I'm working on several projects with my increasing collection of Raspberry Pi computers. One of my projects for work involve ultimately hooking up the Pi to a 7" screen with an RCA connector. The screen is too small and fuzzy for reading standard sized text so everything displayed on it will be big and bold, so to speak. No big deal because it will just be a simple data entry station (not something someone will be using for more than a minute or two at a time).

In the meantime I wish to develop/test on it while it is connected to a 24" monitor with an HDMI connector. I'm working with Python on Raspbian mostly. I'm pretty sure I can't run both HDMI and RCA at the same time on the Pi. And it is awkward at best to develop with my crisp, hi-res monitor and then deploy to the fuzzy, low-res RCA screen only to find things aren't quite right (then reboot and try again). All I really need is to be able to switch between video outputs without having to reboot the Pi, but I don't think that is possible, either.

So this led me to the possibility of running HDMI for my primary display and maybe running the RCA screen through a USB port during development. But I can't seem to find any hardware to do the trick. There are many "USB to HDMI/VGA/DVI" converters but none that go from USB to RCA. Plenty of RCA to USB video capture devices, too, but I don't want those either.

So... has anyone out there solved this problem? Thank you very much for your time and any assistance you can offer.

  • Why not use the RCA on the Pi for one screen and then run the second display off a USB to HDMI adapter? It seems you mentioned that, yet dismissed it for some reason.
    – Octopus
    Commented Jul 17, 2015 at 20:48

2 Answers 2


Use a desktop PC or another RPi for your 24" monitor. Then use it to display the desktop of the development RPi (lots of ways to do that, xterm/vnc/rdesktop/ssh)

  • Thank you for this. I am using this technique now with VNC and it seems to be working well. Only question still left is how do I get the Pi to use XFCE when I dial into it instead of LXDE? The default Raspbian DE is LXDE but I've switched to XFCE for all my desktop work on them. Any ideas? Commented Mar 18, 2013 at 16:35
  • @JerryGagnon, I guess you have installed the XFCE packages? If it's not obvious how to get it working you should ask a new question about it on here Commented Mar 18, 2013 at 20:37

I am going to use a touchpad w/a case that blocks the HDMI port anyway. I am going to use Real VNC or remote windows dektop to post the rPi output to a second monitor.

The only downside is that any animation runs slower.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.