I have come across a very peculiar problem.

I have a Raspberry Pi Zero V1.3 running Raspbian Jessie Lite on a 64 GB SanDisk micro SD card. The Pi is powered via the micro USB port (not the OTG port obviously) and the cable it is powered with can be switched on/off.

When I switch the cable on, the Pi's USB ports will become powered, as my Wifi dongle or serial adapter will turn on, the 5v and 3v3 pins will become powered, but the ACT led will not turn on or flash or anything. Turn it off, and back on again, and everything works fine, the ACT led flashes and the Pi boots fine.

If I do a sudo halt and switch the power off, wait a minute, and switch it back on, it will not boot. Switch it off, then back on, and it will. It will only boot every other time.

What can I do to fix this? Is there a reason for this happening? Could it be caused by the fact that I'm using a 64 GB card, and not a ≤32 GB card? I've seen other people use this size (and larger) card and have it work fine. Later tonight I will (reluctantly) reformat the card with a complete overwrite method, and see if it works.

  • 1
    This sounds like a power problem. Try disconnecting some of your USB peripherals and your GPIO stuff and see if it boots more consistently. If it does, you have a power problem. Get a better power supply or move some of your peripherals to their own power supply. Powered USB hubs are good for this. – tlhIngan Jun 10 '16 at 1:25
  • @tlhIngan I just tried it with my 2A adapter that I use with my Pi 3. Same results, so this isn't a power problem. – Patrick Cook Jun 10 '16 at 1:33
  • Try unplugging some of your USB and GPIO peripherals. I've seen wonky behaviour like this because of too much power draw, which has nothing to do with the power supply. – tlhIngan Jun 10 '16 at 1:37
  • @tlhIngan When I switched the power supply I unplugged everything from the Pi except for a TTL cable, so I could access the console, but it draws no power. – Patrick Cook Jun 10 '16 at 1:38
  • Check the card for bad blocks and check voltage during the no boot scenario? – Dan V Jun 10 '16 at 4:07

To give this question an answer I will quote the comment from the questioner. He was asked if he still having this problem and answered:

No, I reformatted my card and it started to boot 100% of the time. I still do not know what was causing the problem.

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