I'm almost done with my RPi surveillance camera project but I read a lot about SD corruption problems and it seems to be the only thing I'm scared of right now.

In my original idea, the RPi would save and store the rotating data by itself and I would have a remote-only access to it (to live-stream, and archived files), but I have power outages like once-twice a month, and if every power outage would require reinstalling/reconfiguring the whole system - the maintenance cost (time) would be too high to have something like this. I would really like to just setup it and forget about it for a year or so (then I could maybe even setup multiple cameras).

I'm not really sure how likely the SD card corruption event is to happen and how severe it can be, so:

  1. Does anyone have any experience with power outages with RPis doing heavy data rotation?

  2. When the SD card corruption will happen - will it corrupt only the files the RPi tried to write/update or can it make the whole system unusable?

  3. If it would make the maintenance significantly easier - I would consider doing data saving from the RPi streams on the separate machine connected to UPS and whatnot, but is it reasonable? I mean - will it really improve the situation that much, or I could get away with my original plan maintaining RPis like once a year?

  4. Is data corruption risk comparable to the PC and HDD/SSD? I didn't have any UPS for years, and never had problems that would make my system unusable. I sometimes lost one file at most.

  5. Are there anything more am I missing?

I will emphasize that this data is not critical and can be lost sometimes. I'm only scared of maintenance/having to reinstall systems often.

1 Answer 1


In over 3 years with 5 Pis I have only had 2 failures requiring re-imaging cards (other than user induced problems) and 1 requiring reformatting cards - the latter was an error related to an upgrade attempt, not power related.

I have often had power failures, and sometimes power off without shutting down. In all cases the file system has been repaired on startup. Ext4 is a journalling filesystem, and quite good at recovery.

I can suggest one solution; get a SD card from a reputable manufacturer.

Further note. OS corruption is not a problem specific to the Pi. Pulling the plug on any OS risks HD corruption. It used to be a real problem 30 years ago with DOS and pulling the plug on an old Windows machine invariably caused problems. Most modern computers have hardware to prevent this, but this is not there in the $25 Pi.

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