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Can I connect my RPi A+ to my Macbook Pro with this setup? If so, how?

My goal is SSH/VNC. The Pi A+ is already set up to accept SSH/VNC connections. The Pi A+ can connect over USB to my router with this USB to Ethernet adapter. And my Macbook can connect directly to a Pi2 using the Thunderbolt to Ethernet adapter connected to the Ethernet port on the Pi2. But so far, no luck connecting the Macbook to the Pi A+ directly (i.e without going through my network).

Thunderbolt to Ethernet to USB

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You can.

1. Direct connection: The problem is your ethernet cable.

To connect two computers directly you need to use a "crossover" ethernet cable OR use a switch. Normally both sides of the cable are wired identically, but if you want the cable to run directly in between it needs to be rewired into a crossover cable or use a crossover converter (essentially moving the wires around so the transmitting part on one computer is linked to the receiving part on the other).

Adapter: http://www.usbfirewire.com/Parts/rr-et-crossoveradapter.html

Make your own cable: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethernet_crossover_cable

You can also use a small 4-port switch, which does this for you but it needs electricity. http://www.amazon.com/TP-LINK-TL-SF1005D-5-port-100Mbps-Desktop/dp/B000FNFSPY/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1426062657&sr=8-2&keywords=4+port+switch

After this you may need to have each computer assign a manual ip address to itself so they can talk to each other.

2. Managed connection: With a router in between to give both computers ip addresses. It needs electricity (a wall plug) and assigns ip addresses automatically.

  • I tried a crossover cable, and also a 4-port switch. It did not work. My understanding was that crossover is no longer necessary because the ethernet chips auto-detect. Is that wrong? Any other thoughts on how to get sharing to occur from USB to Thunderbolt? – BretW Mar 15 '15 at 19:44
  • Most manufacturers do, but implementation is option. – unom Mar 16 '15 at 10:37
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I was able to achieve a direct connection using a standard ethernet cable without using a cross-over cable or switch.

Rather than specifying a specific IP address when connecting via SSH or VNC, which is a challenge when you don't have a laptop/keyboard/mouse connected to your RPi, you can use a more general address:

pi@raspberrypi.local

Therefore, for SSH: make sure your ethernet cable is connected to your laptop and run:

ssh pi@raspberrypi.local

For VNC, the "VNC server" should be

raspberrypi.local:1 

Try port 0 if 1 does not work.

If the VNC doesn't work, installation of Dexter Industries "Raspbian for Robots" may assist. Directions here. If you don't want to wipe your existing SD / harddrive clean to re-install a new version of Raspbian, you can install their packages over your existing version of Raspbian.

Here are directions for connecting with SSH and VNC the way I've explained.

  • The reason you don't need a crossover cable is contemporary ethernet interfaces can detect when they are connected this way and simply switch the TX and RX lines (old style crossover cables had them reversed). – goldilocks Apr 26 '16 at 2:21

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