Pcbnew keeps crashing constantly after RAM upgrade


I have a very weird issue after upgrading my RAM from 2 x 4GB to 2 x 8GB of RAM on my laptop. At least that is the only change I can think of that could cause this:

Pcbnew is constantly crashing. And with constantly I mean:

  • Upon (mouse) zooming the first time
  • Upon deselecting a layer
  • Upon switching zone display mode
  • Upon zooming with the dropdown menu and then moving the mouse afterwards

Pretty much anything that involves graphics somehow. I am pretty clueless. Does pcbnew produce any log files or something? I have been using pcbnew for a good 8 years by now and never had something like this (well, the early days probably…).

I am running KiCad 5.0.2 on Ubuntu 16.04.1

Any help appreciated!

Out of despair I tried now to sandbox pcbnew (firejail) - that actually makes it work without crashing…

This sounds like hardware/driver problem, most probably KiCad doesn’t have such a bug that it would react to memory upgrade. Have you used other software which requires accelerated graphics like 3D games? Have you run memtest?

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As this problem seemed to appear after a mem upgrade an extensive memory test seems the first thing to try.

When did you do the memory upgrade? Any problems with other programs?

I use no other programs with accelerated 3D graphics - at least I’m not aware of. (I recently played through vmscumm Day of the Tentacle tho :joy:) I bought original Samsung RAM, so no cheapo hardware…

I did the upgrade around 1 week ago and I could notice it with Pcbnew immediately, thought it to be a bug first though but the crashes persistet. No problems with any other programs.

I can run a memtest later today, I am at work right now.

Again: Are there any logfiles being produced or can I produce logfiles somehow?

At least for now sandboxing it is a workaround :slight_smile:

Ah, wait yeah I did actually use another program: 0 A.D. - that had no problems…

So, I finally had the time to do a memtest and according to the results, my RAM is absolutely fine. At least I found the option now of non-accelerated mode which works fine but I am still wondering what causes these random crashes…

Have you considered updating to Ubuntu 18.04? this is one of those bugs that a different kernel might fix.

Oh of course I have considered it, just didn’t see a reason for it until now :stuck_out_tongue: Okay you are right, maybe this is the reason to update. Thanks for the tip. I will try it.

It would seem logical to test the new RAM before looking into software. If it were me I would:

  1. power everything down, unseat and reseat the RAM.

  2. Run this Ram test program; https://www.memtest86.com/

I have found issues with RAM in the past. This program is well thought enough to be used as verification to the mfg that their memory has failed. Most memory has a lifetime guarantee.


Does it crash in either of the canvases (legacy, fallback, accelerated) or in one canvas specifically?

JohnRob, not sure if you read everything but according to memtest86 my RAM is fine (let it run for 11+ hours). The RAM is brand new and Samsung brand.

MitjaN, it only crashes in accelerated mode. All other modes work fine.

Then the problem is in graphics. Given that the problems started when you’ve changed RAM I am going to venture a guess saying that you have an integrated graphic card, which is using system RAM. As memtest passes the drivers are the most likely culprit. But this is where my help ends, as I don’t have a clue about linux and drivers.

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Another thing to try is to check on the manufacturers website for BIOS updates

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Sorry I missed it.

I have three other thoughts:

  1. some computers share video memory with ram memory. If this is the case could the allocated video memory have changed during the upgrade?

  2. Is the old memory still available to reinstall to verify the new Ram is the source of the issue?

  3. Could the memory timing be wrong in the bios? Most auto detect but maybe the bios didn’t get triggered by the update.


So I upgraded to 18.04 on the weekend and indeed the crashes went away. I can now have fully hardware accelerated KiCad graphics. I mean, my desktop is broken, internet didn’t work at first, login loop, can’t open any gnome apps and everything but HEY my KiCad is working again, so what’s the big deal :stuck_out_tongue:


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