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Freeplay Zero unresponsive
#1
Hello,
I recently finished building my freeplay zero and am having several issues. 
When I turn it on, it becomes unresponsive. Either right away or after a few minutes. When this happens, none of the buttons work and all I'm able to to do it shut it off and try again.

When the system is works and I'm trying out the preinstalled game, I noticed I'm not able to get the hotkeys to work. I didn't mess with the hotkey configuration because I thought it was supposed to be present in the modded retropie.

It will also randomly flash black and say there is a segmentation fault or bus error. I'll then try to type something into the command line with my keyboard but it doesn't respond. 

This is my first gb zero project and I'm still extremely new to this. I'm hoping maybe it's just a simple error I skipped over. 
Any advice is appreciated, Thank you.
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#2
Hey Mason! Yes, this is quite odd, really. It almost sounds as if your Raspberry Pi is overheating or something, but that is also odd.

Did you solder the pins on the Pi yourself? If so, can you show us a photo of that area? If there was a pin that was improperly soldered or soldered to a neighboring pin, it could potentially cause random problems like this.

It is very rare, but I have also heard of people having a Raspberry Pi that's bad. If you have another Pi Zero to try, it may be worth testing.

It's also worth going through https://www.freeplaytech.com/support/troubleshooting/ to see if anything there catches your eye as a potential issue.
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#3
(01-03-2019, 03:44 AM)Flavor Wrote: Hey Mason!  Yes, this is quite odd, really.  It almost sounds as if your Raspberry Pi is overheating or something, but that is also odd.

Did you solder the pins on the Pi yourself?  If so, can you show us a photo of that area?  If there was a pin that was improperly soldered or soldered to a neighboring pin, it could potentially cause random problems like this.

It is very rare, but I have also heard of people having a Raspberry Pi that's bad.  If you have another Pi Zero to try, it may be worth testing.

It's also worth going through https://www.freeplaytech.com/support/troubleshooting/ to see if anything there catches your eye as a potential issue.

Hey, thanks for the reply! 

I'm not sure if it's overheating, since it with often be unresponsive or pop up errors right once the pi turns on. The last time I tried, the power switch even stopped responding and I had to disconnect the battery to power it down. I stopped turning it on to prevent corrupting the sd card after that happened.

I did solder the pins on myself. I'm not sure if you can see the solder that well in the photo but it doesn't look like any of the solder is linking pins together. I can't say if there are any cold joints though (this was my first time soldering so it's possible). Lol I hope the excess flux isn't a problem... I applied it a bit to generously since I haven't used it before.

I do slightly wonder if the raspberry pi is the culprit actually. Before I soldered the pins on and put it in the freeplay zero, I tried using it with my tv (with an unmodded retropie) and got a somewhat similar result. When trying to configure my controller, I either couldn't enter any buttons or the buttons would stop responding after a few button configurations.

Is there anything you'd recommend me trying?


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#4
To be honest, that solder job looks really good for your first attempt at soldering!

Using excess flux is actually better than not using enough. I'd just say that you would probably want to clean off the residue with some isopropyl alcohol and a rag or something.

I can't see your solder joints perfectly in the photo, but I wouldn't guess that you have any major problems there. There are some that look a bit more bulbous than the rest. If you heated them up, the solder may wick down into the through-hole a bit more. That could be helpful, but my feeling is that it isn't your problem.

If you say that you had similar problems when hooking the Pi up to your TV without the Freeplay Zero attached, then I'd wonder about the Pi even more. Here's what I'd probably try next, if you don't have another Pi Zero available. If you do, try that first.

1) If possible, get a new SD card and apply the Freeplay Zero SD image to it. If not, then re-apply the Freeplay Zero SD image to the current SD card. It would also be fine to use a normal RetroPie SD image for this test.
2) Detach the Pi Zero from the Freeplay Zero.
3) Hook up HDMI and a USB controller to the Pi Zero.
4) Hook up power to the Pi Zero.
5) Boot it up and play it a while. See how it goes.
If it goes well, continue...
6) Shut down the Pi and disconnect power.
7) Attach the Pi to the Freeplay Zero. Connect Power directly to the Pi Zero. It should boot up and work just like it did in step 5.
8) Report your findings here. Smile
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#5
(01-05-2019, 05:52 AM)Flavor Wrote: To be honest, that solder job looks really good for your first attempt at soldering!

Using excess flux is actually better than not using enough.  I'd just say that you would probably want to clean off the residue with some isopropyl alcohol and a rag or something.

I can't see your solder joints perfectly in the photo, but I wouldn't guess that you have any major problems there.  There are some that look a bit more bulbous than the rest.  If you heated them up, the solder may wick down into the through-hole a bit more.  That could be helpful, but my feeling is that it isn't your problem.

If you say that you had similar problems when hooking the Pi up to your TV without the Freeplay Zero attached, then I'd wonder about the Pi even more.  Here's what I'd probably try next, if you don't have another Pi Zero available.  If you do, try that first.

1)  If possible, get a new SD card and apply the Freeplay Zero SD image to it.  If not, then re-apply the Freeplay Zero SD image to the current SD card.  It would also be fine to use a normal RetroPie SD image for this test.
2)  Detach the Pi Zero from the Freeplay Zero.
3)  Hook up HDMI and a USB controller to the Pi Zero.
4)  Hook up power to the Pi Zero.
5)  Boot it up and play it a while.  See how it goes.
If it goes well, continue...
6)  Shut down the Pi and disconnect power.
7)  Attach the Pi to the Freeplay Zero.  Connect Power directly to the Pi Zero.  It should boot up and work just like it did in step 5.
8)  Report your findings here.  Smile

That's good to hear that the soldering looks okay!

I have a very beginner question - which retropie file do I use on your google drive page? Also, do I need to add/edit anything else once I flash the image to the sd card? I see text files for configuration steps but wasn't sure if I do need to do that for basic game access.

I tried using a different sd card and playing on the freeplay but got the same result as before - unresponsive buttons and power switch.
I also tried the raspberry pi zero with the modded retropie on my tv but didn't get a controller or keyboard to work at all with it, though maybe that could be just due to my lack of experience (I just plugged them in and button-mashed to test).

I'll try picking up another zero soon to give that a try.
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#6
The SD image files are named like
Freeplay_Zero_YYMMDDVV.img.gz and Freeplay_CM3_YYMMDDVV.img.gz

For you, grab the newest Freeplay Zero image (which is currently Freeplay_Zero_18091302.img.gz). If that doesn't work, for some reason, the previous one (Freeplay_Zero_18032101.img.gz) is there for you to try.

You should not have to edit anything. Use Etcher to burn the SD image to your SD card. Then, pop it into your Pi and boot it up. The first bootup will be odd, because it will start up and then shut itself down. Just boot it up a second time, and then it'll work properly. The first bootup resizes itself to use your entire SD card.
Card Fighters' Clash 2 English Translation ( http://cfc2english.blogspot.com/ )
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Avatar art thanks to Trev-Mun ( http://trevmun.deviantart.com/ )
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#7
(01-08-2019, 04:14 AM)Flavor Wrote: The SD image files are named like
Freeplay_Zero_YYMMDDVV.img.gz and Freeplay_CM3_YYMMDDVV.img.gz

For you, grab the newest Freeplay Zero image (which is currently Freeplay_Zero_18091302.img.gz).  If that doesn't work, for some reason, the previous one (Freeplay_Zero_18032101.img.gz) is there for you to try.

You should not have to edit anything.  Use Etcher to burn the SD image to your SD card.  Then, pop it into your Pi and boot it up.  The first bootup will be odd, because it will start up and then shut itself down.  Just boot it up a second time, and then it'll work properly.  The first bootup resizes itself to use your entire SD card.

Hi, sorry for the late reply. I've been out of town. So I did originally burn the correct image and followed everything else correctly. I ended up buying another pi zero to see if that's the problem and unfortunately it isn't. The buttons ended up freezing again after a couple minutes of gameplay. What I did notice was that I think the gb seemed to function fine until I added them into the case and tightened the screws. I think it froze after I put on the front gb shell. I don't know if that's significant or not though. The internals do seem to be somewhat cramped but I didn't see any serious pressure points. Taking off the front shell after that didn't seem to fix the problem. At this point I have no idea what to do...
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#8
When you say FREEZE, what do you mean exactly?
"When this happens, none of the buttons work and all I'm able to to do it shut it off and try again."
In that case, how do you shut it off?

When it's working normally (not frozen), will the system shut down if you hold the power button?
When it's frozen, will the system shut down if you hold the power button?
When it's frozen, do you get any audio?
When it's frozen, does HDMI work at all?
When it's frozen, can you use a USB keyboard to run it?

Did you go through the 8 steps I mentioned above (https://forum.freeplaytech.com/showthrea...25#pid7725)?
Card Fighters' Clash 2 English Translation ( http://cfc2english.blogspot.com/ )
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#9
(01-23-2019, 07:52 AM)Flavor Wrote: When you say FREEZE, what do you mean exactly?
"When this happens, none of the buttons work and all I'm able to to do it shut it off and try again."
In that case, how do you shut it off?

When it's working normally (not frozen), will the system shut down if you hold the power button?
When it's frozen, will the system shut down if you hold the power button?
When it's frozen, do you get any audio?
When it's frozen, does HDMI work at all?
When it's frozen, can you use a USB keyboard to run it?

Did you go through the 8 steps I mentioned above (https://forum.freeplaytech.com/showthrea...25#pid7725)?

When I say it's frozen I mean that all the buttons become unresponsive. I guess that may have been a misuse of the word, since the audio in the games continues to play when this happens. The hotkeys didn't ever work but the buttons, including the power switch recently, do not respond. 

When this happens all I'm able to do is unplug the battery. I didn't want to risk corrupting the sd card from doing this continuously so I haven't tinkered with it much. I did, however, try out those 8 steps you mentioned above. I used a keyboard to play some games on both of the pis with the freeplay image installed and they work perfectly fine. The screen flashed black for like half a second a couple times when playing for 5 minutes or so but that's it.

The system does shut down using the power switch when working normally.
When frozen, the system would at first shut down using the power switch, but during the last 3-4 times the power switch does not work.
When frozen, I do still get audio.
I haven't tried the HDMI when it is frozen but I can if it would help.
When frozen, the keyboard does not work either.
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#10
Mason,

Does this always happen on the same ROM?
If it happens with different games, does it always happen on the same emulator/system (like always GBA)?
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