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Videos / What is Raspberry Pi - Overview and Specs

Sam breaks the ice with a common question - "What is Raspberry Pi?". In this video we explore the Raspberry Pi ecosystem, the specs of the latest Raspberry Pi board along with some tips for getting started.

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Hey guys, Sam here from Core Electonics and today we’re going to be taking a look at what is Raspberry Pi?  Now simply put the Raspberry Pi is a fully featured computer the size of a credit card - amazing! Now originally they debuted in 2012 there was the original Raspberry Pi and that board with the same specs underwent a few transformations. We had the Raspberry Pi Model A  which was ht e original one. Now the Model A refers to the form factor, so the Raspberry Pi counting from the Numbers of the original is the different iterations and then the Model is the form factor - so whether it has 2 USB Ports, 4 USB Ports or the number of GPIO pins and how big the board is. So we had them Model A and then we had the Model A+  which is just a bit of an extension. We had the Model B and then the Model B+. Now the Raspberry Pi 2 continued with the Model B+ form Factor. Now the form factor and the 40 GPIO pins where the mounting holes are, the HDMI port, the combined audio and video jack, the original Raspberry Pi had separate ones. So this is a 4 Pole connector which has concert video on one and stereo audio on the other.

Now the Raspberry Pi 3 brings a fe awesome features to the table. You’ve got built in Bluetooth, built in WiFi, you’ve got a spec bump! This guy the size of a credit card packs in a 1.2 GHz processor which is based on ARM Cortex architecture so it’s got a lot of power there. you’ve got 1 GB of RAM and 4 full sized USB ports 2.0, an ethernet port, HDMI and power by the Micro SD. Theres an LCD display connecter for liquid crystal displays and a CSI port for cameras. Now you can go ahead and plug this straight into your TV, into your monitor or anything that has an HDMI port and it’s going to work straight out of the box. Along with that you’ve got your GPIO pins here - so that’s general purpose in out pins. So that’s for connecting up your own circuitry - you might want to connect sensors, LEDs, motors or anything that yo can think of you can build on a bread board and plug it in to these GPIO pins here and access them and use them and manipulate them in code on the Raspberry Pi. You can also get access to the low level peripherals like I2C, Spy Buses, things like that.

Now the awesome thing about the Raspberry Pi is you don’t need a computer to get started. You don’t need to program it with another computer, it’s self contained and all of the storage on it  - there’s no on board storage - it’s all through this Micro SD port there which you can see on your screen. The Micro SD card contains the operating system, your files, everything like that, it’s all done through there so you can actually swap SD Cards out onto different boards and it will work exactly the same which is pretty cool. So that is the Raspberry Pi board. Now what can you actually do with it?

I hear a lot of people asking that and it’s a good question. So the Raspberry Pi supports Linux - it’s all based around Linux which is as you know, an open source operating system. Linux is great because it allows you to do a lot of things. There’s a lot of different operating systems you can build around it. So the main way to put operating systems on is using what is called NOOBS - New Out Of Box Software. Now it’s kind of like an operating system manager where you can put different operating systems on to your SD card and NOOBS will allow you to boot into different ones, kind of have completely separate computer systems on them almost, but the default operating system on them is called Raspian. Thats based on Debian and it’s a community driven build. It’s got built in web browser, the new update of Pixel includes Chromium - a really featured out, really well fleshed out web browser, text editing, you’ve got Python development environments, you’ve got Scratch development environments, you’ve got all this stuff you can do with it but there is so many more operating systems as well. You can put the Windows 10 IoT core on here. Now it’s a  bit different to the traditional windows 10 that you might see on a desktop computer. You can also put KODI, KODI media centres on there in the form of openelec or other ones, but openelec is the one supported by NOOBS. You can put RetroPie on here and turn it into a vintage gaming console - again awesome write up on that so check that out. So that is a bit of a look at the Raspberry Pi, what it does and how you can use it. So go ahead and check out our other tutorials and our other projects for some inspiration on how you can get started with the different connections here with the GPOI, get started using Python, and taking a look at getting even deeper with the Terminal and things like that. If you enjoyed this then check out our other tutorials, build an awesome project with your Raspberry Pi - we’d love to see it and stay tuned for more videos guys! :-)