Please check our Freeplaytech forum to see if anyone else has encountered the same issue you have had.
If you try to turn your Freeplay Zero/CM3 on, and all you see is a white LCD, here are the things to check.
- Did you use the proper Freeplay Zero/CM3 SD image? If you use one directly from RetroPie, you will get a white screen.
- Did you burn the .img file to your micro SD card? Some burning software will automatically unzip the .gz file. Some won’t. Unzip it yourself prior to burning or make sure your software works with .gz files. Under Windows, use 7Zip to unzip the file.
- Did you “burn” the image to your micro SD card, or did you just copy the file to the drive? You need to burn it (using something like Etcher for Mac/Win, ApplePi-Baker for Mac or Win32 Disk Imager for Windows).
- If you hold the POWER button in the on position for 5-10 seconds, does the green LED (on the front of the Freeplay console) turn on? If so, your image is likely booting properly. If not, re-check the previous items in this list.
- If you hook up HDMI to a TV/Monitor, do you see the operating system boot up there? If so (and you get the green LED) then your issue is likely with the LCD ribbon cable or the soldering on your RPi Zero. Note that the Freeplay SD image will set HDMI to a specific resolution that works well for both HDMI and the built-in LCD. This may not work for some TVs/Monitors. If you do not get output via HDMI, but the green LED on the front of your Freeplay Zero/CM3 is lit, please see our HDMI guide.
- Check this video showing the proper usage of the FPC connector to lock down the Freeplay Zero/CM3 LCD ribbon cable.
- If you used a hammer header, please check to see that you didn’t hammer it too far in. The “eyelets” of the pins should be fully inside of the circuit board. Using the hammer jig, you can tap the pins back (or further) into place. Check out our Raspberry Pi Zero Hammer Header instructional video.
If a specific button isn’t working, the first thing you can try is to move the rubber pads around a bit to see if it’s a problem with the actual button rubber. For example, you can set the DPad rubber on the gold contacts and rotate the DPad 90/180/270 degrees to see if the problem follows the rubber or you can use the START/SELECT rubber on the A or B pad.
Next, try using a small bit of isopropyl alcohol on a paper towel or rag to wipe the gold contacts of the button pad. If there is oil or other buildup on the contacts, it can cause the button to function intermittently or not at all.
If those things don’t help, then the problem is likely with the connection to the Raspberry Pi. On the Freeplay CM3, you can remove the Pi Compute Module and re-connect it. On the Freeplay Zero, you will want to check the solder (or hammer header) connections to make sure they are making proper contact.
If you are using a hammer header, make sure that you have not accidentally hammered the header too far through the circuit board. If you have, you can likely hammer it back a little bit. See above.
To check the buttons (or other connections) on your Freeplay Zero, please see the following document. It features printable templates for you to test the solder (or hammer header) points connecting the Freeplay Zero PCB to your Raspberry Pi Zero.
If your Freeplay Zero/CM3 isn’t booting, another issue could be with the battery or the charging circuitry. Here is a sequence of steps/tests to narrow down the issue.
- Unplug all batteries.
- Plug in power to the Freeplay Zero/CM3 MicroUSB charging port.
- Does the LED (on the back in the cartridge slot area) turn green? If there is no LED, this could indicate that your charger or microUSB cable is bad. If the LED is blue, there could be an issue with your charging circuit, and you should open a support ticket with us.
- Plug in one battery to one of the battery plugs.
- Does the LED change from green to blue? Blue indicates that it is charging. If the battery is already 100% charged, it could remain green. However, if it remains green, it could also mean that the battery (or its wires are bad).
- Unplug that battery.
- Does the LED go back to green?
- (Only on older Freeplay units with 2 battery connectors.) Plug in another battery to the other battery plug.
- (Only on older Freeplay units with 2 battery connectors.) Does the LED change from green to blue?
- Plug in the battery. (Only on older Freeplay units with 2 battery connectors, plug in both batteries.)
- After a full charge, does the LED turn from blue to green?
If you can not get HDMI video working or if you want to listen to your sound on your HDMI TV, please see our Freeplay Zero/CM3 HDMI guide.