Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Living the PI Life - Raspberry Pi startup
First time experience with Raspberry Pi.
For those who may not have heard about The Raspberry Pi - It is a tiny computer on a board that about 1/3 the size of my Iphone 6 +.

These run a variety of operating systems mostly based on Linux varieties.

Here is my experience with the Kit I got from massdrop.com  It looks like most buyers have had problems. I will let you know what I have done to work around them.
The kit included

  • Raspberry PI 3 Model B
  • 8 GB SD card
  • Plastic Pi case
  • Power adapter 
  • 7 inch LED touch screen with controller (HDMI, VGA, Composite)
  • HDMI cable
Not included was
  • 5-12 V power supply for the LCD screen.
  • Useful documentation like pinout for Display wiring
Starting the Raspberry Pi
The Kit box appears to have been provided by Sainsmart.com which is lacking documentation.

My first experience getting the base Pi working I ran into a problem.
The 8Gb SD card did not seem to be formatted even though it seemed to have been opened.
I followed instructions at RaspberryPi.org to  format the provided SD card.
Even after several tries I was unable to produce a working Pi and card. In each case I got only a black screen. I lost a chunk of a day here
For this initial test I was using only the provided power adapter and the HDMI cable connected .

After several google searches the best troubleshooting information led me to search for a new SD card to use. I went to Walmart and saw SD cards in the $10 - $16 price range that seemed suitable.
I picked up a SanDisk 16GB (Max Size listed for Pi)
Following the instructions for Noobs install worked perfectly first time.
This got me going and I plugged in my USB keyboard and Mouse.
I did experience a few unexpected resets So I switched the power supply to a Blackberry phone charger I had available.  This make it stable.

LCD screen
I may write more detail on the LCD touchscreen later.
For quick reference: I had to find a surplus AC adapter for this. It used a 5Volt DC 2.5Amp adapter used for a D-Link USB hub. You might find one at in a clearance bin at a electronics or computer store or online.
There was a useful video for this on Sainsmart.com linked to YouTube. My photo below may help.
For the display adapter board I found this documentation It's very limited but may help you get started.
I was able to use this display for Rasberry Pi and also the NES classic SNES classic as a spare display when the TV is busy.

In Summary
This kit was failing in these respects
- Poor quality or defective SD card
- Poor quality power supply
- No power supply provided for the LCD display screen.
The Raspberry Pi itself seems good and the display itself works. I look forward to exploring more.
Here's my photos :

Kit Box

Box open


Pi in case with HDMI and power connected (sitting on my laptop)

On TV - setting up Raspian from NOOBS

Supplied SD card (left and replacement SD card (right)
Replacement power adapters (Left) Blackberry charger for Pi. (Right) D-Link 5V adapter used to power the screen.

Screen Wiring - Note the orientation of red Wires

Pi with screen wrapped in corrugated plastic for a quick package (and Apple Pie to celebrate)


  1. Updated with the labels for the screen wiring

  2. Thanks for the heads up on the issues this bundle has, think I may avoid this drop.