Raspberry Pi Setup – Part I : Boot, SSH and Headless access


Part I : Documenting the workflow/steps to setup my Raspberry Pi (2 B) – from Installing Raspbian to installing Node, Processing etc


  • Enable SSH service on the Pi
  • Connect to Pi without a display or router – headless access via Mac
Box 1.jpg
Raspberry Pi with GPIO Ribbon cable


  1. Install Raspbian
  2. Boot your Pi
  3. Setup SSH
  4. Connect to Mac
  5. Troubleshoot Connection to Mac
  6. Install Node
  7. Install Processing

Install Raspbian

You can download it here https://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/raspbian/

Screen Shot 2016-10-10 at 1.11.28 PM.png

Boot Pi

Use the Raspbian image to boot-up the pi and you should see a command shell (once you have connected your pi to a display ofcourse!)

Setup SSH

Start with typing the following command in your shell

sudo raspi-config


This launches the Config Tool UI, follow the screenshots below

Screen Shot 2016-10-10 at 1.16.15 PM.png

Screen Shot 2016-10-10 at 1.19.27 PM.png

Screen Shot 2016-10-10 at 1.16.26 PM.png

Test by SSH’ing into the pi from the pi

ssh pi@localhost

Screen Shot 2016-10-10 at 2.06.22 PM.png

Copy Network Card’s Address

Do an “ifconfig” in the Pi’s shell and note down the “HWaddr” … we will use this later to search for the IP assigned by Mac



Connect to Mac Headless

Next we will connect the Pi to the in “headless” mode using the Mac to assign an IP to the Pi and then SSH into the Pi from a terminal in Mac …

  1. Ensure your Mac is connected to the network (wifi)
  2. On the Mac goto System Preferences -> SharingScreen Shot 2016-10-10 at 1.29.40 PM.png
  3. Connect Pi to Mac via Ethernet Cable and then power it up
  4. Wait until the “green lights” on the Pi have stopped blinking
  5. Check connection using the following command
    1. See Routing Table with the following command
      netstat -rn -finet
    2. Your Pi’s IP should be in the 1st column, next to the “HWaddr” in the 2nd column Screen Shot 2016-10-10 at 1.37.30 PM.png
    3. If you do not see your “HWAddr” listed then there is some connection issue …  goto “Troubleshoot Connection to Mac” in the next section
    4. Once you can see your IP, setup X11 forwarding with XQuartzScreen Shot 2016-10-10 at 1.34.13 PM.pngscreen-shot-2016-10-10-at-1-44-39-pm  Screen Shot 2016-10-10 at 1.44.49 PM.png
    5. Finally SSH in with the following command
      ssh -X pi@
      1. If prompted for a password enter “raspberry” (which is your default password and you should change it at some point)
      2. You can setup passwordless login using the tutorial here https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentation/remote-access/ssh/passwordless.md
    6.  … finally this is what it looks likescreen-shot-2016-10-10-at-1-36-57-pm


Troubleshoot Connection to Mac

If you are unable to see an IP assigned to your Pi or unable to Ping it or SSH then there could be several reasons for this

  • Check your ethernet cable – I was using a bad cable when connecting to the Mac and a a good one when connecting to the router (when testing standalone), this cost me a lot of time!
  • Check your Mac Settings
    • I did not change the System Preferences -> Network -> Ethernet
    • Mac by default assigns IP to your Pi, this may not get used if your Pi has “static” IP setup … validate by doing the followin
      • cat /etc/network/interfaces
      • ensure you use “dhcp” instead of “static” as shown belowScreen Shot 2016-10-10 at 1.59.01 PM.png
  • Check your Pi
    • while hardware issues are rare, you could have a problem there. Compare with another Pi
    • is it powered on? are the ethernet lights on when you connect the cable?

Software Install

… after you are done setting up the SSH / headless pi access, you can finally start building a usable platform

see Part II of the journey to build services over the PI to send out and read in data!



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