I am about to buy my first Raspberry pi (Raspberry pi 3). I will have to order it via the net and it will take a few weeks to arrive, so I decided to make a list of what i really need to buy and what can be substituted with the things I already have at home. It would be sad to wait for other parts to arrive, if I miss something.

I am intended to order only the Raspberry pi 3 itself and a box for it. But there are other parts I have doubts about.

  1. Power. I have a spare Power Bank. It is 12,000 mAh, it has two USB outputs - both 5v, 1A and 2.1A. I assume it can be used to power the pi. I've read that the third pi is more power-consuming. Will my Power Bank still be enough?

  2. Screen. I have an old monitor to use with pi, but another idea came to me - I have some old iPhones. Quick search showed that there are some ways to use it as a screen for pi. However, I am not sure if it can be done with software only. Maybe something Wi-Fi-based, as there is a Wi-fi adapter in pi 3 (there is one, right?) and I also have a good USB Wi-Fi adapter to use with pi and make a pair with iPhone. So, are there any non-harware ways to transmit picture (or at least to use terminal for input-output) using iPhone (jailbreak is not an issue)?

  3. Controls. The mouse and keyboard are not a problem, but I own an old bluetooth keyboard which is SPP-based and it does not work with most of the todays devices. I assume it is more of a driver question, but maybe someone here knows whether it will work or not.


2 Answers 2


You power bank will work (with the 2.1 Amp output), but it may not work for continuous operation. Not all power banks can charge while supplying power. Also undervoltage is the source of numerous problems (e.g. SD card corruption, networking issues, freeze ups). As a result I would suggest getting a power adapter (the recommendation is for 5 Volts 2.5 Amps), you can always switch to the power bank afterwards. as you point out it would be sad having to wait for an adapter because you can only use your Pi a few hours at a time.

The old monitor is the best bet as it makes things simpler especially during initial setup. It will need to have DVI or HDMI and the appropriate cable (DVI to HDMI or HDMI to HDMI). You can use VGA, but it requires an adapter and they seem to be hit or miss.

Again your Bluetooth keyboard may work, but for initial setup I would suggest getting a cheap USB keyboard. Like the power adapter and monitor these will require no additional setup and give you a known stable base to experiment from. For example it is much easier to pair and setup your Bluetooth keyboard with a working USB keyboard and monitor. For completeness the mouse should be a wired USB model as well, though I have successfully used wireless Logitech mice. A wired USB mouse will just work.

Your list does not mention an SD card nor a way to burn the image to the disk, and yes the Pi3 includes WiFi.

I would suggest getting this all from the same place as you get the Pi, it may end up costing more, but you are sure they will work together. For example there are multiple types of DVI to HDMI cables/adapters not all will fit (I made this mistake when I got my first Pi).

As an experienced Linux user I suggest forgoing noobs and install Raspbian directly.

You may want to read through the Pi Foundation's documentation:

  • Thanks for a quick response. I do have an SD card (8GB at least, maybe there is a bigger one) and I used to be installing some linux versions with the help of a bootable USBs which are not so hard to make. Will this method work here?
    – Deimos
    Commented Jan 6, 2017 at 19:02
  • You can not use a bootable USB to install. You need to burn a disk image to the SD card. There are ways to boot from USB or network, but they all require a minimal SD card image to start the process. An 8GB card is fine to start with. Again depending on how you plan to use your Pi you can always get a bigger card later on. Commented Jan 6, 2017 at 19:05

Firstly, I would recommend using a power supply like this as power banks run out of battery (of course) and this could be annoying. Secondly if you are starting of with Pi I would not recommend using IPhone screens as although you can do it it is difficult. To use an old monitor you may need a HDMI to DVI cable like this. Hope this helps.

  • If you are going to buy a power supply for the Pi 3 you might as well get a 2.5A one, since it can use that (the one you link is 2A, which is the most other models can use). 5.25V doesn't hurt either if you can find it.
    – goldilocks
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 19:36

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