Zit Seng's Blog

A Singaporean's technology and lifestyle blog

Raspberry Pi Jitters

I’ve been on the Raspberry Pi bandwagon for quite a long time. However, I’ve not actually gotten around to doing anything particularly productive with it. Well, it’s never too late to start, and I’m finally embarking on some real projects. One of them is to basically replace a sort of digital clock we have had running at my workplace that had been based on Guruplugs.

So now, my Raspberry Pis need to run with the sort of reliability you’d need in production deployment. They have been running great on my table. When I now want to run them in production, I start to experience a bunch of operationally issues. Funny enough, for example, they start freezing for no rhyme or reason. It’s almost as if they are getting the jitters, or cold feet, once they realise I’m going to put them in production.

It’s really silly. For example, one of the Pis at work as been hanging two days in a row at around 8pm to 9pm. I replaced the Pi, replaced the wireless dongle, and flash Raspbian again on the same SD card. It continued to hang the next evening, again around 8pm to 9pm. So that’s three days in a row.

At home, another Pi has been hanging two times a day for two days in a row.

I’m sure many other people have had much better luck with their Raspberry Pis. I had too, until I decided I was going to push them into production.

Right now, I’ve no choice but to be more cautious and restrained in rolling out the Raspberry Pis. I’ve put in more health checks, providing more monitoring and debugging information to help find out what is happening.

Then, guess what happens? Well, now for three days in a row already, everything seems to be just fine. You know, it’s as if the Raspberry Pis now know they are being scrutinised, so they behave properly.

Of course, the rational explanation is just that for those three days in a row, both at home and at work, with different Raspberry Pis, they all just very coincidentally broke. Just very bad coincidence?

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