Been working on the raspberry pi with the sense hat with no problems. Due to the temperature been way off I got a ribbon cable to attach to the sense hat. When I plug the sense hat into the ribbon cable if I try to boot I get the above error and won't boot. Plus the led matrix only half lights up or less. If i unplug the sense hat everything boots up just fine. I added "disablesafemode" in the recovery.cmdline and also "avoid_safe_mode=1" in the boot config.txt but that hasn't done anything.

Sense Hat

Ribbon Cable

  • By "way off" it could be up to 20C in the difference when reading the temp in the room.
    – Jason
    May 31, 2016 at 11:00
  • Okay. I apologize for that. I have had one inside a case before and it was off a bit, but it likely was not so close. Presuming an ambient temp of 20-25 C if the sensor where very very close it might be that much higher. BTW, I was confused by cables such as this initially too (although I never quite made the mistake you have made). If you search online for an explanation of how pins are indicated, you will find the meaning of that red line (fairly obvious) and a small triangle and/or dot on the connector (less obvious) that will confirm Milliway's diagnosis.
    – goldilocks
    May 31, 2016 at 11:04
  • You'll also be able to confirm where the top right 5V and ground pin (third down) are via a multimeter; testing on the wrong side will be harmless since you can't short anything through a multimeter on the correct setting.
    – goldilocks
    May 31, 2016 at 11:10

1 Answer 1


I question your motivation, but what you are doing won't work.

As I understand it the HAT has a female connector which is designed to interconnect to the male pins on the Pi. You seemed to have used a female to female cable (although it is far from clear from the low res photo). If so this means you have swapped the even and odd pins - THINK ABOUT IT.

  • Milliways is right. When you are looking down on the other end of the cable with it facing down, its pin out is in the same order as when you are looking down on the pi's breakout (i.e., in your picture the top right corner pins at the hat end are the top right corner pins of the pi, the two 5V, but they are where the hat expects a 3.3V and SDA). Since the hat normally sits right way up on the pi, you need to connect that cable to the top of the hat. And yes, you may have caused damage to either or both items here, more likely the hat I think.
    – goldilocks
    May 31, 2016 at 10:30
  • Sorry I fitted it the other way with the ribbon attached to the top of the sense hat and is working perfect as suggested. My way of thinking at the time was completely wrong. Showing my noob way of thinking!!!!
    – Jason
    May 31, 2016 at 11:21
  • @Jason In fact it is common problem, even with experienced users. People have difficulty doing the mental topographical transformation - exacerbated by the fact that the Pi peripheral connector itself is actually back to front from the normal convention - pin 1 is normally the outer row.
    – Milliways
    May 31, 2016 at 12:04
  • @Milliways Thanks for that. Lesson well learned and great information for future reference. I simply thought you plugged it in the same way it attached onto the GPIO, hence why I had it attached from underneath and not on the top. Very lucky I didn't damage it.
    – Jason
    May 31, 2016 at 13:07

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