Raspberry PI headless installation

3 Jun

So I finally got a Raspberry PI from LankaTronics which was a few thousand bucks overpriced at Rs 8500/= (I wasn’t patient enough to get it down from eBay, Amazon etc. at a lower cost)

I removed the package and wanted to configure the PI as soon as possbile since I had already downloaded Raspbian “wheezy” the stripped down Linux OS specially made for the PI.

Then I followed the instructions on the Quick Start Guide and got Raspbian written on to my 8GB (RaspPI recommends 4GB) SD card.

Problem:

With the SD card written I tried to plugin my LCD monitor (not TV) to the PI but found that the monitor does not have a DVI port !!! I already knew it did not have HDMI which is the easiest way to connect the PI to a LCD. This meant the HDMI to DVI lead that  I bought for Rs 1900/= was totally useless now, BUMMER!

So I ordered another HDMI to VGA adapter from eBay, but that would probably take close to a month to arrive (I didn’t buy it from Unity Plaza since the guy there said that it will cost around Rs 7000/=, which is bonkers!)


Solution:

Well then how do I configure the Raspberry PI without connecting it to a monitor? Then it dawned to me if Raspbian is a kind of Linux shouldn’t it be possible to SSH into it? Googling this topic gave me a load of hits on how to do a “headless” setup for the PI.

The key was to use my home WiFi router to connect to the RaspPI via SSH from my other PC (Win7 laptop)

So here are the steps in brief (this assumes that you already have written the Raspbian image on to the SD card)

1. Use a Ethernet cable (blue cable shown below) and connect the RaspPI to your router.

2013-05-11 20.36.36

2. Power up the PI using a phone charger

3. Using another PC (I’m using a Win7 laptop) connect to the router administration web site using a browser. The router’s IP is provided in the router manual (or Google for it). For example mine is 192.168.123.254 so the web site would be http://192.168.123.254

4. Find the Raspberry PI’s IP address using the “DHCP clients” page in the router administration web site, it will be  easy if you only have two devices connected to the router, the “larger” IP will be your PI’s IP since it connected second (after the Win7 laptop in my case).

dhcp_ip

5. Using an SSH client (Putty or SSH/Cygwin in Windows) in the other PC connect to your Raspberry PI using the IP address that you found in the above step

user: pi     password: raspberry

rapsbi_headless

6. Once you are connected you can run ‘raspi-config’ to configure your Raspberry PI.

raspi-config

7. Optionally, if you want to have a “GUI Deskptop” connection to the RaspPI you can install TightVNC on the PI using sudo apt-get install tightvncserver, then instead of Putty or SSH on Cygwin you can use the TightVNC client (which requires Java) to connect to the RaspPI’s LXDE Desktop (screenshot shown below).

rasp_pi_gui_vnc

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One Response to “Raspberry PI headless installation”

  1. Me August 27, 2013 at 3:04 pm #

    On point 7.: to bring up the R-Pi’s GUI on the remote machine you can try the command * startlxde * from the R-Pi’s command line. No need to install VNC in this case.

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