recurring blank screen on A64+ with ubuntu image & any desktop gui
hi all,

i'm writing about a recurring, annoying issue. here's my set-up —
  • Pine64 A64+ board with 2 GB RAM
  • ubuntu image running from @longsleep's ubuntu image 20160403-1, on a class-10, uhs-3 MicrosSD (thank you, @longsleep!)
  • also, after running the script to expand the partition to use the whole MicroSD, i installed the xdesktop-ubuntu for a window manager/gui (but i have also seen this happen on Mate or XFCE4).
when using the xdesktop-ubuntu window manager/gui (or Mate)(or XFCE), the desktop works fine for a while, but then randomly (and i haven't any one thing that causes it — could happen while dragging a window somewhere else on the screen, could be when i open a second or third window or app, could be during a long apt-get install, often, after a while, after log-in, it goes straight into the blank screen every time) it goes to a blank screen that i can't get any response from the keyboard or the mouse. i end up having to cycle the power on the board and restart to get out of it, every time. after a while, as i stated above, it tends, after gui log-in, to go straight to the blank screen, every time. i then have to unplug the board and let rest/sit for about a half an hour or more before trying again.

the blank screen can be a variety of colors — all light green (like the Mate desktop color scheme or the background pic i chose for xdesktop/ubuntu; could be flat slate grey; could be all light grey/white. it depends on what was last on the screen before the blank screen freezes everything.
  • any ideas on how to solve this or get out of it without a restart when the blank screen problem hits?
  • has anyone else seen this?
  • anyone have any solutions to this?
  • is it a heat/heat sync issue? do i need a fan on the board?
  • is it going to be an upcoming firmware fix to the board? a fix to the ubuntu image? both?
  • is this similar to the DMA problem i read about on with the a64+ 2 GB board with the Arch Linux image issue?
any help in getting this resolved, please, so i don't have to restart the board a couple dozen times a day to get things installed or done would be most appreciated. thanx in advance.


—  faddah
     portland, oregon, u.s.a.
Make sure you have adequate power: quality supply and cable. If the board seems to be working fine with a text only console, then this may be your problem, as there's a lot of cpu utilization going on without any 2d/3d hw acceleration.
(04-14-2016, 09:38 PM)patrickhwood Wrote: Make sure you have adequate power: quality supply and cable.  If the board seems to be working fine with a text only console, then this may be your problem, as there's a lot of cpu utilization going on without any 2d/3d hw acceleration.


thank you for replying — i was powering the board from the USB 3.0 connections on my Mac Pro, which i thought would have more than enough power. if i plug it into the wall, what should be the conversion on the power adaptor? 5v? 9v? 11v? 12v?

i was running my arch linux with an xfce4 desktop on the board for a number of days, running just fine. this morning, i hit the (in this case) bright yellow blank screen (probably because my screen background was a grove of gptrees in sunlight) freeze problem, this time a first on the arch linux w/ xfce4 install.

again, i have to ask, i had the board running quite a while before this happened. could this be a heat/heat sink issue? would having the pine64 clear plastic case help with this? any further help would be appreciated.

also, if anyone else has seen this screen blanking and freezing you out problem, i would appreciate others chiming in here, so i don't feel like the only one seeing this.


—  faddah
     portland, oregon, u.s.a.
Hello there. My first post HERE!  Cool

No, your USB 3.0 won't have enough CURRENT.

PINEA64 needs 2Amps/5V to work properly. I found this morning that my two pines (that won't boot or crash without any reason) with the WiFi/BT module onboard need more than a simple USB unbranded cable, despite a 3Amps 5V power supply.

So I've bought a new BRANDED and CERTIFIED USB cable from a local store and BANG! Pine works flawlessly even during a high stress benchmark software stressing the system to 100%

Power consumption @ about 2.5Amps.

The only question to the Pine Team it's:

Is there a way to power the Pine A64 2GB with WiFI/BT other than the USB/c? I saw a DCIN in the EULER "E" GPIO. Is this meant to power the board? Any protection needed?

Thanks in advance and CHEERS!
Yes, you can power the Pine via the DC IN pins on the Euler Bus. This is preferable to micro USB power method.

I would just add that it depends on the quality of the power supply and cable. I am running my Pine64 on a dedicated 5V/2A power supply and it works great. The PS is designed for a Raspberry Pi and is not just a cast off cellphone charger.

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