Assembling Raspberry Pi 5

Step By Step Guide To Assemble A Raspberry Pi 5

Assembling a Raspberry Pi 5 is a matter of just 10 minutes. Here are the steps required.

Mounting Active Cooler

For this you need the Raspberry Pi 5 board and the Raspberry Pi 5 Active Cooler kit:

Two Mounting Holes

First, identify the two mounting holes on the Raspberry Pi 5 board. The active cooler fan has two snap-connectors that fit tightly into these holes.

Also indentify the major components on the board that emit heat and need cooling: the processor, the I/O controller, the memory, and the power management chip.

Thermal Adhesive

On the back side of the active cooler, thermal adhesive can be seen. Peel off the cover, then place the fan onto the board so that the spring-loaded pins fit into the two mounting holes.

Do not confuse the two mounting holes with the four holes that are used to mount a hat (extension board). You may want to practice first and get a good understanding how the fan needs to be positioned before you peel off the adhesive cover and firmly press the pins into the mounting holes until they snap into place.

Next, connect the plug from the active cooler to the connector on the board - done.

Preparing SSD

Since this Raspberry Pi 5 is intended to become a HomeAssistant server, next you should download and install all necessary software on the SSD drive. This is done on your regular PC.

For this you need your SSD drive and the USB adapter.

Temporary Mount as USB Drive

By mounting your SSD drive to a USB adapter, you turn it into a USB drive that can be plugged into any computer. This way, you can preload the necessary files.

The image shows how the pins of the SSD drive align with the pins of the USB adapter:

To mount the SSD drive to the adapter, firmly press the SSD drive towards the contacts on the adapter. Always make sure the pins align.

Once the SSD drive pins snap into place, do not be surprised to see the SSD drive tilt upwards.

Gently move the SSD drive downwards until the screw holes at the end of both SSD drive and adapter align. Fix them with the screw that came with the adapter.

Preloading Software

To preload software onto the SSD drive, plug it into your PC. Thanks to the USB adapter that you mounted the SSD drive on, it should appear as a regular USB drive.

The actual pre-loading is done by Raspberry Pi Imager. The tool is available for Windows, macOS, and Ubuntu.

Once you installed and opened Raspberry Pi Imager as Administrator, you can choose what software you want to preload onto the SSD drive.

Since Raspberry Pi 5 is going to be HomeAssistant server in this example, the choices are Raspberry Pi 5, Home Assistant OS, and the storage device that represents the mounted SSD drive.

To select Home Assistant as Operating System, click on the combo box and select Other specific-purpose OS, then Home assistants and home automation, and finally Home Assistant, and the version you want.

Once you click Next, you see a number of warnings that all data on the selected storage device will be deleted. Once you proceed, the tool starts to write the requested image to disk.

Once this is done, unmount the SSD drive from the USB adapter.

Adding SSD To Raspberry

To add the SSD drive to the Raspberry Pi, you need the *M.2 Shield for Raspberry Pi which looks fairly similar to the USB adapter you just used. The board is slightly bigger and has three mounting holes.

When you unpack the shield, make sure you identify a small ribbon cable that comes with it.

Mounting Ribbon Cable

In a first step, connect the ribbon cable to the shield. The connector on the shield has a plastic lock that can be turned up (unlock) and down (lock).

Turn it up, then place one side of the ribbon cable into the connector, and secure the cable by turning the plastic lock down.

Next, place the SSD drive with its contacts into the matching connector, and push it in. This procedure is identical to previously mounting the SSD drive to the USB adapter.

In fact, the SSD drive will again tilt upwards until you push it gently down and secure its end with a screw.

Mounting Spacer Bolts

In order to mount the M.2 Shield to the Raspberry Pi 5, you need to first add three spacer bolts to the board. The bolts come with the metal housing. One of the mounting holes remains untouched for now:

Do not use the black screws to secure the bolts to the board. Use the smaller bolts that came with the metal housing. They serve as feet and are required to later mount the board to the metal housing.

Mounting M.2 Shield

Now you can place the M.2 Shield on top of the spacer bolts and screw it to the Raspberry Pi 5.

The final step is connecting the ribbon cable to the connector on the Raspberry Pi 5 board. This is a bit fiddly but the connector works similar to the other one and has a plastic lock. Pull it up to unlock the connector, and press it back into place to secure the cable.

Adding RTC Battery

If you got yourself an external battery case to power the RTC (real time clock), make sure you push the small switch to the on position.

Open the case, and insert a CR2032 button cell. Next, plug it into the designated connector on the Raspberry Pi 5 board.

Housing

Finally, get the metal housing parts ready.

Insert the assembled Raspberry Pi 5 into the main housing component with the network connectors facing to its open side.

Screw it to the metal housing using the larger four screws.

If you added an external battery case, use double-sided tape to fix it to the ethernet jack. Make sure the battery case is not blocking the ventilation.

Slide in the top cover, and use the smaller four screws to screw it to the larger part of the housing - done.

Connecting

To test-drive the Raspberry Pi, you need a network cable and a USB C power supply capable of at least 30W.

Connect the network cable to the network jack, and connect the power supply to the USB C connector.

Once you power on the Raspberry Pi, you see LED lights blinking as the SSD drive is accessed by the Raspberry Pi 5.

If you don’t like being blind-folded, connect the Micro HDMI cable to the display connector right next to the USB C connector, and connect the cable to a computer display. This was you can see what the Raspberry Pi 5 is doing.

Let the device work for a few minutes: it is automatically booting from your SSD drive and installing the software that you preloaded before. This part can take up to 10 minutes to complete.

In the end, Home Assistant should be up and running. If you have connected a computer display, it tells you the assigned IP address:

Web Interface

You do not necessarily need to know the Raspberry IP address to access Home Assistant through a web browser. Open a browser, and enter homeassistant.local:8123.

Network Address Does Not Resolve

The network address homeassistant.local:8123 uses the name and port of your instance. The default port is 8123. If you change the name or port of your Home Assistant, the address needs to be adjusted accordingly.

The address is based on mDNS and works only locally: if i.e. you have connected the Raspberry Pi 5 using a network cable, then you can only use the mDNS address from other network devices that are wired. It will not resolve for computers and devices that are connected to your network using WiFi. If mDNS resolution fails, you can always use the actual IP address, i.e. 192.168.2.127:8123/.

Obtaining IP Address

By default, and depending on your general network setup, the Raspberry Pi 5 typically receives its IP address dynamically from your DHCP server. This means that its IP address can change over time. It does not make much sense then to note the IP address, or add bookmarks to it.

If you rely on using the raw IP address to connect, there are two ways to determine it:

  • Computer Display: hook up a computer display as described above to see the local Raspberry Pi 5 screen. On the screen, the currently assigned IP address is listed.
  • Port Scan: by default, Home Assistant uses port 8123. By scanning your network for this port, you can retrieve the currently assigned IP address within a few seconds. Below is a PowerShell script that can do this for you:
# install DoneLandTools module from the Microsoft PowerShellGallery.com if you haven't done so lately:
Install-Module -Name DoneLandTools -Scope CurrentUser -Force

# scan your network for port 8123:
Find-NetworkDevice -FindAllWebInterfaces -Port 8123

After a few seconds, Find-NetworkDevice returns all IP addresses that responded to the specified port, and opens these interfaces in your web browser.

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(content created Jun 01, 2024 - last updated Jun 03, 2024)