Raspberry Pi doesn’t have a POST screen

Raspberry Pi Kit

I just bought a Raspberry Pi to use for monitoring the daily power output from my recently installed solar panels (detailed post coming soon). After hooking it up to a keyboard, mouse, screen via HDMI etc… I turned it on and waited…. and waited…. and…. well…. nothing!!

D’oh! Was it DOA? Was I doing something wrong? Did I have the wrong input source selected on my monitor? I tried 2 different HDMI cables, as well as 2 different RCA composite cables with no success. I tried a different monitor. Still no luck. I tried 3 different power configurations – the Pi is powered via a USB cable – from the powered USB hub, my laptop and direct from an Apple iPhone charger. Still nothing!¬†Sigh, now I was getting frustrated.

The Pi was supposed to come with Raspbian Linux pre-installed from the vendor, on an 8GB SD card. This is what the Pi uses as the hard drive. Thankfully I got a USB SD card reader and checked the contents of the card. It was blank!

What I also didn’t realise is that there is no POST screen on the Pi, and in fact there is actually no BIOS, it’s all in the OS. So when I was trying to figure out what was going on after powering the Pi on, there were no messages about the missing OS. This is what you normally see on a PC – the POST screen scrolling by and then a missing OS message or something.

It turns out the supplier has had some issues with the imaging and some duds slipped through. I quickly got to work downloading the Raspbian image and the SD card formatting software, and prepped the OS image on the SD card.

Now I could try and boot the Pi again…. this time it worked. The system appeared to boot and all was well.

Raspberry Pi Boot