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I just shorted 5.8V+ (4 half-done AA batteries) through my Pi... at most for 3 seconds... it went through somewhere near the ethernet port... whilst connected to the ground of the circuit, also connected to the batteries...

Having got my Raspberry Pi in a little robot to be made to finally work from my Android phone, I may have go a little overexcited and driven down some stairs...

Hence when I picked the remains up at the bottom, the Pi fell out of its holder, which disconnected it from the 5V power supply, but touched some point near the ethernet port against an exposed contact on the battery pack... with the Pi's GPIOs still connected to the motor circuit, with both the grounds connected....

Here is a picture of the damage:

image

After being left for at most half a day after the incident, it still works...

My questions are:

A) Have I voided the warranty? I can't find anything on this... if so I might as well solder on a reset P6 header...

B) Having scraped through this, what impact would this have on my Pi? The GPIOs, the Graphics, the USB ports all seem to work. Looking at where it has melted through the writing on top of the packaged processor and RAM (this Pi is a model B), would it just be the RAM that is affected? Would this significantly affect the Pi's lifespan?

C) Will it better to leave it, or start using it again? I am trying to get the 'robot' (box on four wheels) ready for going away for Christmas, but I don't want to cause any more damage. I did a quick two minute test on it, and it seems fine, but I don't want to make anything worse...

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A) I'm not a legal expert, but yes, normally this would void your warranty. Apparently you hooked up some power at a place where it's not supposed to be... Warranty covers manufacturing defects, not abuse :P

B) This kind of burnout will definitely have a negative impact on its lifespan. I'm surprised it works at all, however you may experience random crashes and reboots due to faulty RAM. It may work fine in winter, then go wonky in the summer due to extra heat.

C) Just use it until you buy a new one; then you'll have a Pi that you can use for experiments or development (until it really dies).

  • I agree on your answer for C, not quite for A. For B, even though it looks bad in the photo, the actual covering of the RAM/Processor package seems undamaged, it is just the writing on top it seems to have melted... – Wilf Dec 23 '13 at 20:07
  • It's hard to tell from the picture if the heat came from outside or inside the package. Is it a wire that lay on top of your chip and burned through? In that case you may be alright. I assumed from your description that that voltage passed through the chip. – JvO Dec 23 '13 at 20:13
  • Sorry, I should of mentioned it when I first asked the question :-). I don't think anything was on the chip, even though one of the GPIO connected insulated wires may of touched it. There also seems to be a slight burn on the board to the top right of it, so it might of been that. I probably need to get a heat sink as well, which might improve the lifespan slightly and help with any future incidents. Currently, I have moved the battery holder to the other side of the container, and fixed it there with gaffer tape – Wilf Dec 23 '13 at 20:18

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