Easy Raspberry basics: Project 01c Troubleshooting of common software Raspberry Pi problems

of Acoptex.com in Raspberry Pi 3

Raspberry basics: Project 01c

Project name: Troubleshooting of common software Raspberry Pi problems

Tags: Raspberry, Raspberry PI 3 model B board, common software Raspberry Pi problems, troubleshooting

Raspberry Pi
Monitor or TV
HDMI cable
USB keyboard
USB mouse
Power supply
8GB SD card


This article about the most common software problems of Raspberry Pi with their solutions.

Let's start to check them together.

  1. Ethernet connection is working at 10Mbit, not 100Mbit. This may or may not be inaccurate. On the earlier Raspberry Pi revision boards, the 100Mbit LED was mislabelled – it was actually a 10Mbit socket (for example, Raspberry Pi 1 model B rev 1). On newer revision boards, however, it was correctly labelled so actually you have a 100Mbit socket. You can check your link speed with the command in Terminal: cat /sys/class/net/eth0/speed

  2. Startx fails to start window manager. If you just get errors instead of a working desktop when trying to use the startx command, you may be out of disk space. This possibly either means you need to expand the rootfs using the raspi-config tool if you have an SD card bigger than 2GB. If not, you probably need to get a bigger SD card. If you know there’s space, try renaming the .Xauthority file under your home directory temporarily.

  3. You cannot SSH to my Raspberry Pi. If you’re receiving a connection time-out error when you try to SSH to your Raspberry Pi from another machine, it probably means that SSH access to it disabled. You need to open up the raspi-config tool - type the command raspi-config in Terminal, then use the option 'SSH' to enable SSH. You should now be able to connect to your Raspberry Pi. The default user is pi, default user's password is raspberry.
  4. I’m getting a kernel panic on every boot. If you’re seeing kernel panic messages each time you start your Raspberry Pi, the first thing to try is booting it without any USB devices in – and adding them one by one afterwards. If you’re still getting the messages, it’s likely that your flash of the SD card was unsuccessful. Reflash the card and try again. Make sure you use admin privileges to do that.
  5. The visible desktop goes off the screen. You probably want to turn overscan off. Use the raspi-config tool to disable overscan. If you now see a big black border round the edges of your screen, you can usually use your TV’s settings to zoom in. If not, try setting the overscan manually in the config.txt using the properties overscan_left, overscan_right, overscan_top and overscan_bottom.
  6. I don’t know the root password. This is probably because the root account in many newer Linux distributions is disabled by default – and as such doesn’t have a password. You can enable a password by entering the following command in the Terminal: sudo passwd root . Proceed with caution when doing this.
  7. I can’t install new software with apt-get. If you’re seeing the error 'Package xx is unavailable' you probably need to update the Apt tool first. Seeing this error means that your software list is out of date. Start by running these commands in Terminal: sudo apt-get update, let it update its list of packages (you’ll need a network connection) – then sudo apt-get upgrade. When this completes, try installing your package again.
  8. Composite output is only black and white. The Raspberry Pi’s composite output defaults to NTSC (American). Some PAL (European) TVs may either now show and image, or display it in black and white. To solve this, change the config.txt on the SD card to add/modify: sdtv_mode =x  Where x is: 0 – NTSC; 1 – Japanese NTSC; 2 – PAL; 3 – Brazilian PAL


We have learnt about the common hardware problems with Raspberry Pi and what to do when they occur.


  • No libraries needed in this project


  • No sketches needed in this project

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Published at 07-04-2019
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