Dan1jel
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Swap memory getting full after a few days.

Sat Sep 01, 2018 1:27 pm

Hello and thank you for helping me out.

I have a raspberry Pi 3B with Stretch installed, using it as a Plex media server with a 6tb harddrive.

I've noticed yesterday that my swap memory was at 99% used and my ram was around 40% used. Is this common?

I would understand if the memory was going up and down but eventually my Swap memory becomes full. I rebooted my raspberry yesterday and now it's at 6% used. So around 10 days maybe and then it's full again. Could it be any wrong in the settings or is this OK to have 100% swap memory used.

n67
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Re: Swap memory getting full after a few days.

Sat Sep 01, 2018 2:14 pm

How much swap do you have?

(I ask, because the answer to your question is probably: You need more)
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Dan1jel
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Re: Swap memory getting full after a few days.

Sat Sep 01, 2018 4:21 pm

n67 wrote:
Sat Sep 01, 2018 2:14 pm
How much swap do you have?

(I ask, because the answer to your question is probably: You need more)
I have 100mb :) I've seen others say that swap never get used and that I shouldn't increase swap size on my SD card :/ ?

n67
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Re: Swap memory getting full after a few days.

Sat Sep 01, 2018 4:47 pm

100 Mb is the default - and it is what they (the infamous "they") recommend you keep it at if you are swapping to SD card (especially, as in the default configuration, you are swapping to the boot device).

But I have found that 100 Mb is too small and if you are doing memory intensive stuff (e.g., web surfing), you can easily max it out. The solution is to install some kind of USB disk and swap to that. According to "them", best is "spinning rust" - i.e., a regular USB hard drive - but I have had good results swapping either to SSD or to a USB flash drive.

So, the easiest solution is to get a USB flash drive (that you can afford to break, although, as I've said, this has never happened to me), partition it as one big partition with type "swap", then set up your system to swap to that.

Edit: Actually, the recommended swap size is 2*physical RAM - in the case of the Pi (modern/current versions of), this is 2G. So, perhaps you should only have 2G of swap. Not sure what happens if there is more than this.
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Dan1jel
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Re: Swap memory getting full after a few days.

Sat Sep 01, 2018 5:12 pm

n67 wrote:
Sat Sep 01, 2018 4:47 pm
100 Mb is the default - and it is what they (the infamous "they") recommend you keep it at if you are swapping to SD card (especially, as in the default configuration, you are swapping to the boot device).

But I have found that 100 Mb is too small and if you are doing memory intensive stuff (e.g., web surfing), you can easily max it out. The solution is to install some kind of USB disk and swap to that. According to "them", best is "spinning rust" - i.e., a regular USB hard drive - but I have had good results swapping either to SSD or to a USB flash drive.

So, the easiest solution is to get a USB flash drive (that you can afford to break, although, as I've said, this has never happened to me), partition it as one big partition with type "swap", then set up your system to swap to that.

Edit: Actually, the recommended swap size is 2*physical RAM - in the case of the Pi (modern/current versions of), this is 2G. So, perhaps you should only have 2G of swap. Not sure what happens if there is more than this.
Okey so I need to get another USB with 2gb or more and use that as swap memory disk? Is there anyway I can partition my harddrive without formating it again? I have almost 1000gb in files so I would rather not formated it again.

And again, thank you for the help with this!

n67
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Re: Swap memory getting full after a few days.

Sat Sep 01, 2018 6:01 pm

Okey so I need to get another USB with 2gb or more and use that as swap memory disk? Is there anyway I can partition my harddrive without formating it again? I have almost 1000gb in files so I would rather not formated it again.
Unless your hard drive is formatted NTFS, you should be able to easily move the partitions around using GPARTED. If it is NTFS, then you might need something proprietary like PartitionMagic (which I used to use a lot back in the day, but haven't needed in a long, long time).

But I'm going to guess it is NTFS (or exFAT), since that seems to be what purchased hard drives tend to come from the store formatted as nowadays, in which case, GPARTED won't work. If it is NTFS, you're probably going to have to copy the files somewhere else; reformat the drive, then copy them back.

BTW, if it isn't NTFS or exFAT, you could go the "swap file" route - instead of the "swap partition" route; this could save you repartitioning/reformatting, but probably only applicable if the drive is already formatted EXT2/3/4.

Anyway, if you do decide to go down any of these routes, you might want to consider moving the rootfs to the USB drive. This has many advantages. To do this, I'd create a 15G partition on the hard drive, format it EXT4, and copy the entire contents of the root (root only - not boot!) partition on the SD card to this partition, then do what's necessary to make the /boot system on the SD card use the rootfs on the hard drive instead of using the one on the SD card. Details on this are available in various posts on the forum as well as external web sites.
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Ernst
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Re: Swap memory getting full after a few days.

Sat Sep 01, 2018 6:07 pm

You can increase the swap size by changing the CONF_SWAPSIZE parameter in /etc/dphys-swapfile followed by a reboot.
On some a few systems I have been running with 1GB swap because of a very memory intensive job that would not complete with less.

Code: Select all

[email protected]:/etc $ cat dphys-swapfile
# /etc/dphys-swapfile - user settings for dphys-swapfile package
# author Neil Franklin, last modification 2010.05.05
# copyright ETH Zuerich Physics Departement
#   use under either modified/non-advertising BSD or GPL license

# this file is sourced with . so full normal sh syntax applies

# the default settings are added as commented out CONF_*=* lines


# where we want the swapfile to be, this is the default
#CONF_SWAPFILE=/var/swap

# set size to absolute value, leaving empty (default) then uses computed value
#   you most likely don't want this, unless you have an special disk situation
CONF_SWAPSIZE=200

# set size to computed value, this times RAM size, dynamically adapts,
#   guarantees that there is enough swap without wasting disk space on excess
#CONF_SWAPFACTOR=2

# restrict size (computed and absolute!) to maximally this limit
#   can be set to empty for no limit, but beware of filled partitions!
#   this is/was a (outdated?) 32bit kernel limit (in MBytes), do not overrun it
#   but is also sensible on 64bit to prevent filling /var or even / partition
#CONF_MAXSWAP=2048
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hommar
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Re: Swap memory getting full after a few days.

Sat Sep 01, 2018 6:13 pm

Swap is old unused memory
If you use system as fileserver, system move oldest unused memory to swapfile
And free up memory for more cache disk.

hippy
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Re: Swap memory getting full after a few days.

Sat Sep 01, 2018 6:32 pm

n67 wrote:
Sat Sep 01, 2018 6:01 pm
If it is NTFS, you're probably going to have to copy the files somewhere else; reformat the drive, then copy them back.
It might be worth plugging it into a Windows machine to see what Disk/Drive Manager might allow to be done; that's found within Computer management.

Dan1jel
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Re: Swap memory getting full after a few days.

Sat Sep 01, 2018 8:35 pm

n67 wrote:
Sat Sep 01, 2018 6:01 pm
Okey so I need to get another USB with 2gb or more and use that as swap memory disk? Is there anyway I can partition my harddrive without formating it again? I have almost 1000gb in files so I would rather not formated it again.
Unless your hard drive is formatted NTFS, you should be able to easily move the partitions around using GPARTED. If it is NTFS, then you might need something proprietary like PartitionMagic (which I used to use a lot back in the day, but haven't needed in a long, long time).

But I'm going to guess it is NTFS (or exFAT), since that seems to be what purchased hard drives tend to come from the store formatted as nowadays, in which case, GPARTED won't work. If it is NTFS, you're probably going to have to copy the files somewhere else; reformat the drive, then copy them back.

BTW, if it isn't NTFS or exFAT, you could go the "swap file" route - instead of the "swap partition" route; this could save you repartitioning/reformatting, but probably only applicable if the drive is already formatted EXT2/3/4.

Anyway, if you do decide to go down any of these routes, you might want to consider moving the rootfs to the USB drive. This has many advantages. To do this, I'd create a 15G partition on the hard drive, format it EXT4, and copy the entire contents of the root (root only - not boot!) partition on the SD card to this partition, then do what's necessary to make the /boot system on the SD card use the rootfs on the hard drive instead of using the one on the SD card. Details on this are available in various posts on the forum as well as external web sites.
Wow okey, sorry but I'm really new to Linux so I need to do some research about how to make that happen, but in short terms I need to move the root (not boot) to a new harddrive partition. When I got the harddrive it was in NTFS but I've read that ext4 is better for Linux so I formated it to ext4. Is it Easter then or maybe more complicated?

Dan1jel
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Re: Swap memory getting full after a few days.

Sat Sep 01, 2018 8:37 pm

Ernst wrote:
Sat Sep 01, 2018 6:07 pm
You can increase the swap size by changing the CONF_SWAPSIZE parameter in /etc/dphys-swapfile followed by a reboot.
On some a few systems I have been running with 1GB swap because of a very memory intensive job that would not complete with less.

Code: Select all

[email protected]:/etc $ cat dphys-swapfile
# /etc/dphys-swapfile - user settings for dphys-swapfile package
# author Neil Franklin, last modification 2010.05.05
# copyright ETH Zuerich Physics Departement
#   use under either modified/non-advertising BSD or GPL license

# this file is sourced with . so full normal sh syntax applies

# the default settings are added as commented out CONF_*=* lines


# where we want the swapfile to be, this is the default
#CONF_SWAPFILE=/var/swap

# set size to absolute value, leaving empty (default) then uses computed value
#   you most likely don't want this, unless you have an special disk situation
CONF_SWAPSIZE=200

# set size to computed value, this times RAM size, dynamically adapts,
#   guarantees that there is enough swap without wasting disk space on excess
#CONF_SWAPFACTOR=2

# restrict size (computed and absolute!) to maximally this limit
#   can be set to empty for no limit, but beware of filled partitions!
#   this is/was a (outdated?) 32bit kernel limit (in MBytes), do not overrun it
#   but is also sensible on 64bit to prevent filling /var or even / partition
#CONF_MAXSWAP=2048
What I've read on other sites people don't recommend to increase (and or remove) the swap size because raspberry might become to unstable. I just want to know why it becomes full so quickly when other don't have this problem. If there is something I can do or if it suppose to do this.

Dan1jel
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Re: Swap memory getting full after a few days.

Sat Sep 01, 2018 8:38 pm

hommar wrote:
Sat Sep 01, 2018 6:13 pm
Swap is old unused memory
If you use system as fileserver, system move oldest unused memory to swapfile
And free up memory for more cache disk.
So even if it's 100% used that's ok? My raspberry won't slow down or crash or anything, it just going to make space for the next processor that needs space?

Dan1jel
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Re: Swap memory getting full after a few days.

Sat Sep 01, 2018 8:39 pm

hippy wrote:
Sat Sep 01, 2018 6:32 pm
n67 wrote:
Sat Sep 01, 2018 6:01 pm
If it is NTFS, you're probably going to have to copy the files somewhere else; reformat the drive, then copy them back.
It might be worth plugging it into a Windows machine to see what Disk/Drive Manager might allow to be done; that's found within Computer management.
That's the problem, it's in EXT4 so I don't know if that works unless if it's in NTFS?

Ernst
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Re: Swap memory getting full after a few days.

Sat Sep 01, 2018 9:15 pm

Dan1jel wrote:
Sat Sep 01, 2018 8:37 pm
What I've read on other sites people don't recommend to increase (and or remove) the swap size because raspberry might become to unstable.
You are not supposed to believe everything written by people with unknown qualifications doing unknown things on an unknown platform.

If you have problems with the swap space then you can increase size to see if the problem can be solved with more space.
At the same time you should identify what is using the space:
https://www.cyberciti.biz/faq/linux-whi ... sing-swap/
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n67
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Re: Swap memory getting full after a few days.

Sat Sep 01, 2018 9:33 pm

Well (and continuing the funny phrasing of talking about what you are and aren't "supposed" to do)

You're not supposed to increase the swap size if it is (still) on the SD card. That's advice frequently given on this forum by the experts (people from RPF).

That said, glad to hear that your drive is formatted EXT4 (!). That was good thinking and should make it easy to proceed. A lot of my earlier commentary was based on my fear that the drive was NTFS and had lots of files on it that you didn't want to lose.

(In the below, assume that the USB drive is mounted at /media/pi/somewhere)

So, the easiest thing to do would be to just edit /etc/dphys_swapfile
and change uncomment CONF_SWAPFILE and change it to:

CONF_SWAPFILE=/media/pi/somewhere/myswapfile

Next, comment out any line that isn't already commented out. In particular, you want:

#CONF_SWAPSIZE

and

#CONF_SWAPFACTOR

because we want the system to use the defaults for both of these - i.e., we want the system to calculate optimal values for these.

Now, reboot, and it should come up with a 2G swapfile on the USB drive. Done.
You can type the command: swapon (with no parameters) to see what swaps are in use and how much swap is being used.

Now, the most interesting step is to move the whole system to the USB drive. This will require using GPARTED to make a new partition (while, of course, preserving the contents of your existing files which are on the USB drive already). Doing this is pretty straightforward, but is beyond the score of this particular posting.
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Dan1jel
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Re: Swap memory getting full after a few days.

Sat Sep 01, 2018 11:23 pm

n67 wrote:
Sat Sep 01, 2018 9:33 pm
Well (and continuing the funny phrasing of talking about what you are and aren't "supposed" to do)

You're not supposed to increase the swap size if it is (still) on the SD card. That's advice frequently given on this forum by the experts (people from RPF).

That said, glad to hear that your drive is formatted EXT4 (!). That was good thinking and should make it easy to proceed. A lot of my earlier commentary was based on my fear that the drive was NTFS and had lots of files on it that you didn't want to lose.

(In the below, assume that the USB drive is mounted at /media/pi/somewhere)

So, the easiest thing to do would be to just edit /etc/dphys_swapfile
and change uncomment CONF_SWAPFILE and change it to:

CONF_SWAPFILE=/media/pi/somewhere/myswapfile

Next, comment out any line that isn't already commented out. In particular, you want:

#CONF_SWAPSIZE

and

#CONF_SWAPFACTOR

because we want the system to use the defaults for both of these - i.e., we want the system to calculate optimal values for these.

Now, reboot, and it should come up with a 2G swapfile on the USB drive. Done.
You can type the command: swapon (with no parameters) to see what swaps are in use and how much swap is being used.

Now, the most interesting step is to move the whole system to the USB drive. This will require using GPARTED to make a new partition (while, of course, preserving the contents of your existing files which are on the USB drive already). Doing this is pretty straightforward, but is beyond the score of this particular posting.
wow thank you for this great information, i will take a day to get this done (having a 4 month old baby and my girlfriend at home so not much time to play around with), but i will definitely try this out.

Just one thing i dont reallt know or understand, if i change the Swap memory to my harddrive do it becomse automaticly 2gb or is that someting i need to change the settings for(?) and is it really necessary to move the system to the Harddrive if swap issue get solved?

as i said before, thank you so much for helping out a newbie like me :)

n67
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Re: Swap memory getting full after a few days.

Sun Sep 02, 2018 5:07 am

Just one thing i dont reallt know or understand, if i change the Swap memory to my harddrive do it becomse automaticly 2gb or is that someting i need to change the settings for(?) and is it really necessary to move the system to the Harddrive if swap issue get solved?
It should "just work". As indicated by the comments in the dphys-swapfile file, the default is to take the value of CONF_SWAPFACTOR and multiply that by the amount of physical RAM. The default value of CONF_SWAPFACTOR is 2 and the amount of RAM is 1G, so the swap file size should end up as 2G.

Now, after I wrote the previous post, I realized that it might not work, because during the boot process, the USB drive might not be mounted when the swapfile is setup. But I think it should work. But I've never actually done that exact procedure. The two ways that I have actually done this are:

1) By moving the entire rootfs to USB. If you do this, then you can leave the swapfile location as /var/swap and it will "just work" because /var is now on the USB (as part of the rootfs).

2) Leaving the rootfs on the SD card and using a swap partition on the USB device. This works OK, but does require a partitioning step.

However, as noted, and given that your USB drive is formatted EXT4, GPARTED does work. You should be able to reduce the size of your main partition by a few GBs, then create a new partition at the end of the disk and use that new partition as swap.

Note: The reason I suggested (in my previous post) doing it as a file rather than as a partition is that
that method doesn't require any re-partitioning. But, as noted, it does depend on the drive being mounted by the time the system sets up the swap.
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gkreidl
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Re: Swap memory getting full after a few days.

Sun Sep 02, 2018 6:58 am

Swapping is always slow on the RPi and should be avoided as much as possible. One way to do this is to set swappiness to a low value (1 is recommended). In a terminal run
sudo sysctl vm.swappiness=1
or add
sysctl vm.swappiness=1
to /etc/rc.local
to set it at boot time.

Now the system will only start to swap if it really runs out of memory. But in this case it may seem to freeze for a while. Be patient and don't pull the power plug!

Once swapping has been used the system will keep the swap, even if it isn't needed any more. To free the swap space again I run a small script (as root):

Code: Select all

#!/bin/bash
sync
swapoff -a
swapon /var/swap
free
The "free" command at the bottom is not required but shows that the swap space has been reduced to zero again.

BTW, on all my RPis the root file system is on a USB HDD and I use a swap size of about 1.6 GB.
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n67
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Re: Swap memory getting full after a few days.

Sun Sep 02, 2018 1:49 pm

Swapping is always slow on the RPi and should be avoided as much as possible.
That's just not been my experience. For me, setting up swap has been a lifesaver.

Face it, you're in the position of defending a "conventional wisdom" - which, like many CWs, just ain't true.
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DarkPlatinum
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Re: Swap memory getting full after a few days.

Sun Sep 02, 2018 2:16 pm

If you need more memory, use ZRam.
1 * Raspberry Pi Zero W, 1 * Raspberry Pi 2, 1 * Raspberry Pi 3 1 * Raspberry Pi 3B + :mrgreen:

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rpdom
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Re: Swap memory getting full after a few days.

Sun Sep 02, 2018 2:30 pm

I try to avoid swapping on my systems as much as possible. Most of my (light usage) Pis have no swap and don't need it. The high usage ones have USB disks and small swap files or partitions. If your system is swapping a lot, you are using the wrong system or you have a problem with code.

I run several servers professionally and swapping is something we really do not want to see. If a server is swapping we need to find out why, and as a last resort upgrade it. Performance is important and swapping kills that. The old days of Unix systems with 16MB of RAM and 40MB of swap/ 300MB of disk are long gone.

But, as I said. First find out what is using the memory and why. Fix it if you can.

Dan1jel
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Re: Swap memory getting full after a few days.

Sun Sep 02, 2018 4:18 pm

rpdom wrote:
Sun Sep 02, 2018 2:30 pm
I try to avoid swapping on my systems as much as possible. Most of my (light usage) Pis have no swap and don't need it. The high usage ones have USB disks and small swap files or partitions. If your system is swapping a lot, you are using the wrong system or you have a problem with code.

I run several servers professionally and swapping is something we really do not want to see. If a server is swapping we need to find out why, and as a last resort upgrade it. Performance is important and swapping kills that. The old days of Unix systems with 16MB of RAM and 40MB of swap/ 300MB of disk are long gone.

But, as I said. First find out what is using the memory and why. Fix it if you can.
Yes that what I want also, not to use the swap at all. Is there a way I can see what's using the swap or what program is maybe heavy? I think something is wrong with the code and that's why I'm asking. Maybe my last resort is to reinstall everything but would be nice to just solve the issue. I use it for Plex and transmission only. Low-cost media server :)

epoch1970
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Re: Swap memory getting full after a few days.

Sun Sep 02, 2018 4:33 pm

Mhh... Transmission. https://github.com/transmission/transmission/issues/313 (don't miss the last comments, by a Pi3B+ user)

Generally speaking and as IIRC, Raspbian has kernel tunables set to use as much RAM as possible and commit to disk as little as possible. Something akin to "laptop-mode". It shouldn't swap much.

I know of one Plex server machine under Raspbian Jessie with more than 6GB online, it doesn't show your profile at all. Of course Plex is a big beast so version, options, plugins or DB size might make a difference. One thing for sure, that machine doesn't handle Transmission connections.
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Re: Swap memory getting full after a few days.

Mon Sep 03, 2018 5:45 am

n67 wrote:
Sun Sep 02, 2018 1:49 pm
Swapping is always slow on the RPi and should be avoided as much as possible.
That's just not been my experience. For me, setting up swap has been a lifesaver.

Face it, you're in the position of defending a "conventional wisdom" - which, like many CWs, just ain't true.
That's not what I said (I'm using a large swap space myself). Sometimes swapping simply is required. My recommendation was to set up the system to use swapping only in a worst case scenario.
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Re: Swap memory getting full after a few days.

Mon Sep 03, 2018 3:32 pm

epoch1970 wrote:
Sun Sep 02, 2018 4:33 pm
Mhh... Transmission. https://github.com/transmission/transmission/issues/313 (don't miss the last comments, by a Pi3B+ user)

Generally speaking and as IIRC, Raspbian has kernel tunables set to use as much RAM as possible and commit to disk as little as possible. Something akin to "laptop-mode". It shouldn't swap much.

I know of one Plex server machine under Raspbian Jessie with more than 6GB online, it doesn't show your profile at all. Of course Plex is a big beast so version, options, plugins or DB size might make a difference. One thing for sure, that machine doesn't handle Transmission connections.
Thank you so much for the link, that helped alot, or at least in the right direction :) I've noticed that my swap is only 10% the whole day, I change in a settings file to "simple" (can look it up but not at the moment if someone want to know) and maybe that fixed this, but I will still keep this in observation. So for now I think I will wait doing anything further but I will let you know if the problem comes back and maybe what I did to fix it. Thank you again for this huge help. I really appreciate it!

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