Learning Raspberry Pi: Changing Over a Micro Center Pi

Micro Center Raspberry Pi shown with access slots for power, HDMI, audio, Ethernet, and USB
Micro Center Raspberry Pi shown with access slots for power, HDMI, audio, Ethernet, and USB

The computer and hobbyist retail chain, Micro Center is offering a Raspberry Pi 3 deal that includes a Raspberry Pi 3, microSD with OS already installed, and a power adapter with conversion plugs.

The price was $79.95 at the local store, and at first it seemed a very good deal at the time. But, for the normal use that the average user of a Pi would desire, it is totally inadequate.

The Case

The major issue with the case is that it is sealed. The various Raspberry Pis have General-Purpose Input/Output (GPIO) pins, that allow for other boards or interfaces to be connected to the Pi. If one desired to use the included case, a slot would have to be cut in the top, a terrible proposition.

The Power Supply

The power supply is also inadequate for normal use. A Raspberry Pi 3 requires a 5V, 2.5A source to ensure proper operation. The one included is on 2.0A.

The Operating System

A 8GB  microSD card is included, that is a good thing. The pre-installed OS is just Citrix client software, and not a full-blown OS, that is bad. So, in order to transform the Raspberry Pi into what an average user would need for intended use, a complete overhaul is required. In this article, I will concentrate on the case and the power supply. The next article will deal with the operating system.

Replacing the Case
Micro Center Raspberry Pi with back removed to show microSD slot, and Torx screw
Micro Center Raspberry Pi with back removed to show microSD slot, and Torx screw

The first thing required is to snap out the back is the end opposite the USB and Ethernet ports. This exposes the Torx screw. A Torx screwdriver is required, a flat head or Phillips-type will not work.

Torx Screwdriver
Torx Screwdriver

Unscrew and remove the back, then pull out the side away from the micro-USB power slot and audio port.

 

 

 

 

Micro Center Raspberry with cover removed
Micro Center Raspberry with cover removed

This is how things look with the cover removed:

 

 

 

Getting Official
Official Raspberry Pi Case - Black
Official Raspberry Pi Case – Black

The Raspberry Pi Foundation provides a official case for each Pi. It can assembled and disassembled based on need of the user. Plus, it allows for access to the GPIO pins, and easy access to the microSD card when needed.

Raspberry Pi 3 and Case
Raspberry Pi 3 and Case

Remove the Raspberry Pi from the Micro Center case and place it in the official case. It does not have to be snapped in. The port openings match the USB, Ethernet, micro-USB, etc.

Before placing the Raspberry Pi in the case, remove the microSD card. You will need it later to install a proper operating system.

Official Raspberry Pi Power Cord
Official Raspberry Pi Power Cord

Lastly, an adequate power supply certified to be used with the Pi is needed. When using a Pi, always consider a supply that can power the Pi, and the Pi only. A Raspberry Pi should never be used to power any peripherals that may be attached to it, a powered USB hub should be used instead.

A Completed Pi
Raspberry Pi 3 inside Official Case
Raspberry Pi 3 inside Official Case

This completes the hardware conversion of the Pi. Next time, we will concentrate on choosing an operating system, installation, and then set-up of the system.