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I got a Sense HAT back in January and yesterday finally got around to installing it.

I played with it but I noticed that the HAT had screw holes but did not come with screws. I used some screws that were used for keeping the top and bottom of the case together.

To install the screws, I took the HAT off and unscrewed the screws holding the Pi to the case. I reinstalled the HAT, screwed the screws and then realized they didn't fit. So I took them out, took off the HAT, and noticed the GPIO board was still on the Pi.

Panicking, I put the HAT back on the board, booted the system, and, per usual, the 8x8 displayed a rainbow. Once booted, I attempted to run my program. I got a device not found error. I wiggle the HAT and the rainbow seemed to lose all green. Then I wiggled it a bit more and the rainbow seemed normal. Suddenly my system rebooted. This happens every time.

Is there a way to repair these pins? What can I do to avoid this happening again?

  • As @domme is suggesting, it is quite possible that the connector can be resoldered or replaced. However, without visual inspection it is virtually impossible to tell (e.g. traces could be damaged on the PCB making it more complicated to repair). If you don't feel confident in resoldering it try looking for skilled people to assist you, e.g. a Repair Cafe. – Ghanima Aug 21 '16 at 13:11
  • Also, why does the system reboot? – user3902094 Aug 21 '16 at 13:34
  • @user3902094 It think the rebooting has to do with voltage spikes. A loose connection can result in sparks just like closing a circuit with bare live wires creates a tiny spark, even if the operating voltage is quite low. I also experience occasional reboots when (un)plugging USB devices while my Pi is running, even though I am using the original power supply. So I believe that the Pi is designed to get connected to peripherals and then booted, not booted and then frequently connected to devices. And wiggling would be kind of the worst case scenario in terms of random voltage spikes. – Domme Aug 22 '16 at 22:56
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To answer the 'How do I avoid this happening again?' question, there is a guide to assembling your Sense HAT which indicates how to fit the standoffs and screws to your Pi and Sense HAT.

Note that the GPIO extension header can be removed safely from the Pi and Sense HAT (provided all other cables are disconnected and the power is off of course...).

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If you're skilled enough, you can solder the Pins back onto the PCB. I know they are small, but still quite accessible on the Sense Hat.

To avoid this kind of damage, try not to lever with too much force while removing the HAT. Distribute the force equally among the whole PCB (small force left, small force right and so on). Otherwise, there will be a heavy leverage effect which easily rips off the delicate junctions.

If you happen to be from Germany, I could try to repair your board.

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