Getting started


I just got a raspberry shake 1d for my earth science classroom. Woohoo!!

I assembled it, plugged in the pre-programmed sd card plugged in a monitor and keyboard, turned it on and nothing is appearing on the screen. Is that suppose to happen? I need to have our IT connect to the school network, but shouldn’t something appear on the screen once the Raspberry Pi is plugged in to power? The red and blue lights are solid. Am I missing a step?

I was hoping to get this up and running by the first day of school on Thursday. :confused:


Hi Jaime, sorry to hear you’re having trouble. We had a batch of 7 blank cards go out recently and unfortunately it sounds like you ended up with one of them. Thankfully it’s really easy to fix if you can get your hands on a microSD card reader. Simply follow the instructions to copy the contents of the Zip file in this repository to the card, put the card back into the Shake, and reboot. After about 10 minutes of the Shake doing its thing, it should be ready to go.

Our sincere apologies for the inconvenience.

Thank you! I will give that a try!

Hi Jaime—I think I may have misread your post at first and I apologize about that. It’s entirely possible your card works just fine. Connecting a monitor will not work if the Shake has already booted up. However, the Shake also has no GUI—meaning that it doesn’t have a graphical interface the way a normal computer does. So the function of connecting a monitor is limited to watching the device go through its boot process.

There’s a simple test to make sure that the operating system is properly on the SD card: does the green LED on the Raspberry Pi board periodically flash (every 5-10 seconds)? If so, great; everything is normal. However if that light never illuminates, you may have a blank SD card.

Can you verify that for me prior to doing the SD card burn like I suggested before? (again, sorry)

If everything is normal, we have some getting started resources available that will help you get the device set up from the web front end. Head to the Quick Start Guide in the manual.

Unfortunately, as soon as I saw your post I tried reformatting the card so I could reinstall the files. I tried formatting the disk and now it says I don’t have enough space for the files. I didn’t have anymore time at school yesterday to work on it. I’m going to try to get to it today.

That’s a bummer about not being able to display anything to a screen. I had a tv all set to connect to the Shake. I guess I’ll have to look for a computer to use for display purposes.

Ahh…my sincerest apologies again. Please tell your students that even adults have trouble reading the question prompt…

So before I launch into how you fix this, let me explain why you’re unable to copy the contents of the Zip file to the SD card:

When you inserted the card into your computer (presumably running Windows; correct me if I’m wrong or else the steps below won’t make any sense) the OS was only able to read part of the SD card that’s in a format that Windows can understand. So when you formatted it, you only formatted a part of the card. That “partition” of the card is only a couple hundred MB, so unable to fit all of the Zip file contents. This isn’t your fault, this is an ambiguity within Windows that fools its users into thinking this is the only thing on the SD card. Now, how to fix it…

These steps should get you to a point where you can simply put the SD card into the Shake and boot it up:

  1. Go to this page and follow the instructions in the section titled How to Remove Partitions From an SD Card. Doing this will allow you to format the entire card, not just that first readable partition.
  2. When you reach step 15, choose FAT32.
  3. Follow the same instructions you followed before to put the contents of the Zip file on the (now properly formatted) card.
  4. Insert the card into the Shake again and wait for it to do its thing. After 10-15 minutes, it should appear on the network, and you and your network admin can navigate to the web interface, which is hosted at the IP of the device (or http://rs.local, if your school network doesn’t scrub DNS names). In fact, you should be able to follow the instructions at our new education platform here:

Let me know if any of this doesn’t make sense. Again, sorry for the confusion and inconvenience.

Besides the brand new resources on the education homepage at you may also find helpful info in the manual at

Don’t buy a whole other computer if you don’t need to! The SWARM software (explained in the video at the bottom of this page) works perfectly well on a Raspberry Pi, so you should be ok using another Pi as a display for the Shake data.