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Adventures in Raspberry Pi-land: Bootloaders and LEGO sets

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January 23, 2013

Gizmag's Raspberry Pi, in its LEGO case. Finally... (Photo: Gizmag)

Gizmag's Raspberry Pi, in its LEGO case. Finally... (Photo: Gizmag)

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After several shameful weeks of having it sit on a bookshelf, Gizmag recently decided it was time to embark upon not one but two very ambitious projects for its Raspberry Pi: turning it on, and building a LEGO case for it. Needless to say, in both cases we turned to the worldwide web for fast, easy answers.

I say "turning it on," but considering that's as simple as connecting a power adapter (not included), we thought we'd go one better and get the thing properly up and running. This is all fairly straightforward if you follow the Raspberry Pi Foundation's quick start guide.

The only deviation we'd recommend concerns installation of Raspian operating system (very probably the first OS you'll want to install, especially if you don't know what OS to install). Instead of messing around with img files and disk imager software, BerryBoot is a bootloader than can be downloaded, unzipped, and saved straight to your SD card (effectively the Pi's hard disk). Now, so long as you are able to connect your Pi to a network, BerryBoot will handle the installation of Raspian (or other OS's for that matter) for you. Bosh.

Much more interesting, of course, was the LEGO case. Rather than designing our own, we turned to the Raspberry Foundation-recommended Raspberry Pi Case, designed by the youthful and enigmatic Biz. This ships as a set from the Daily Brick, purveyors of specialist LEGO sets.

This LEGO set is excellently functional, holding the Pi firmly in place while granting access to its various ports and slots. A removable lid lets you get at the Pi, though if you want to remove it, partial dissembling is necessary. A transparent brick grants display of the Pi's LED indicators, which is great.

If you do build it, do follow the photo guide written by the designers, and not the electronic instructions provided by Daily Brick. That way, when you've finished, your Pi will be inside the case, not outside of it. Oops…

Overall, the LEGO set is great for those in need of a Pi case who are either short of time, imagination or both, though really the best way to live up to the example set by Biz would be to design another case of your own – just like we didn't.

Really, that's about all the procrastination we can justify. It's time to put our Raspberry Pi properly through its paces. Your ideas are most welcome.

Update: Thanks to readers that pointed out the BerryBoot link was incorrect. This is now fixed.

About the Author
James Holloway James lives in East London where he punctuates endless tea drinking with freelance writing and meteorological angst. Unlocking Every Extend Extra Extreme’s “Master of Extreme” achievement was the fourth proudest moment of his life.   All articles by James Holloway
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2 Comments

Try RiscOS and then insist that someone ports a WebKit browser to it.

IvorJetski
23rd January, 2013 @ 05:18 am PST

I think that is really neat. I like its simplicity.

Where does one get the cable that connects it to the on/off switch? or the cables for the other connections? (assuming that the board has place to connect them to - I am not all that familiar with the details of the board).

BigGoofyGuy
24th January, 2013 @ 07:49 am PST
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