· tips raspberry pi

Quick Raspberry Pi Tips


I find myself always looking for a distribution of Raspbian that doesn’t include a gui. I always forget that the “Raspbian X Lite” version is exactly that. (X refers to the current Debian version. Right now that’s “Stretch”.)

You can probably find the downloads page here.

Keyboard setup

I use dvorak and live in the US, which means I need to change the default keyboard settings that Raspbian uses. Luckily, one can simply sudo dpkg-reconfigure keyboard-configuration, which’ll give you a lovely setup wizard.

Last time I did this, I had to select “other keyboards” to get to the US ones, then chose dvorak from the options there.

After you run the command, you need to sudo reboot to have it take effect.

I learned all this from this stack overflow answer.

User setup

The default raspberry pi user is pi, and default password is raspberry. You’ll want to change this when you’re setting things up. This page has the guide to change that.

In short, run passwd.

You can also create a new user with sudo adduser [user name], and change their password with sudo passwd [user name]

Wifi setup (and some Raspbian Stretch problem solving)

There’s a good guide to help you with wifi setup.

The long and short of that is:

  1. sudo iwlist wlan0 scan to find your network, if you need to
  2. sudo vi /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf and add a stanza for your network:

            ssid="wifi network name"
            psk="wifi password"
  3. ifconfig -a to see that wlan0 has a connection now.

Unfortunately, I ended up having random issues with this initially. My raspberrypi wouldn’t connect, and no amount of rebooting or modifying things based on various searches seemed to help. After spending a long while on things, I eventually ended up downloading the same Raspbian image again and things magically seemed to work after that.

So all I can add is I learned some neat things during the searches, which I’ve included below. But if you run into random issues where the above simply doesn’t work, I unfortunately don’t have a good answer for you :(

Neat wifi debugging things

In my searching, I found this post which had some neat commands I’d never heard of.

iw, which lets you see what interfaces are there. Use with /sbin/iw dev and /sbin/iw wlan0 link. Also scan for wireless networks with sudo /sbin/iw wlan0 scan

ip, which lets you check the status of wireless devices. You can do stuff like ip link show wlan0 and ip addr show wlan0, or even ip route show.

To be honest I don’t really know what most of these mean, but they seem pretty neat and I’d not heard of either before.

The End

These are just a few of the tips I wanted to record for myself as I was recently attempting to setup some Raspberry Pis. Particularly the part about wifi, as that had unknown errors that I never ended up solving, but did magically end up working eventually anyway.

Anyway, happy Raspberry Pi-ing!

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