Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Raspberry Pi: First boot

If you've read my earlier post on this topic, you'll know that I had encountered some difficulties in getting all of the required accessories to get my RPi up and running.
Well, after the eBay debacle with the fake Nokia AC-10X charger, today I finally got a genuine Nokia charger for just slightly more expensive.

So, used my HDMI/DVI-D cable to hook up the RPi to my Acer 19" flatscreen monitor, plugged in the usb dongle for Logitech wireless keyboard and mouse, inserted my Sandisk 4GB, Class 4 SD card to which I had previously installed the ArchLinux image from here and next inserted the microUSB plug from the Nokia charger and ...... nothing.

The monitor simply said "No Signal".
So, what was wrong?
Was I delivered a damaged RPi?
Was the HDMI/DVI-D cable another example of a crap eBay product?
Was the signal from the tiny RPi board just to weak to handle my Acer 19" LCD monitor which was at least 50 times its size?

HDMI problems seem commonplace in the RPi world as seen in these forum posts (first, second).
In addition, there's quite extensive material available to help with HDMI troubleshooting including this and the RPi forums troubleshooting section.

But, maybe the problem was the SD card? I had burned the Arch ARM image to it without taking any precautions such as doing the SHA1 checks.

So, I started over and this time chose the debian6-19-04-2012 image.
Precautions taken were to check the SHA1 on both the zip file and the extracted image as well as writing zeros to the whole SD card (dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdc) and formatting it to FAT32 using Gparted beforehand.
Then I followed precisely the guide here (Linux command line version).

Then I set up my RPi board again, HDMI/DVI cable, kbd/mouse dongle, ethernet cable, SD card inserted and then the Nokia power cable and this time ........... it booted perfectly.

So the problem was a poorly burned SD card!

Logged in using user=PI and pwd=raspberry and that gave me a working TTy with internet.
Typing startx gave me a very nice LXDE GUI Desktop.

Full marks. Everything else worked fine although I haven't yet checked a lot of things including sound.

First impression? It's slow. Not intolerably so, but certainly very noticeable.
Plus, I reckon that a lot of the slowness arises from the SD card rather than a full blown HDD or, better still, SSD.
However, what do you expect from a 700 MHz processor with just 500MB of RAM?

Nevertheless, great to get it running.
Now for some fun.

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