1. I switch on a Linux box
  2. Boot loader displays its output on screen
  3. Boot starts with first output messages
  4. Screen goes blank, and never comes back on.

Note: this is about the console, NOT about X11.

I keep running into the same problem, on a variety of hardware (x86, ARM) with different video connectors (VGA, HDMI). It more frequently happens with "modern" LCDs than with "ancient" CRTs. The LCDs would either say "no signal detected" (frequently), or "signal out of range" (rarely).

Some example combinations:

  • PC with VGA / CRT -- works
  • same PC with VGA / analog monitor -- "no signal"
  • same PC with HDMI / LCD -- "no signal"
  • Raspberry Pi with HDMI -- "no signal"
  • pcduino3 with HDMI -- "out of range"
  • happened on the Raspberry Pi, too, but I don't recall the exact configuration.

I'm trying to understand what exactly the kernel does to detect the "graphics" for console output, and why, on balance, it somehow is less successful in getting the configuration right than boot loaders and the early stage of the boot (which may be ramdisk; not sure). Or, if the kernel doesn't actually do any detecting, where the settings are defined that are somehow less successful than the boot loader's etc. I'm baffled that it happens on all sorts of hardware.

  • Maybe something to do with the framebuffer -- you'd have to verify that by compiling a kernel without framebuffer support and trying it. Against that hypothesis, though, I'd observe that if you are using a stock pi kernel, the problem you observe is probably due to firmware misconfiguration (e.g., try hdmi_force_hotplug=1 in /boot/config.txt) and/or some combination issue involving your particular HDMI screen. I have four pis (several Bs, a B+, and a 2) and I've never had this problem with HDMI on various monitors/TVs.
    – goldilocks
    Commented Mar 2, 2015 at 19:45
  • I've had very similar observations: I've been trying to make a Linux From Scratch system. The display inevitably works absolutely fine for the firmware/bootloader, but as soon as the Linux kernel starts booting, often the screen just goes blank. It seems extremely finicky to get right :-(
    – Time4Tea
    Commented Jan 14, 2019 at 11:36

1 Answer 1


It works if I add


to the kernel parameters.

  • That would only work on a device that uses Low Voltage Differential Signaling (LVDS) such as a laptop. On a Raspberry Pi, use the cmdline option video=HDMI-1:d. Computer that uses a VGA monitor: video=VGA-1:d.
    – Billy
    Commented Aug 10, 2018 at 1:12

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