Jul 19, 2014

Installing OS: Raspberry Pi drive recorder with GPS logger

On my previous article I described why I'm working this project and what this project goal is. This article covers how to install OS and get your Raspberry Pi ready to boot.

To install OS, you need to get an SD card or Micro SD card with adaptor. You are going to install your choice of OS image to it and stick this SD card to Raspberry Pi. Some starter kits offer Raspberry Pi with OS installed SD card. It's easy to get started with one of those, but as you work on your project you'll want to make a copy of your OS image before making a huge modification. You don't wanna mess up your entire work and start all over again, right? So sooner or later you'll have to know how to install OS on your SD card and make copies of it. I think it is nice to learn it at first place.

I did it with the items below:
I also recommend:

1. Download OS Image

Visit official download page and download the latest version of Raspbian. There are some other distributions listed on that page, but I think choosing Raspbian is the easiest for beginners since we can find many reference articles on the web. I downloaded the .zip archived file. We are going to unzip and install this OS image to the SD card.

2. Unmount SD Card

Insert your SD card to iMac and launch terminal. Type `df -h` and see what appears. When I did it SD card wasn't recognized so I launched disk utility and formatted this card. Then hit `df -h` and the file systems show up like below. Check which to unmount and do `sudo diskutil unmount /dev/********`. '********' should be replaced depending on your environment. You should remember what this device name was since you are going to use it later.

3. Flash disk image

After unmounting your SD card on the previous step, it won't appear on `df -h` again. You unzip your downloaded OS image and then flash this to the unmounted SD card with dd command. On dd command you must be careful what you give to 'of' because it is a bit different from what you remembered on the previous step. You need to omit the last 's1' and replace "disk" with "rdisk". e.g. '/dev/disk1s1' becomes '/dev/rdisk1'. This process may take a while and this doesn't give us visual feedback to indicate progress so you must be patient.

Installing OS is done now so you can eject SD card and stick it to Raspberry Pi. If you are going to bring your Raspberry Pi with you like I do, I really recommend you to buy a low-profile Micro SD adaptor for Raspberry Pi.

Now we are going to boot Raspberry pi, connect with SSH and finish initial configuration.