Mazdax605 UltraDork
6/2/17 5:46 p.m.

Hey guys,

I barely know how to post on this forum, let alone program computer software. But I know you guys know everything about everything. My 14 year old son is into computers and games. He's going to vocational school for computer information systems and knows more about computers than I'll ever know. However he's still green. This evening he came up to me when I got home all excited about a small hand held video game system made from a altoids case and Raspberry pi. Apparently you can buy a kit to put this all together. I think it's a great idea for a project. However I have no idea what this Raspberry pi is, or anything computer related. I've heard you guy talking about it before.

Could you talk to me like I'm 5 years old with regard to this, so we can be better versed in such things if we decide to do something like this? Also is this something a 14 year old can play with safely?



BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/2/17 6:02 p.m.

Official website:

It's basically a very small Linux computer board targeting makers. They're usually the go-to board for people who need more power than an Arduino can provide. I use one to run our sprinkler system, other people use them for media PCs, games etc. Really depends on what you make them.

I would think that a 14 year old with basic interest in computers would be able to make good use of one and it should be safe to use. Plus if he's playing with hardware and accidentally blows one up they're cheap to replace.

Stefan MegaDork
6/2/17 6:52 p.m.

They are pretty simple devices all things considered.

You load your operating system of choice onto the MicroSD card using another computer. Some form of Linux is common and these days they are pretty easy to use.

Plug the MicroSD card into the slot, plug in a keyboard, mouse and monitor (supports HDMI, can be converted to DVI with a proper cable) and finally provide power via the microUSB port and you should have yourself a tiny computer.

I have 5 or 6 of them at home for MediaCenter use, which they do pretty good at. The latest versions tend to have a bit more horsepower and built-in wireless and there are a ton of add-on boards to allow them to interface with the world in different ways. The earlier boards are better suited for lightweight use or where a smaller foot print is ideal.

I'm going to build one to monitor/tune the MegaSquirt install in my 924. Should be fun.

There's quite a decent amount of info on the Raspberry Pi Foundation's website, plus Youtube tutorials. Amazon has some great all-inclusive starter kits that include most of the common things you need to get started, including a case, memory card, wireless network adapter, etc.

Poke around with your son and see what he'd like to dive into and feel free to toss up a Build Thread so we can follow along virtually and occasionally provide input :)

T.J. UltimaDork
6/2/17 7:53 p.m.

They are safe for him to mess around with - no worries there.

I have one that I use to talk to my 3d printer so I can move files to the printer over my wifi network. I don't know much about it other than the internet told me how to get it set up and running. I mostly just copied and pasted things and was able to get it working to talk to the printer. Then I added a 7" touchscreen and same story.

I'd like to get another one to mess around with as I have a project in mind that involves a pi and an old kindle e-ink screen. For that project I will have to learn how to code though.

1988RedT2 UltimaDork
6/2/17 8:26 p.m.

Fantastic toy/learning tool for a 14-year old!

The kits from are pretty complete. I think that was where I got mine.

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