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article imageThe new Raspberry Pi is 'camera shy'; reboots after flash shot

By James Walker     Feb 8, 2015 in Technology
Users of the new Raspberry Pi 2 credit-card sized computer launched earlier this week are discovering that the device appears to be "camera shy" with several owners noting that using flash to take a photo of the device causes it to freeze and then reboot.
The new version of the popular minicomputer was unveiled just six days ago, retailing at the same $35 ultra-low price point as its predecessor, the Raspberry Pi B+. The first orders are now arriving in the hands of customers, many of whom are taking pictures of the tiny computer and the usage they are tasking it with.
It is at this stage though that an interesting, easily replicated phenomenon is being experienced by many. It appears as though firing a xenon flash at the Pi causes it to freeze and then reboot itself, apparently "camera shy." The effect is apparent in several videos uploaded to the Internet.
The issue was first reported on the Raspberry Pi forums yesterday where it was quickly repeated by other users. It has been determined that the issue is caused specifically by xenon flashes used on cameras. The Pi withstands the LED flashes used on phones without any issues.
The "camera shyness" is caused by the exposed nature of the Pi's motherboard. It has long been known that computer chips can be photosensitive and subject to interference from light sources. In this case, it appears as though the sudden burst of energy from xenon flashes is affecting the Raspberry Pi 2's power supply controller, causing it to momentarily stop supplying power to the board and triggering the system reboot.
The Raspberry Pi 2 is around six times faster than its predecessor with a 900MHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 processor and support for desktop operating systems including special ports of Ubuntu and, later this year, Windows 10.
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