Setup RaspberryPi Zero

This article is about building your own infrared bridge based on a Raspberry Pi Zero. Of cause it will not be so comfortable to configure like a Logitech Harmony Hub, but it will be much cheaper – down to 12€.

Prerequirements:

Hardware:

  • Raspberry Pi Zero WH (Amazon* Link, Buyzero Link)
  • Micro SD Card (min. 4GB) (check the Bundles at Buyzero if you need one)
  • Power Supply with Micro-USB-Plug, recommended 2,5A or more (check the Bundles at Buyzero if you need one)
  • Optional: Case for Rapsberry Pi Zero WH (check the Bundles at Buyzero if you need one)
  • Maybe Optional: USB SD-Card-Reader (if you don’t have a Card Reader in your device) (Amazon* Link)
  • Optional, not required for this how-to: MicroUSB to USB Adapter (to connect a keyboard to the Raspberry Pi Zero) (Amazon* Link)
  • Optional, not required for this how-to: MiniHDMI to HDMI Adapter (to connect a screen to the Raspberry Pi Zero) (Amazon* Link)

Software:

Setup the Raspberry Pi Zero

If you have a Mini-HDMI to HDMI-Adapter and a Micro-USB to USB-Adapter, you can connect directly to the Zero. But you do not need this for this tutorial! The following steps can be used to install the Raspberry Pi Zero without any adapters. The basic setup will be done on your Windows machine.

Step 1: Download the image for the Raspberry Pi Zero. Download the Lite-Version of the latest OS (at time of writing, it is “Stretch”): https://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/raspbian/

 

Step 2: Flash the SD card

Save the file on your local PC somewhere where you will find the file. When the download is done, you have to extract the image the from downloaded zip-file. To do so, right click the file and select “Extract all..” and click “Extract” at the bottom of the window.

 

After this is done, a window will open with the “2018-06-27-raspbian-stretch-lite.img”-File. Maybe the file is named slightly different in your download. If you have this, the img-file is ready to be copied to the SD Card.

Now copy the downloaded image to the SD Card. Plug in your card reader with your SD Card in the SD Slot or in case of a build-in card reader, just plug in the SD Card. You also need a software to copy the image. I recommend “Win32 Disk Imager”. That one is free and easy to use. You can download it here: https://sourceforge.net/projects/win32diskimager/
After the download, please install and start the software. You will see this window:

 

In the first field, select the img file you just extracted and select the SD Card-Reader drive at the right (1). If you have no USB Stick or external HDD connected to your system, the SD-Card Reader should be the only drive that is available (2). After you entered this options, click the “Write”-Button (3).

Finally you will get a success message and the write process is done.

 

Step 3: Configure the Raspberry
Windows will now find a new drive called “boot“. Usually it has the drive letter, that was used during the image writing (arrow with point 2 above). To be able to access the Raspberry after the setup via SSH, we will create a file called “ssh“. Important: Lower case and no file extension. To create such a file, change to the “View“-Tab of the file explorer (1) and check “File name extensions” (2). Perform a right click in an empty area of the explorer (3) and select “New” (4) => “Text Document” (5).

A new file will be shown in the explorer. Name it “ssh” without any extensions. Windows will ask you if you are sure to do so: Yes we are. We do not need to write any content to the file. It is just important that the file is present. When the Raspberry starts, it will automatically start the SSH services. This allows us to connect to the Raspberries console.

To be able to connect to the Raspberry, it also need a Wifi connection. To configure this, we will need Notepad++ (Download here). Windows Notepad or Wordpad will not work because we have to take care about the Unix line feed format. This is different between Windows and Linux/Unix.
Create a new file called “wpa_supplicant.conf” next to the ssh-file the same way we did before. Right click the file and select “Edit with Notepad++“.

Paste the following text into the editor. Replace the country-, ssid- and psk-values with yours. (i.e. country=US, ssid=”myWifi”, psk=”myTopSecretWifiPassword”).

country=DE
ctrl_interface=DIR=/var/run/wpa_supplicant GROUP=netdev
update_config=1

network={
    ssid="MyWifi"
    scan_ssid=1
    psk="IdontTell"
    key_mgmt=WPA-PSK
}

Next take a look at the lower right of the editors window. Doubleclick the “Windows (CR LF)“-Text in the Statusbar and select “Unix (LF)“.

Save the file and close the editor.

 

Step 4: Start and continue to configure the Raspberry
Remove the SD Card from the card reader and plug it into the Raspberry. After about a minute you should find your Raspberry in your network (if you are using DHCP). The easiest way to figure out the IP is to ping the name “raspberrypi” using IPv4 protocol. To do so press the Windows-Key and “R” and enter “cmd“.

Press OK. Enter “ping raspberrypi -4” into the console and press enter (1). It will ping the raspberry four times and shows the IP-Address (2). In the screenshot it is 192.168.0.145. Note the IP-Address for future use.

Now we can connect to the Raspberry via SSH. We will need Putty for this (Download here). After starting Putty, enter the IP of your Raspberry (1). To save the settings for future connections, enter a name in the “Saved Sessions” field (2) and click save (3). The name will appear in the list below.

Now doubleclick on the saved session to connect. The username (“Login”) is “pi” and the default password is “raspberry“. You will see the following after login:

You already see the hint, that you should change the default password. We will do it now. Type the following command into the console and press enter:

passwd

Now enter the current password (“raspberry”) and enter your new secret password twice. Remember: if you type a password in any Linux system, it is not shown. You will see no stars or any other character. It is like you didn’t type anything. If this was successful it will look like this and you password was changed:

Now we will change the default hostname to a unique one. You should do this because any other new RaspberryPi in your network will have the same name and this will cause problems in the network communication. To change the hostname, execute the following commands:

sudo hostname -b <your unique hostname>
sudo nano /etc/hosts

Now you are in a texteditor of Linux. Go to the line that starts with “127.0.1.1“, followed by “raspberrypi“. Replace the “raspberrypi” with your new hostname. And press Ctrl+O followed by return-key to write the changes. Now press Ctrl+X to exit the editor. At the end the file should look like this, where “rp-irbridge1” is the new hostname in my case:

Now execute the command

sudo nano /etc/hostname

and replace “raspberrypi” again with your new hostname. After you changed the name, press Ctrl+O, return, Ctrl+X to save the changes and quit the editor.

Reboot the Raspberry with the following command to apply the changes:

sudo reboot

After about a minute the Raspberry should be back online and you can connect via Putty using your saved session. After you logged in with the user “pi” and your new password, you will see that new lines are now starting with “pi@<your hostname>:“. The part after the @ is the new hostname of your Raspberry. Also the hint for the password is gone.

Now the final step to setup the Raspberry: Updates. Login and execute the following commands:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get -y dist-upgrade

The first command will take a moment. The second one will take ten moments.

Finally, in case you are not from/in Great Britain, you like to change the timezone of your Raspberry Pi. Execute the following command to start the configuration dialog:

sudo raspi-config

Select option 4 “Localisation Options”

Select option I2 “Change Timezone”

Now select the Region where you are and the capital city of your country. For me it is Europe => Berlin.

Select “Finish” to quit the raspi-config dialog. You will see in the console, that the change was done.

After that the Raspberry is setup and up to date.

Remarks:
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