Setting Up Your Pi & Assembling your device

Time to bring out your soldering iron.

Quick Summary Video

Step 1: Booting Up Your Pi

First lets install your Pi's operating system and ensure it can boot on up.

  • First plug in your Micro SD card into your PC, if prompted to format the drive in anyway simply ignore it.
  • Next go to: https://www.raspberrypi.org/software/ and then download the "Raspberry Pi Imager" tool for your operating system.
  • Once downloaded, install the software, following the instructions on screen. Then launch the Raspberry Pi Imager program on your computer. You should hopefully then see a screen similar to the below:
A Screenshot of Raspberry Pi Imager
  • Then click on "Choose OS", on the next screen click on "Raspberry Pi OS (other), Other Raspberry Pi OS based Images". Then click on "Raspberry Pi OS Lite (32-bit)". It is very important that you have selected the Lite version of the operating system.
  • Once you have selected the operating system, click "Choose SD Card" and find the SD Card plugged into your device. Next simply click on "Write" and let the program complete all the stages.
  • Once it has completely finished take out the SD card from your computer.
  • Then plug it back in again, you may find messages pop up asking for you to format the drive or scan it. Click "Cancel" or "Continue without scanning". These are appearing because the Micro SD card has been split into two partitions (parts) one is the boot partition and is readable from your Windows machine. The other half is formatted in a way unreadable on a Windows machine.
Example Windows Warning Messages.
  • Open up file explorer and navigate to the "boot" drive/ your Micro SD Card. You should see some files here. Make sure you turn on "File Name extensions" which can be found under "view" in file explorer.
  • Next right click "new" and then "text document". Call this document just "ssh" making sure to remove the ".txt" on the end of the name. This file should be completely empty. It's purpose is to simply enable SSH on your Pi for future steps.
  • Next, once again right click and make a new text document called "wpa_supplicant.conf". Making sure that the end file extensions is ".conf" and NOT ".txt". You may be prompted asking are you sure you want to do this. Click "Yes". The purpose of this file is for your Pi to automatically connect to your WIFI upon startup; this is called "header-less booting".
Rename Warning Message.
  • Now open up your new file "wpa_supplicant.conf" into notepad. And copy and paste the below text. Being sure to replace the SSID and psk with your own WIFI network name and password; keep the "speech marks" around your new values. You may also need to change the country to your two letter country code if you are not based in the UK.
  • The SSID is just simply the name of the WIFI network which you can see on your phone or computer when picking which to connect to. If you have both a 5G and 2G network I would recommend connecting your Pi to your 2G network for reliability reasons. Also ensure you have a strong WIFI single for the network you are about to try connecting to.
  • More information on doing this can be found online here.

ctrl_interface=DIR=/var/run/wpa_supplicant GROUP=netdev
update_config=1
country=GB
network={
    ssid="YOUR NETWORK NAME HERE"
    psk="YOUR PASSWORD HERE"
    key_mgmt=WPA-PSK
}

  • Once you have made your blank "ssh" file and your "wpa_supplicant.conf" file right click on the drive in the file explorer and click "eject" to make it safe to remove the Micro SD card. Once ready, remove the card.
  • Now put the Micro SD card into your Pi and plug in the power to turn it; see diagram in step 2 on where to plug in the power lead. Turning on can take around 2min.
  • While we wait for it to turn on goto: https://www.putty.org/ from there follow the links to download "puTTY" and install it onto your computer. This will allow us to SSH remote into our Pi (wirelessly control it).
  • Once you have downloaded and installed puTTY and waited up-to 2min for your Pi to turn on fully, launch puTTY. You should see a program as shown below:
Screenshot of Putty Software settings.
  • First make sure that your computer and your Pi are both connected to the same network. Then enter into the host-name box "raspberrypi". Check that the port number is set to 22  and that the connection type is on SSH. If all these values are correct click the "open" button.
  • Hopefully putty can find your Pi and a security alert might pop up asking are you sure you trust this device; simply click "yes". A console window should then appear asking for your username.
  • The default user name is: pi
  • The default password is :raspberry
  • While entering in the password your input will not be outputted to screen this is normal. Once both username and password are entered you should hopefully be logged into your pi fully. If not see the links below for more guidance.

Why have I got "Unable to open connection ... Host does not exist " error message?

If this happens it can be complicated to debug, first go-to your router settings and find all currently connected devices. The method of doing this will differ depending on your router, but instructions should exist on the router it self or online. If you do not see a device called "raspberrypi" listed anywhere then it has not connected to your WIFI correctly.


In which case you will need to unplug your Pi, wait 10 seconds before removing the SD card and then reinsert it into your PC again. You will notice your two new files have been removed; this is normal. You will have to remake them as they are moved from the boot partition into the "hidden" partition  every time you turn on your Pi. When remaking your SSH and wpa_supplicant.conf file take extra care to ensure they match the requirements. Capital letters and spacing is important! I would also suggest moving closer to your router and using the 2Ghz band if you are not already doing so.


If you are still having issues you could attempt connecting via ethernet, via USB or as a last resort you may need to buy a mini-hdmi to hdmi lead and a way of connecting a keyboard to your Pi directly to debug the issues easily. This should not cost more than £10.

Step 2: Configuring Your Pi

Now you need to turn on a few features of your Pi to continue.

  • Now you have logged into your Pi in the puTTY console window type in the command:
  • sudo raspi-config
Screenshot of initial Pi console window.
  • When you click enter a new screen should appear, as shown below.
Screenshot of the rasp-config window.
  • First we need to change your password to secure your Pi, simply use the arrow keys to navigate through the menu, the enter key to select a value and the esc key to return back a menu. To change the password click enter on the first option, "System Options", then click on "Password" you will then be prompted to change the password; again your user input will not be outputted this is normal.
  • Once completed you will return to the menu, next click on "Interfacing Options". On the next screen click on "P4 SPI" and be sure to enable SPI connections.
  • Once enabled return back to main menu and navigate to "Advanced Options" , then click "A1 Expand File System"
  • Then exit from this menu by pressing the "esc" key a few times till you return to the console. Now we will check for any updates for your Pi by entering in the command.
  • sudo apt update  -y
  • Once finished your cursor should be flashing green again, if successful write the following command below.
  • sudo apt full-upgrade -y
  • Once the command has finished we need to turn off the Pi to wire it up. Normally you can simply unplug the device, as we have made some system changes to be safe shutdown properly typing the command "sudo shutdown -h now" and then unplug it after 30 seconds.

Step 3: Wiring Everything Up

The first thing you need to do is connect the Pi Zero W with your OLED display.

To connect the display to your Pi please refer to both the diagram and the table below, taking extra care to make sure you have both in the same orientation as the shown so not to wire up the device incorrectly. Incorrect wiring up can cause permanent damage to the display and/or the Pi. Also do not attempt to wire up the display while the Pi is turned on. If you have opted for a header-less display and Pi you will now need to bring out your soldering iron. If you have opted for a headered display you just simply need to push the wires into the correct pins.


OLED Display Pins : 1,7,8,9,10,11,12 and 13 can be connected to the Pi Zero Pins: 6, 9, 14,20, 25, 30, 34 and 39 in any combination.

Those display pins simply need to be connected to any Pi ground pin. The Diagram below will show one possible combination. Where all OLED Pins are connected to one Pi Zero Pin 6, but if you want you can connect one OLED pin to one Pi pin of your choosing.

The wiring schematic for connecting up the Pi and Display.
The below table should be used in adjacent to the diagram above, please double and triply check your wiring. This is one of the main areas for fault to occur.
Pi Zero Pin Number OLED Display Pin Number
2 2
6, 9, 14,20, 25, 30, 34 and 39 1,7,8,9,10,11,12 and 13
18 14
19 5
22 15
23 4
24 16

Stage 1 Completed!

Awesome, you've setup and wired your Pi, now lets install the software!

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