I wish to access a RPi's shell, but I do not wish to lug around some big display and ideally 120 volt power wouldn't be required. A Linux or Windows laptop are acceptable or maybe some other typical of portable display. Either the HDMI or USB can be used. Also, have the following conditions. How can this be done?

  • I have physical access to the Pi.
  • IP address is unknown.
  • Ideally, CAT-6 Ethernet port won't be used so that the RPi may remain plugged into some network.
  • I am not setup to be on the network that the RPi is connected to.
  • WiFi on the RPi is disabled.
  • Note that there are tons of options you could use: (1) instead of a big HDMI display you could use a small one, perhaps USB-powered (2) you could use UART pins as a terminal (3) you could enable WiFi Nov 24 '17 at 12:25
  • @DmitryGrigoryev UART pins as a terminal sounds promising. My description of "big" for the HDMI display was mostly for illustrative purposes, and WiFiis disabled per intent. Nov 24 '17 at 21:49
  1. Ensure libnss-mdns is already installed (it should be by default).
  2. Connect a USB to Ethernet adapter to the RPi (I got j5create USB 3.0 Gitabit Ethernet Adapter JUE130 and it works out of the box). Do not configure it, and when the DHCP client can not find a server it will default to assigning an address in the subnet.
  3. Connect any Ethernet cable (can be but doesn't need to be a crossover cable) between the RPi USB Ethernet and Laptop.
  4. Assuming the hostname is "yourRPi", if the laptop is Windows, use PuTTY to connect to yourRPi.local, or use ssh yourusername@yourRPi.local.
  • Please accept your own answer with a click on the tick on its left side. Only this will finish the question and it will not pop up again year for year.
    – Ingo
    Jan 29 '20 at 13:13

If you're working with Arduino, you may already have a UART cable handy. You can use that to interface with the Pi via the serial pins.

Any cheap UART interface will do for the purpose. I personally use a $1 CP2102 clone that I got from eBay, directly wired into the Pi's serial pins.

Once you're connected, simply use Putty in in Serial mode, enter the COM port number (e.g. COM3), set baudrate to 115200, and you're good to go.

You can read more about the serial interface here: https://elinux.org/RPi_Serial_Connection

The serial port is a low-level way to send data between the Raspberry Pi and another computer system. There are two main ways in which it can be used:

  • Connecting to a PC to allow access to the Linux console. This can help to fix problems during boot, or to log in to the Raspberry Pi if the video and network are not available.
  • Connecting to a microcontroller or other peripheral which has a serial interface. This can be useful if you want the Raspberry Pi to control another device.

I have heard that the serial interface on the Pi 3 may have problems (something to do with Bluetooth), but I haven't encountered it in recent times. It may have already been fixed.


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