How can I fix a Raspberry Pi with Rainbow screen on boot up? I have good voltage coming in and I believe I've formatted and setup the SD card properly. I have two of these boards that do the same thing; I bought them months ago but I am only getting to them now. I bought them off of Amazon and It's way to late to return or exchange them I've been told.

migrated from Jun 9 '14 at 17:24

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  • 1
    What port are you getting video out of? Analog or HDMI? Can you post a picture of what the rainbow screen looks like? – HeatfanJohn Jun 9 '14 at 17:32
  • Have you tried a new SD card? – PhillyNJ Jun 9 '14 at 17:34
  • I'm using HDMI port, I've tried two SD cards on two different PI's – MEAM Jun 9 '14 at 18:07
  • as @Wilf mentioned, try a new image and check your power source. – PhillyNJ Jun 9 '14 at 18:29
  • I had a similar problem when I first got a Pi. It was a NOOBS issue. I can't remember the "fix" (which was a configuration issue), but will search if you can't find it. There was no problem with Raspbian. – Milliways Jun 10 '14 at 0:12
up vote 17 down vote accepted

Do you mean a screen like this?:

debug screen from elinux pic

If you using a RPi 3 B+, it may just be out of date firmware (see here) - you need to use newer image with the right firmware such as the offical Raspbian image - older and derivative images may still need to be updated for now (e.g. OctoPrint [1] [2] [3] )

Various troubleshooting methods can be found here:

With current firmware, a coloured splash screen (actually its just four pixels "blown up" by the GPU to full screen) is displayed after GPU firmware (start.elf) is loaded. This should be replaced by linux console a second later. However if the coloured screen remains, it suggests the kernel.img file is failing to boot. Try replacing it with a known good one.

Immediately after displaying the splash screen, the PI starts consuming a little more current. If the PI resets at that moment, it is an indication that the power supply isn't able to deliver the full current your PI requires, but dips its output voltage below a minimum when loaded with the full current the PI needs.

In some cases (Stuck on the Rainbow Screen), freezing at this point has been fixed by adding boot_delay=1 to the config.txt file. This can be done from a Windows PC, which should show several files in the FAT partition on your SD card including bootcode.bin, kernel.img, and config.txt. You can open config.txt in wordpad or any text editor. Add boot_delay=1 and save the file. Don't forget to 'eject' the card before removing it from the card reader. If you are reading the SD card from a working Pi, you can edit the file with sudo nano /boot/config.txt

Kernel Panic on boot

Text appears on screen, but then hangs with debug messages. This can be caused by USB devices such as keyboards. Try again with nothing in the USB. Raspberry Pi shuts down (or restarts) soon after booting up

This is caused by a power supply producing too low a voltage. See Troubleshooting power problems

Pi boots sometimes but not always

With a known good power supply and known good SD card, the R-Pi boots occasionally, but other times shows only a tiny green flicker from the "OK" LED and it fails to start, even with no USB devices and no Ethernet. This has been reported several times[4] [5] [6] and remains an open issue. Low voltage or an improper SD card can cause it. Some SD cards will work until they warm up slightly, and then fail[7]. When exposed to 21 C room temperature the warmest part of an uncased working R-Pi should be 41 C[8]. The wiki has a list of working SD cards. Buy from a reliable vendor as it has been claimed that 1/3 of all "Sandisk" labelled memory cards are counterfeit.

  • It could be that the SD memory card is not making proper contact with the Raspberry Pi. Look at the SD card holder on the Raspberry Pi carefully. At first glance it may look fine, but the contacts must be springy and they must protrude at least 2mm as measured from the lower edge of the holder to the top of the contact bulge. Variations happen due to the solder process and the type of holder used. Some of the solder residue falls into the contact cavity, restricting the springiness and the height that the contact protrudes. You can fix this yourself, but remember you can void your warranty. The contacts are delicate, so be careful. Insert a needle pin under the contact bulge and pull lightly up until the one end of the contact unclips. Clean the cavity where the contact unclipped from any solder or other residue by blowing into the cavity. Clip the contact back into the cavity by lightly pushing it into the cavity. Do this for all the contacts. Refer to these photos: Media:SDcardHolder.JPG, Media:UnclipContact.JPG, Media:UnclippedContact.JPG

I would try other SD cards and power supplies, and check the Pi for defects, as well as different raspberry pi image. You may also want to try a different SD card reader, as some may format the card unreliably.

  • I also had problems booting my RPi and running fsck on the SD-Card and then booting the RPi with no peripherals did the trick. – cete3 Jun 10 '14 at 22:07
  • 1
    My Symptom: "Immediately after displaying the splash screen, the PI starts consuming a little more current. If the PI resets at that moment, it is an indication that the power supply isn't able to deliver the full current your PI requires, but dips its output voltage below a minimum when loaded with the full current the PI needs." My Problem: The USB cable was not delivering enough current, the voltage was fine but when I managed to put a meter between the Raspberry pi and the USB cable it was dropping up too 250ma sometimes compared to what the wall adapter to USB cable was delivering – MEAM Jun 12 '14 at 13:20
  • My Raspberry Pi B+ works perfectly when I plug in an sd card, HDMI cable, and power. When I plug the EXACT SAME wires + card that work for the pi B+ into the pi 2, it freezes at the rainbow screen. Does this mean it's definitely a hardware problem? – Luke Taylor Aug 21 '15 at 18:15
  • @LukeTaylor - what current is the power supply rated for and how long is the USB cable? (probably too late sry). It may just be a issues that the Pi 2 (and 3) need atleast 800mA of power, whilst the Pi B+ probably needs about 600mA. – Wilf Oct 15 '16 at 0:16
  • 1
    The rainbow screen can also appear if you attempt to boot Raspbian Jessie on a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+. (see Raspberry Pi boots to rainbow screen when trying to load RetroPie) – Steven Vascellaro Apr 13 at 17:05

For me, inserting boot_delay=1 into config.txt did not work. Running fsck on the boot partition (/dev/mmcblkop1) uncovered file corruption which couldn't be auto-fixed. I ended up deleting the contents of the boot partition and copying over the contents of /boot from my Raspberry Pi Linux tarball. I then had to edit cmdline.txt and change root=/dev/mmcblkop2 to be root=/dev/mmcblkop5

  • Worked for me using the new raspberry pi 2 B , while having the rainbow screen / coloured screen problem! – Lucian Depold Feb 17 '15 at 17:32

I have experinced this on a Model B. I tried various SD cards, but all had the same issue. I then plugged my Samsung Galaxy charger into the Pi, which outputs slightly higher voltage, and it fixed it. Apparently the power supply, supplied with the Pi isnt man enough to do the job it was supposed to do!

Try changing the power supply, before you go too deep into other paths.

I was able to solve this problem by getting a better power supply. I then took out the microsd card as it booted into recovery mode. I put it back in and was able to install noobs.

protected by Ghanima Jul 26 at 18:41

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