Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Unstable Pi Reports

I have also spent a lot of time today talking to the hardware types who work with me, I'm very much a software guy, beyond wiring a plug or sorting out my ethernet cables I try to stay away from hardware engineering.

I have been known to assemble my own computers, some people call this making, but really you're just taking pre-fabricated items and slotting them together, the kind of hardware guy I'm talking about are the kind who tinker with soldering guns and the like.

And one thing they've overwhelmingly said about their Raspberry Pi's is how unstable they are, how they crash on them and how slow they are...

Where as, I'm a software guy, I've never had my Pi crash, I've never had it be overly slow... I admit its not quick to compile complex C/C++ languages, especially when the latter is using the Boost libraries... but it has been stable.

In actual fact I've only had it crash out once, and that was not its fault, it was the fault of the SD card going dead midway through a compile!

So... What is this difference?... Are the hardware tinkerers, playing with the GPIO port causing themselves issues?  (I think so)... 

As a software tinkerer however I have no complaints...


  1. Hi. Randomly found this in a Google search for unstable Pi.

    Like a lot of people I ended up with two - One each from RS and Farnell having joined both waiting lists.

    One of them has been consistently stable, the other consistently unstable. My latest SD card image is OpenELEC XBMC with a HD .MKV file.

    On the first board it will play forever. On the second board (with the exact same card & PSU) it won't play for more than 3 minutes before scrambling the screen and powering off.

    So I wouldn't write off people's problems if maybe there's a build consistency issue - Which really wouldn't be uncommon for a first production run.

  2. Perhaps there is more to this than I thought... At work two new ones have just been delivered, they're both from the Sony Factory in Wales, so we'll maybe see :) Thanks for the post.

  3. I have an update, the ones bought for our work, are stable as anything, it seems a lot of instability in the Pi comes from three things:

    1) using the GPIO without proper voltage regulation (must be 3.3v)

    2) Not shutting the machine down correctly - "sudo shutdown -hP now" - folks, to HALT and POWER off, not just halt and not just power off.

    3) Not using SD cards with the data aligned to the sector boundaries, when you use the DD tool to write to the SD card, check out all the settings and try to align to the byte boundaries. Linux Format this month have a good demo on doing this in their article about creating your own Pi distro.