momma*mia
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Help a mom, please

Mon Oct 14, 2013 10:42 pm

Hello, My 13 year old has asked for a Raspberry pi for Christmas this year. I have been looking online for the last couple of hours and am no closer to understanding what it is I need to buy than I was when I started. I need help. I have questions. Hopefully someone here will be kind enough to advise me.
First, it seems I have buying options. I see I can buy the various items needed to run this item individually, or I can buy things packaged together. For example: the pi unit, a memory stick with NOOB already on it, a power source, a case for it and a wifi dongle seems to run at about 72 dollars plus tax and shipping. But then I see one can buy a pi and adafruit bundle for 105 dollars. The bundle seems to have the things I was planning to buy plus a whole lot more. But, I have no idea what any of this stuff is, or even if a 13 year old needs it? I don't even know if the stuff I priced out individually is really the things I need, or if I've forgotten something. I'm not very computer savvy, as you can see. But I do want to make my kids Christmas so I don't want him to open this on Christmas morning and then tell me it's useless because he still needs 'this, this and this'. If someone here could be kind enough to tell what it is I really need to buy, and what is the best way of buying it all I would really, really appreciate it. Thank you for your time.
*also, will ordering it now even get it to me in time for the holidays?

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Davespice
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Re: Help a mom, please

Tue Oct 15, 2013 7:38 am

Hi! I think a lot of your questions are answered on here; http://www.raspberrypi.org/faqs

I would say that the kits make a very good Christmas present, as they have a lot of 'exploring value' in them.
You may find that your 13 year old doesn't use all of it to start with, but us they learn and dig deeper they'll start using all the other parts included in the kit.

One thing through. Just remember the Raspberry Pi is not an appliance computer. When I say appliance I mean it in the sense of a kettle or a toaster. You need to have some knowledge in order to be able to operate it. Which is why it's so good for teaching people about computers. If you want an appliance then you're better off with a tablet.

The Pi forces you to learn to be able to succeed in the things you're trying to do. So if they struggle with something just tell them that they need to understand more. Ask them to go online and search, read some blogs and post questions on this forum. Also say this a lot; "be patient and give yourself time to learn!"

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Hove
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Re: Help a mom, please

Tue Oct 15, 2013 8:05 am

The bare minimum you need is
  • a Raspberry Pi (probably model be as it has more options)
    a keyboard - go for a wired USB one, not bluetooth or Wifi - they just prove less reliable
    a mouse - again, wired
    a screen - this might just be your TV, or could be a computer monitor - ideally it'll need to have an HDMI connector
    an HDMI cable to connect the Raspberry Pi to the screen
    a power supply - Apple, Blackberry chargers work well, but there are plenty of others
    An SD card
Is that what's in your kit already?

You'll also want a connection to the internet; the simplest option is an ethernet cable which plugs directly into your internet hub.

If that won't work (Raspberry Pi and Internet hub in different rooms), then you're going to need a USB hub and WiFi dongle. That's because the Raspberry Pi model B has 2 USB ports, but you now need 3 (keyboard, mouse and dongle).

Again, there's a long list of hubs that are proven to work well with the Raspberry Pi. Follow the link in Davespice post above.

That'll give you a working Raspberry Pi with access to the web.

Does your child want to do project like robotics and stuff? That's what the extras in the adafruit bundle give you.

The Pi comes with some simple games, and programming tools aimed at young teenagers (Scratch) already installed - I'd get a book if that's where your kid wants to go. I don't have any I can recommend because I don't use it, but there must be something out there - hopefully others will be able to offer advice
www.pistuffing.co.uk - Raspberry Pi and other stuffing!

Dutch_Master
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Re: Help a mom, please

Tue Oct 15, 2013 12:23 pm

The previous replies answered all but one question: it's mid-October, the Holiday season is 11 weeks away. Most suppliers now ship from stock, so you can reasonably expect to have it next week if you order today. Mind that running up towards the end of the year, more people will be ordering and the delivery time may increase. I have good experiences with element14 (Farnell) but other (US based) suppliers are available ;)

toxibunny
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Re: Help a mom, please

Tue Oct 15, 2013 3:59 pm

Get the adafruit pack and a cheap USB keyboard and mouse (cheap ones use less power) and you should be ok. An RCA or HDMI cable too, if you don't have any lying around spare already.

:)
note: I may or may not know what I'm talking about...

momma*mia
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Re: Help a mom, please

Tue Oct 15, 2013 6:52 pm

Thank you folks so very much for taking the time to answer my questions. I'm so glad I didn't order anything yesterday without checking here first. My son seems to know exactly what a pi is and what it does, but I really do not. (But I have a better idea now after reading your responses) And given that I want this to be a surprise, I really couldn't ask him much about it without him figuring out I was looking to buy one. I do have various cables and cords in a box that I will need to look through, I likely have something that is needed. And I know I have an old mouse and keyboard somewhere. I know I don't own a usb hub, I will need to see what those cost, or I might just opt for using an Ethernet cable instead of wireless.
Again, I really appreciate your help, if I have any more questions I will post back, and my son will likely come to your forum once he gets his Christmas gift. Cheers!

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Cancelor
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Re: Help a mom, please

Tue Oct 15, 2013 7:07 pm

The RPi is fun and easy to use, I suggest you try it out as soon as you get it .... just to make sure you have all you need ;)
Can't find the thread you want? Try googling : YourSearchHere site:raspberrypi.org

ramstrong
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Re: Help a mom, please

Tue Oct 15, 2013 7:24 pm

I believe this is just me, but I think an enabler device is not enough without proper instruction. So I suggest adding a few books to the package.

Raspberry Pi for Beginners bookazine www.imaginebookshop.co.uk is a great introduction. If your son knows what he's doing, he may already source all that on the Internet.

Getting Started with Raspberry Pi, Richardson & Wallace, O'Reilly is a great hands-on introductory small book.
Programming the Raspberry Pi - Getting Started with Python, Simon Monk, McGrawHill is a good introductory programming small book.

I suggest staying away from Learning Python and Programming Python by Mark Lulz, O'Reilly, until your son asked for a more substantial learning resources. :) Those are excellent, comprehensive book on the subject, but I find them a slog and a bore. ;)
Raspberry Pi Journal: http://simpletongeek.blogspot.com/p/raspberry-pi-journal-directory_4.html

momma*mia
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Re: Help a mom, please

Tue Oct 15, 2013 7:40 pm

Thank you for the book suggestions, that is an excellent idea.

suchenwi
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Re: Help a mom, please

Tue Oct 15, 2013 7:55 pm

One more suggestion: order a box, too. They are on sale for 10$ or less, and protect the little Pi from dust and potential liquid spillage.

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Offcenter
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Re: Help a mom, please

Tue Oct 15, 2013 8:30 pm

momma*mia wrote: ...And I know I have an old mouse and keyboard somewhere....
Make sure it's a USB mouse and keyboard! The PS2 style with the round plug, won't work.
....and give your son the address of this forum and have him join up!
This is the place for him to ask questions and learn!
....and an early Merry Christmas! :lol:
George in New Jersey.
(learning a little bit every day.)
(and darned confused most of the time!)

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rurwin
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Re: Help a mom, please

Tue Oct 15, 2013 10:10 pm

momma*mia wrote: I know I don't own a usb hub, I will need to see what those cost, or I might just opt for using an Ethernet cable instead of wireless.
Without a USB hub, once you have the mouse and the keyboard plugged in, there's no room for a USB drive, etc.
If you get a USB hub, it must be a powered one. There's several suggestions lying around on the forum here and there, but I'm sure people will pop up with recommendations if you ask.

I would strongly suggest that if you can use wired Ethernet to your router, you do that, rather than using WiFi. WiFi can be a bit of a fiddle to set up, especially since Murphy likes to jump on those who aren't sure what they are doing, so not only will you be confused about how to configure the network, you'll find that the dongle you bought is unsupported or something. Cabled Ethernet, direct to the router, just works. Don't worry about cable length, Ethernet is specified to work over 100m. A 10m cable will connect just about anywhere to anywhere in a normal-sized house, (albeit maybe a trip hazard at times,) and it isn't that expensive.

Dilligaf
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Re: Help a mom, please

Tue Oct 15, 2013 11:06 pm

If you go with a cheap 2.4Ghz wireless keyboard/mouse combo then it only takes 1 usb port for both

Dutch_Master
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Re: Help a mom, please

Wed Oct 16, 2013 12:27 am

When you're scouring the used-PC-parts box for the kit your son needs for his RPi, have a look here: http://www.raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?t=4277 It's a pictorial guide to what you need. Mind that it doesn't have to look exactly the same (most likely it won't anyway) but it gives you an idea of what to look for in the box.

suchenwi
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Re: Help a mom, please

Wed Oct 16, 2013 6:19 pm

Re powered USB hub: I am using my Pi (model B rev. 2, made in China) since several weeks, and have never experienced problems that might come from lack of power.
My setup:
Power from netbook via USB/microUSB cable (I suppose it's 500 mA)
Pi USB port 1: card reader (holds one SD and one micro SD card)
Pi USB port 2: unpowered hub, 4x, Edimax Nano WiFi dongle, mouse, keyboard (both wired)

For peripherals I am just testing tightVNC (Pi runs server automatically), clients via WiFi on netbook and Android tablet (7" is too small, though - the virtual keyboard covers more than half of the screen...)

momma*mia
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Re: Help a mom, please

Mon Nov 11, 2013 4:13 pm

Hi there, sorry to bother you again. I've been shopping and have now got the raspberry pi, keyboard, mouse, plastic box, power cord and a book.
I have a monitor I can give to my son, but the input on it is DVI-D, not HDMI. I was thinking that I could order this cord from Amazon and things will work out, but I thought I should check here first with people that obviously know more than I ever will on this subject. :oops: Could you check the link and see if this is the right product? Thanks so much!

http://www.amazon.ca/StarTech-com-HDMID ... vi-d+cable

Edited to say that I've found a cheaper one on Amazon, and from reading the comments of others that purchased it one mentions using it for a 'rpi'...which at this point I've come to learn means Raspberry pi...so could you peek at this one and tell me if it's okay? Thanks.

http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B0051U0 ... YIK6Y9EEQB

jdb
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Re: Help a mom, please

Mon Nov 11, 2013 5:32 pm

The HDMI output on the Pi is compatible with DVI-D. That cable will work.

The ones you are looking at are 3 metres long, though. One half as long would probably cost less and still be useable unless you're putting the Pi remote from the screen.
Rockets are loud.
https://astro-pi.org

killj0y
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Re: Help a mom, please

Mon Nov 11, 2013 6:15 pm

Dilligaf wrote:If you go with a cheap 2.4Ghz wireless keyboard/mouse combo then it only takes 1 usb port for both
This is what I use, except its one of those touchpad/keyboard all in one HTPC combos off of ebay. Works great! So one port for that and one for my edimax USB Wi-Fi dongle.

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