I'm having trouble with my pi where I can write an rpi image like openelec/kodi or retropie, and the pi boots correctly the first time, but after I shut it down and power-off, when I restart, it won't start properly.

On restart, I get the rainbow screen, but then it will crash or hang and not finish booting.

If I re-image my sd card, it will boot fine again (the first time), but fail to boot after a power on/off cycle.

I'm assuming that whatever the issue is, it's unlikely to be specific to the image I'm running, but I'm not really sure what troubleshooting steps are worthwhile taking next?


  • Removal/reinsertion doesn't affect the outcome, the card always needs to be re-imaged.
  • I think heat is unlikely to be an issue, because this will occur both after a fresh install and the pi having been powered off for over 24h and also if it's been running for a few hours.
  • 1
    I would try another SD card. Also, how are you powering off the Pi. It may also be worthwhile removing and reinserting the SD card when it wont boot. Commented Aug 21, 2016 at 6:31

2 Answers 2


This is often related to SD cards, I've had some "bad" ones in the past. These cards worked just fine for extra storage in a smartphone, but couldn't provide a stable disk for the Pi.

You can check this Wiki for (community) tested cards, my experience is that these are correct:



This also happened to me. Using a fan fixed it. It could also be a bad memory card. Pi 3 needs cooling. I kept getting corrupted boot file or dpkg failure, every time. I have aluminum cooling blocks on chips. I even put one on the bottom of board (memory chip) I also got a case that has a fan blowing on memory stick. I tried setting it up outside the case. Once it's in, I can't remove the memory card. Once it was in the case I had no more problems after a fresh install. dpkg failure happened after sodu apt-get upgrade. Since this takes almost an hour, I suspected heat, after seeing a post where a new memory card fixed it. Posted with Pi 3/ Raspbain/TBOplayer/ kodi media center/ Iceweasel (firefox)/ icedove (thunderbird)

  • 3
    The Pi 3 doesn't need cooling. I have no heatsinks, no fans, no problems.
    – goldilocks
    Commented Aug 21, 2016 at 19:07
  • Just to restate with facts. At 85F pi3 seems to need cooling. A fan solved my corrupt boot files and also dpkg failure problems. Only other possibilities are, a bad memory card, or corrupted upgrade download. Been running for days now with no problems,on same card. Did several upgrade downloads, with those 2 different issues, every time without the fan. Coincidence and server problem??? It costs nothing to point a fan at it. I added this because I cannot reply to comments. Air conditioned rooms can count as cooling too. If I recall, every 6 degrees cooler the processor stays, doubles the life
    – user52264
    Commented Aug 23, 2016 at 1:56
  • Sure, that's fine. I'm not really trying to tell you what to believe, I've just trying to prevent the propagation of something that at best, if trues, applies to a defective unit. Yes it has a max operating temperature of 85F. However, there is zero possibility of apt-get upgrade causing it to reach that point; I'm not sure there is any way no matter what you do unless you overclock -- that's the only way to do it with the less beefy models (or if the ambient temperature is that of an engine compartment, etc).
    – goldilocks
    Commented Aug 23, 2016 at 11:38
  • Note you can easily check the core temp (it has is a sensor) via sysfs or vcgencmd (perhaps you should do this on the chance you do have a defective one). The reason the upgrade would take a long time is network bottleneck. It is not a processor intensive activity, it is an I/O intensive activity; you might get one core intermittently hitting maximum, that's it.
    – goldilocks
    Commented Aug 23, 2016 at 11:38
  • I agree that in theory solid state electronics will last longer at lower temperatures (so will a wooden desk), but the far more significant factor is fluctuations in temperature, which cooling mitigates against but not as much as it does absolute temperature. I do not believe "every 6 degrees doubles the life" could be anything but a grotesque simplification though, since it is obviously going to follow a curve -- hitting somewhere between 90 and 100 for few seconds you may find the difference between "lasts for years to come" and "destroyed instantly".
    – goldilocks
    Commented Aug 23, 2016 at 11:39

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