I want to get a RCA screen and connect through an adapter cable to the 3.5mm jack. This will be my first time setting up the pi. My question is will this work or does it automatically only send out to HDMI unless configured (which I obviously can't do since I don't have a HDMI screen)? In other words I am doing my first setup of raspberry pi and am wondering if by default the pi also sends out video to the 3.5mm jack also?

  • Even if it were not to output analogue video (which I am not sure about right now) you could always ssh into it and configure it that way without a HDMI display. Just be sure to pick an OS that has sshd up and running per default.
    – Ghanima
    Apr 28, 2015 at 7:11
  • Does raspbian have that in the Noobs package?
    – NULL
    Apr 28, 2015 at 11:25
  • 1
    @EinsteinJr. Yes, Raspbian includes sshd. However, you may (not sure) have to enable in raspi-config on the initial time you boot. Apr 28, 2015 at 13:17

2 Answers 2


In all of my experiences, the Pi will send the signal out to whichever cable it detects as being active (connected to a display.)

However, if there is no display connected, it defaults to HDMI. And, judging by your comment, you're using NOOBS, which automatically defaults to HDMI even if there isn't a display connected. From the NOOBS Github page:

By default, NOOBS will output over HDMI at your display’s preferred resolution, even if no HDMI display is connected. If you do not see any output on your HDMI display or are using the composite output, press 1, 2, 3 or 4 on your keyboard to select HDMI preferred mode, HDMI safe mode, composite PAL mode or composite NTSC mode respectively.

  • 1 to select HDMI preferred mode
  • 2 to select HDMI safe mode
  • 3 to select Composite PAL mode
  • 4 to select Composite NTSC mode

or, you can set the preferred output mode prior to booting NOOBS by editing the the recovery.cmdline file in the root NOOBS directory prior to booting NOOBS and tacking on the following line to the end: display=<DISPLAYMODENUM>. DISPLAYMODENUM being 1-4, same as the buttons, each causes NOOBS to default to a different display mode.

  • So even if I just got my pi and haven't done anything as far as setup, I can plug in the RCA display and a keyboard and mouse and power supply, click 3 on the keyboard and it will transmit screen data to 3.5mm jack?
    – NULL
    Apr 28, 2015 at 13:56
  • 1
    @EinsteinJr. In theory, yes, that should work! Or, if it doesn't, you can always edit the file prior to booting! Best of luck! Apr 28, 2015 at 14:35
  • ohhhhhhh, I get it!!!! Somehow I never thought of editing the files on the sd card from a PC. Well, live and learn. Thanks!
    – NULL
    Apr 28, 2015 at 14:43
  • @EinsteinJr. Yup! Glad I could help :) Apr 28, 2015 at 14:48

Just wanted to add to RPi Awsomeness(cool name) answer. When the pi boots, a green led will flicker. After it does, you keep pressing the shift key until it blinks a lot. Then you can press 1/2/3/4. This confuzled me for a while so I thought I would post it. Hope it helps.

  • This probably should have been a comment for next time. So your saying you have to press shift too?
    – NULL
    May 6, 2015 at 11:05

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