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Are there any problems with leaving my Raspberry Pi powered even though it is shutdown?

Sometimes I forget to unplug it after running sudo halt, so I was wondering if I was affecting the lifespan of my Raspberry Pi or something like that.

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    why do you ever need to 'sudo halt'? it's designed to be run 24/7. – lenik Oct 17 '13 at 6:01
  • @lenik Because while the Raspberry Pi does not consume a lot of power, I've gotten into the habit of shutting it down when it is idle. I just then forget to unplug it :P – syb0rg Oct 17 '13 at 19:52
  • you should get into the habit leaving it running, there's no point halting/restarting, unless you enjoy the actual process =) – lenik Oct 17 '13 at 23:41
  • Why did someone vote to close this as "too broad"? If anything, it should be opinion based... – syb0rg Oct 18 '13 at 5:01
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Yes, every electronics degrades while it ages, if connected on some power source. The "problem" lies in electronic characteristics itself. One of the phenomena is called electromigration, where IC (actually whole PCB) degrades under various "nonideal" (i.e. working) conditions: current, time, temperature (which is also consequently caused by resistance properties, when device/IC is attached to power source), etc.

But... those degradations will probably not be felt for the time of your life.

What can be critical is flash memory in SD card. Every read/write cycle will slightly kill cells and you can't do nothing about it. Regarding the endurance (Sandisk SD specs, 1.8):

SanDisk SD cards have an endurance specification for each sector of 100,000 writes typical (reading a logical sector is unlimited). This far exceeds what is typically required in almost all SD Card applications. Therefore, extremely heavy use of the card in cellular phones, personal communicators, pagers and voice recorders will use only a fraction of the total endurance over the device’s lifetime. For instance—it would take over 10 years to wear out an area on an SD Card based on a file of any size (from 512 bytes to maximum capacity) being rewritten 3 times per hour, 8 hours a day, 365 days per year. With typical applications, the endurance limit is not of any practical concern to the vast majority of users.

But...

If you sudo shutdown the system, the SD will unmount and no I/O activity will be on the SDI line (at least in theory).

So...

You WILL NOT feel any degradations regarding Raspberry Pi hardware characteristics over time if it stay plugged into power source (of course, we assume that everything else, e.g. power source stability, room temerature, etc. stays in normal conditions).

  • Any pros of hosting webserver(with MYSQL) on a hdd connected to the raspberry instead of the raspberry itself ? – Loko Oct 17 '13 at 8:22
  • Yes, storage.If you really need huge storage, it makes sense to attach ext. drive.The power line of drive must also be external, beacause Rpi can only drive no more than 140mA!When this current is exceeded,voltage drop occur and possible malfunction of the system.You must power the drive via external DC adapter (e.g. included 12V adapter) or powered USB hub.There is also price consideration: for 64GB of memory, SD card is around 160$ (17.10.2013), which is more than portable USB drive with 1TB. – TomiL Oct 17 '13 at 11:18
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    Great in depth answer! – syb0rg Oct 17 '13 at 16:04
  • @loko SD cards are cheap, and will at least a few years. Even with high IO. Just make sure you make backups (as you should be doing anyway). If it break, just buy a new one. Just make sure you buy reputable brands, as the extremely cheap don't always have wear leveling. – Gerben Oct 17 '13 at 16:17

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