Turn on the power to the display and then power up your Pi. You should see the Pi start to boot up on the display. You will notice that the writing is pretty tiny and a little fuzzy.

We need to change the screen resolution so that we can see what is going on.

The native resolution of the display I used, is just 320 x 240 pixels.

To adjust the resolution, you need to edit the file /boot/config.txt

You can edit config.txt on the Pi itself by running sudo nano /boot/config.txt or you can safely shut down the Pi, remove the SD card and put it a computer, the config.txt file is on the 60MB partion that should appear when you insert the card

If you are trying to edit it directly on the Pi, this may present a bit of a problem, if the whole reason for changing the screen resolution is to be able to read the text. You can either attempt to edit the file using the mini display, or connect remotely to your Raspberry Pi from another computer using SSH or, as I did here, using a console cable.

To edit the file, issue the command

sudo nano /boot/config.txt

Find the lines that say:


You need to remove the # from the start of each of the two lines, to make the setting active and then change the two values, so that the two lines are like this:


Save and exit the editor by pressing CTRL-x then Y.

Restart the Pi and you should find that all the text is bigger and clearer.

Now, you will have noticed that there is quite a wide border around the visible area of the screen. Since we have so little screen to play with, we really need to expand this as much as possible.

Fortunately, there is another set of settings that we can change to reduce this as much as possible.

Edit /boot/config.txt again and this time, remove the # from the four lines that start with #overscan.

Change the numbers to be negative (makes the screen wider and taller). I found changing them to the figures shown below, used most of the screen vertically, however I could not get the screen any wider after about -25.

You will find that a bit of trial and error will be required to get the right settings for your display.

With the overscan adjusted, the resulting screen is now looking pretty good.

Starting a Terminal session, the text is now quite easy to read.

These changes to the settings will also affect (for the worse) the display if you connect up using the HDMI adaptor. To reverse the changes, just add a # character in front of each of the 6 lines that you changed earlier.

This guide was first published on Feb 04, 2013. It was last updated on Feb 04, 2013.

This page (Configure and Test) was last updated on Feb 04, 2013.

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