I'm trying to set up motion capture with the debian package 'motion'. It works great on my desk, where I have it hooked up to a monitor via HDMI, BUT when I disconnect it from HDMI and reboot it, motion does not capture images.

I suspect this is because without something attached to the HDMI port the RPi does not spin up the video device (/dev/video0) because if I disconnect the HDMI cable, motion still works until reboot.

Can anyone else confirm that? If so, is there any way to force the RPi to always turn on the video device at boot?

2 Answers 2


I use motion on a headless PI and it work without problem.

Have you setup motion to start automatically at boot as a daemon? If you used to start motion manually within a terminal shell, your shell possibly die when hdmi is unplugged.

Also enable autostart in /etc/default/motion:


Make motion to start a boot:

update-rc.d motion defaults

Hope this help!

  • Which distribution are you using for Linux? I have all of that setup and still have the same issue... Mar 16, 2013 at 23:16

I reinstalled raspbian and also upgraded the firmware. One of these two things seemed to have solved the issue and I can use the USB camera without an attached HDMI adapter now.

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