If you’ve got the new Raspberry Pi 2, be careful about photographing it. Unfortunately it appears exposure to a xenon camera flash can shut the mini-PC’s power off.
Several users noticed the effect and discussed the possible causes on user message boards. The Raspberry Pi Foundation has now confirmed the cause and diagnosis was correct and rather cheekily tried to explain it away as “a free physics lesson”.
The Foundation’s Liz Upton explained that the problem results from high-intensity long-wave light, which can be emitted by both xenon flashes and laser pointers. It triggers the light hits the chip that regulates the power in the processor core. Upton noted the specific problem is “the photoelectric effect, where metals emit electrons when hit by light.”
According to the Foundation, ordinary light, no matter how bright, won’t trigger the effect. It adds that it will work on ways to remove the problem in future units
In the meantime, it says the crashes should cause no serious damage, though it’s best to avoid intentionally triggering the effect as this raises the chances of corrupting the Pi 2’s SD card.
The Foundation recommends that if you do need to expose the Pi 2 to xenon flashes, you can cover the component in question (marked U16) with Blu-Tak or Sugru.