Raspberry Pi Starter Kits
With so many hardware options available to Raspberry Pi enthusiasts, figuring out where to start can seem overwhelming to even experienced tech junkies.
For the befuddled (among whose number I once counted myself a member), several third-party vendors assemble so-called Raspberry Pi starter kits that include everything you need to start building Raspberry Pi-based projects. Heck, most of the kits even include a Model B board! This section lists a few such kits.
The Adafruit Raspberry Pi Starter Pack (http://is.gd/cf3pIy) lists for $104.95. Besides the Model B, you also get the following components for your money:
- Adafruit clear acrylic Pi box
- 3′ long Micro USB cable
- 5V 1A power adapter
- USB TTL console cable
- 4GB SD card
- Assembled Adafruit Pi Cobbler kit with GPIO cable
- USB microSD card reader
- Large, full-size breadboard
- Breadboarding wires
- 10′ long Ethernet cable
- Embroidered Raspberry Pi badge
- 5 x 10K ohm resistors
- 5 x 560 ohm resistors
- 1 Red 10mm diffused LED
- 1 Green 10mm diffused LED
- 1 Blue 10mm diffused LED
- 3 tactile pushbuttons
- Light-sensitive resistor photocell
- 1 x 1uF capacitor
The Maker Shed Raspberry Pi Starter Kit (http://is.gd/YIWK7Z) costs $129.99 and also includes a Model B board. In addition, the pack includes the following:
- Adafruit Pi Cobbler Breakout Kit
- MAKE: Pi Enclosure
- 2-port USB wall charger (1A) and USB cable
- 4GB Class 4 SDHC flash memory card
- Deluxe, full-sized breadboard
- Mintronics Survival Pack with 60+ components, including voltage regulators, trimpots, LEDs, pushbuttons, battery snaps, capacitors, diodes, transistors, and resistors
- HDMI high-speed cable, 1.5 feet
- Deluxe breadboard jumper wires
The previous two Raspberry Pi starter kits are decidedly weighted toward electronics experimentation. There are also vendors who will sell you kits that include the Pi as well as core peripherals.
For instance, consider the CanaKit Raspberry Pi Complete Starter Kit ($89.95, http://is.gd/HnsiOJ), which includes the following parts:
- Raspberry Pi Model B
- Clear case
- Micro USB power supply
- Preloaded 4GB SD card
- HDMI cable
MCM Electronics (http://is.gd/6cAfs3) offers several different Raspberry Pi kits. Their Raspberry Pi Enhanced Bundle lists for $79.99 and includes the following:
- Raspberry Pi Model B
- 5V 1A Micro USB power supply
- Raspberry Pi case
- 4GB SD card preloaded with Raspbian (We discuss Raspbian in exhaustive detail in Chapter 4, “Installing and Configuring an Operating System.”)
- 88-Key USB mini keyboard
- USB optical mouse
I mentioned in the previous chapter that you should consider purchasing a case for your Raspberry Pi. This is important for the following reasons at the least:
- Protection against electrostatic discharge (ESD).
- Protection against physical damage (remember that the Pi PCB is delicate).
- Some of the cases make the Pi look cool!
Although all cases I’ve seen fit both Model A and Model B (after all, both models use the same PCB), I suggest you purchase cases specific to each model. You’ll find that Model B cases with Model A hardware create big gaps into which dust and other detritus can easily reach the delicate inner components.
Also as I said in the last chapter, be sure to select a case that gives easy access to the GPIO pins (and potentially the CSI camera interface) from outside the case. You want to provide yourself with as much flexibility as possible with your Pi.