So you’ve just purchased your first Raspberry Pi and you’re finally ready to set things up and get a project started: it’s an exciting situation and we’ve been there before! If you’ve done your research, then you already have the basics: a Pi with Jessie installed, some hardware, and just maybe a mind full of new project ideas.
Now imagine that you could fast forward into the future to when you’re a maker-pro: what advice would you give yourself? That’s exactly what we’ve done here. We asked veteran Cayenne users what tips they would give themselves as first-time project makers. We narrowed them down to the most helpful, so here it is: the top five tips for Raspberry Pi beginners.
- Understand the hardware: even though you don’t need to know coding if you’re using Cayenne with your Raspberry Pi project, walking through some tutorials will make life a lot easier as you begin your maker projects. Get to know your Pi and its hardware through sites like Adafruit, or The MagPi magazine. You can also find documentation and tutorials on Cayenne for compatible hardware. The key thing is to make sure you know the limits of your hardware and understand how your Pi “thinks.”
- Starter hardware kits are your friend: finding starter kits or robot kits for your Pi means saving money on bundled hardware that might include motors, sensors, and other hardware. Some great kits sell for as little as $12, and you’ll usually find the hardware less expensive in a package than by purchasing separately. Just about any activator that is compatible with Pi will work on Cayenne for sensors and extensions.
- Know your resources: it goes without saying that RaspberryPi.org is an asset when it comes to getting to know your Pi and how it works. You’ll also find great help from the Community of makers who use Cayenne. They’re really active, so introduce yourself in the group to see what other users are doing, or to check out the latest product updates and tutorials, and, of course, to get help if you get stuck!
- Always do controlled shutdowns: It’s a computer, albeit very small, so you’ll avoid many headaches if you shutdown or restart your Pi using the appropriate command on the desktop, or the sudo command (like sudo halt or sudo reboot) for more advanced users. This will keep your Pi and your SD card in top shape. Our pro-users also suggest shutting down and unplugging the Pi when connecting new hardware, just to be on the safe side.
- Take breaks: If you hit a brick wall, take a break! It’s easy to overlook basic problems if you’re tired. You could encounter errors if you’re low on disk space, or if your SD card goes bad, or if a seemingly innocuous breadboard connection turns out to be the bane of your existence. When you come back refreshed and troubleshoot successfully, you’ll have even more reason to be proud of your project when (not if) it works.
- Bonus: We couldn’t resist one more: the default username for the Raspian operating system is “pi,” and the default password is “raspberry”. Hopefully, we’ve just saved you some time on Google.
In a nutshell, if you know your hardware, save money with a starter kit, introduce yourself to the Community, do controlled shutdowns, and take plenty of breaks, you’ll become a Raspberry Pi expert in no time!
Want to try our free drag-and-drop project builder for Raspberry Pi? Cayenne can simplify and speed up the project building process whether you’re a new maker or already a pro. You can sign up free here.