Kostis
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Raspberry Pi 4 green light of death

Tue Jul 30, 2019 11:06 pm

If any of the RPi Foundation's engineers happen to stumble upon this, please tell me what I'm supposed to do because I'm out of ideas. I'm also getting progressively frustrated and disappointed at the Raspberry Pi 4.

I will try and describe the problem as accurately as possible.

I ordered a RPi 4/4GB on June 25th, a day after the announcement, along with an official 5.1V 3A USB C power supply and the official case . I received everything a week later and the board was D.O.A. (see previous post https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/view ... 8&t=244811). It's last behaviour was that both the red and the green lights were constantly on. Other than that the board was completely unresponsive and I had no choice but to return it to my supplier within 7 days (Nettop, the only one for Greece).

Due to shortage in supply for the 4GB variant I had to wait two more weeks to receive a new board, which happened on Friday, July 26th. I inserted my previously baked card for the first faulty board and it worked like a charm (The Pi 4 is a leap forward from my previous Pi 3B, but hot as hell, or close to it). I updated, installed apps, tested stuff, stress tested, the whole shebang, without any problems whatsoever, except for the realisation that this one needs cooling desperately. I turned it on, worked, and turned it off by properly shutting down and then also unplugging the power supply, maybe five times in total. And when I got confident enough, I prepared for "the desktop setup". You see, I've been working on a RPi 3B as my daily driver for the last couple of years, that boots from SD and runs from an SSD in a USB enclosure. What this means is that I always have an SD card inserted (no USB booting) and cmdline.txt directs to the SSD as the root, not the 2nd SD partition. So I started working towards setting things up the same way for the Pi 4. I prepared the partitions of the external SSD, rsynced everything from the SD card and changed cmdline.txt on the SD card to point to the SSD. I plugged in everything again, nothing different this time except for the extra SSD connected to the lower USB 3 port.

And then, when I pluggen in the power supply, this happened. Both the red and the green light flashed four times, with a short but noticeable fade out after each light-up, then a small (2 or 3 sec) pause, then the same exact pattern again, four flashes of both lights, each light up followed by a slight fade out, not a sharp turn-off. And the board did not boot of course. I think I unplugged it and plugged it in again only to be greeted with the same behaviour as the first board. No matter whether an SD card is inserted or not the red AND green lights are constantly on, no hdmi output (tried on both ports), no ethernet lights and no signs of life. The thing is once again dead in the water. I tried with two SD cards, that boot just fine on a Pi 2 by the way, to no avail. I reimaged one of them with Buster lite, just in case, yet nothing. There is no response from the board. No boot takes place.

Before anyone asks, yes I have tried the documented procedure of bootloader restoration. But the symptoms I face are not the ones described in the docs. I don't have four flashes without an SD card. I don't have inactive green light. The green light is ALWAYS ON! Needless to say that booting with an SD card containing the two recovery files did nothing to revive the board, nor gave the expected -as documented- behaviour of continuous flashing. Nothing changed.

I have only ever used the Pi 4 with the official power supply, so I reckon that is not the source of the problem.

The SSD is a Samsung 850 480GB that I retired from my white bearded Q6600, where it worked just fine for about two years. The enclosure is a NATEC USB 3 that worked just fine on two desktop PCs. Just a process of elimination for possible causes...

I really hoped the Pi4 would become my little but now capable everyday PC. What I face is a second return, scheduled for tomorrow, with the prospect of a third faulty board, that will happen at a random time and after the 7 day return period, possibly affecting me with return fees, not to mention the inconvenience of an unavailable system and my wasted time.

I read in the forum that all the boards are factory ckecked (no objections there) and that most of the reported problems are proven to be software issues in the end. However, I can in no way explain the behavior of these two board from a software point of view. They just won't boot and what's more frustrating is I don't understand why. Anyone cares to explain?

Oh, by the way, I''m at the point where my local reseller thinks I'm doing "something" to the boards because the only two reported as faulty are mine. I'm not a Pi virgin, so to speak, nor a Linux one, nor a computer noob. I am careful and I read the f****** manual. When I can't find the answers, I come to the forum.

So, what on earth is going on?
This is my Raspberry Pi. There are many like it but this one is mine.

timg236
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Re: Raspberry Pi 4 green light of death

Wed Jul 31, 2019 7:35 am

Would it be possible to try a clean buster image on a different SD-card ?

It might be SD card incompatibility but we’ve yet to find an SD HC card which doesn’t work on the latest bootloader.
It’s just possible that something in the FAT or partition layout has confused it so running chdsk or fsck to verify that boot partition may help

timg236
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Re: Raspberry Pi 4 green light of death

Wed Jul 31, 2019 8:07 am

Btw. A Pi3 start.elf will not run on Pi4 and will also give this behaviour. The bootloader just sees an elf file and loads it.

If you upgraded from stretch to buster then you should see start4.elf and fixup4.dat in the boot partition. However if you suspect a hardware fault then a clean buster SD card is the simplest starting point

Kostis
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Re: Raspberry Pi 4 green light of death

Wed Jul 31, 2019 9:56 am

@timg236 First of all thank you for taking the time to read my long post and to reply.

While this second board that I received was working I was using an ADATA Class 10 32GB SD card, on which I had written the latest Buster full image, two weeks prior. It booted just fine. After the green light problem I reimaged that very card with the Buster lite 10-07-2019 image (which sure enough contains the start4.elf file). I will accept the possibility that maybe, just maybe it suddenly went bad, so I wrote the same (Buster lite 10-07-2019) image to a brand new Intenso Class 10 16GB SD card, that didn't boot either. I took both cards upstairs to a spare RPi2, and the both booted, no objections whatsoever...

So, new cards, fresh images, no booting.

You wrote "A Pi3 start.elf will not run on Pi4 and will also give this behaviour." Do you mean the non booting behavior or the constant on green led behavior? To the best of my knowledge, this is undocumented, non standard behaviour that I can't explain and I was hopping maybe you could. I mean, isn't the green led on the Pi4 an activity led? Mine is constantly on, whether an SD card is in or not. No rapid flashing, just...on. Along with the red one as that should be anyway.

Btw, this morning at first try both leds flashed continuously, with the sd card inserted, and the Pi didn't boot of course. Plug out-plug in again and they are both now constantly on. These all look like hardware problems to me. Also, today, for the first time, I tried another power supply, other than the official one. I used a no name 2.5a 5v that didn't make a difference. Both lights are still on and nothing happens.

Returning this second board to my supplier (Nettop) seems like a one way to me but I do wonder if any faulty boards make their way back to the foundation, to the engineers hands. Are they simply trashed? If so how does one find out what is wrong with the thing?
This is my Raspberry Pi. There are many like it but this one is mine.

timg236
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Re: Raspberry Pi 4 green light of death

Wed Jul 31, 2019 10:53 am

If you have a UART cable then it's possible to view the bootloader progress. See BOOT_UART=1 https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentati ... teeprom.md

Returned boards do make our way to us for fault analysis but there can be some delay depending on the supplier/shipping etc
This is very odd "Btw, this morning at first try both leds flashed continuously, "
The default power-state for the red LED is ON but can be set to off via a GPIO. Linux might do that at halt but the bootloader will turn it back on. If both LEDs are flashing rapidly then it might indicate a power supply problem.

Do the problems persist if all USB devices are removed ?

jamesh
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Re: Raspberry Pi 4 green light of death

Wed Jul 31, 2019 1:16 pm

Also, can you cross reference your flashing lights with any of these?

https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentati ... arnings.md
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Re: Raspberry Pi 4 green light of death

Wed Jul 31, 2019 2:00 pm

I am not a RPi Engineer, so I should not even respond. But...
"Both the red and the green light flashed four times, with a short but noticeable fade out after each light-up"
if there is an actual fade-out of the LED, I think that can only happen two ways:
1) high frequency PWM drive with smoothly changing duty cycle. I guess possible but a very strange software fault that would cause that by accident.
2) voltage brownout on a supply rail, due to either a) not enough power in, or b) too much power draw from some load either onboard or peripheral.

IIRC there were occasionally reported cases of SD cards overheating, so it's not impossible for an SD card to draw too much power.
From what I can tell, even the highest-power SSD drives tested draw less than 1 A average current in operation, at least if they are working properly. I don't know about instantanous peak power draw though.
https://www.anandtech.com/show/8747/sam ... -review/10

Kostis
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Re: Raspberry Pi 4 green light of death

Thu Aug 01, 2019 11:17 am

Ok, that chart is news to me!
When I tried to boot with the SD card pointing to the ssd it was definitely four short flashes and yes, after 2-3 seconds the pattern repeated itself. Which still doesn't make sense because the sd card was properly inserted.
This is very odd "Btw, this morning at first try both leds flashed continuously, "
In this case, I just didn't count. I thought it was another weird behaviour...

I don't have a UART cable lying around and in any case all my efforts to reprogram the eeprom chip these past few days have failed. No repeated flashing in case of success, no error pattern as the README in the recovery zip suggests (a pattern where, on screen? a flashing pattern? It's unclear). Just the board sitting there, unresponsive, with both lights on.

As for USB devices, things get interesting here. All I had connected was a fairly standard usb keyboard, along with a logitech wired mouse, stuff working 10+ years on my PC, used them on all my Pi boards at one time or another. It dawned on me that I haven't used the SSD USB enclosure on my Pi 3B, only on a tower and a laptop. I connect it directly (no usb hub) and no matter which USB port I choose It freezes the Pi, every time. I can't even ssh from my phone. (My Pi 3B already has a USB 2.0 enclosure with an SSD where the OS lies, a keyboard dongle and a wireless dongle for an XBOX 360 controller.) If I disconnect it though and power up the Pi again everything is back to normal. I then take the enclosure to my laptop and it works just fine. I can see both 256MB boot and root partitions as I had defined them, read, write etc. Perhaps the usb enclosure is a piece of crap that draws far more power than the Pi can handle (a Natec Rhino usb 3.0)? Bad enough though to fry the Pi 4? To lock it up somehow? Doubtful.

All testing after the problem arose were done with only power and hdmi (sometimes port 0 sometimes 1) and in some cases I also connected ethernet cable, just to see if a) I would get an hdmi signal b) lights on the ethernet port. None of these happened.

Fired it up again today, after seeing the chart, hoping I could count flashes. Just the power plug. Red and green light stayed on, continuously. I am going to fill in the return form and send it back to Nettop first thing in the morning.

Honestly, I would much rather wait another month than receive a third board and have it not working again because there won't be a fourth. I'm spoiled now seeing how much faster the Pi 4 is and I want it to work like a donkey, as this Pi 3B I'm writing on. I'm also sending back the official power supply for the Pi 4, just for testing reasons. It has been a common factor in my tests on both boards.

I don't believe in coincidences and I have no reason not to believe the Nettop people telling me I'm the only one that has reported a faulty board. And now two? Something is up. So I will ask this of you. Is there a possibility that you can have Nettop send you both these boards to be tested, before they send me anything back? Should I contact them and ask for something like this? I repeat that I prefer to wait, than waste time and effort on an unresolvable (by me at least) problem, that could in all likelyhood happen again
This is my Raspberry Pi. There are many like it but this one is mine.

jamesh
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Re: Raspberry Pi 4 green light of death

Thu Aug 01, 2019 2:32 pm

Kostis wrote:
Thu Aug 01, 2019 11:17 am
Ok, that chart is news to me!
When I tried to boot with the SD card pointing to the ssd it was definitely four short flashes and yes, after 2-3 seconds the pattern repeated itself. Which still doesn't make sense because the sd card was properly inserted.
This is very odd "Btw, this morning at first try both leds flashed continuously, "
In this case, I just didn't count. I thought it was another weird behaviour...

I don't have a UART cable lying around and in any case all my efforts to reprogram the eeprom chip these past few days have failed. No repeated flashing in case of success, no error pattern as the README in the recovery zip suggests (a pattern where, on screen? a flashing pattern? It's unclear). Just the board sitting there, unresponsive, with both lights on.

As for USB devices, things get interesting here. All I had connected was a fairly standard usb keyboard, along with a logitech wired mouse, stuff working 10+ years on my PC, used them on all my Pi boards at one time or another. It dawned on me that I haven't used the SSD USB enclosure on my Pi 3B, only on a tower and a laptop. I connect it directly (no usb hub) and no matter which USB port I choose It freezes the Pi, every time. I can't even ssh from my phone. (My Pi 3B already has a USB 2.0 enclosure with an SSD where the OS lies, a keyboard dongle and a wireless dongle for an XBOX 360 controller.) If I disconnect it though and power up the Pi again everything is back to normal. I then take the enclosure to my laptop and it works just fine. I can see both 256MB boot and root partitions as I had defined them, read, write etc. Perhaps the usb enclosure is a piece of crap that draws far more power than the Pi can handle (a Natec Rhino usb 3.0)? Bad enough though to fry the Pi 4? To lock it up somehow? Doubtful.

All testing after the problem arose were done with only power and hdmi (sometimes port 0 sometimes 1) and in some cases I also connected ethernet cable, just to see if a) I would get an hdmi signal b) lights on the ethernet port. None of these happened.

Fired it up again today, after seeing the chart, hoping I could count flashes. Just the power plug. Red and green light stayed on, continuously. I am going to fill in the return form and send it back to Nettop first thing in the morning.

Honestly, I would much rather wait another month than receive a third board and have it not working again because there won't be a fourth. I'm spoiled now seeing how much faster the Pi 4 is and I want it to work like a donkey, as this Pi 3B I'm writing on. I'm also sending back the official power supply for the Pi 4, just for testing reasons. It has been a common factor in my tests on both boards.

I don't believe in coincidences and I have no reason not to believe the Nettop people telling me I'm the only one that has reported a faulty board. And now two? Something is up. So I will ask this of you. Is there a possibility that you can have Nettop send you both these boards to be tested, before they send me anything back? Should I contact them and ask for something like this? I repeat that I prefer to wait, than waste time and effort on an unresolvable (by me at least) problem, that could in all likelyhood happen again
Hi Kostis,

This is weird enough we would like the device back here to check out. Can you get in touch with me via [email protected] FAO James Hughes to arrange return here, if that's OK.

Thanks, James
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Kostis
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Re: Raspberry Pi 4 green light of death

Sat Aug 03, 2019 7:35 am

Can you get in touch with me via [email protected] FAO James Hughes to arrange return here, if that's OK.
That is most certainly OK, and I did send an email yesterday morning to the indicated address (subject FAO: James Hughes). I'm going to try again today, in case it got filtered out.

Btw, I also fired up the Pi 4 yesterday morning, seeing as I still have it around. I counted sixteen short flashes from both lights in sync, no 2 second pauses, and right after those they remained on constantly. Again, not the documented behavior.

Thought I could record this on video today (see: after a period of many hours between power on, if that somehow triggers a reaction), but it went straight to lights on. Perhaps I'll have "better" luck tomorrow, or even better we'll get in touch via e-mail to arrange the return.
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Re: Raspberry Pi 4 green light of death

Mon Aug 05, 2019 10:45 am

Kostis wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 7:35 am
Can you get in touch with me via [email protected] FAO James Hughes to arrange return here, if that's OK.
That is most certainly OK, and I did send an email yesterday morning to the indicated address (subject FAO: James Hughes). I'm going to try again today, in case it got filtered out.

Btw, I also fired up the Pi 4 yesterday morning, seeing as I still have it around. I counted sixteen short flashes from both lights in sync, no 2 second pauses, and right after those they remained on constantly. Again, not the documented behavior.

Thought I could record this on video today (see: after a period of many hours between power on, if that somehow triggers a reaction), but it went straight to lights on. Perhaps I'll have "better" luck tomorrow, or even better we'll get in touch via e-mail to arrange the return.
Have replied - thanks for getting in touch.
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Re: Raspberry Pi 4 green light of death

Tue Sep 17, 2019 7:38 pm

Is there any solution for this problem? I have a model 4B (2GB) that has exactly the same symptons (static leds both green and red and already tried EPROM fix as well with no success)
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Re: Raspberry Pi 4 green light of death

Wed Sep 18, 2019 7:31 am

I find your story pretty much similar to mine: https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/view ... 8&t=251968
with the common denominator being the SSD disk.

duncan tse
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Re: Raspberry Pi 4 green light of death

Sat Sep 21, 2019 12:29 pm

Hi,

I bought 7 units of Pi before. They are all working.

This pi4 I bought is not booting and there were so many complaints on the forum.
I am afraid there may be some faulty design in the system or not properly
and fully tested in the factory. I am disappointed that Pi4 performed this time.

Please contact the head office of Pi.

Best regards,

Duncan

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