I have several SD cards (three, currently).

They are perfectly functional and I can use them in computer. However, when I dd any RPi image to them, they won't work. It just doesn't boot. Only red LED is on.

I have tried several RPis, so it isn't the SD slot.

How can I pinpoint where the error is?

Can I try moving boot partition around the SD card? Is its position fixed?

Edit: Verifying written image went OK:

$ dd if=/dev/mmcblk0 of=verify.img count=6400000
6400000+0 records in
6400000+0 records out
3276800000 bytes (3,3 GB) copied, 301,605 s, 10,9 MB/s
$ md5sum ./2014-09-09-wheezy-raspbian.img 
c8e331ea6965905d63ccca8388460cf3  ./2014-09-09-wheezy-raspbian.img
$ md5sum ./verify.img 
c8e331ea6965905d63ccca8388460cf3  ./verify.img

Help me, I'm going crazy.

Edit2: Also, I have tried several different power sources.

  • If we accept the SD cards are ok then you must be writing the image to the cards incorrectly or the Pi is bust.
    – joan
    Sep 20, 2014 at 8:32
  • Check which video output you are using i know arch linux uses the yellow port (i forgot the name of the port) and raspberrian uses the hdmi, because i have had this problem before and i realised it was the video output
    – Pariah
    Sep 20, 2014 at 11:14
  • @Pariah I am running archlinux w/ xbmc and it's working fine with hdmi as well as completely head-less.
    – Ghanima
    Sep 20, 2014 at 13:22
  • @joan: Pi is definitely not bust, I have others (brand new ones) which behave equivalently. Also, writing is OK. The problem is with SD cards, or RPi's sensitivity to them. How can I check burnt image? Sep 21, 2014 at 11:37
  • Checked the written image. See my edit. Sep 21, 2014 at 12:09

2 Answers 2


Turns out the SD cards were not good enough for the Pi. I bought another card (this time, of Transcend brand), and it worked.

The weird part is that some of bad the cards used to work with Pi. Somehow they "went bad", although they kept working in other devices (and the verification part proves that). I have no idea what could be the cause, perhaps someone with more in-depth hardware knowledge could know.

For the reference, here's a wikipage which lists some card brands and how they behave with Pi. But be warned that there is some "black magic" part in there as well, so you might have different experiences.


I just hope the "plus" revision of RPi B is less sensitive when it comes to SD cards.


You have to switch "if" and "of".

It should be:

dd of=/dev/mmcblk0 if=verify.img bs=1m

The meaning of "if" and "of" are:

if = read from FILE instead of stdin

of = write to FILE instead of stdout

See also: http://linux.die.net/man/1/dd

  • 1
    If you re-read what the poster wrote you can see his dd command is correct for creating a a verify.img from the sd card so that he can run md5sum and compare it to the original.
    – rob
    Sep 22, 2014 at 9:04

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