Raspberry Pi

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This is for users with a Linux computer.

Installing OpenELEC for Raspberry Pi from a Linux computer is a very simple process and whether you're new to Linux or a hardened *NIX user, you shouldn't have any problems.

Things you'll need

  • A computer (your normal PC)
  • A Raspberry Pi
  • Media to install to (SD card)

The first thing you need to do is download the latest build of OpenELEC for Raspberry Pi, located here Once it's downloaded, you'll have a file that ends in .tar.bz2 - this file contains the OpenELEC installer files. We need to extract the files from the archive in order to use them.


Extracting using the GUI

There are two ways to do this: the easiest way is if you're running a desktop (Gnome, KDE, etc). If you are, just open the folder you downloaded the file, find the file, right-click on it and select 'Extract Files...'. This will create a new folder with the installer files in it.

Extracting using the CLI

If you're not running a desktop (or you just enjoy the terminal), then you'll need to navigate to where the downloaded file is:

cd /home/username/Downloads

Then, extract the file. It'll be named OpenELEC then something regarding the architecture, then .tar.bz2. We need to use tar to extract the fles.

tar xvf OpenELEC-RPi.arm-devel-20120606162014-r11258.tar.bz2 

You should see a list of files - these are the contents of the archive as they're extracted.

Creating the SD Card

At this point, whether you've used a graphic application or tar to extract the files, you now need a terminal open. Navigate to where you've downloaded the files, then into the folder the extraction has created:

cd /home/username/Downloads/OpenELEC-RPi.arm-devel-20120606162014-r11258

Now, pop your SD card in that you're going to use and find out what device it is (after you've inserted the SD card, use 'dmesg | tail' to find out. It should be something like /dev/sdb).

Next we need to create the installation key. You'll need superuser privileges to do this, whether you use the root user or sudo. Either way, you need to execute the following command:

sudo ./create_sdcard /dev/sdb

(where /dev/sdb is the device you looked up a second ago). It's very important that you make sure you have the right device as it will be wiped as part of the process. For example, it's extremely unlikely that your device will be /dev/sda as that's almost always the first hard disk in your computer.

Note: make sure there's nothing important on your SD card as the above command will wipe it.

Format the sd card in disk utility as msdos

Then open a terminal window and run the following

diskutil list

This will output something like this

   #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
   0:      GUID_partition_scheme                        *60.0 GB    disk0
   1:                        EFI                         209.7 MB   disk0s1
   2:                 Apple_RAID                         59.7 GB    disk0s2
   3:                 Apple_Boot Boot OS X               134.2 MB   disk0s3
   #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
   0:      GUID_partition_scheme                        *60.0 GB    disk1
   1:                        EFI                         209.7 MB   disk1s1
   2:                 Apple_RAID                         59.7 GB    disk1s2
   3:                 Apple_Boot Boot OS X               134.2 MB   disk1s3
   #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
   0:                  Apple_HFS Mountain Lion          *119.4 GB   disk2
   #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
   0:     FDisk_partition_scheme                        *8.0 GB     disk4
   1:                 DOS_FAT_32 UNTITLED                8.0 GB     disk4s1

Find your sdcard, in my case it is disk4

Unzip the file and place it somewhere accessible

Then dd the image to the sd card using something like the following (NOTE: DD IS DANGEROUS, BE CAREFULE WHEN USING IT)

dd if=/Users/lukas/Desktop/r11542.img of=/dev/disk4

You may have to run this as sudo

You may get this error

dd: /dev/disk4s1: Resource busy

In that case you have to unmount the disk

diskutil unmount /dev/disk4

Wait for the command prompt to come back and you're done


Safely remove your SD card and place it in your Raspberry Pi

Connect the RPi to your display, plug in the ethernet cable and power it on. Once booted you can ssh to the device with;

  username: root
  password: openelec

Note that if you do not have a USB input device you can enable XBMC Wifi remote access (via Android/iOS etc) by editing the XBMC config files directly, turn on the XBMC webserver and set a username/password in ~/.xbmc/userdata/guisettings.xml

Please take a minute to go over our Raspberry Pi FAQ in the OpenELEC forums

Useful links: