Raspberry Pi revisited

As documented a long, long time ago, I’ve got an old Raspberry Pi (B 1.2) kicking around. I wanted to try to teach it some new tricks, but once again my first challenge was getting it set up. This time, I don’t even have a TV I can plug its composite output into and I couldn’t be bothered to get HDMI working. I’m going to have to do this completely blind.To set up a Raspberry Pi completely headless is not straighforward. First, we have to bypass NOOBS, the Raspbian installer for, well, noobs. NOOBS expects GUI input on first boot, a no-no for me.

Instead, I had to etch Raspbian onto our SD card, by first downloading the Raspbian ZIP, and Etcher. (I formatted the SD card first using the SDA tool, but that’s probably optional.) The actual etching and validation process takes a few minutes but is thankfully entirely automated. Then, I placed a file (any file!) called “ssh” into the smaller ‘boot’ partition on the SD card to enable SSH without needing access to Raspbian itself. I could then put the SD card into the Pi and boot. If everything works perfectly (and it did for me), SSH access is now enabled on port 22 (pi/raspberry by default; these need changing). This allows me to use PuTTY to access the Raspberry Pi remotely, albeit through a command line interface (at least initially).

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