I am completely new to Raspberry Pi and have started from basically no knowledge. My end goal is to make a synth or drum machine. My problem is that I attempt to start learning something like how to connect the raspberry pi to a breadboard, but when I find a site that says how to it starts to mention a bunch of terms I don't understand. This causes me to go into deep detail causing me to learn things that I sometimes don't need to know at all. So I need an extremely simple project that will teach me the basics.

Also another problem is that when I do learn stuff I don't know how to use them, for example I recently learned that what the GPIO pins are and what each one of them is, but I still don't know how to hook up a breadboard without having to buy attachments.(maybe I can't hook up a breadboard without attachments?) I guess what I'm asking for is a small task that will help me understand how to wire, program, upload and run projects. Thanks for the help, I really appreciate it.(also it would be nice if it taught me how to process audio.)


2 Answers 2


I don't know where to start...

If you keep thinking this way you will never start. To mix some metaphors, instead of putting one foot in front of the other and surveying the ground in front of you, your head is in the trees.

Here's a concrete example I frequently observe with new users. We have a badge system, and one of the first ones most people acquire is informed, which is earned if you "Read the entire tour page".

You don't have that. I'll be a bit blunt and say perhaps this is indicative of you considering it a waste of your time to put one foot in front of the other -- you have your eye on more lofty goals! But, again, if you keep thinking that way, you will never cross the starting line.

If you had taken the tour, you might have recognized that this is not a discussion forum, and hence, questions like this are not appropriate to the format (another good thing to read are the first two links under Asking on the main help page).

Here are some questions that are more appropriate, taken from your post:

a bunch of terms I don't understand

Right, so look them up one at a time. If you are confused or uncertain, then ask a concrete, specific, singular, focussed question about that term.

WRT "this causes me to go into deep detail causing me to learn things that I sometimes don't need to know at all": That is a pitfall of learning. Learning is a skill. With practice, you will hone your ability to judge when to let go and when to continue. But if you throw up your hands because learning how to learn is too hard, well -- good luck...

I still don't know how to hook up a breadboard without having to buy attachments.(maybe I can't hook up a breadboard without attachments?)

Is a specific concrete question. If by attachments you mean a ribbon cable with a T attachment that covers the entire breakout, no you do not need one, but you do need female to male jumper wires. The female end goes over a pin on the pi, the male end sticks into the breadboard.

BTW "breakout" (or "pinout") refers to the rows of pins on the pi. Note that they are not actually all GPIOs. The pins that are purely ground or power (5V and 3.3V) are not "general purpose input/output", they are just ground and power pins.

what I'm asking for is a small task that will help me understand how to wire

This is sort of borderline here in the sense that it might be considered opinion based -- we don't do "give me your opinion on the best ...", etc. Part of the justification for that is that we expect people to make a certain effort on their own first; this is only fair, since you are asking other people to take time and make an effort to help you.

With regard to opinion based things, the way to approach them is to ask objective questions about how to assess something, e.g., not "what is the best ..." but "can this ... be used to ...".

Occasionally people come here asking questions that could obviously be answered by a search engine. People who answer questions do no appreciate that, because it implies someone could not be bothered, yet they want others to bother on their behalf.

In this case, you might simply search "raspberry pi beginner project" and you will find plenty of stuff to sift through, about which you can ask specific questions. I sense that you've already sort of done this but became frustrated. In that case, the task is to come up with focused questions you can ask about a concrete issue -- but do not ask them all at once!

Here's two simple things you should, in my opinion ;) learn to deal with before you move on to more complex things:

  1. Turning an led on and off.

  2. Using a button to to indicate state in a program (e.g., one that turns an led on and off).

The second one, like most things in programming and electronics, is probably a lot more complicated than it may seem.

  • Well said Goldilocks, I answered below and crudely outlined some of the same things. Should I delete my answer and up vote yours? I am unsure of the protocol.
    – Pismurf
    Oct 29, 2017 at 10:43
  • No that's fine. Sort of odd that you were able to post on a closed question though. They must be changing the rules around here without telling me ;) Actually I think it is probably because you were composing it before the question was closed.
    – goldilocks
    Oct 29, 2017 at 11:04

This question is unclear. What exactly do you want to know? I also started with zero knowledge of RPi 9 months ago so I understand being overwhelmed. However you are not giving enough information and asking to many vague questions to get any good answer. You need to tell us things such as what RPi you have and what operating system you have. I assume your not using the command line but a GUI. But assumptions help no one. These are just examples only the tip of the iceberg. If you do not have a basic understanding of the device you are using how can you expect to control it?

I strongly suggest going to https://www.raspberry.org click on help and then click on the documentation box. Start from the setup/quickstart tab and read every section of every tab finishing with hardware.
Then visit the learning resource center. You mentioned something about drum beats or something and gpio pins and a breadboard. Making a beat has nothing to do with the pins. If you have an SD card with NOOBS then you have Sonic pi a program for making music. That is just one option, there are many more. I am still very new but confident in what I know and I know more everyday.

I decided to learn from the command line. I knew that I was getting a raspberry pi to learn Linux, Bash, python and php. I had no project in mind only learning the tool. At first I read and practiced the basics of getting around the system, knowing how to operate it and what is on it. Also learned about copying, making and moving files. I learned my network and things like SSH login. I set up a web server, copied and backed up my system. I learned what packages were installed and how to install then remove other packages. Do you know how to get packages or use github?

You are confused because you are jumping steps. You can't get answers to your question because you are not asking answerable questions. I speak from experience. learn the basics first. Ask questions as you encounter them. Dont dismiss sections because you feel that it wont apply to what you want to do, because it just might...you dont know what you need to know.

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