Raspberry Pi – Blank screen at bootup

If you have a Raspberry Pi and you have installed one of the linux distros on your memory card and booted up to a blank screen, then this may be your problem. For what it’s worth, I have connected my RPi to a monitor via a HDMI to VDI converter cable.

When I booted up my system, i could not get any video display. My monitor would sometimes say “Incompatible input,” sometimes wake up but not display anything, and sometimes not even detect any input.

The solution turned out to change a setting in a video configuration file in the /boot partition. You can change/edit this file in the boot partition before you boot your RPi because the boot partition is a FAT partition that you can edit right after you restore the Linux image on your Windows machine.  Anyway, the file should be named config.txt (currently on the Debian distro the file is absent, and on the Arch Linux it is there with some default values).

The contents of the file should be:

config_hdmi_boost=4

Further reference of all possible settings at http://elinux.org/RPi_config.txt

  • Denyingbelial

    THANK YOU. I was so scared my pi was DOA. This fixed it and I got it to boot. You deserve all the medals.

  • Tore Bjørnson

    Hi there. I experience the exact same problem, using a HDMI -> DVI cable. Sometimes i get a screen display under boot, sometimes I don’t. However, this is running the Debian distribution. If I do a “grep -rl “config_hdmi_boost” *” in the /boot folder I get prompted the following files:

    arm128_start.elf
    arm192_start.elf
    arm224_start.elf
    start.elf

    But all of these are binaries, leaving me no option to edit them I reckon? So what to do?

  • Gabriel Magaña Gonzalez

    [Deleted]

  • Gabriel Magaña Gonzalez

    just create the config.txt file on the boot partition.  So if you burned your distro on your SD card in Windows, you can do it direct from windows on the command line (assuming your SD card is the G: drive):

    echo “config_hdmi_boost=4″ > G:config.txt

    If you are in linux a similar step is necessary.

  • Tore Bjornson

    I can actually boot my setup every second or third time I try. Again, not that the system doesn’t boot, but I get nothing on the monitor. I have placed a config.txt in my boot folder, and it does seem to have some effect, but it hasn’t removed the problem entirely.

  • Tore Bjørnson

    I actually tried the XBME image last night, but unfortunately I experience the exact same problem, and now I’ve even tried with a HDMI -> HDMI cable and a different monitor. Sometimes I get something on the screen when booting, and sometimes there just nothing.

  • Ellen

    Saved me a tonne of time. Many thanks!

  • Will

    I’ve had a similar problem with a HDMI-DVI, tried what you said and it still does not work, starting to think my raspberry pi is just broken.

  • roarkmcc

    Hi Gabriel,

    I’m having the same issue here, I am using an HDMI to VGA (un-powered) and it was working at home, here at my work I have just changed the monitor and the screen is ‘awake’ but no picture.

    Following your fix, am I able to edit the config.txt file directly on the sd-card using notepad? or do I have to do it via the command line?

    Thanks
    Roark

  • Marcus

    I’m using HDMI HDMI and got a blank screen… created the config.txt with Europe settings from http://elinux.org/RPi_config.txt it instantly worked! Thank you for posting this! :)

  • tonystint

    hi, I have nothing on my screen when I startup the pi…… it originally said “segmentation error” so in my wisdom I formatted the SD card, after putting it back in the PI….. nothing but darkness!! can anyone help?