Install Raspbian OS in Raspberry Pi without Keyboard and Monitor

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Raspberry Pi is widely used to build IoT projects and it is continuously gaining more attention and popularity. After buying a Raspberry Pi, we can install an OS within a few minutes.

We usually need a monitor and a keyboard to install operating system in a physical machine. However, in this tutorial we will learn how to install Raspbian OS without a keyboard and a monitor. Also, how we can have access to the device using SSH via WiFi.

Download Raspbian OS

Let’s first download the latest version of Raspbian OS from the Raspberry Pi official site. The latest version is the Raspbian Buster.

Download BalenaEtcher

We can flash the OS in a microSD is using different system and third-party tools. The easiest way to do it is using balenaEtcher, which is a cross platform tool and it can flash an OS in a microSD within minutes. It can be downloaded from the balena official site

Flash the MicroSD

Insert the memory card in a card reader and attach to your working computer. Then, launch balenaEtcher; and flash in three steps:

  1. Select the downloaded Image file from your downloaded location
  2. Select the flash drive from the options
  3. Click Flash and wait for the success notification.

Add Configuration Files

When you are done with flashing, you need to add two files. Go to the boot drive and add following files.

Enable SSH

To enable ssh, simply add a file named SSH in the boot directory. Note that, the file should not have any extension.

Now, you will be able to ssh to your machine via a LAN Cable. You can simply login via a terminal from Linux or macOS. If you are using Windows, download Putty and login from there.

The default hostname, usename and password are as follows:

hostname: raspberrypi.local
username: pi
password: raspberry

You can change the password later using the command sudo raspi-config.

Connect to WiFi Network

To enable ssh via WiFi, you have to create another file that holds network information. Create a file named wpa_supplicant.conf and add the following lines:

country=US
ctrl_interface=DIR=/var/run/wpa_supplicant GROUP=netdev
update_config=1

network={
ssid="Your SSID 1"
psk="Your Password"
key_mgmt=WPA-PSK
}

network={
ssid="Your SSID 2"
psk="Your Password"
key_mgmt=WPA-PSK
}

Here, I have added two different WiFi networks. You can add as many as you want. Just edit the SSID and the password in your file.

Now, after inserting the microSD in the Raspberry Pi and powering on the device, you can ssh via WiFi, no need of any Ethernet cable.

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