Raspberry PI: Arrival to Wifi set up

Published: 12 September, 2012

We finally ordered a Raspberry PI (from Element 14) which resulted in a few days of experimenting with the basics and setting up a few peripherals. I was particularly keen to test out wifi and seeing if I needed to use a powered USB hub or whether the whole things could run off a standard power source.

The Raspberry PI is of particular interest because it is inexpensive and a uniquely open starting point. For someone like me who has limited electronics and programming experience I can start with a fairly familiar Linux operating system and experiment by adding things. We are also going to try and throw a 3D printer into the mix with the aim of creating prototype cases and custom rigs for specialised computer systems (but that is another article).

Below is a light timeline of what I experienced getting my PI set up and installing a wifi adapter. The focus was on keeping the unit as small and contained as possible in preparation for a custom enclosure.

2 September, 2012

  • Raspberry PI arrived
  • Raspbian “wheezy” installed on SD card
  • keyboard and mouse plugged in
  • booted to config
  • startx to gui

3 September, 2012

  • explored gui
  • ran upgrade
  • installed RaspBMC on second SD card
  • connected to NFS share on media server
  • played movie
  • initial research into wifi set up
  • ordered wifi adapter - Edimax EW-7811UN

6 September, 2012

10 September, 2012

  • Upgrade
  • Manual attempt to install driver and set wireless network details
  • Failed to connect via DHCP

11 September, 2012

  • Second attempt using script
  • Wifi adapter working, blue LED lighting up
  • Drivers loaded
  • Failed to connect via DHCP
  • Manual setting of network SSID, passphrase
  • Not connecting
  • Powered usb hub ordered to test

12 September, 2012

  • Powered usb hub connected
  • Sick of swapping the keyboard over all the time so using SSH to connect to PI
  • Third attempt using script
  • Still not connecting
  • Reinstalled Raspbian “wheezy”
  • ran script again
  • wifi appears to have connected
  • IP address given
  • upgrading
  • running script again to reinstall wifi drivers (requires a few cancels of script and rerun)
  • script continues with upgrade
  • running script again - drivers now built in so clean up required (???)
  • a few restarts and script reruns again and I finally think about running ifconfig. wlan0 has an ip address
  • unplugged ethernet
  • ssh connection made via wifi
  • removed powered hub and plugged wifi adapter directly into raspberry pi
  • restarted, wifi still working
  • hotplugged mouse into unpowered usb hub, all still working
  • PI powered off Samsung Galaxy S2 phone charger