RaspBMC is Awesome Once You Get It Running

Last night, I finally got RaspBMC running on a 512MB Raspberry Pi, complete with Wifi capability! The setup is serving up episodes of Big Bang Theory ripped from my DVD collection (with more rips coming as soon as I get around to it). I love the Raspberry Pi Project. Furthermore, RaspBMC is definitely a killer app for the Pi and I’m so grateful it’s being developed.

That being said, I had to do a lot of searching and trial and error to get it all to work the way I wanted. Below are some things I had to do to get it all running the way I wanted.

  • I had to forego my really fast SanDisk 8GB Extreme SDHC Class 10 SD Card for a much slower Class 4 card. Two different Class 10 cards would go corrupt after a few reboots, resulting in the error “Kernel panic – not syncing: VFS: Unable to mount root fs on unknown block(179,3)”  Switching to the much slower Class 4 card has  eliminated the error (as of about 15 reboots).
  • I couldn’t use the fancy installer. Everytime I did, the Pi would get stuck in a loop reboot loop complaining about a failed update. I ended up using the pre-built RC5 image: The last resort ended up being the only one where I could get really far into installation.
  • The super-tiny Edimax EW-7811Un 150 Mbps Wireless 11n Nano Size USB Adapter works incredibly well without having to install any drivers (at least with the RC5 pre-built image). I have never bought such a cheap piece of hardware that ended up being so awesome. Note that to setup your wifi connection from within the GUI (which is what I did), you’ll need to install the Network-Manager addon from the XBMC addon repository.
  • The official XBMC Android Remote DOES NOT work with RaspBMC RC5. It’s a known issue. Apparently, there was a change in the remote communication API that has rendered the remote broken for XBMC 12. The Yatse remote app works great and allows me to pick what’s playing from my phone screen instead of having to squint at the TV.
  • I disabled automatic updates (even though it’s strongly encouraged not to do so) because it doesn’t seem to play nice with my Hughesnet.

I encourage anyone who is struggling to get RaspBMC up and running to NOT GIVE UP. It’s awesome once you get it working. And eventually, I’m confident that the RaspBMC devs are going to release an out-of-this-world distro that just works out of the box. Until then, I’m more than willing to work around these little issues and keep cheering them on!



Hi Jerry yea I agree it is sweet! Wifi setup on Raspbmc is somewhat of a headache but once you get it going it’s awesome. What I did to get it working was in Windows when I was writing the image to the SD card I choose set up network manually and just input my Wifi info then after the windows wrote the image I just stuck it in my PI and the PI grabbed the Wifi adapter and all was good.

I have the Edimax Wifi dongle

Jash Sayani

I had it working on my Pi but have the kernal panic after a few reboots. Any ideas besides changing cards. Might be auto updates?


I hope it is not too late but I might be able to help you.
Well, “shut down” probably means to you to disconnect the charger. If the machine is
in the middle of a writting operation to disk it would not complete it.
There are a few techniques to recover after those kind of things but they are part of the
disk too, therefore those operations might fail too.
Your filesystem is probably ext2/3/4 (data filesystem, similar to Windows ntfs) and the error ending with (179,3) means that the headers of the filesystem is corrupted.
To be more specific, the headers at the beggings of the extX and those at the end (which used to fixed those in the beggining) are corrupted. Therefore, the kernel thinks the filesystem is not extX and fails to mount them to whatever their mounting point be.
The solution:
let’s say the sd card is mapped to /dev/sdd then it is your device
In order to recover your files you need another Linux machine and:
1) Backup an image of the raspbmc using the following command (it might take a few hours)
sudo dd if=”/dev/sdd” of=”~/Desktop/raspbmc.img” bs=4K
2) Install ‘testdisk’ and run it on your device as follow:
sudo testdisk /dev/sdd
3) Choose the appropriate option for the partition table type(probably the first option – Intel something)
4) You should be able to see below for the data partition the option “List” – choose it.
5) read what it says but I think if you press ‘c’ it will copy the marked file from the image to your linux machine (where you choose).
6) GREAT you successfully recovered some files!
*NOTE the best would be to actually copy ALL the files if you don’t have an image you can restore your folders. It won’t work unless you restore all /bin, /sbin, /root, /etc, /dev, /sys, /var, /mnt, /lib, /boot, etc…

Now, in order to fix the sd card do as follow:
1) Create the data partition all over again (truthfully, you need to redo the filesystem and not the whole partition):
*let’s say that in the /dev/sdd device, the third partition is the data which means /dev/sdd3
sudo mkfs.ext4 -L Data /dev/sdd3
note that the -L option is followed by the label you want to give to the partition (it can be omitted).
2) create a directory somewhere (say ~/newhome) are run the following command:
sudo mount /dev/sdd3 ~/newhome
3) they you need to copy all the files you rescued into ~/newhome.
This way, they will be transferred into your raspberry pi.
4) After all of the files where trasnferred, run the following command:
sudo umount /dev/sdd3
5) you better make an image of the sd card.
6) use safely remove!
7) USE “shutdown -P timeout” instead of brutal shutdown.
8) sd cards are GENTLE!!!!

Hope it helps… good luck :)

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