Talking to your Raspberry pi without any display monitor

Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized embedded linux system. It does not has a display or input interface. In this tutorial, you learn how to talk to your pi without any monitor/keyboard/mouse but over Ethernet.

Step 1: Install an Rpi Linux OS on SD Card

For beginners, the best OS to download is the latest version of Raspbian. Download file and extract.

Windows: Download this tool to install OS on SD Card

Linux: Download this tool

Mac: Download this tool

Step 2: Install ‘nmap’ on your machine

Since our pi does not has any ‘head’ or display, we will talk to out rpi over Ethernet on ssh protocol. When Rpi is booted for the first time, it is automatically allocated an IP using DHCP. And the ssh server daemon is also installed by default which will be listening on port 22.

Using nmap, we will scan for IP addresses with port 22 open to find our Rpi’s IP Address to establish communications over ssh.

Download nmap from here and install.

Step 3: Find your Ethernet network’s domain

First ensure that your system and your pi are on the same network. By being on the same network, I mean that the first three numbers of your IP address matches with the first three numbers of your pi's IP address. Note down those 3 numbers. E.g. if your IP address is, then your domain is noted as 192.168.1.*.

Step 4: Insert SD Card and boot

Put the SD Card in the card slot of rpi carefully. Also connect the Ethernet port. And finally connect the power adapter to boot. You should see a red light (indicating power) plus some blinking green light (indicating data read write from SD Card).

If no blinking is there, that means the OS was not properly installed on the SD Card. Format the SD Card and try again.

Step 5: Find your rPi’s assigned IP Address

After a minute or so, the blinking should stop and the pi has finished its booting process. It has been assigned an IP address from DHCP. It is also listening for ssh on port 22.

To find the auto-assigned IP, fire up your terminal and run the following command:

nmap –v –p 22 xxx.xxx.xxx.*

Here xxx.xxx.xxx is the domain, so if your domain is 192.168.1.xxx, then the command would be:

nmap –v –p 22 192.168.1.*

From the results of IP addresses having port 22 open, note down the IP with host name ‘raspberrypi’. That is the IP we are looking for.

Step 6: Connect with your rPi over ssh

If your IP address is, run the following command to connect with your pi

ssh pi@

for password input : ‘raspberry

For Windows users : There is no ssh client installed by default. You can download putty from here.

And voila, you have successfully logged into your raspberry pi over ssh. Visit next tutorial to learn how to configure your pi to have a static IP so you won’t have to repeat this whole process the next time.

Rohan Raja

Recently graduated, majoring in Mathematics and Computing from IIT Kharagpur, Rohan is a technology enthusiast and passionate programmer. Likes to apply Mathematics and Artificial Intelligence to devise creative solutions to common problems.