This article is for beginners – I know there are wars on the Internet as to what the pins are called but this is what I follow :)
When trying to use the GPIO port on your RaspberryPi, its VERY VERY important to know which pins do what (and are always available to play with) and that YOU MIGHT BREAK YOUR RASPBERRYPI if you get something wrong.
But, if like me, you just want to be able to flash some LEDs off an on to get started then, I recommend looking at this guide
You can 100% assume that when people are talking about pin 11 – they mean pin 11 :)
If you see references to GPIO 0 – then 99% of the time – they are talking about pin 11.
If you see references to GPIO 17 – then 99% of time – they are talking about pin 11.
(If you follow my Scratch/GPIO stuff and see me talking about output1 then I’m probably talking about pin 11 – as I think kids like start to count at 1 and not zero :) )
PS I might change to calling it outputA – it’ll still be pin 11.
Once you got a starting reference point then its easy to follow any further instructions that you might find in guides.
Here is a nice one
That is pretty much the simplest way of getting a blinking LED going (Of course I just used jumper wires myself to a normal breadboard from Pin11 (my favourite pin) and Pin6 (the zero volts/ground/earth pin)
Now, there is real danger of blowing your RPi up by making a mistake so you have been warned – although no harm will come to your Pi at all if you get it right :)
There are lots of add on boards that are designed to make things safer/easier and I recommend check out the list at
I’m not using any of them yet as I’m waiting to see what the “official” Gert board is/does/costs before making a descision as to what to recommend for kids to use.
Hope this helps in getting started.