R-Pi Troubleshooting

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Back to the Hub. This page lists the most common problems and suggests some solutions.


Power / Start-up

A good power supply that will supply 5V is vital. There is more information about power supplies and troubleshooting.

Red power LED does not light, nothing on display

The power is not properly connected.

Red power LED is blinking

The red power LED should never blink, because it is hard-wired to the 3.3V power supply rail. If it is blinking, as one user has reported[1] it means the 5V power supply is dropping out. Use a different power supply.

Red power LED is on, green LED does not flash, nothing on display

  • There would appear to be a bug in the distributed version of bootcode.bin. Try this version: https://github.com/raspberrypi/firmware/blob/234c19de7cbaaf4997671d61df20a05759066295/boot/bootcode.bin. Please let us know if it "fixes" your non-working SD card (or, more importantly, if it doesn't).
  • The Raspberry Pi cannot find a valid image on the SD card. Check card is inserted correctly. Check that you have correctly written a Raspberry Pi image to the card. Insert the SD card into a Windows machine and you should see bootcode.bin, loader.bin and start.elf amongst others. Some SD cards work when cold, but not when warm from use[2]. See also, Known SD Cards.
  • Try with no cables connected except the USB power lead, and SD card inserted. You should see flashing of the OK light for ~20 seconds. If that helps, plug in cables one at a time to identify which is interfering with boot.
  • The voltage is too low (below 5 V), try a different power supply and/or cable. The R-Pi needs a supply rated for 700 mA or more. Some supplies labeled as such cannot actually provide their rated current while maintaining 5V. See also, Power Problems.
  • (unlikely) hardware abuse, for example by connecting a 7 V supply to a 3v3 GPIO output pin[3] or powering up the board after a solder splash shorts some traces[4].

Geen LED blinks in a specific pattern

With recent firmware, according to this forum post the green light will blink in a specific pattern to indicate some types of errors:

  • 3 flashes: loader.bin not found
  • 4 flashes: loader.bin not launched
  • 5 flashes: start.elf not found
  • 6 flashes: start.elf not launched

Coloured splash screen


With recent firmware, a coloured splash screen is displayed after firmware (start.elf) is loaded. This should be replaced by linux console a second later. However if the coloured screen remains, it suggests the kernel.img file is failing to boot. Try replacing it with a known good one.

Kernel Panic on boot

Text appears on screen, but then hangs with debug messages. This can be caused by USB devices such as keyboards. Try again with nothing in the USB.

Raspberry Pi shuts down soon after booting up

This is caused by a power supply with too low voltage or too high voltage. Or it could be the cable. See: On_the_RPi_usb_power_cable

Pi boots sometimes but not always

With a known good power supply and known good SD card, the R-Pi boots occasionally, but other times shows only a tiny green flicker from the "OK" LED and it fails to start, even with no USB devices and no Ethernet. This has been reported several times[5] [6] [7] and remains an open issue. Low voltage or an improper SD card can cause it. Some SD cards will work until they warm up slightly, and then fail[8]. When exposed to 21 C room temperature the warmest part of an uncased working R-Pi should be 41 C[9]. The wiki has a list of working SD cards. Buy from a reliable vendor as it has been claimed that 1/3 of all "Sandisk" labelled memory cards are counterfeit.

Keyboard / Mouse / Input Devices

R-Pi does not respond to key presses / Keyboard randomly repeats key presses

This is caused by inadequate power. Use a good power supply and a good power cable. Some cheap cables that work with a cell phone, cannot fully power the R-Pi. Some USB devices require a lot of power: most will have a label showing the voltage and mA requirements. They should be 5v 100mA each max, any more than this they must be used with a powered USB hub. Try unplugging every USB device except the keyboard (you should also note that some keyboards have built in hubs and can try to draw 150mA (Pi can only handle 100mA per USB slot without a hub)). Also, use the latest software. Forum user MrEngman reported some keyboard repeats and wireless hangs until upgrading to the debian6-19-04-2012 kernel, which he reports stable with no problems even with a low TP1-TP2 voltage of 4.65 - 4.68 volts.

Keyboard / Mouse interferes with USB WiFi device

Connecting a keyboard and/or mouse while a USB WiFi device is connected, may cause one or both devices to malfunction. On April 30 2012, there was a bugfix[10] relating to USB sharing between high-speed (eg. WiFi) and full/low-speed devices (eg. keyboard/mouse). User spennig[11][12] reports this patch did not fix the Mouse/WiFi conflict. On 2012-05-12, user spennig was pleased to confirm that wifi was working with a USB keyboard and mouse, as long as the Raspberry Pi had a good PSU and a powered hub. Even so, some experimentation was needed, e.g. USB mouse connected to the device, and the keyboard and mouse connected to the powered hub. Some experimentation may be necessary to find a working combination; however a good power supply is essential.

Wireless Keyboard trouble

Some wireless keyboards, for example the Microsoft Wireless Keyboard 800 are reported to fail[13] even though the current drawn by the wireless adaptor is within the R-Pi USB spec limit of 100 mA. This may be a software driver problem.

Re-mapping the keyboard with Debian Squeeze

If different letters appear on-screen from that which you typed, you need to reconfigure you keyboard settings. In Debian, from a command line type:

sudo dpkg-reconfigure keyboard-configuration

Follow the prompts. Then restart your RasPi.
From the command line type:

sudo nano /etc/default/keyboard
Then find where it says
and change the gb to the two letter code for your country. [1]

Slow keyboard mapping

If you have remapped your keyboard and get a very long delay during the keyboard mapping at startup, type the following once on the command line after you have logged in:

sudo setupcon

No USB device works, with known good PS, SD card, KB

There has been more than one report[14][15][16] of a R-Pi booting but not getting USB input, using a known-good power supply, SD card, and keyboard. The more common cause for no USB devices working is low power supply voltage from bad PSU, cable, or USB hub, but in this case the problem was no clock signal present at the LAN9512 USB/Ethernet chip "IC3", and the solution was to reflow the solder on the 25 MHz crystal "X1" on the bottom side of the board. Or return the board for a replacement, but before making this conclusion, confirm known good peripherals. A significant number of USB keyboards are not compatible with R-Pi. As of June 1 2012, Eben reported[17] that only about 1 in 1000 shipped R-Pi boards have been found to have a hardware fault of any kind.

Updating firmware

Check your firmware version

Using the latest firmware version may help various problems with SD card and display compatibility. Check the kernel version with:

 uname -a
   Linux RPi 3.1.19 #1 PREEMPT Fri Jun 1 14:16:38 CEST 2012 armv6l GNU/Linux

And the GPU firmware with:

 /opt/vc/bin/vcgencmd version
   May 31 2012 13:35:03
   Copyright (c) 2012 Broadcom
   version 317494 (release)

Get the latest firmware version

The GPU firmware and kernel can be updated with Hexxeh's rpi-update tool.

However this requires the Pi to be successfully booted. With sdcard problems, you may not get that far, so can try a manual udpate. If you have a Linux machine, rpi-update can be run on that in an offline mode, and will update your sdcard from the Linux machine.

Otherwise, on a Windows computer, you will see the "/boot" partition appear as the contents of SD card. You can download the latest GPU firmware version here. Click on view raw, then save it, and put the new start.elf file on the sdcard replacing the existing one. Similarly, the latest kernel is here. After updating these files you should be able to boot. You still need to run rpi-update to update the kernel modules (in /lib/modules) and the GPU libraries (in /opt/vc).

Choosing the right ARM/GPU memory split

There is a choice of how the 256M of RAM is divided between the ARM and GPU:

   arm224_start.elf : 224M ARM,  32M GPU split : Maximum ARM memory. Good for ARM desktop use. No accelerated video or 3D possible.
   arm192_start.elf : 192M ARM,  64M GPU split : Reasonable ARM memory. Simple video (omxplayer) or 3D (quake) is possible. This is the default.
   arm128_start.elf : 128M ARM, 128M GPU split : Use this for heavy 3D work, or 3D plus video. Needed for XBMC.

To switch replace start.elf with one of the above files and reboot. E.g.

sudo cp /boot/arm224_start.elf /boot/start.elf && sudo reboot

SD cards

  • If you have problems, check you have latest firmware version (described above)
  • Some SD cards do not work on the R-Pi, so check the list of known SD cards.
  • If you are having problems setting up your SD card you might want to start by erasing it completely - especially if it has been used elsewhere and still contains data / partitions.
  • After writing the image to the SD card, verify that you can see the boot partition when you insert the SD card into your computer. The partition should contain a number of files, including start.elf and kernel.img. If you do not see these files on the SD card, you have made an error writing the image file.
  • If you are manually preparing your SD card on Linux or Mac OS using the dd command, this operation will completely erase any existing data and partitions. Make sure you write to the whole card (e.g. /dev/sdd) and not to an existing partition (e.g. /dev/sdd1).
  • If you have an sdcard that doesn't work with latest firmware, head over here.


Ethernet connection is lost when a USB device is plugged in

This is caused by inadequate power. Use a good power supply and a good power cable. Some cheap cables that work with a cell phone, cannot fully power the R-Pi. Some USB devices require a lot of power (>100 mA), so they must be used with a powered USB hub. Some cheap USB hubs suck power from the Raspberry Pi even if a USB power supply is connected.

Ethernet connects at 10M instead of 100M

The LED in the corner of the board labelled "10M" is mislabeled. When that LED is on, the R-Pi is actually connected at 100 Mbps. You can confirm the true transfer rate using a network benchmark such as iperf. You can also read the current network speed with

 cat /sys/class/net/eth0/speed

Cannot ssh in to Pi

In the Debian image, ssh is disabled by default. Boot commands are taken from /boot/boot.rc if that file present. There is an example file named boot_enable_ssh.rc that enables ssh. So:

sudo mv /boot/boot_enable_ssh.rc /boot/boot.rc

and reboot should enable ssh. (password as below)


I do not know the password to login

Please check the page http://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads for the correct username and password for each image.

Debian from later dates - pi/raspberry Debian Feb 17 - pi/suse Arch - root/root

Some programs refuse to accept my password

While using Debian, some programs may ask for your password but refuse to accept a valid password.

This is a fault in some Debian images and will be fixed soon. If you are using an image with this fault, enter the following command on the command line.

gconftool-2  --type bool  --set  /apps/gksu/sudo-mode  true

Please enter this command carefully, the spaces are important. The command should be accepted without any response or errors.

I don't know the root password

There is no root password set by default on Debian. You are expected to do everything through sudo. You can set one with "sudo passwd root" - just make sure you know what you are doing with a root account.


Sound does not work with an HDMI monitor

This is caused by some computer monitors which select DVI mode even if an HDMI cable is connected. This fix may be necessary even if other HDMI devices work perfectly on the same monitor (or TV)!

Edit the configuration file - see the instructions at R-Pi_ConfigurationFile.

Add the following line to the configuration file:


This will force it to select HDMI mode.

Sound does not work at all, or in some applications

Sound is disabled by default because the ALSA sound driver is still "alpha" (not fully tested) on the R-Pi. To try out sound, from the command prompt before "startx", type

 sudo apt-get install alsa-utils
 sudo modprobe snd_bcm2835
 sudo aplay /usr/share/sounds/alsa/Front_Center.wav

By default output will be automatic (hdmi if hdmi supports audio, otherwise analogue). You can force it with:

 sudo amixer cset numid=3 <n>

where n is 0=auto, 1=headphones, 2=hdmi.

If you are running Debian, try

 cd /opt/vc/src/hello_pi/hello_audio

to test analogue output. And

 ./hello_audio.bin 1

to test HDMI.

Also note that you may have to add your user to the 'audio' group to get permission to access the sound card.


Startx fails to start

If you just get errors instead of a desktop when typing


you may be out of storage space on the SD card. By default there are only a few hundred MB free in the 2 GB main partition, which can quickly fill up if you download files. Make sure there is some space free (gparted can expand a partition, if the SD card is > 2GB). Also, installing some software may incorrectly create or modify a .Xauthority file in your home directory, causing startx to fail, according to this thread. Temporarily renaming, moving, or deleting that file may fix the problem.

Video does not play or plays very slowly

The only hardware-accelerated video player is in the XBMC distribution and its command line variant omxplayer. H264 is the only hardware-accelerated codec, for playback. No hardware encoding is supported. Additional codecs were not purchased as licensing fees would have increased the R-Pi's price.

Can only get 800x480 resolution in LXDE (Arch linux)

Known issue with distro package as of 17th April 2012 - there's some missing boot config information. Creating a suitable cmdline.txt fixes it - type the following at the Raspberry Pi command line:

  sudo echo "dwc_otg.lpm_enable=0 console=ttyAMA0,115200 kgdboc=ttyAMA0,115200 root=/dev/mmcblk0p2 rootfstype=ext3 rootwait" >/boot/cmdline.txt

Big black borders around small image on HD monitors

Out of the box, R-Pi graphics don't necessarily fill the whole screen. This is due to something called "Underscan", and it can be fixed easily.

Note: the best solution is to disable overscan in display menu options (it may be called "just scan", "screen fit", "HD size", "full pixel", "unscaled", "dot by dot", "native" or "1:1"), then use the disable_overscan=1 option.

Edit the configuration file, see the instructions at R-Pi_ConfigurationFile.

Add the following lines to the configuration file...

If your display has no overscan:


or if your display has some overscan:





Making the R-Pi graphics fill the screen is a matter of experimenting with the numbers you put in the config.txt file. Change the numbers – try jumps of 5 or 10 at a time. Bigger negative numbers reduce the black borders (so -40 means less black border than -20). The numbers do not all have to be the same; you can use this feature to centre the display on the screen.

Writing spills off the screen on HD monitors

Out of the box, R-Pi graphics may be larger than the 1080p (ie Full HD) screen. This is due to something called "Overscan", and it can be fixed easily by creating a simple text file on the R-Pi SD card by using Notepad on your PC.

Follow the instructions in the section "Big black borders around small image on HD monitors", but use positive numbers for the overscan settings, for example





Interference visible on a HDMI or DVI monitor

This may be caused by loss of signal on long video cables. The signal level may be increased by changing a configuration parameter.

RPi HDMI interference.jpg

Edit the configuration file, see the instructions at R-Pi_ConfigurationFile.

Add the following line to the configuration file


You may experiment with different values of config_hdmi_boost. Value 1 is used for very short cables, value 7 is used for very long cables.

No HDMI output at all

First make sure the display is powered on and switched to the right input before booting Pi.

Try adding the following line to the configuration file (similar to interference case above)


Your monitor/cable may not be asserting the hotplug signal. You can override this with:


Also try the following video options:


which resolved an issue with DVI monitor reporting "input signal out of range"

As a last resort, try deleting (rename to keep backup) config.txt from the SD card.

Composite displays only back and white or no image

Remember, the output display will be HDMI if detected, and composite if not. Make sure there isn't a HDMI cable connected when you are wanting composite output.

We default to NTSC output. Most TVs will show an image with that, but if not:

Edit the configuration file, see the instructions at R-Pi_ConfigurationFile.

Add the following line to the configuration file


(You can try other values: 0 is NTSC, 1 is Japanese NTSC, 2 is PAL, 3 is Brazilian PAL)


Remember that the GPIO pins are 3.3V logic level only, and are NOT 5V tolerant.

If you momentarily shorted the two end GPIO pins together (+3.3V and +5V), or a supply pin to ground, and the Pi appears to be dead, don't panic. The input polyfuse may have tripped. It is self-resetting after it cools down and the polymer re-crystallizes, which can take several hours. Set the Pi aside and try again later.


The time is incorrect

If the clock is off by a series of hours, in the command line type:

sudo dpkg-reconfigure tzdata

The R-Pi has no real-time clock, so unless it can access a timeserver over the network at boot, or time is manually entered by the user, the time/date will restart counting from the last logged time in the previous session.

A part broke off

The silver cylinder near the microUSB power input is a 220 uF capacitor ("C6" on schematic). It sticks up and due to the small surface-mount pads, it is easy to break off; several people have done so. This is a power supply filter capacitor which reduces any noise and spikes on the input +5V power. If you like, you can solder it back on, or just leave it off. If you do solder it back on, take care to observe the correct polarity with the black stripe towards the board edge. This part, C6 is a "just in case" component which is good design practice to include, but as it turns out most power supplies still work OK without this part installed. This part is also discussed here.

Troubleshooting power problems

If you think you have a problem with your power supply, it is a good idea to check the actual voltage on the Raspberry Pi circuit board. Two test points labelled TP1 and TP2 are provided on the circuit board to facilitate voltage measurements.

Use a multimeter which is set to the range 20 volts DC (or 20v =). You should see a voltage between 4.75 and 5.25 volts. Anything outside this range indicates that you have a problem with your power supply or your power cable.

If you have not used a multimeter before, see these [basic instructions]

Note: Even if the multimeter shows the correct voltage, you may have some power supply problems. A multimeter only displays the average voltage. If there are very short-lived dips or spikes in the voltage, these will not be shown by the multimeter.

Note: Onboard voltage drops as current draw increases. During boot-up the R-Pi draws less current than when it is running normally. Attached USB devices can put a large load on the supply. Some parts, eg. a WiFi adaptor use more current when configured and active, than before configuration. Some devices can source current into the R-Pi (USB powered hub, TV via HDMI port). See also: Power Supply Problems

RPI Test Points.JPG Voltmeter.JPG

Hardware versions/revisions

Several different boards have been found probably from different assembly lines, and the following tables try to help you identify your board for better troubleshooting.

Look for the date of manufacturing printed with the year and week. In this example year (2012) and week (18th):
Date of manufacturing.jpg

Model A:







Front Back

Model B:







Front Back
A12xx Samsung SMSC
RaspberryPi-Board A-Front.JPG
RaspberryPi-Board A-Back.JPG
B12xx Hynix SMSC
RaspberryPi-Board B-Front.JPG
RaspberryPi-Board B-Back.JPG

See a complete list and user feedback here: RaspberryPi Boards


  1. http://www.raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=28&t=7528
  2. http://www.raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=5900&p=79008#p79008
  3. http://www.raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=5096&p=76503#p76503
  4. http://www.raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=5096&p=76654#p76654
  5. http://www.raspberrypi.org/forum/troubleshooting/will-not-boot-consistently-any-suggestions-before-i-send-my-pi-back
  6. http://www.raspberrypi.org/forum/troubleshooting/booted-once-wont-work-again
  7. http://www.raspberrypi.org/forum/troubleshooting/possible-fault-pi-boots-sometimes-but-not-always
  8. http://www.raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=5900&p=79008#p79008
  9. http://www.raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=5900&p=78973#p78973
  10. https://github.com/raspberrypi/linux/commit/e09244e60881148431ecd016ccc42f1fa0678556
  11. http://www.raspberrypi.org/forum/troubleshooting/usb-power-hub-wifi/page-4#p74609
  12. http://www.raspberrypi.org/forum/troubleshooting/success-with-kb-mouse-wifi?value=3761&type=8&include=1&search=1
  13. http://www.raspberrypi.org/forum/troubleshooting/display-and-keyboard-issues-on-a-real-pi#p74816
  14. http://www.raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=28&t=7533
  15. http://www.raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?t=5766#p77576
  16. http://www.raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?t=5766#p80995
  17. http://www.raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=28&t=6822&p=89589&hilit=eben#p89513