Frequently asked questions

Q: I am a Windows/Mac user. Can i still have fun with the Raspberry Pi?
A: Yes! Most experiments on this site can be run on a Raspberry Pi with display, mouse, keyboard and internet connection. You’ll only need a program for creating and restoring disk images, which is Win32DiskImager for Windows or the preinstalled disk-utility for Mac. Additionally, the ssh client Putty might be helpful when working on Windows.

Q: My Raspberry Pi is not running stable. What could be the cause?
A: Maybe the power source is not sufficient? Smartphone chargers are misused frequently as RPi power source, but most of them do not deliver sufficient current. The new official RPi power source gives full 2.5 Amperes of current, which might be necessary for running a Raspberry Pi with touchscreen and many USB dongles. Elseway, externally powered USB hubs can solve energy problems.

Q: Circuit diagrams and tutorials use sometimes different numbering types for Raspberry Pi pins. Why is that?
A: Generally speaking, one could number the Raspberry Pi pins according to their physical layout on the board (BOARD) or relative to the processors pin numbering (BCM). The latter has the advantage of compatibility over different boards, the former is less difficult to remember. When having problems with a circuit, check which board numbering applies! This site only uses BOARD numbering.

Q: There are many different Raspberry Pi Models (A+, B, B+, B2, B3 and Zero)- which one should i take?
A: It depends on what you’re planning to do. The Raspberry Pi Zero and A+ are great for tiny, energy efficient devices. All other models offer more interfaces (USB ect.). If speed is an issue, take a RPi B3; they have the additional advantage of coming with onboard Wifi, which is great!

Q: The installation of some software libraries didn’t work. Is there an easy fix?
A: Maybe the libraries on your system are outdated. Enter

in the terminal and try installing the software again.

Q: Is it dangerous to perform experiments with a Raspberry Pi?
A: A Raspberry Pi works on 5 Volt and 2 Ampere, which is a very safe operating voltage. If an experiment uses higher voltages (like relays triggering household devices), the circuit needs to be inspected by a trained electrician.

Q: My Raspberry Pi Project is permanently attached to the web. Is it secure?
A: No! It depends on the distribution and software running on the Raspberry Pi. Be careful what to attach to the net, since even the best security practice can’t give 100% safety. It is a good idea to keep especially high security standards for connected devices.

Q: Some software failed to install, now my Raspberry Pi behaves strangely. What should i do?
A: When performing experiments on a linux system, it may happen that the installation gets corrupted. Missing libraries,
overwritten config files or bugs in some components can cause this. It is advisable to not invest too much time into trying
to fix these errors, since creating and restoring a disk image just takes a few minutes and allows a restart with the last clean copy.

Q: There are many different microcomputers available today. What are their purposes and are they compatible with the Raspberry Pi?
A: The many different microcomputers have many different purposes as well. For example, the Arduino runs C in real time and can handle more voltages, but doesn’t come with an operating system like the Raspberry Pi does. There are tiny microcomputers for wearables as well as powerful boards for developers. In general, if another microcomputer can run Python, most tutorials on this site will, with small modifications, run on it as well.

Q: Why are some commands executed with a leading sudo and some without?
A: The sudo command executes a command with administrator rights. That is necessary for writing to system files ect.. Older Raspbian distributions needed sudo for executing python code, newer ones don’t. So that could be confusing in older tutorials.