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xserver crashing/not loading on boot

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  • xserver crashing/not loading on boot

    I don't know if this is the issue, but here is my LXDE auto config:

    @lxpanel --profile LXDE
    @pcmanfm --desktop --profile LXDE
    #@xscreensaver -no-splash
    @xset s off
    @xset -dpms
    @xset s noblank
    @midori -e Fullscreen -a [URL]http://localhost[/URL]
    @unclutter -idle 0.1 -root
    Can you see anything in the above that would cause the module to not display anything on screen? It can happen either on boot or reboot. The initial splash screen shows, then the 4D logo, then our own splash screen then nothing. Black screen. The system has booted, I can SSH in, but the screen is blank.

    The system has a wifi dongle attached and is running off the micro USB for power.

    OS: Latest Jessie (note: issue didn't happen on Wheezy)

    We have 6 43Ts, it's happening on all of them.

    Is there a way to detect during boot if xserver failed and retry/restart. The unit is as good as dead with a blank screen, so I'd rather just reboot it automatically if the xserver fails than leave it running.
    Last edited by lsparke; 13 February 2017, 09:26 AM. Reason: Further info

  • #2
    Dear lsparke,

    I tested the autostart file to our primary displays
    like the 4DPi-24-HAT and the screen does not go blank.
    However, you cannot do this to the 43PT you are using
    since they are secondary displays. The primary displays
    like the 4DPi-24-HAT, 4DPi-32, 4DPi-35 can be controlled
    by the Raspbian OS but not the secondary displays.
    You can control the 43PT using the Raspberry Pi Library
    under the ViSi-Genie Environment. Or using the Linux Serial
    Library under the Serial Environment.

    Here is the link for the VISI-Genie User Guide:

    Here is the link for the VISI-Genie Reference Manual:

    Here is the link for the Raspberry Pi library for VISI-Genie:

    Best regards,


    • #3
      I have now reverted back to the default autostart:

      @lxpanel --profile LXDE
      @pcmanfm --desktop --profile LXDE
      @xscreensaver -no-splash
      I've also removed the wifi dongle and the same thing happens. The initial splash screens show, then nothing. This happens around 40 - 50% of all reboots/power ups. Sometimes the screen works, sometimes it doesn't. There must be a log somewhere which can show what happend?


      • #4
        Dear lsparke,

        Could you please tell me what is the exact 4D systems model or product you are attaching to your Raspberry Pi so I can duplicate your setup ?


        • #5

          They're not Raspberry Pis, they're Armadillo 43Ts


          • #6
            Dear lsparke,

            Are you using the latest Armadillian-Jessie 43T revision 1.4? Please note that using a generic linux image not provided by 4D system
            will not work since the Armadillo uses a custom PWM configuration to drive the backlight of the LCD. Please try to use the revision 1.4
            and test if this happens.


            • #7
              We're using Armadillian-Jessie 43T revision 1.4.

              I've just downloaded and created a new SD Card. Followed these steps:

              1. Expand File System
              2. Boot to X Windows
              3. Reboot


              3. Armadillo config
              4. Rotate screen Left
              5. Reboot

              Blank screen.

              No USB dongle, no other software installed. Brand new install of Armadillian-Jessie 43T revision 1.4.

              6. Press reboot button on Armadillo

              OK this time.

              7. Reboot

              Blank screen

              8. Press reboot button on Armadillo


              9. Reboot


              It's inconsistent but just in this short test I managed to get 2 blank screens.


              • #8
                Dear lsparke,

                I followed the steps you described and the blank screen
                you observed is actually happening when it is booting.
                When you enable X windows, there are no boot messages so,
                the screen appears to be blank. Please be patient and check
                if the Armadillo will boot after the blank screen.

                However, if the Armadillo still does not boot after the
                blank screen, the probable cause is that the Power supply
                you are using cannot provide enough current for the Armadillo.
                From the datasheet, the Armadillo consumes 400 milli amperes
                which is near the limit of the USB ports of a PC. So please
                try to use a power supply with a current rating of 1 Ampere.

                Best regards,


                • #9
                  Hi Noel,

                  We are using 2 amp power adapters.

                  I turned on the Armadillo this morning, the screen worked, I then rebooted, the screen was blank.

                  The screen is on, it doesn't seem like a power issue, i.e. you can see that the backlight is on, however the screen is blank. Also we never had any of these issues with Wheezy, even if connected to a computer rather than 2A power adapter, so I don't it's a power issue, it's something wrong with the software.

                  Is there anyway we can view logs or get the post data to show so we can see what's happening? Can you think of a workaround. We have customers waiting on shipment of our product and we can't ship if the screen is intermittently blank.
                  Last edited by lsparke; 21 February 2017, 09:08 AM.


                  • #10
                    Dear lsparke,

                    Please try this attached start.elf to see if it will solve your problem. According to our product manager,
                    "This start.elf is unlocked in the sense that it doesn't lock the boot process if the BCM2835 OTP is not reporting it is an Armadillo correctly"
                    This is just a test, there is no guarantee this will solve your problem.

                    Overwrite the start.elf which came with the Armadillian image.
                    You can overwrite the start.elf by inserting the uSD card to a USB card reader and insert it to your PC.
                    Overwrite the start.elf in the uSD and replace it with the new start.elf where you saved it in your PC.

                    Here is the dropbox link for the start.elf file :

                    Best regards,


                    • #11
                      Thanks. I thought that was working, I rebooted 4 times and the screen came up each time, but on the 5th reboot it was blank again.

                      This is now an urgent issue for us. I'm surprised that you are not able to replicate the issue since it is happening on all 7 of our Armadillos. Are you able to reboot 10x successfully without a blank screen?


                      • #12
                        Dear lsparke,

                        Are you using an industrial grade uSD Card? Perhaps you are using a faulty or semi faulty uSD card. Often times
                        the Armadillo does not boot if the uSD card is defective. Here is a link which is a SD Formatter program. Please install it
                        and format your uSD card using a Full Overwrite in the Option. See if the format finishes.
                        There are also some issues like Read disturb phenomena which affects uSD cards.
                        Please browse this link and read the topic under Read disturb.
                        Here is the uSD card recommended by 4D systems:

                        Here is the link of the SD card Formatter:

                        Best regards,


                        • #13
                          Hi Noel,

                          The system boots fine, I am able to SSH in and can see all processes are running. It's just that the screen is blank.

                          Were you able to reboot 10 times without the screen going blank?


                          • #14
                            Hi lsparke,

                            I was able to duplicate you setup and the screen turns blank after 6 boot-reboot cycles. I have referred this case to our Product Manager and he
                            contacted the Software developer who made the Linux image and kernel. They will try to fix the problem as soon as possible, if they can determine what is causing it.
                            Best regards,


                            • #15
                              Hi Noel,

                              I purchased another Armadillo with the SD card and power adapter. I thought it might be helpful for your team to know that I was able to reboot 10 times successfully when connected to the power adapter (0.5A) but I got the blank screen after 3 reboots when connected via micro USB (2A).