I have a Raspberry Pi 3. For whatever reason, it doesn't seem to boot up if the HDMI cable is not plugged in. I am running the latest "stretch" desktop version.

Steps taken:

1) Plug in AC adapter.

2) Plugin HDMI cable. At this point, I can see the PI booting up.

3) VNC into the PI, which works at this point.

4) Disconnect the HDMI cable. This kills my VNC session, and the IP address stops responding.

5) Plug the HDMI cable back in. I can see at this point that the PI is booting back up again.

If I start the PI without the HDMI cable, and never plug it in, I am not able to ever reach it with VNC, and the IP never responds.

This tells me that it's not booting up unless it has an HDMI cable plugged in.

Anyone else run into this? Any idea how to address it? My config.txt file is set to allow HDMI hot swapping.


  • make sure that the issue is not hardware related ..... it almost sounds like the HDMI cable is completing the power supply circuit, perhaps the ground side of the power adapter ...... how do you have everything connected?
    – jsotola
    Commented Jan 9, 2019 at 21:32
  • The LED light is on with just the AC plugged in, so I know it has power in that scenario. Other than that, the HDMI is plugged in right where it should be, and direct to the monitor. My PI is in the case that it came with as well (Canakit).
    – Kevin
    Commented Jan 9, 2019 at 21:51

1 Answer 1


Well, after some more fidgeting, I figured it out. It has nothing to do with the HDMI cable at all. It's the power cord connection. It's fidgety. You barely touch the wire, and it loses power, so the act of unplugging the HDMI cable was enough "movement" to cause the power connection to be lost.

I guess I can try to reach out to Canakit to see if it can be replaced. If the power connection is not sitting in the perfect position, it shuts off.

  • Please mark this answer as accepted to help people understand what is the answer to the problem.
    – Gabboxl
    Commented Jan 13, 2019 at 10:36

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