Raspberry Pi 1/2 DOA

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When the 512MB version of the Raspberry Pi was released, I couldn’t resist not getting one. This would be perfect as a permanent attachment for the Motorola Lapdock and a Pillbow case. A few days later I received it in the mail and loaded Adafruit distro on a borrowed SD card from our digital camera. This is when things started to go awry.

After first boot I went through the setup, including region and all that stuff. That last thing I did was a rpi-update to update the firmware. After that it wouldn’t boot, or so I thought. I tried multiple images and SD cards. So far, nothing. It looked like it would boot and then get to a point, lose video and Ethernet. After many hours and days of fighting with it I realized something. It was almost like it was booting but just loosing Ethernet and HDMI. So I tested my theory.

I whipped out my Sparkfun FTDI Basic 3.3v version and connected to the UART of the RPi. What do you know? It booted up and worked perfectly! So I came to the conclusion that the CPU is fine but all the attached devices are bad, like Ethernet, HDMI, and USB. From my tests even the composite video out didn’t work, really odd problem. I was confused since it seemed to work initially. I did get it to boot a few times but it would never last.

512MB Raspberry Pi with Sparkfun FTDI Basic

But not all is lost. The wonderful people at Newark refunded the money without having to send the bad one back and after making a new order, made it priority, even though I had to wait over a month but the new one should be here tomorrow. As for the defective one I could use it over UART and just use it for the GPIOs. I ran it for a few days monitoring the CPU temp in a terminal session over UART and it was stable so it should be useful for something down the road, at least I hope. If anything it would be good to use for showing and explaining to people what a RPi is since they can touch it all they want, it’s already defective right?

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