Occasionally, when I power up my friendly RPi, the screen stays blank as if there is no output from the HDMI. I can still ssh to the device, so it is working.

Can anyone suggest reasons why it may be happening and how to fix it?

  • Are you sure it is just the HDMI output? Have you tried connecting to it with ssh?
    – finnw
    Jun 16, 2012 at 22:36
  • 1
    @finnw I'm sure. I'm connected to it via ssh right now and it's also connected to a blank screen.
    – Jivings
    Jun 16, 2012 at 22:38
  • Now it seems to have stopped working completely...
    – Jivings
    Jun 17, 2012 at 7:34

2 Answers 2


This was due to incorrect settings in /boot/config.txt.

Actually deleting the config file solved my issue, but its purpose and possible parameters are documented here.

The contents of my file were:


This is what comes by default in Arch. The hdmi_mode=19 setting sets the HDMI output to 1024x768 85Hz, which is apparently an unsupported resolution for my monitor.

I believe that deleting the file sets the output to hdmi_mode=1, which is VGA. Clearly this is suboptimal, so I recommend experimenting to find the best value.


Another possibility I came across is that I didn't get any display unless the HDMI cable was plugged in before the Pi was switched on.

Should be a relatively quick one to fault-find, but worth documenting here nonetheless.

  • Confirmed. This also happens.
    – Jivings
    Jun 18, 2012 at 10:33
  • 1
    Could this be solved by using the hdmi_force_hotplug=1 option as documented on elinux.org/RPiconfig?
    – Lekensteyn
    May 13, 2013 at 21:40

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