THERE'S LITTLE doubt that the Raspberry Pi 4 is one of the most exciting launches we've seen this year, but it has a rather weird design 'feature'.
Users have spotted that the single-board computer, the first to boast a USB-C port, has a rather strange relationship with some cables.
In theory, all USB-C cables are created equal, but we all know it's not quite that simple; the rollout of the standard has been beset by quirks and confusion, and it looks like the Pi 4 has fallen foul.
Users reported it appeared their units wouldn't power due to cables they were using, and now Eben Upton, who co-created the Pi, has admitted that a design 'quirk' involving a feature called e-marking is to blame.
E-marking is a technique which gives a cable a digital signature based on what the cable is going to do. However, when used with a smart charger, the e-mark can give a false positive, causing the cable to 'see' the Pi as an audio accessory, not something that needs to be powered.
The bad news is that there's not a lot the team can do about this until the next hardware revision - the quirk is built into the hardware. Upton told Tech Republic: "I expect this will be fixed in a future board revision, but for now users will need to apply one of the suggested workarounds.
"It's surprising this didn't show up in our (quite extensive) field testing program."
In the meantime, you'll need to make sure you're using a bog-standard USB-C cable without e-marking (good luck finding out which cables are which) and a charger that delivers a steady 5V 3A power supply - you'll note that's slightly higher than the usual 2.4A your phone probably uses.
Raspberry Pi does an official charger and cable, and for eight quid, it's probably just easier to buy one of those. It's just one of those things because the Pi 4 is too good to be written off over a minor wobble like this. μ
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