Speaker pHAT woes... (pleeeeease help!)


My wife bought me a Speaker pHAT as part of my birthday present and I’m just not having any success* :-(

I have had so far:

  • Loud clicks

  • Sound from speaker-test(s) when I ran ‘sudo rm /etc/asound.conf’

  • Very quiet sound from Sonic Pi when in GUI (clicks as it started)

  • Loud clicks as the Pi shut down

  • No lights. At all. Ever.

I’ve tried different Raspberry Pi boards [zero and 2B], various power supplies, ran headless with the ethernet/USB hub, direct without the hub, several fresh SD cards, used the OLI each time, and said Raspberry Pi three times into the mirror whilst holding a candle…

I’d already tried most of the above, albeit without deleting the asound.conf file or trying Sonic Pi before Pimoroni support kindly swapped my Speaker pHAT for a new kit. (At that point all I’d heard were clicks).

The least whiny “Setting of hwparams failed: Invalid argument” message that I’ve received is ‘Rate 48000Hz not available for playback: Invalid argument’ which makes me think that it should be easy (for those in the know!) to fix…?

Could someone help please…?

Thanks in advance,

*with the pHAT!!!

I responded to your query in the other topic yesterday, and I guess there are some answers to my questions here, so I’ll try my best to provide more info…

  1. you will never ever get the VU meter working if you delete the asound.conf

  2. clicks when you start or stop a stream is a byproduct of putting the amp to rest

  3. the sample rate in the asound.conf may impose some limitations to what you can use for playback, if the program used is not capable of sample rate conversion.

… I think the main question is what purpose you wish the speaker phat to take in your project. If you need to handle a variety of sources then operating under control of pulseaudio may be advisable.

You must be confusing me with someone else — I didn’t pose a query on this topic until today!!


  1. I got this idea from the ‘other’ topic where this is mentioned, and tried it in desperation to see if any sound was produced, ta.

  2. That’s good to know, if it’s normal and expected behaviour.

  3. I hoped to get something from the speaker-test command(s) — maybe this is where I’m going wrong as I haven’t tried anything other than Sonic Pi beyond this…?

So, I’ll explore sample rate options for starters.

But what about the low volume with Sonic Pi? Not something I intend to use with this set-up mind, but after setting the volume to 80, as advised throughout the forums it’s barely audible. Should I just write this (Sonic Pi) off…?

I’d planned to make a crude MIDI module for an M-Audio USB controller keyboard.( Just for practising).


I don’t think there is any reason to limit the volume to 80. If it’s too quiet, crank it up? as long as your power supply is adequate I can’t see what harm it would do.

Ah, when I said “quiet” I didn’t mean it wasn’t very loud, it was barely audible like a lost mobile phone wrapped in a jumper, and in a bag: E.g. “ssshh! Everyone, ssshh!! I can hear something…” that kind of butterfly-parping quiet!

Ey, at least I know the device appears to be healthy, so I can just bugger around with settings and software now :-)