Thank you for my new Raspberry Pi, Santa! What next?

Note: the Pi Towers team have peeled away from their desks to spend time with their families over the festive season, and this blog will be quiet for a while as a result. We’ll be back in the New Year with a bushel of amazing projects, awesome resources, and much merriment and fun times. Happy holidays to all!

Now back to the matter at hand. Your brand new Christmas Raspberry Pi.

Your new Raspberry Pi

Did you wake up this morning to find a new Raspberry Pi under the tree? Congratulations, and welcome to the Raspberry Pi community! You’re one of us now, and we’re happy to have you on board.

But what if you’ve never seen a Raspberry Pi before? What are you supposed to do with it? What’s all the fuss about, and why does your new computer look so naked?

Setting up your Raspberry Pi

Are you comfy? Good. Then let us begin.

Download our free operating system

First of all, you need to make sure you have an operating system on your micro SD card: we suggest Raspbian, the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s official supported operating system. If your Pi is part of a starter kit, you might find that it comes with a micro SD card that already has Raspbian preinstalled. If not, you can download Raspbian for free from our website.

An easy way to get Raspbian onto your SD card is to use a free tool called Etcher. Watch The MagPi’s Lucy Hattersley show you what you need to do. You can also use NOOBS to install Raspbian on your SD card, and our Getting Started guide explains how to do that.

Plug it in and turn it on

Your new Raspberry Pi 3 comes with four USB ports and an HDMI port. These allow you to plug in a keyboard, a mouse, and a television or monitor. If you have a Raspberry Pi Zero, you may need adapters to connect your devices to its micro USB and micro HDMI ports. Both the Raspberry Pi 3 and the Raspberry Pi Zero W have onboard wireless LAN, so you can connect to your home network, and you can also plug an Ethernet cable into the Pi 3.

Make sure to plug the power cable in last. There’s no ‘on’ switch, so your Pi will turn on as soon as you connect the power. Raspberry Pi uses a micro USB power supply, so you can use a phone charger if you didn’t receive one as part of a kit.

Learn with our free projects

If you’ve never used a Raspberry Pi before, or you’re new to the world of coding, the best place to start is our projects site. It’s packed with free projects that will guide you through the basics of coding and digital making. You can create projects right on your screen using Scratch and Python, connect a speaker to make music with Sonic Pi, and upgrade your skills to physical making using items from around your house.

Here’s James to show you how to build a whoopee cushion using a Raspberry Pi, paper plates, tin foil and a sponge:

Diving deeper

You’ve plundered our projects, you’ve successfully rigged every chair in the house to make rude noises, and now you want to dive deeper into digital making. Good! While you’re digesting your Christmas dinner, take a moment to skim through the Raspberry Pi blog for inspiration. You’ll find projects from across our worldwide community, with everything from home automation projects and retrofit upgrades, to robots, gaming systems, and cameras.

You’ll also find bucketloads of ideas in The MagPi magazine, the official monthly Raspberry Pi publication, available in both print and digital format. You can download every issue for free. If you subscribe, you’ll get a Raspberry Pi Zero W to add to your new collection. HackSpace magazine is another fantastic place to turn for Raspberry Pi projects, along with other maker projects and tutorials.

And, of course, simply typing “Raspberry Pi projects” into your preferred search engine will find thousands of ideas. Sites like Hackster, Hackaday, Instructables, Pimoroni, and Adafruit all have plenty of fab Raspberry Pi tutorials that they’ve devised themselves and that community members like you have created.

And finally

If you make something marvellous with your new Raspberry Pi – and we know you will – don’t forget to share it with us! Our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Google+ accounts are brimming with chatter, projects, and events. And our forums are a great place to visit if you have questions about your Raspberry Pi or if you need some help.

It’s good to get together with like-minded folks, so check out the growing Raspberry Jam movement. Raspberry Jams are community-run events where makers and enthusiasts can meet other makers, show off their projects, and join in with workshops and discussions. Find your nearest Jam here.

Have a great festive holiday and welcome to the community. We’ll see you in 2018!


Harsh avatar

Are there still ways to find a Raspberry Pi under a Christmas tree even though you don’t have any? xD

Eric Olson avatar

The advice

“Raspberry Pi uses a micro USB power supply, so you can use a phone charger if you didn’t receive one as part of a kit.”

seems a bit dated. A cell phone charger may work with the B+, but there are few that work reliably with the 3B and latest 2B.

At any rate, to all those who have received a Pi on Christmas Day, congratulations, you now have a device that can be used to learn anything from elementary programming and digital electronics to scientific computing, networking, deep learning, data mining and many other topics covered by current buzzwords in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. If you didn’t get a Pi and if I remember correctly the song: On the eleventh day of Christmas my turtle dove gave to me eleven Pi’s piping and a partridge in a pear tree. There is always something to look forward to somewhere in the future.

Anonym avatar

It eouldnt be enough electricity for the Raspberry Pi. It would have to give more then 5V which normal power supply for Handys give.

MachelonusTAG avatar

No,I run my Pi off a double USB power adapter. 1 amp for the ChromeCast and one amp for the Pi. Mine is a Raspberry Pi 3 (model B) and it runs perfectly.

James avatar

With your shiny new Pi3 in hand… Google Retropie. Your life will never be the same… good luck.

Alexa Tilbrook avatar

Oh…. so true, James, so true! My partner, Elisabeth, gave me a RPi 3 (she got it from Fry’s in Arlington, TX… who’da thought Fry’s would sell Pis?) for Christmas. I’m using Lakka instead, IMHO, it’s easier for me to use, and is an official RetroArch project…

But instead of spending money on retro consoles, I have Lakka!

I might be 40… but I started out on the TRS-80 Color Computer (that would be the Dragon to y’all over across the pond)… speaking of which, some people actually have gotten a working MAME emulator (a few CoCo nuts, nonetheless) that runs MAME smoothly and at full speed on a Raspberry Pi.

They got MAME working… all just to scratch a personal itch. To run Color Computer/Dragon emulation on the Raspberry Pi. That’s the beauty of learning to program. The beauty of finding out that a computer is something more than just to check Facebook on.

The image to download (not a NOOBS one) is at

But I’m one happy person!

Alexander avatar

The browser is a bit laggy though. . . Somewhat expected for a computer worth $35 but still exceptional!

solar3000 avatar

Raspberry pi 4!!!
Raspberry pi 3.5?
Oh, the same pi.

Peter avatar

Solar3000 talks about the Pi3.5 and the Pi4.
Have you missed out the most important one, the Pi 3.142

Neil avatar

“A cell phone charger may work with the B+, but there are few that work reliably with the 3B and latest 2B.” Quite right! Before we start taking about Pi 3.5 or Pi 4, we need to put a stop to this absolute silliness. There never was a decent excuse for a “Raspberry Pi 5V Standard that’s not 5V”. I can’t imagine the terrors of trying to get a Pi-compatible power supply in a third world country, but it would have to be the main deterrent to buying a Pi in the first place. C’mon guys and gals, how about a touch of professionalism on this issue.

adrian avatar

Got one for Christmas, so excited….it doesn’t boot.
So its back to the Santa for a warranty claim and dashed hopes.

Simon Long avatar

The vast majority of boot problems are issues with the SD card or power supply; it is rare for a board to be faulty. Try reflashing the SD card with the latest version of Rasbian downloaded from this site, and make sure you are using a power supply that can supply at least 2 amps.

Dougie Lawson avatar

To add to what Simon has said 99.999999% of all non-booting problems are due to invalid contents on the SDCard.

It is the number one most frequently asked question on the forums. So much so that there’s a number of “sticky” threads on to help the folks with non-booting RPis to get them working.

Most of us now use Etcher to build our SDCards

There’s also lots of stuff for the newbies in starting on page 16.

Best of luck trying to build a fresh SDCard, it’s going to be easier than the ugly return/replacement game of snakes and ladders.

asandford avatar

99% of problems are due to using phone chargers as power supplies. They are OK for a PI0, but will fail to deliver the required current for PI3s

tommiebar avatar

Got my new Pi3, formatted the SD and downloaded Raspbian. Plugged it in and held my breath. It booted right up! Let the fun begin!

Anonym avatar

Normal power adapters for Handys give 5V. That isnt enough for the Raspberry Pi.

Simon Long avatar

All mobile phone power adapters give 5V (or up to 5.5V), as that is the USB standard. The issue is not the voltage, it is the maximum current the adapter can supply. Older adapters can only supply up to 1 amp; the Pi in its latest forms pulls 2 amps, so needs a newer adapter.

We really don’t recommend trying to put more than 5V across the power terminals of your Pi… :)

TSBREX avatar

Hi, I’M new to pi community.How can I get a raspberry pi 3

Alex Bate avatar

Hi there. You can find your nearest Raspberry Pi Approved Reseller on our products page.

Comments are closed