Jerid Francom bio photo

Jerid Francom

Associate Professor of Spanish and Linguistics
Romance Languages
Wake Forest University

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I’m now the proud owner of a Raspberry Pi. I got the canaKit Raspberry Pi B+ starter kit from Amazon which includes the Pi itself, a power supply, a USB wifi adaptor, a case, an HDMI cable and a microSD with NOOBS preinstalled. I set up the Pi, attached it to my TV, and connected the power.


I was excited to see the NOOBS installation guide pop up! Unfortunately, I don’t have a USB keyboard or mouse (nor intentions to buy either) so my plans to get hacking came to a halt as I couldn’t select an OS to install from the NOOBS menu.

Doing some poking around on the web I came across this tutorial by Edmundo Fuentes to get started without a keyboard, mouse or a screen. I again ran into a wall in that I didn’t have an SD card reader which is needed to set up the installation directly to an SD card. I hoped that I might be able to access NOOBS on the command-line so I attempted to SSH into the Pi by guessing the LAN IP address, but to no avail. Talking with a friend who had also found himself in a similar situtation, it seemed that I might be able to select the OS to install from NOOBS using my TV remote. He had had success making the simple choice to select an OS and run the installation process –no dice for me.

I then went ahead and bought a USB SD card reader (and an extra microSD card, just to have the possibility of having multiple OSes to load) and flashed Raspbian (Debian wheezy) to the SD card. Thus providing me SSH access through my LAN.

What you’ll need

  • A microSD
  • A microSD card reader
  • LAN access to the Pi via SSH

First unzip the Raspbian download. You will end up with a file ending in .img. Next, erase and format the SD memory as FAT 32. I’m on a Mac so I fired up Disk Utility to get this done. I then followed the command-line instructions here. You can also follow one of the guides here.

After 41 minutes the command finished with the following report:

3200000+0 records in
3200000+0 records out
3276800000 bytes transferred in 2508.164084 secs (1306454 bytes/sec)

Eject the disk with:

sudo diskutil eject /dev/disk#

And pop that microSD into the Pi.

To find the LAN IP you start to ping the IPs in your LAN’s range. Like so:

$ ping
PING ( 56 data bytes
Request timeout for icmp_seq 0
Request timeout for icmp_seq 1
Request timeout for icmp_seq 2


$ ping
PING ( 56 data bytes
64 bytes from icmp_seq=0 ttl=255 time=4.089 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=1 ttl=255 time=3.448 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=2 ttl=255 time=3.557 ms


Then you’ll try the default credentials via SSH.

$ ssh pi@

If you’ve found the right LAN address you should get in. If not, return to pinging and repeat until you have success.

Once you are in, then you’ll want to update and upgrade your OS, and run the configuration. If you plan on working without a monitor (at least some of the time) you might want to keep going and install TightVNCServer. Details about how to go about doing these things is covered well, again, by Edmundo Fuentes’ blog entry.