Booting from USB

Hi Guys,

I have a large number of Raspberry Pi computers on my home network. The bulk of the 3B, 3B+ and 4B’s boot from USB devices while the 2B’s boot from SD but run from USB. This is much more reliable than running from SD card. Is it possible to do this for the RaspberryShake? The reason I ask is… I have had my RS1D running for all 2 days and workmen turned the power off… scrambling the SD card of course. Interestingly it was the only PI that was effected. All the other Raspbery PIs’ just rebooted without corrupting their SD cards ( those still running on them). I’m not sure if the ShakeOS is peculiarly vulnerable to this issue but it would be interesting to know.

Cheers, Peter

Hi Peter, welcome to the community.

Yes, we have been aware of various SD card vulnerabilities since near the beginning of the project. SD cards are fickle beasts and the cheap ones typically only last for a few thousand write cycles (you can read more about SD card grades here in the manual). Since Raspberry Shakes record data to the SD card very frequently, they can be susceptible to corruption errors when power is removed without graceful shutdown.

At the moment, we don’t support booting from USB (EDIT: although we are actively working on being able to), but we do currently support saving the data to an external device, which is able to take some of the strain off of our SD cards. See here:

Did you receive the card from us or did you supply your own?

Hi Ian,

no, the SD card was locally sourced and should have been of good quality. I’m not too worried about it at the moment as I’m still building my outside enclosure. I will be creating a USB file system for data tonight though…

Thanks, Peter

SD card manufacturers pull several tricks that make it seem like cards are more durable than they are. Sometimes they are marketed as “commercial grade” or “high-endurance” but unless it’s explicitly stated that they are at least MLC-grade I tend to stay away from them. A couple MLC-grade cards I’ve had success with:

hello peter,

i would also like to add my experience with SD cards. being a developer on the shake project from the beginning, i have several units sitting next to me, and i live in panama, in a location where the electricity quite regularaly goes down and up, sometimes it’s a short outage, and sometimes it’s out for hours, usually more than once per week.

in over three years now, i have ended up with only one corrupted SD card in all that time, after literally hundreds of hard power-downs.

so, to answer your last question, i am not under the impression at all that the shakeOS is in any way particularly vulnerable to a power outage.

on the other hand, what we did find caused SD corruption much more than a power outage was when two data sources would be writing large amounts of data to the SD card at the same time. this type of disk activity is supposed to be handled and properly mitigated, but, in fact, depends on the quality of the card. in addition, some changes were made to the ShakeOS that reduced this dual-writing to the disk to a minimum. since then, SD card corruptions have been significantly reduced.

sorry your card went belly-up on the first time power outage, that, imho, is rather unlucky. :frowning:

in other news, we are looking into your other question regarding booting from USB and will report back when we have something concrete for you.



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