I'm trying to make use of a car DVD player by using its composite cable it came with and using it with the pi. The problem is theres no singal and when booting into NOOBs and pressing 3/4 I get a very loud sound coming out of its speakers.

Both sides of the cable are 3.5mm and the cable does work as I linked two of the monitors together and the second monitor showed the output of the 1st just fine.

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UPDATE: After plugging the cable with a splitter with the same pin layout plugged into the monitor I get a very bad picture. It's mostly black and white but sometimes I do get colour

enter image description here

  • The loud sound is most likely the video analog signal being processed as audio
    – Manchineel
    May 7, 2017 at 12:00
  • Is there any way for it to not be processed as audio??
    – PyxlWuff
    May 7, 2017 at 12:13
  • First of all, the problem is likely with the cable. What are the ports on the monitor?
    – Manchineel
    May 7, 2017 at 12:54
  • (and sorry for the late reply btw)
    – Manchineel
    May 7, 2017 at 12:58
  • Update: I get a very garbled picture when i slowly move the position of the cable in the pi, when fully plugged in i get no picture. Loud noise stays though
    – PyxlWuff
    May 7, 2017 at 13:08

1 Answer 1


I think I know what's going on. Essentially, the 3.5mm port on the Pi has three pins in it:

  1. Left channel audio
  2. Right channel audio
  3. Analog video

This means that a cable to be plugged in there must have three pins for it to work properly. Like this: A 3.5mm cable with three pins

This type of connector carries L, R and V on a single connector, called "Coaxial 3.5mm with video". Usually these come with an RCA end on them, like in the picture below. RCA 3.5mm Video cable

The same standard is in use on the display you intend to use: L, R and V on same axis (that is also why it's called coaxial).

Instead, the most common and normal coaxial 3.5mm cable you are going to find is this: audio jack

If you look at it and compare it with the other connector, at first it looks exactly the same, but - with a closer look, you'll notice it has 2 pins instead of 3.

Now, this type of cable is often also called "3.5mm audio jack" because the 2 pins are exactly and specifically for video.

This is confusing at first, yet - if you think about it - it makes sense: when you connect - say - a phone to a speaker, you'll only need 2 pins (left and right audio), while for a camcorder, a Pi or a DVD player you'll also need a pin specifically for video. This makes it have three pins.

Usually video cables are RCA, like the ones in the third picture. On some small devices (like the Pi and the DVD player) they save space by using a single port instead of 3. That's when coaxial is used. Usually, this occurs only either on the device or the monitor side, but in this case, since both the devices are tiny, they both used coaxial. So, what'll you need? There are two ways. You can either use a coaxial to RCA cable WITH VIDEO like in picture 1 and then get a coaxial to RCA female like in picture below video female

or you can just buy a 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable with a video (3 pins) like this one 355to355video

And, yes, this was driving me crazy too a while ago.

For option 1, if you already have 3.5mm to rca, you can get https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00CIC9KW2/ref=mp_s_a_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1494163703&sr=8-2&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_FMwebp_QL65&keywords=3.5mm+rca+female+video&dpPl=1&dpID=41QQhi4KC7L&ref=plSrch#nav-search-keywords For 2 I'd recommend https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B008R39FKS/ref=mp_s_a_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1494163851&sr=8-5&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_FMwebp_QL65&keywords=3.5mm+to+3.5mm+with+video&dpPl=1&dpID=41pvycj%2BoiL&ref=plSrch

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Ghanima
    May 7, 2017 at 14:21
  • DAC (digital to analog converter) takes care of turning a digital signal (such as the one from a GPU) into an analog signal (like RCA or coaxial composite cable). HDMI is digital, so video goes directly from the Pis GPU (graphical processing unit) to the TV after being encoded as HDMI signal. That is a digital stream, and you can imagine it as "a description of the image", made of 1s and 0s. Analog, instead, is created by the DAC and is made of an electical current that trasmits an image concretely. If the DAC is fried (which happened to me once in the past) then HDMI will work, analog won't.
    – Manchineel
    May 7, 2017 at 14:25
  • If you'd looked closely you'd have noticed the OP's cable is exactly the same as the one in your first picture.
    – goldilocks
    May 7, 2017 at 14:27
  • The photo was posted later
    – Manchineel
    May 7, 2017 at 14:28
  • All apologies then!
    – goldilocks
    May 7, 2017 at 14:29

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