My Raspberry Pi is a Lemon


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by tails » Wed Jan 09, 2013 5:19 pm
Just received my Raspberry Pi from Allied Electronics after months of waiting and it's a lemon. Running headless with an OEM Nexus 7 charger (5V 2A) and it doesn't stay up for more than 10 minutes. Network LEDs suddenly go out, display (if connected) goes out, and only power LED is lit. I am convinced the problem is with the design of the board, BOM, or manufacturing based on these posts:
viewtopic.php?f=28&t=20657
viewtopic.php?f=28&t=22281

The previous threads cover the causes of these problems pretty well. I just want this thread to be a survey of units which may be defective. If you think you have a defective 512MB Model B unit, please share the sticker on the back and the board rev according to http://elinux.org/RaspberryPi_Boards

Here's mine:
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by RobHenry » Wed Jan 09, 2013 7:02 pm
I've checked mine and it's not a lemon, it's a raspberry.
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by Jim JKla » Wed Jan 09, 2013 8:31 pm
Sorry but we can absolutely say it's not a design fault, it may well be a manufacturing fault but if it was design then there would be a lot more people with problems. ;)

Also we can usually work our way around just as an example the early Intel chips used in PC's were able to run without cooling as the design ramped up the speed it became nessessary to deal with this deign issue.
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by Lonewolff » Wed Jan 09, 2013 9:20 pm
The two I have are running fine ;)
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by Jim JKla » Wed Jan 09, 2013 9:31 pm
Given what I said earlier does not preclude tails having a Lemon. My point was it was in all probability a manufacturing lemon rather than a design one. :D
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by bvickers » Wed Jan 09, 2013 9:53 pm
Mine is doing the same thing.
viewtopic.php?f=28&t=27797

Haven't had the time yet to check the dmesg or /var/log/messages yet. Maybe tonight.
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by stevhorn5 » Wed Jan 09, 2013 10:35 pm
tails wrote:Just received my Raspberry Pi from Allied Electronics after months of waiting and it's a lemon.


When I received my 256 RPi back in June (after a very long wait) I had many problems with it (it wouldn't stay connected, and would bring down my entire network, requiring a reboot of my router). I was convinced it was the RPi causing the problem. I, in fact, thought I had a lemon.

I ordered a new 512 RPi and while I waited for it to arrive, by happenstance, I replaced my router with a new one.

My new RPi arrived and it worked perfectly as a media server. I blew the dust off my old one, set it up as an FTP server, and it has worked flawlessly 24/7 for weeks.

Moral of the story, as others have noted, few of the so-called problems with the RPi are design or manufacturing problems, but rather, setup and accessory problems.
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by malakai » Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:19 pm
You haven't truly ruled out the charger. In theory it should work just fine and is a good device but as a charger it may have many things impeding your progress. Including auto shut off features temperature shut off and the likes. There are design differences between power supplies and chargers. Just because it charges a device does not mean it is functioning as a full power supply. I follow the posts here regularly and I don't think faulty boards equate to more than 1% my gut says about a tenth of a percent. As far as design flaws 1million sold I think you would hear about design flaws by now. They would be covered by CNET or the likes.

I am on my 5th board 2x256 & 2x512 the fifth board should be arriving today.
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by hippy » Thu Jan 10, 2013 1:45 am
malakai wrote:As far as design flaws 1million sold I think you would hear about design flaws by now.

Or they are forgotten, haven't been reported widely, or not considered important or not that problematic ...

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=5339&p=71436

As Gert notes, "It is an error in the design"; a simple mistyping in code or command parameter can damage the GPIO port, potentially render the entire R-Pi useless, and I was a bit surprised it wasn't fixed for the latest version.

Are there any undiscovered design flaws ? It's hard to say; in many cases flaws are only revealed in rather specific circumstances. Quantity sold and length of time on the market should increase the chance of discovering flaws but if no one encounters the circumstances which reveals them - or puts flaws down to different causes - they may go undetected even though they exist.
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by Lonewolff » Thu Jan 10, 2013 1:48 am
I would be on the power supply. ;)
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by jamesh » Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:22 am
hippy wrote:
malakai wrote:As far as design flaws 1million sold I think you would hear about design flaws by now.

Or they are forgotten, haven't been reported widely, or not considered important or not that problematic ...

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=5339&p=71436

As Gert notes, "It is an error in the design"; a simple mistyping in code or command parameter can damage the GPIO port, potentially render the entire R-Pi useless, and I was a bit surprised it wasn't fixed for the latest version.

Are there any undiscovered design flaws ? It's hard to say; in many cases flaws are only revealed in rather specific circumstances. Quantity sold and length of time on the market should increase the chance of discovering flaws but if no one encounters the circumstances which reveals them - or puts flaws down to different causes - they may go undetected even though they exist.


Design faults that caused real problems would be all over the news. There are indeed some very minor issues that will get fixed, but there are no major issues that actually stop the things from working as promised. There are more than likely undiscovered flaws as well, but since they are undiscovered after close on a million sold, they cannot be that bad...
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by Jim JKla » Thu Jan 10, 2013 7:45 am
Undocumented Features. :D
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by tails » Thu Jan 10, 2013 7:48 am
Jim JKla wrote:Sorry but we can absolutely say it's not a design fault, it may well be a manufacturing fault but if it was design then there would be a lot more people with problems. ;)

Also we can usually work our way around just as an example the early Intel chips used in PC's were able to run without cooling as the design ramped up the speed it became nessessary to deal with this deign issue.


I agree. I don't think it's a design flaw, but I'm not going to rule it out since I have no idea how much EVT has been done on the Pi designs. I have a feeling it's a manufacturing issue since I saw my sticker number pop up a couple of times in previous threads and at least one other person noted similar problems with this board revision on the elinux wiki. I was hoping to get broader statistics from this thread.
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by Jim JKla » Thu Jan 10, 2013 7:58 am
On the design front there's been the move away from poly fuses this is Design but to address an issue highlighted when some of the early users identified issues that were a problem when used with particular peripheral hardware.

My RPi is an early model 256 and Poly fused I can't say I have particularly pushed its performance but It has given me the opportunity to research and support the Noob end of our community.

As they say if you do have Lemons make lemonade. ;)
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by tails » Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:09 am
Lonewolff wrote:The two I have are running fine ;)

Do you mind sharing the HW rev and build info?
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by jamesh » Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:19 am
tails wrote:
Lonewolff wrote:The two I have are running fine ;)

Do you mind sharing the HW rev and build info?


You do realise there are nearly a million Raspi's out there? If you want a list of workings ones, it's going to be pretty damn long.
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by Lonewolff » Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:46 am
I wouldn't know where to look for the HW build info.

The first one was bought in September and the second is about a week old.
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by Jim JKla » Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:04 am
I am not sure but I believe what he wants is what Hardware setup are you using and which image as in

My RPi is from one of the first batches it's a 256 still fitted with polyfuses.

I flashed a 4Gig Class 4 SD card with the Wheezy 2012-12-16 image.

I Use a Value Keyboard and Mouse from Asda Wired USB

I use a poundland USB SD card writer and write the image from Windows XP Pro using Win32DiskImage.

My router is a Netgear DG834G router running DHCP and I am using WPA-PSK+WPA2-PSK security with a decent Alpha Numeric password using upper and lowercase letters.

My power supply for the RPi is a Belkin F5U010 USB Hub which has a 4Amp PSU the hub is set up to power the RPi and a USB back link to be the distributed USB for the RPi.

USB Wi-Fi Dynamode WL-700N-RXS 150Mbps Nano 802.11n Wireless USB Adapter Dongle for £5.95
I have also used a 10BaseT 1.5 metre RJ45-RJ45 Ethernet cable.

I have run sucessfuly with HDMI/Composite and use Putty as my primary over SSH

The case is Leggo ;)

There is a write up of my WiFi build here http://www.raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=26&t=28339
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by pluggy » Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:19 am
I have 3 running all the time. 100 % stable except for wireless connections and I blame that on a less than wonderful router that decides to cut out every now and again (long story.....) . The wired one is reporting an uptime of over a week. The 2 wireless ones are set to restart if they lose connectivity. Ones been up 4 hours the other 2 days. The wired one only tends to get restarted when its been interfered with and gets unplugged or something.

If it ain't power, its a flakey. Chinese made I'm prepared to wager.......
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by Lonewolff » Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:45 am
My wired one has had an uptime of just over 2 months. 8-)
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by pluggy » Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:53 am
Some of us do updates sometimes...... ;)
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by shuckle » Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:58 am
Old headless one with wired ethernet and weatherstation in USB (not overclocked):
$ uptime
12:52:08 up 77 days, 2:13, 1 user, load average: 0,93, 0,58, 0,48

And the (more problematic) new one with also wired ethernet and connected to hdmi-DVI display, which finally seems to be stabil after removing almost all I/o (oveclocked: arm_freq=1000):
$ uptime
12:52:15 up 8 days, 15:25, 2 users, load average: 1,26, 1,30, 1,27
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by hippy » Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:06 pm
jamesh wrote:There are more than likely undiscovered flaws as well, but since they are undiscovered after close on a million sold, they cannot be that bad...

One cannot usually tell how bad flaws are until they are discovered or, more correctly, start affecting things.

A million sold doesn't mean there isn't an undiscovered flaw which could be severely damaging when it does reveal itself in the future.

All non-trivial products present such concerns; so I'm not criticising the R-Pi, just the notion that quantity sold and/or current lack of evidence of flaws means there isn't a flaw or any flaw will not be serious. It doesn't.
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by jamesh » Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:59 pm
hippy wrote:
jamesh wrote:There are more than likely undiscovered flaws as well, but since they are undiscovered after close on a million sold, they cannot be that bad...

One cannot usually tell how bad flaws are until they are discovered or, more correctly, start affecting things.

A million sold doesn't mean there isn't an undiscovered flaw which could be severely damaging when it does reveal itself in the future.

All non-trivial products present such concerns; so I'm not criticising the R-Pi, just the notion that quantity sold and/or current lack of evidence of flaws means there isn't a flaw or any flaw will not be serious. It doesn't.


I disagree. How can a bad flaw suddenly appear, and affect the whole million? If there were a bad flaw, then surely it would have appeared by now? The only possible thing I could think of was some aging problem with a component, but they have all been thoroughly tested. I can see a bad flaw appearing in a very minor subsystem, used by very few people (or again, it would have appeared by now)

That said, if it happens, I'll buy you a pint.
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by obcd » Thu Jan 10, 2013 1:08 pm
You get what you pay for.
The Pi needs an extremely accurate 5V supply.
When the TP1 TP2 voltage drops below 4.85V, nothing is guaranteed anymore.
It has some usb issues. Streaming usb devices like webcams and audio adapters usually work if you don't push them to hard.
If you try a high resolution webcam or a 24 bit surround audio adapter, you will likely run into problems.
Some usb2serial adapters with older ftdi chipsets don't work very well either.
Usb keyboards (specially wireless ones) attempt to lose keyup or keydown events.
The usb port supply pins are directly connected to the 5V supply.
Hotplugging usb devices can cause a reboot caused by the inrush current and the temporary voltage drop due to that.
The analog audio out is not fully 16 bit and has a high noise level due to the fact it uses the same ground plane as all the digital surroundings. It produces an annoying plop when the audio driver is turned on and off.
The os normaly boots from an sd card. This requires to always properly shutdown the system, as the sd card background wear levelling algoritms can corrupt the sd card when power is removed during a write operation to the card. Making the root fs read only might prevent such writes. Most oses also use a swap file. Due to the limited write cycles of sd card flash technology, this might shorten the sd card life.
The system comes without real time clock and requires synchronisation with a time server to acquire the correct time.
The cpu core is an arm V6 architecture. Some linux distro's don't support this architecture anymore.
It's having a capable GPU, but the linux graphical X interface isn't currently using it.
Most of the issues are being worked upon, but due to the fact that the foundation is a charity with only one payed employee, no one can guarantee when and if they will ever be fixed.
They already sold approx 1000000 pieces, so it looks like for most people those minor issues are not a problem.
Let's not forget: the Pi is a low cost platform for educational purposes.
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