Duplicating microSD cards

A boring and thankless job when teaching with the Raspberry Pi is duplicating enough microSD cards. There are several ways to copy them one at a time, but I want to do them in bunches. There are duplicating machines, but they cost from several hundred to several thousand dollars.

I’ve written about a way to duplicate microSD cards with a Windows computer and $150 of equipment. Using a USB 3.0 port, I can make ten copies in less than 17 minutes.

There’s also a way to make duplicates with your Raspberry Pi, but it’s a little more fiddly and takes longer.

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I am thinking of getting the cards and put the operating system on myself. How were you guys able to put the KSU brand on the start screen when students log into their Raspberry Pi?

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You need to make an image that will be your wallpaper. It can be either JPG or PNG. We used a PNG image. I think 1920 x 1080 works best for wide-screen monitors. Some of the others are 1366 x 768. If you want to start with the KSU wallpaper and add your own branding, you can find both sizes here: https://ccse.kennesaw.edu/outreach/raspberrypi/resources.php

Once you’ve got a suitable image, you put it in this directory on the Pi that will become your master image: /usr/share/rpd-wallpaper/

Once it’s in there, you can right-click on the Raspbian desktop and select your image as wallpaper. Alternatively, you can do it from the command line.

Here’s a complete script. It assumes the wallpaper image is on a USB drive plugged into the Pi. Change the KSU names to your own image name.

sudo umount /media/pi/*
sudo mount /dev/sda1 /media/pi
sudo cp /media/pi/Background-KSU_1920_x_1080.png \
sudo chmod o+r /usr/share/rpd-wallpaper/ksu_wkshop.png
mkdir -p /home/pi/.config/pcmanfm/LXDE-pi/
cp /etc/xdg/pcmanfm/LXDE-pi/desktop-items-0.conf \
sed -i -e 's/road.jpg/ksu_wkshop.png/g' \
sed -i -e 's/mounts=0/mounts=1/g' \
sudo umount /dev/sda1
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I keep trying to copy the card you gave us, but I am failing. I try to put in the new card that I copied everything on to and I get the boot screen with the four raspberries, but then it just sits there like a bump on a log.

I tried to download Raspbian directly from the Pi site, but when I get it unzipped and begin transferring it to a card, it says the source file is too large for the format. I know this can’t be true because I have tried several clean cards with much more room than is needed.

Any ideas?