Getting the Pi running

To set up the Pi, hook it up to an HDMI-compatible TV, a keyboard, and a mouse. They keyboard and mouse must be attached with a USB hub and an OTG USB cable–an adapter that converts the full-size USB cable to a micro-USB male end.

Configuring the operating system is  straightforward, with a series of dialogs to help users configure the settings.

Only four small customizations are required:

  1. Setting the time to local time,
  2. Installing VNC
  3. Changing the system password
  4. Getting the wifi running

Setting the local time is required to get the Pi to report pollution data accurately, and VNC is used to control the Pi from a remote computer. It is software that ‘projects’ the Pi’s desktop onto your desktop, and allows you to control it as if it were in front of you, with a keyboard and mouse.¹

Both VNC and the time are set within the System Preference dialog, which is under the Raspberry icon at the top left.

You can set the Pis preferences in the Raspberry menu in the top left.

Click on the Raspberry, then Preferences, then Raspberry Pi Configuration

Chance the password while you’re at it.

It would be a good idea to change your password.

Enable VNC, which will let you connect to your Pi over the internet using a keyboard and mouse.

Enabling VNC will let you use the software RealVNC to connect remotely to your Pi.

Set the timezone in the same panel.

Set your timezone.


Next, you will need to connect to your wifi, which is very straightforward, though confusingly named. When the Pi asks for your “shared key”, enter your wifi password, if any.

After you’ve enabled VNC on the Pi, it’s easy to connect to it with RealVNC. You will need ‘client’ and ‘server’ software, on your home computer and the Pi respectively, but it’s no harder to use than GMail.

Finally, once RealVNC is up and running, you’ll may want to allow your Pi to be remotely administered over the internet (and not just your local network). If so, enable cloud connections under the RealVNC options menu.



¹ There are other ways to do this, using the terminal and SSH. They are agonizing.