The 6 most common reasons why Pine64 won't boot
#1
The order of the reasons is not intentional, it's just the order things come to my mind based on Forum posts:

  1. The official Android and RemixOS images can't be burned the usual way to an SD card (dd, Rufus, WinDiskimager) but need Phoenix Card instead (Windows only and causing all sorts of troubles for users that do not use this strange operating system). Burning an Android image the wrong way will result in the Pine64 waiting endlessly while showing already a red led lighting. PhoenixCard images can only be burned with the PhoenixCard software. DD images can be burned using the dd command (Linux/Mac) Rufus, Win32DiskImager (Windows), Etcher, ApplePi Baker (Mac). Attempting to burn a DD image in PhoenixCard will result in a 'script not found' error. Likewise attempting to burn a PhoenixCard image with one of the above-named DD processes/applications will not work either.
  2. Data written to SD card got corrupted either because you unfortunately bought a counterfeit SD card or the card is faulty. Another common problem are SD card readers that start to overheat when used with a fast card and corrupt data 'on the fly'. Checking for both problems is simple: Never use any flash based media without verifying it before.
  3. Insufficient power supply: unfortunately Pine64 uses Micro USB for DC-IN, many USB cables have a resistance way to high (leading to severe voltage drops) and this combined with crappy PSUs (the old phone charger you found in the drawer) will lead to the Pine64 crashing in early boot stage
  4. HDMI issues: You connected a screen but Pine64 and display disagree about settings (no idea whether EDID is implemented in Allwinner's 3.10.x Android kernel that is currently also used for all available Linux images)
  5. The Pine64 boots fine but you don't notice still staring at the red led indicating 'error'
  6. You use either the RemixOS or an Android image and have Ethernet connected at first boot. This will prevent the board from doing so, so please consider disconnecting Ethernet after burning an Android/RemixOS image and only connect it back when you already see the desktop.
What to add?

Important to know: 
  • pre-production samples were equipped with a green led, the production batch replaced this with a red led. So red doesn't indicate failure but 'power available' instead. Unfortunately you get no other feedback whether the Pine64 actually boots or not. The red led will light even if the A64 waits patiently for a bootable OS available on a SD card an hour or endlessly.
  • combining 'smart USB chargers' with devices that are 'dumb' on the other end of the cable might not work: If you use a 'charging hub' to power your Pine64 then chances are pretty high that the charger only provides 500mA (max. current defined by USB2.0 specs) which might be not enough to allow the Pine64 to boot (5.1V/2A!). Most 'smart chargers' will only provide more than 500mA if the device in question implements any of the USB power specifications (Pine64 implements none of them since it's just DC-IN)
  • 2GB boards suffer from crashing or rebooting loops when Ethernet is connected since there's a integer overflow present in older kernel variants. Fixed by longsleep in early April, so Linux images can be updated using the instructions from "Linux Development" forum an a new RemixOS release should fix this also.
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The 6 most common reasons why Pine64 won't boot - by Andrew2 - 03-31-2016, 10:03 AM

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