Raspberry Pi – The 5 Minute Setup

I’ll just dive in. Note: this is a mac only tutorial.

SD Card

You need to flash an sd card with the latest distro of raspbian. Don’t worry about it, just do it.

Download a copy of raspbian.

Unzip it on your desktop and do the following…

Open an terminal and type

df -h

Look at what you have. Then insert your sd card and do the same thing again.

df -h

Notice a difference? You should see something added like /dev/disk3s1 or something

Now unmount the sd card so you can write it.

sudo diskutil unmount /dev/disk3s1

Now look at the name, we’re gonna change it. disk3s1 becomes rdisk3 just drop the “s1” and add an “r”.

We need to copy it over so do this with your disk name and location of the download file:

sudo dd bs=1m if=~/Desktop/2013-02-09-wheezy-raspbian.img of=/dev/rdisk3

It’s not gonna tell you anything and it will take a long time. be patient. It will tell you when it’s done.


eject the sd card and pop it into your raspberry pi. Boot it up with a keyboard and hdmi cable to your monitor already plugged in. You should see s setup screen after it does some stuff.

Do the following setup:

  1. Expand root partition to fill SD card (just hit enter on this and it will expand)
  2. Set keyboard layout (I set it to logitech english US version generic)
  3. Enable ssh server
  4. Start desktop on boot? (I set this to no)
  5. Finish

Now your set up. It will ask you if you want to reboot. Say yes.

Install some stuff

log back in:

Username: pi

Password: raspberry

Now we need wifi.

sudo pico /etc/network/interfaces

Edit your interfaces file to look like this:

auto lo

iface lo inet loopback
iface eth0 inet dhcp

auto wlan0
allow-hotplug wlan0
iface wlan0 inet dhcp
        wpa-ssid "network name"
        wpa-psk "password"

Reboot your pi to it can log in and get wifi

Now we want to install some stuff we’ll use. But first:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

Your password is just “raspberry”

Next we want to install build-essential and git-core so we can check things out.

sudo apt-get install build-essential git-core nodejs npm

Next we want to make sure we can use node instead of typing nodejs everytime.

update-alternatives --install /usr/bin/node node /usr/bin/nodejs 10

You can double check this is working with:

node -v

If you get a version number output then it worked. Then we want to make sure we can use the gpio pins. I use pi-gpio. To use this library without having to type “sudo”. To do this you need GPIO admin:

git clone git://github.com/quick2wire/quick2wire-gpio-admin.git
cd quick2wire-gpio-admin
sudo make install
sudo adduser $USER gpio

Next we install pi-gpio

sudo npm install -g pi-gpio

Now we want to manage our nodejs processes without worrying about them crashing. I user “forever” for this. NOTE: if you upgrade to node 0.10.5 there’s a known bug

sudo npm install -g forever

Let’s say you install your package and you have a node process like “web.js”. To start forever you might do:

forever start /PATH/TO/FILE/web.js

Then if you want to stop it:

forever list
forever stop 0

And boom. In about 5 minutes you can go from no pi to pi with a working install of NodeJS.

General stuff

You will also need to generate some ssh keys if you want to pull from github…

cd ~/.ssh
ssh-keygen -t rsa -C "my@email.com"

Then you will need to ssh into your pi. You can find it on your network by doing:


Then look for an interface that only has the ssh port open “22”

ssh pi@

Enter your password “raspberry”.

If you really can’t find your pi’s ip by nmapping, then login into it with your keyboard and monitor and do:


This should tell you if your connected and what IP your on. Look for an IP that doesn’t have a .255 address.

Next we want to copy that ssh key we generated so we can pull down from github

less ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub

copy the output and add it to your github repo ssh keys

Now you can pull from github.

If you want to reboot your pi:

sudo reboot

You should always shut your pi down, instead of just unplugging it. I just corrupted an sd card by unplugging it myself. Make sure you shutdown properly:

sudo shutdown -h now

Remember there really arent that many consequences. If you corrupt your card, just reflash it. and reinstall.


If you would like to see how much memory is left on your pi:

df -h /dev/root

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