Buying Computer Parts for Your Raspberry Pi - dummies

Buying Computer Parts for Your Raspberry Pi

By Richard Wentk

Part of Raspberry Pi For Kids For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Buying basic computer parts for your Raspberry Pi is not so hard, but you need to know a few things about how parts fit together, especially if you want to add even more extras to your Pi after you get it working.

Here are a few things to remember:

  • You can buy lots and lots of different computer parts. But a tiny computer like the Raspberry Pi works with only a few of them. Most parts are designed to work with Macs and PCs. A few can be made to work with the Pi, if you’re an expert.

  • You can buy other small board computers. Look for names like Genuino/Arduino and Beaglebone. Some are simpler than the Pi; others are more complicated. When you know a lot more about your Pi, you may want to play with these other boards. But it’s not a good idea to try to learn them all at the same time! Most parts for other small-board computers don’t work with the Pi.

  • Plugs, sockets, and wires can drive you nuts. Connecting power to everything and connecting it all together can make a giant nest of wires. Try to keep wires neat. This isn’t about looks or tidiness. It means that if you add something new to your Pi or take something away, you can do it without breaking anything.

  • So many plugs and sockets. . . . Computerland is a place with so many different kinds of plugs and sockets. They all have their own names, and most of them connect only to plugs and sockets of the same kind.

  • So many different power adaptors. . . . Many computer parts, and some computers (like the Pi) need a special adaptor to convert the very dangerous and powerful electricity that comes out of a wall socket into the tame and safe electricity you can plug into a small device. All power adaptors, are different, so you can’t just swap one for another. You need the right one. Otherwise you won’t be able to plug it in, or it won’t work even if you can. At worst, you can blow up your Pi with the wrong power.

  • Be safe. You can’t usually hurt yourself with your Pi, not even if you stick your fingers into the board. (But you can hurt your Pi. . . .) Even so, you may want to ask your parents for a neat gizmo called an RCD or RCCB, which plugs into the wall and turns off the power if something goes very wrong.