Skip to main content

Raspberry Pi USB boot issue

For several months I’ve had a lot of problems with one of my Raspberry Pi devices. It’s a Pi 4 with 4GB RAM. It would boot fine from the SD card, but whenever I’d try to get it booting from USB it would give an error like “usb2-port1: Cannot enable. Maybe the USB cable is bad?” It would print the error several times, sometimes it would then boot anyway, sometimes it would end up at like a recovery console suggesting I run journalctl something something. (sorry, I didn’t ever actually write down the errors) Even when it did boot it was very slow to do so. Then shutting down was always slow, hanging on syncing the time, and other random (unmemorable) slowness.

For quite a while I just had it running with /boot on the SD card and root on the SSD. Then Bullseye happened, and I decided to wipe all the Pi and reinstall. The other 4 Pi were merrily booting from their M.2 Sata SSDs, but again the one in the Argon M.2 case was giving me the same old fits.

At some point in fiddling I realized it’s now giving the error even when there is nothing at all plugged into any of the USB ports. The was the “Aha” moment. Turned it all off, unplugged and unscrewed everything, and started inspecting the physical USB ports. Flipped it over, and there on the bottom is a goober of solder bridging one of the pins to the shield…

solder blob

Fired up the soldering iron, meltored the blob until the bridge was gone, and now that Pi is happily booting from its SSD with no SD card in sight.