risingtiger
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Reliability of Raspberry Pi in 24/7 applications

Wed Nov 12, 2014 5:58 pm

Hello All. This is my first post to the board. I'll try and keep it short and to the point.

I've been searching through the net for articles and posts regarding reliability of the raspberry pi and surprisingly I'm not finding a lot of posts out there.

What experiences are you all having out there? Is the pi holding up to 24/7 applications without freezing, crashing or hardware failure? Has anybody exposed it to continually very high or low temp environments? Would you trust it to run more critical tasks like watering schedules or security alarms.

I'm just looking into how much can I trust the hardware/OS for real world 24/7 applications. For example, I can go buy a rainbird water timer for around 50 that I have reasonable assurance will keep my garden alive during hot summers. As long as the code for a watering schedule is reliable can I expect the same from the hardware/OS of the raspberry pi?

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DougieLawson
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Re: Reliability of Raspberry Pi in 24/7 applications

Wed Nov 12, 2014 6:55 pm

I've been working with a company in Luton who are deploying Raspberry Pis to remote locations where they run 24*365 for a commercial application.
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Re: Reliability of Raspberry Pi in 24/7 applications

Wed Nov 12, 2014 7:09 pm

risingtiger wrote:As long as the code for a watering schedule is reliable [...]
That's one important thing! Also, of course you want a good power supply, and wired networking (or no networking). I've had uptimes over 6 months on some devices with wifi, but I have found not all wifi adaptors are to be trusted and I'm not sure which are the best.

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rpdom
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Re: Reliability of Raspberry Pi in 24/7 applications

Wed Nov 12, 2014 7:10 pm

One of my Raspis was charged with monitoring temperatures in a room last winter and switching on a heater when it got too cold for our pets while we were away. It was totally reliable.

This year I've put it in charge of the whole house heating system instead of leaving it to a dumb timer. I totally trust it.

As long as the Pi in question has a stable power supply and isn't thrashing the SD card too much, there shouldn't be a problem.

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Re: Reliability of Raspberry Pi in 24/7 applications

Wed Nov 12, 2014 7:12 pm

Mine runs 24/7 and has been for over a year running my home NAS, it runs minidlna and runs a cron job every monday morning at 1AM that wakes up another hard drive and rsyncs my main drive as a backup. So i'd say it's pretty reliable.
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Re: Reliability of Raspberry Pi in 24/7 applications

Wed Nov 12, 2014 8:22 pm

I've been using a Model B with an SD card as the only storage, it's working as a controller and interface for a Bitcoin mining ASIC processor and has run 24x7 without interruption for 9 months. It was only taken down 9 months ago so I could move it, before then it had been solid for 4 months.

The only thing that would worry me with the Pi in long term operation is lots of repeated writes to the SD card, or loss of power whilst writing to the SD card. If you keep it backed up then it might be OK.

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Re: Reliability of Raspberry Pi in 24/7 applications

Wed Nov 12, 2014 8:24 pm

The main thing which would concern me are reports that SD cards can be corrupted when the power is removed abruptly. Others have abruptly removed power without seeing any corruption so it is not clear how that risk can be quantified.

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Speedwell68
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Re: Reliability of Raspberry Pi in 24/7 applications

Wed Nov 12, 2014 8:26 pm

I have 3 running 24/7 and they have been for a long time, no problems to speak of. The key to reliability is the quality of your peripheral components.

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Re: Reliability of Raspberry Pi in 24/7 applications

Wed Nov 12, 2014 8:50 pm

hippy wrote:The main thing which would concern me are reports that SD cards can be corrupted when the power is removed abruptly. Others have abruptly removed power without seeing any corruption so it is not clear how that risk can be quantified.
The danger is having a power cut while the card is being written to, if this happens then corruption is likely, if it doesn't then the corruption is unlikely.
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Re: Reliability of Raspberry Pi in 24/7 applications

Wed Nov 12, 2014 9:30 pm

I use one for an alarm clock. It stays up 24/7 except for power outages long enough for me to decide to shut down the UPS it's connected to or to back up the SD card when doing a system upgrade.

The only issue I've had is the wired Ethernet losing connection. That was solved by a cron script that runs every couple of minutes to check and restart the connection if needed.

For watering your lawn, or controlling heat (for a few days), I would trust a Pi without reservation.

Having said that, I would hesitate to use a Pi for a "life critical" application. It's just not designed nor tested for such uses.

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Re: Reliability of Raspberry Pi in 24/7 applications

Wed Nov 12, 2014 10:35 pm

Mine was running my home network and all services for over 12 months 24/7 with a reboot maybe once a month. On a SD card all I got was constant corruption but when I moved everything to run from a laptop HD it was rock solid.

Upgraded to a cubietruck now but raspberry was great.

Rich

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Re: Reliability of Raspberry Pi in 24/7 applications

Thu Nov 13, 2014 5:16 am

My RasPi server has been running since 1/25/14, 24/7. The only outages caused by brown outs, power outages or the occasional backup/update regimen. It was changed to a 512 MB board at that time.

Yes they can be used for extended periods.
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Re: Reliability of Raspberry Pi in 24/7 applications

Thu Nov 13, 2014 1:25 pm

BMS Doug wrote:
hippy wrote:The main thing which would concern me are reports that SD cards can be corrupted when the power is removed abruptly. Others have abruptly removed power without seeing any corruption so it is not clear how that risk can be quantified.
The danger is having a power cut while the card is being written to, if this happens then corruption is likely, if it doesn't then the corruption is unlikely.
It's that "unlikely" which is the concern; not being a guaranteed won't happen and no way to know how likely or unlikely it could be. I recall at least one person reporting corruption with a read-only file system so it's at least a "possible" and no one really seems to know why. There are theories but no definitive explanations.

It's not a problem in general but it would make me cautious of deploying a Pi where not having corruption was an essential part of the application.

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Re: Reliability of Raspberry Pi in 24/7 applications

Thu Nov 13, 2014 1:43 pm

Code: Select all

uprecords
     #               Uptime | System                                     Boot up
----------------------------+---------------------------------------------------
     1   130 days, 15:49:43 | Linux 3.6.11+             Wed Dec 18 19:52:36 2013
     2   112 days, 08:14:35 | Linux 3.6.11+             Wed Aug 28 12:33:35 2013
     3    91 days, 05:20:26 | Linux 3.12.24+            Mon Jul 21 10:54:30 2014
     4    71 days, 22:59:51 | Linux 3.6.11+             Tue Mar 12 08:37:44 2013
     5    43 days, 23:35:53 | Linux 3.10.25+            Mon Apr 28 12:44:21 2014
     6    39 days, 21:42:05 | Linux 3.12.20+            Wed Jun 11 12:20:40 2014
     7    33 days, 23:26:17 | Linux 3.6.11+             Wed Jul 24 12:35:39 2013
     8    32 days, 17:49:08 | Linux 3.6.11+             Thu Jun 20 17:30:57 2013
     9    30 days, 05:03:22 | Linux 3.2.27+             Wed Dec 12 12:26:21 2012
    10    27 days, 18:56:43 | Linux 3.6.11+             Thu May 23 17:35:40 2013
----------------------------+---------------------------------------------------
->  11    23 days, 22:24:56 | Linux 3.12.24+            Mon Oct 20 16:15:16 2014
----------------------------+---------------------------------------------------
1up in     3 days, 20:31:48 | at                        Mon Nov 17 10:11:58 2014
t10 in     3 days, 20:31:48 | at                        Mon Nov 17 10:11:58 2014
no1 in   106 days, 17:24:48 | at                        Sat Feb 28 07:04:58 2015
    up   829 days, 13:14:43 | since                     Tue Jul 17 12:46:07 2012
  down    19 days, 12:39:22 | since                     Tue Jul 17 12:46:07 2012
   %up               97.700 | since                     Tue Jul 17 12:46:07 2012
same SD card it runs all the time,
some of the DT is after power fails and earlier kernel versions before I added a watchdog timer
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Re: Reliability of Raspberry Pi in 24/7 applications

Thu Nov 13, 2014 2:21 pm

The problem is it depends not just on the Pi but on the SD card. SD cards are a complex black box that try (and sometimes fail) to present the abstraction of an ideal block device. Since they are black boxes it's very difficult to be certain of anything regarding their behaviour.

And since the devices perform wear leveling, keeping some partitions read only while witing to others can carry risks depending on how the wear leveling is implemented inside the card.

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