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Raspberry Pi 2 Loses Its Shit When You Blast It With a Camera Flash

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One user of the newly available Raspberry Pi 2 computer has discovered a pretty weird flaw with the new hardware: If you shoot the cheapy computer with a camera flash, it shuts right the hell down.

In a blog post, Raspberry Pi communications director Liz Upton explains that in the company's testing, there is indeed a problem that happens under very specific conditions.

it's ONLY really high-intensity bursts like xenon flashes and laser pointers that will cause the issue. Other bright lights – even camera flashes using other technologies – won't set it off. You can take your naked Pi 2 in the sunshine for a picnic or take it to a rave, and it'll be perfectly solid. Just don't take it on the red carpet at the Oscars. Jon is currently shining an 1800-lumen led light at a Pi 2 on his desk: not a wobble.


While the Raspberry Pi is the first time most people would run into this problem, it's not unique. The issue has its roots in a phenomenon called the photovoltaic effect, which is when metals emit electrons when they're hit by light. Coincidentally enough, it's the same phenomenon that allows solar cells to function. And in the case of the Pi 2, it's happening in the silicon junctions of the semiconductors. The junctions get "upset" by the blast of high-intensity light, blast out some electrons, and then Pi goes to sleep.

According to Upton, the devs haven't found any evidence that the camera flash bug causes any lasting damage to the mini computer. So if you're looking to prank a Pi owner in your life, all you need to do is pull out the flash. [Raspberry Pi via Cnet]