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Fixing Common Problems with the Raspberry Pi

Part of the Raspberry Pi For Dummies Cheat Sheet

If you're experiencing problems with your Raspberry Pi, this quick troubleshooting checklist, adapted from Raspberry Pi For Dummies, can help. You can try any of these solutions at any time, but if you follow these steps in this order (more or less), you can minimize expense and hassle.

  1. Be patient.

    When your Raspberry Pi is busy, it can appear to be unresponsive, so you might think it's crashed. Often, if you wait, it recovers when it finishes its tasks.

  2. Restart your Raspberry Pi.

    Very occasionally, the machine might crash in a way that's a complete mystery.A simple reset can sometimes do the trick. To reset, unplug the power, pause a moment, and then plug it back in.

  3. Check your connections.

    Switch off your Raspberry Pi and make sure that all your cables are firmly fixed in the right sockets.

  4. Check that your SD card is inserted correctly.

    If your Raspberry Pi's red PWR light comes on, but the green OK light does not flicker or light, the Raspberry Pi is having difficulty using the SD card. In this instance, check that the SD card is correctly inserted.

  5. Disconnect peripherals.

    If the Pi works fine without anything connected, use the process of elimination (connecting devices one at a time and restarting) to identify which one is causing problems.

  6. Try new peripherals.

    If possible, try a new keyboard, mouse, and USB hub, ideally chosen from the list of devices at http://elinux.org/RPi_VerifiedPeripherals that are known to work with the Raspberry Pi. Many of the problems people experience are the result of using incompatible devices, so replacing the keyboard, mouse, and USB hub can resolve a wide range of apparently different problems.

  7. Try new cables.

    Especially if you're having problems with the network connection and audio or visual output, try using new cables to rule out faulty cables as the cause of the problem.

  8. Try a new screen.

    If you can't see anything on the screen, but the Raspberry Pi appears to be powering up (the red light comes on and the green light flickers), try connecting to a different monitor or TV.

  9. Update your software.

    Assuming your Internet connection is working, you can update the operating system and other software on your Raspberry Pi (without overwriting any of your work files) using the Linux command sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade.

  10. Try a new SD card image.

    If that fails, try downloading the latest SD card image and flashing it to an SD card. To rule out any faults in the specific SD card you're using, use a new SD card.

  11. Try a new power supply.

    This is probably hardest to do, but it's important because dodgy power has been reported to cause a wide range of problems. If you have a friend with a Raspberry Pi and theirs works fine, try using their power supply to see whether it fixes the issues you're seeing on yours. Alternatively, you might need to buy a new power supply.

  12. Check online for a solution.

    See the troubleshooting guide at http://elinux.org/R-Pi_Troubleshooting, search the forums at www.raspberrypi.org, or search the web with Google for a solution. You're highly likely to find that someone else has already overcome any difficulties you encounter.

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