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Sean's Raspberry Pi coding tutorials

What is a Raspberry Pi?

Four Royal Mail postage stamps with a Raspberry Pi image on themThe Raspberry Pi is an affordable and hackable computer. It's a single board computer, about the size of a credit card, that has general purpose input/output (GPIO) pins you can use to connect add-ons and your own electronic circuits. It runs on the free and open source Linux operating system, and it's great for learning to program.

The Raspberry Pi was invented to promote computer science education, but has an enthusiastic ecosystem of hobbyists using it for their inventions and technology projects.

There are several models of Raspberry Pi. The Raspberry Pi 4 is the latest version of the full board device, and it's available with up to 8GB of memory. Prices start at around £35. If you're planning to use the Raspberry Pi on your desktop, the Raspberry Pi 400 houses the computer inside a keyboard.

The Raspberry Pi Zero is a tiny computer that costs around £5. It's good for lower powered or space-constrained projects. The first the world saw of it was when it was given away for free on the cover of The MagPi magazine. More recently, the Raspberry Pi Foundation has launched the Raspberry Pi Pico, which is a microcontroller like an Arduino, rather than a computer.

In 2019, Royal Mail celebrated the Raspberry Pi with its own stamp (see my photo on the right). More than 40 million Raspberry Pis had been sold by May 2021.

This part of my website collects together the Raspberry Pi tutorials and articles I've written.


Free chapters from my Raspberry Pi related books (PDFs)

Raspberry Pi For Dummies

Raspberry Pi For Dummies

This book sampler for Raspberry Pi For Dummies includes a guide to Scratch 1.4 and Scratch 2 on the Raspberry Pi. The full book includes a project to build a simple arcade game in Scratch.

Scratch Programming in Easy Steps

Scratch Programming IES

Scratch is a popular first programming language on the Raspberry Pi. The free sample PDF chapter introduces you to Scratch and shows you how to make your first project. This book has been updated for Scratch 3.

Cool Scratch Projects in Easy Steps

Cool Scratch Projects IES

Want to take Scratch beyond the basics? This book comes with 3D glasses and features projects using them. Use this free PDF sample to create the first project in the book, Magic Mirror.


Raspberry Pi tutorials and teaching resources

Some of the resources here are from The MagPi magazine and are reproduced with permission. Please subscribe or buy at your newsagent to support the magazine!

Raspberry Pi Starter Guide

Raspberry Pi Starter Guide

This 10-page feature from Issue 84 of The MagPi introduces the Raspbian desktop, some awesome applications, programming tools, and how to use SSH and VNC for remote access.

Learn to Code

Learn to Code

This 12-page feature from The MagPi introduces Scratch and shows you how to build a simple game, before moving on to Python and electronics.

aspberry Pi history blog

A short history of the Raspberry Pi

Way back in 2012, the year the Raspberry Pi launched, I attended a talk by Eben Upton about how it came to be.

Pygame Zero

Pygame Zero

This article from the launch of Pygame Zero introduces the library that makes Pygame easier to use in education. Pygame Zero is used in my book Mission Python.

Press Play Sound Pack

Press Play: Sound Pack

I've created a collection of music loops and sound effects for your Scratch and Python games. Includes instructions!

Clef Hero

Raspberry Pi Clef Hero

This Python game for Pimoroni's Piano HAT add-on teaches you to read sheet music. I wrote this for issue 43 of The MagPi.

Unicorn HAT text scroller

Unicorn HAT text scroller

This Python project scrolls text across Pimoroni's Unicorn HAT. This article was published in issue 34 of The MagPi.

Sense HAT game photo

Using a Sense HAT

Use a Raspberry Pi Sense HAT to control a car in this top-down racing game. I coded this game using Scratch 3.

Google A.I.Y. Kit for Raspberry Pi

Google AIY Kit for Raspberry Pi

Here's a blog I wrote about assembling the Google AIY Kit for Raspberry Pi, originally given away with The MagPi magazine.

Picube

Using the PiCube

Watch my video demo of the PiCube from SB Components, and see the Python code I used to create it.

Flick

Adding gesture control with Flick

The Flick family of Raspberry Pi add-ons can be used to add gesture control to your Raspberry Pi, including taps and flicks.

Sonic Pi

Make music with Sonic Pi

Sonic Pi is a programming language for creating music. Here's the code for an extended version of the tune from the 2nd edition of Raspberry Pi For Dummies.

Scratch notes infographic

Scratch and Sonic Pi notes

This infographic shows the musical note numbers in Scratch and Sonic Pi to make it easier to program tunes.

Scratch cat with balloons invites you to visit my Scratch resources

Sean's Scratch Resources

Find many more Scratch tutorials, sprite packs, and tips in my dedicated Scratch Resources section.


Inspiring Raspberry Pi Projects

The Next Verse

The Next Verse

This project uses the Raspberry Pi to add a soundtrack to a visual artwork that depicts the cycle of life. It was created by Stewart Easton and Gawain Hewitt.

Raspberry Pi Summer Projects

Raspberry Pi Summer Projects

Be inspired by this round-up of outdoors projects including a weather station, a high-altitude balloon, and a motorised skateboard.

MIDI Mutant

MIDI Mutant

Musician Aphex Twin worked with Dave Griffiths to make a Raspberry Pi project that programs new sounds for the Yamaha DX7 synthesiser.

Raspberry Pi Weekend Projects

Raspberry Pi Weekend Projects

Ideas for Raspberry Pi projects you can complete in a weeekend, including a smart fridge, walkie-talkie, and robot.

BBC Box

BBC Box

BBC Box uses a Raspberry Pi to store your data locally, so you can get personalised services without giving away all your personal information.

Find out more

Learn to set up and use your Raspberry Pi with my book Raspberry Pi For Dummies, co-authored with Mike Cook. Learn Python with my book Mission Python, which shows you how to create a space adventure game. For help with Scratch, see my books Scratch Programming in Easy Steps and Cool Scratch Projects in Easy Steps.

Credits

Articles from The MagPi reproduced under a Creative Commons licence, with thanks to The MagPi team. You can support the magazine by buying a copy in your newsagent, or subscribing. Yamaha DX7 image by Flickr user deepsonic (CC BY 2.0).

Credits

© Sean McManus. All rights reserved.

Visit www.sean.co.uk for free chapters from Sean's coding books (including Mission Python, Scratch Programming in Easy Steps and Coder Academy) and more!

Discover my latest books

100 Top Tips: Microsoft Excel

100 Top Tips: Microsoft Excel

Power up your Microsoft Excel skills with this powerful pocket-sized book of tips that will save you time and help you learn more from your spreadsheets.

Scratch Programming in Easy Steps

Scratch Programming IES

This book, now fully updated for Scratch 3, will take you from the basics of the Scratch language into the depths of its more advanced features. A great way to start programming.

Mission Python book

Mission Python

Code a space adventure game in this Python programming book published by No Starch Press.

Cool Scratch Projects in Easy Steps book

Cool Scratch Projects in Easy Steps

Discover how to make 3D games, create mazes, build a drum machine, make a game with cartoon animals and more!

Raspberry Pi For Dummies

Raspberry Pi For Dummies

Set up your Raspberry Pi, then learn how to use the Linux command line, Scratch, Python, Sonic Pi, Minecraft and electronics projects with it.

Earworm

Earworm

In this entertaining techno-thriller for adults, Sean McManus takes a slice through the music industry: from the boardroom to the stage; from the studio to the record fair.

Scratch and Raspberry Pi resources

Scratch cat with balloons invites you to visit my Scratch resources

Sean's Scratch Resources

Tips, tutorials and free book chapters for Scratch, a coding language widely used in schools.

Four LEDs on a breadboard connected to a Raspberry Pi

Sean's Raspberry Pi Resources

Tutorials and guides for the Raspberry Pi, a budget computer perfect for learning to program.

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