ $ sudo apt-get update

Upgrade all your installed packages to their latest version:pi@w3demopi:~ $ sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

Doing this regularly will keep your Raspberry Pi installation up to date.

To download and install newest version of Node.js, use the following command:pi@w3demopi:~ $ curl -sL https://deb.nodesource.com/setup_8.x | sudo -E bash –

Now install it by running:pi@w3demopi:~ $ sudo apt-get install -y nodejs

Check that the installation was successful, and the version number of Node.js with:pi@w3demopi:~ $ node -v

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