Electronics Repair

Raspberry Pi – Fixing a No Boot Issue

December 27, 2014

After months of it just sitting on my desk collecting dust, I finally decided to play with my Raspberry Pi only to discover it no longer worked. All I got was a red LED, and no video. I initially thought it was not getting enough power, as that is a common issue, so I tried a few USB cables and various chargers, and saw no difference. I then tried various SD cards, HDMI cables, images/distros on the SD card and still I couldn’t get this damn thing to turn on.

I then delved in a little deeper with my multi-meter and do some more diagnostics. Unfortunately since my cheap case kept falling apart I had used a bit of crazy glue to hold it together, which mean I now had to break my case to get the Pi back out. Since I was intending to put this in an old Nintendo case I did not shed any tears over this. Eventually I found I was getting a proper 5V between TP1 and TP2. However when testing the voltage between TP2 and the F3 fuse I found a significant voltage drop of about 0.7v. At this point I was determined that I was dealing with a blown F3 polyfuse and luckily before I ordered a new one or soldered in a bypass I tried to temporarily bypass it with an alligator clip, but alas, it still wouldn’t boot. So I was left scratching my head again.

Frustrated, I was about to give up and order a new one, but I decided to try one last thing and I took a pair of tweezers and carefully lifted each gold pin in the SD card receptor and tried again. Much to my surprise, it worked. The green light flickered and once I plugged in the HDMI cable I saw the OpenElec logo on the screen. Yay! Now I can get back to building my RetroPi station out of an old NES 🙂

Update: After powering off the unit and re-imaging the SD card with Retro Pie I found myself back in the same no boot scenario. Once I switch back to OpenElec is then again will boot. So I’m not sure what’s going on with RetroPie but I will have to diagnose this issue tomorrow.

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