Saturday, February 3, 2018

How to prevent Chromium from rebooting a Raspberry Pi 3 model B Rev 1.2

I tried to use a Raspberry Pi 3 model B Rev 1.2 as a dashboard for monitoring a couple of systems using Chromium as browser.

Tip: use  this to have it never turn off the display:
sudo xset s off
sudo xset -dpms
sudo xset s noblank

I had only two tabs open all the time and was using the Revolver browser extension to rotate the tabs. One tab had the default Datadog page open, another a custom dashboard within Kibana that refreshed every 15 minutes.
Using all default settings, within a few hours the Pi would reboot out of its own! So something got it to do that.

It seemed the browser (tabs) or the Javascript in them were just leaking so much memory that the Pi ran out of memory.  I tried multiple times with the same default setup, but the behavior was the same each time.

So I tried a couple of other things:
  1. Have the Revolver plugin fully reload the page. Still a reboot of the Pi, though it took a bit longer

  2. Added --process-per-site to the startup shortcut of Chromium. This causes Chrome to create less processes and that should reduce the memory usage a bit. But still a reboot of the Pi; though again it took a bit longer.
    Note that this also comes with its own weaknesses.

  3. Added --disable-gpu-program-cache to the startup shortcut of Chromium. Again still rebooted the Pi after a while.

  4. Tried other browsers like Midori and Firefox Iceweasel.  Midori does not have a Revolver-like plugin, so it didn't fit the requirements. Firefox's only add-on that should work gave some kind of "invalid format" error (don't remember exactly) when trying to install it. The other add-ons for Firefox were not compatible with Iceweasel.

So in the end I did not find a solution :(  I just built a cron-job that would restart the browser every 5 hours.
If you found a way to fix this problem, let the world know in the comments!