Why is my Raspberry Pi not booting?

A common question I get all the time is: Why is Raspberry Pi not booting? Follow these simple steps to resolve the issue:

Common problems:

  1. GPIO shorting due to soldering or incorrectly connected wires
  2. Corrupt SD card
  3. Inadequate power supply?
  4. Faulty board

Did you recently solder anything to your GPIO or connect wires to the GPIO?

Chances are if you did this then you accidentally shorted the GPIO. This can be easily fixed by removing the solder causing the short (although be careful not to damage the board) or by removing anything connected to the GPIO. Once this has been done, try to reboot the Raspberry Pi.

Is the OS installed correctly?

If your Raspberry Pi is not booting then it is possible you have a faulty SD card or the OS is corrupt. Try inserting the SD card into another device – does this device recognize the card? If so, I would recommend reinstalling the OS.

Is the SD card pushed all the way in?

Check to make sure the SD card is pushed all the way in. It can be a simple mistake that causes a lot of headache. If the Raspberry Pi does not detect an SD card it will not boot.

Is the SD card damaged?

Carefully inspect the SD card for any hairline cracks. SD cards are flimsy and tend to break easily in my experience. Here is an example of a hairline crack I found in one of my SD cards

Cracked SD card

A good indicator of a damaged SD card is to check if it is hot. If it is cracked or damaged it will tend to get hot very quickly.

Are you using the correct power supply?

It is important to note that you should be using a power supply that provides adequate power. If you are using an old cable plugged into a USB outlet – chances are this will not be enough to power your Pi. The Rapsberry Pi 4 requires 5V/3A while all other Raspberry Pi’s require 5V/2.5A. I recommend the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B Official PSU @ Amazon for the Raspberry Pi 4 and the Official Raspberry Pi 3B @ Amazon for any other Raspberry Pi. Check out my post on power supplies here.

Is your Raspberry Pi faulty?

Raspberry Pi Power light

Do you see any lights on your Raspberry Pi? A red light indicates that your Raspberry Pi board is receiving power. The green light labeled ACT indicates activity from the SD card. If you don’t see either light, chances are the Raspberry Pi board is dead.

Pi 4 (2GB)Pi 4 (4GB)Pi 4 (8GB)Raspberry Pi Zero WRaspberry Pi 3 B+
Raspberry 4 2GB @ AmazonRaspberry Pi 4 4GB @ AmazonRaspberry Pi 4 8GB @ AmazonRaspberry Pi Zero W @ AmazonRaspberry Pi 3 B+ @ Amazon

Is your Raspberry Pi hot?

Chances are if your Raspberry Pi is hot and there is no light activity then your Raspberry Pi might be dead. Unplug your Raspberry Pi immediately as this is a fire hazard.

Are you using a HDMI cable?

Chances are if you are only verifying that your Raspberry Pi is booting via a screen, there might be no issue at all with the Raspberry Pi – it could be a faulty HDMI cable or incorrect HDMI configuration.

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