Repairing a Dead Ninja Block


So you've bought a new Ninja Block and you've started automating all the things in your life. Things are going well until one day your Ninja's eyes go dark. "I cannot live without my Ninja Block," you say. Have no fear, grasshopper-- there is hope. Follow the steps below and you shall once again see your Ninja's eyes come alight.

Step 1: Make sure your SD card is seated

Take a pen, paper clip, a samurai sword or something pointy and ensure the SD card is firmly seated inside the block. It should make a nice clicking sound as it goes in. If you don't hear a click or you feel you have to really force it in, open up the block and inspect the SD card slot. Check to see if there is anything blocking the entry of the SD card.

Step 2: Inspect Das Blinkenlights   

Open up the block and inspect the LEDs as it boots. You should see led 0 and led 1 blink like crazy as it boots. When the booting has completed, you should see led 0 "double tap" blink at a regular interval. Check out the graphic below if you have no idea what I'm talking about. If das blinkenlights aren't "blinken" as they should, this indicates there is a problem. If you're not seeing any LEDs blink, proceed to Step 5. Keep calm and carry on.


After the block has booted, you should check out the status LED on the corner of the Ninja Block. The color of this LED will tell you what state the Ninja is in.

Status Huh?
Purple     Ninja Block is waiting to be paired. Pair at!
Dark Blue    Something is wrong. See following steps.
Light Blue    Ninja is working properly, but not connected to network. See following steps.
Green All systems go! Your Ninja is paired and accepting commands.

Step 3: Check network connectivity

If your status LED was light blue, then this indicates your block can't connect to the cloud. If you have a laptop handy, check to make sure you can hit the web yourself before diving into troubleshooting.

For wired connections
  • Check that the lights are on and blinking on the network port when the block is powered on. If the lights are off, try and swap out the network cable or replug the cable to ensure a good connection. 
  • Check that your router is running a DHCP server. You can usually see the settings on your browser by pointing your browser to or 
For wireless connections
  • Wireless connections will only work if you've set up your Ninja Block using our handy dandy wifi setup script. If this has worked previously, try and replug the wifi dongle and rebooting the block.
  • If you look inside the dongle, you can actually see a tiny blue LED blinking. This indicates normal operation. 

And of course, if all else fails, rebooting your router is surprisingly effective at solving home network issues. Don't ask us, ask the gremlins.

Step 4: Connect to your Ninja Block directly

Follow this this tutorial to connect your Ninja Block directly. If you can't seem to connect, proceed to the next step. If you can connect, execute the following commands. The password is temppwd if it asks. If a command is taking way too long to execute, hold the "control" button and hit "c" to stop it. Be patient though! 

sudo status ninjablock
sudo stop ninjablock
sudo start ninjablock
tail -n20 /var/log/ninjablock.log
tail -n20 /var/log/kern.log
Save the output from these commands for later in case the next step doesn't fix your problem. This output will help the community a great deal in troubleshooting your problem.

If your block doesn't have a status light but you're able to connect to it, try and run these commands:

sudo stop ninjablock
sudo ninja_update_arduino

Step 5: Factory reset your Ninja Block

If the status LED on your block is dark blue/off or if you are seeing flooding errors in your Ninja Block console, the best thing to do at this point is to factory reset your Ninja Block. This involves reflashing the SD card that came with your Ninja Block. I promise this is not as hard as it sounds. You can do this by following the instructions here.

When you've finished flashing your card, plug the block into your router with an ethernet cable. Power it on and wait until the status light goes purple. It might take a bit longer than usual since the block will probably have to update itself to the latest and greatest. This is a good opportunity to check out the forums or the how-tos for ideas on your next project!

Step 6: Post on the forums/Email us!

The forums are a great resource to get help. Make a post and paste the output of your terminal sessions to a gist or to pastebin. If the forum hasn't been any help, you're more than welcome to email us out help@ninjablocks!

Happy hacking!

Nick Clark
Nick Clark