What’s a Raspberry Pi?

The Raspberry Pi is a low cost, credit-card sized computer that plugs into a computer monitor or TV, and uses a standard keyboard and mouse. It is a capable little device that enables people of all ages to explore computing, and to learn how to program in languages like Scratch and Python.”

The Pi uses a different processor than the type used in Macs and Windows PCs. This processor is closer to the chips used in your smartphone or tablet. It has limited RAM, no built-in storage, a basic video graphics chip and the rest is communications equipment. – like USB, HDMI, Ethernet, WiFi, Bluetooth and ‘GPIO’. Some of these are for keyboards, mice and others are for ‘hacking’. For onboard storage (the operating system and your apps and files), a microSD card is put in and additional storage can be attached over USB – and there’s always the storage options on the Internet (in the Cloud) if you run out.

The Pi itself is pretty cheap. Available for about £34 (inc VAT) (for the 3 B+ model we would recommend). It costs a bit more to add a keyboard and mouse, a USB power supply (though your mobile phone charger will likely work) and then a HDMI cable to attach it to your TV at home. Add a case, and other bits and pieces and it is more expensive. – but it’s still really cheap!

With this microcomputer you can build all sorts of things. This is a “Pi-Cade” desktop arcade machine we built long before you could buy them in a kit! But you can build weather stations, weather balloon computers, security systems, media centres and heaps of other things. You can even use it as a computer to get your homework done!

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