VAN PI OS does not natively include a desktop environment and functions only as a server application.

There are two ways to utilize HDMI:

  1. Install the Software Stack on a New Image with Desktop:

    • This involves creating a new image with a desktop environment.

  2. Follow This Guide:

    • If you already have an HDMI touchscreen display and want to display the dashboard on it, you can follow these steps.

Since our operating system is "headless" (without a desktop interface), we use X for graphical output and Openbox as the window manager.

Steps to Set Up HDMI Display

  1. Install Required Packages:

    • Log in via SSH to the Raspberry Pi and install the necessary packages:

      sudo apt-get update
      sudo apt-get upgrade
      sudo apt-get install --no-install-recommends xserver-xorg x11-xserver-utils xinit openbox
      sudo apt-get install --no-install-recommends chromium-browser
  2. Configure Raspberry Pi for CLI Auto-Login:

    • Run the following command:

      sudo raspi-config
    • Select:

      • 1 System Options → S5 Boot/Auto-Login → B2 Console Autologin

    • If you notice a black border on your display later, go to 2 Display Options → D2 Underscan and set it to "No".

  3. Set Up Openbox Autostart:

    • Edit the Openbox autostart file:

      sudo nano /etc/xdg/openbox/autostart
    • Add the following lines to the end of the file:

      # Disable any form of screen saver / screen blanking / power management
      xset s off
      xset s noblank
      # xset -dpms
      # Allow quitting the X server with CTRL-ALT-Backspace
      setxkbmap -option terminate:ctrl_alt_bksp
      # Start Chromium in kiosk mode
      sed -i 's/"exited_cleanly":false/"exited_cleanly":true/' ~/.config/chromium/'Local State'
      sed -i 's/"exited_cleanly":false/"exited_cleanly":true/; s/"exit_type":"[^"]\+"/"exit_type":"Normal"/' ~/.config/chromium/Default/Preferences
      chromium-browser --noerrdialogs --incognito --disable-infobars --check-for-update-interval=31536000 --kiosk ''
    • Uncomment the line # xset -dpms if you want the display to stay on permanently. To adjust standby times, you can set xset -dpms 60 120.

  4. Enable X-Server Autostart:

    • Create or edit the .bash_profile file in the home directory:

      nano /home/pi/.bash_profile
    • Add the following line:

      [[ -z $DISPLAY && $XDG_VTNR -eq 1 ]] && startx -- -nocursor
  5. Reboot the Raspberry Pi:

    • Restart the Raspberry Pi to apply the changes:

      sudo reboot now
  6. Optimize Performance:

    • Assign more memory to the GPU in the Raspberry Pi configuration:

      • 4 Performance Options → P2 GPU Memory, set it to 256MB.

    • In Chromium browser, go to chrome://flags and enable:

      • ignore-gpu-blocklist

      • enable-gpu-rasterization

    • To access the URL bar, remove the --kiosk flag from the Openbox autostart file and the -nocursor flag from the .bash_profile file. After making the necessary changes, re-add these flags for kiosk mode.

Note: Running the browser continuously may increase the CPU temperature, but it remains within normal limits. Testing was done without active cooling or heatsinks.

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