As per my previous question, I am having great difficulty with a headless setup, so have decided to add a display.

I possibly could use my HDMI input TV, but I don't think that my partner would be too pleased.

I have access to:

  • my laptop, but they generally don't have video in

  • a desktop, but its monitor only has VGA-in and DVD-in

  • an XTP2046 display, but my previous question explains that I can't find a distro to support it

  • the display dead 3 year old laptop

  • an Amazon fire tablet & an Android tablet, plus an Amazon smart 'phone

I suspect that my best options are to use the TV temporarily, if I can get access to it, and longer term to buy a very cheap HDMI monitor, but does anyone have any other ideas?

My only caveat is that I must be a able to use a standard distro, without editting any files.

Perhaps I could aso buy a cheap Pi display, so long as it requires no messing with the SD card?

Latest: and HDMI to VGA adapter for less than $5 looks promising for use wiht the desktop's monitor

  • 1
    I would use your HDMI TV to set the Pi Zero W up properly as a headless device. That should only take a few hours at most.
    – joan
    Mar 10 '19 at 18:12
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    Does your monitor have "DVD" input (what's that?) or DVI input?
    – Mark Smith
    Mar 10 '19 at 18:40
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    What problems have you been seeing when trying to access the pi headless? If your using raspian its really simple to set up. How have you gone about setting up the pi? I.e. are you flashing a distro straight to the sd card or using noob's?? If using noobs you'll need to use a monitor to set it up as you'll need to choose which distro you want.
    – rohtua
    Mar 10 '19 at 21:23
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    Yes the wpa_supplicant and ssh file will setup Wi-Fi and ssh for you..... only after you've loaded noobs and installed your OS of choice. If you've not installed an OS then nothing will happen. If you want to setup without connecting to a monitor you need to flash the OS directly to the card not the noobs OS installer. As far as the IP is concerned you'll have to look that up on your router or use an IP scanner on your phone (such as fing)
    – rohtua
    Mar 10 '19 at 21:46
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    I'd avoid noobs if you want to do anything even slightly interesting with a Pi Mar 11 '19 at 0:37

The Pi Zero-W has a mini HDMI port. HDMI is somewhat intercompatible with DVI. Buy the appropriate adapter and/or cable and connect the Pi to the DVI input on your monitor.

You will need either a Mini-HDMI to HDMI adapter (which you might already have) and an HDMI to DVI cable, or a Mini HDMI to DVI cable.

  • Sounds great (+1). Just before I accept, do I need a special HDMI cable for the Pi Zero W, or does it accept standard? Mar 11 '19 at 7:54
  • 1
    I'd forgotten the port was Mini HDMI. Answer updated.
    – Mark Smith
    Mar 11 '19 at 9:22

If you don't have monitor available then you can try to configure your Pi Zero W as Ethernet gadget and connect it to you PC via USB without setting up WiFi.

I was doing it myself a couple of years ago and it was relatively easy to get response via SSH.

If you have Windows machine then you can try this great tutorial. It's written for Pi Zero, but with Zero W it also should work just fine.

The only thing that you need is micro-USB cable. You can also search other similar tutorials with keywords "Raspberry Zero Ethernet gadget tutorial".

Do you have HDMI monitor available for couple of hours and do you have mini-HDMI cable/adapter to set up WiFi and SSH? This could make your life much easier.


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