Raspberry Pi 4-pole Audio/Video Jack


The Pi Model B+, Pi 2, Pi 3 and Pi 4 features a 4-pole 3.5mm audio jack which also includes the composite video signal. This has allowed for the removal of the composite video socket found on the original Model B.

The new jack is a 4-pole socket which carries both audio and video signals. It’s similar to sockets found on other multimedia devices such as iPods, MP3 players and smartphones. It now used on the A+, B+, Pi 2, Pi 3 and Pi 4.

4-pole Audio Jack

Raspberry Pi HDMI and 3.5mm Composite Video and Audio Jack

This style of connector is sometimes referred to as “TRRS“, which stands for “Tip-Ring-Ring-Sleeve”.

The four conductors carry video, left audio, right audio and ground. Cables are easy to obtain but use different configurations so you must be sure how your cable is wired before attempting to use it with the Pi.

Here is a table showing the configuration of various popular devices :

DeviceSleeveRing 2Ring 1TipOK?
jackplug_section_body3.5mm Jack Plug Section3.5mm Jack Plug Section3.5mm Jack Plug Section3.5mm Jack Plug Section 
Model B+VideoGroundRightLeftOK
MP3 PlayersGroundVideoRightLeftNot OK

[Download Image]

3.5mm Audio Jack Cable Availability

Cables are readily available but they don’t all follow the same standard so you need to be careful before assuming it will work with your Pi. The good news is that many will still work but you may need to swap the video cable for one of the audio channels.

Cables should be avoided where the ground connection appears on any ring other than Ring 2.

RCA Audio and Video Plugs

As you can see from the table all the cables where the ground in on Ring 2 will work with the Pi although the camcorder style will require you swap your Video with the Right Audio plug.

Traditionally composite video uses the yellow coloured sockets whereas audio uses the Red (Right channel) and White (Left channel). Cables are available with both RCA plugs or RCA sockets on the end. Make sure you buy a cable with the appropriate connectors for your video and audio accessories.

Multimeter Continuity Check

If you’ve got a multimeter you can check where the ground is on your cable. Check the continuity between the rings on the cable’s 3.5mm plug and the outer metal shell on the coloured RCA plugs.

If the shells are connected to “Ring 2” as shown above your cable should be OK.

Finally if the ground appears on the “sleeve” the cable should not be used with the Pi’s audio jack.



    • old i know ,but just in case someone come a looking ,,,the Microsoft Zun players cable worked for me ,that was a few years ago now ,i got the cable on amazon

  1. I bought a 4 pole A/V jack with the recommended signal input as the type B+ above ,and I install the RaspBMC platform, and use the AV monitor as the display, when I play the video ,the picture display on the monitor very well ,but when i connect the audio with the AV cable, the system did not boot(the power LED is always red,the ACK LED is always green)… i guess the AV audio output damaged the main chip….is there anyone meet this situation?

    • Awesome!i find the problem,it is not the cable,it is the system file broke,when i rewrite the micro SD card with the system ,it works!through the 4 pole A/V jack,i got the video and audio signal …. i can play the video now,just it is a pity that the drive capacity of the PI is very limited the voice is small….and i use the A/V cable brand as “CHOSEAL” ,if you can not find the cable ,you can visit my web:http://www.plastics-display.com/and leave me a message or send me email ,it is a pleasure that i can help anybody….

  2. Although I don’t have a B+ yet to try, it can be worth pointing out there seems to exist as many types of cables as there are combinations of the four pins. I recently bought a Dmtech portable DVD player that takes a 3.5 mm jack. It has the odd pinout 1. Composite video, 2. Left, 3. Right, 4. Ground and thus would be just as useless/dangerous as the MP3 type of cables described above. I’m not sure if that configuration belongs to a standard or just a group of mostly noname DVD players.

  3. You are a lifesaver!! I was so worried that my RP wasn’t working. But after knowing the right configuration for the 3.5mm jack, i cut the wires and rejoined them. Now my RP is setup and working awesome! Thanks a lot!

  4. And btw, I had to keep pressing number 3 to get the output through composite port (Only when booting NOOBS for the first time). I also had to make my microsd “bootable”

  5. Many thanks. Good job I checked. Only on Pi planet (& yes Apple + Zune) is the metal sleeve (connected to the metal jacket in many connectors) a Video SIGNAL! :-). Perhaps that’s to ensure a buzz if you stick a Mic + Stereo headphones into it. When I put a regular 3 pole in there (as I only wanted audio), it buzzes — not quite sure why shorting the video caused a buzz, but i guess that’s not a good idea.

  6. Anyone have a link to buy this cable online.

    Please comment on here or send me a link via email. andrew (at) tg – k.com

  7. Hello, I plugged in a cable that is meant for an mp3 player as i was unaware of these different configurations.
    Is my Raspberry Pi or TV permanently damaged because i did this? There is a buzzing sound coming from my TV even when i connect my set-top box. Please reply fast.

  8. Hi,
    looking for an app that will allow me to use the above cable to plug my phone into a remote video device so I can use my phone as a screen. At the moment i am using either a chunky screen with external battery or an old school little handheld TV, but thought i should be able to do this on a smartphone. All i need to do is plug into the video gear and use my phone as a monitor to check placement and access menus.

    Many thanks

    • The phones didn’t have video output. The last pole is microphone input. So you can’t use it as a video output to display that in a external screen!

  9. The composite video has never worked on my PI+B2.
    I removed the cable and ohmed it out to see if anything was shorted or open.. video and right wee reversed, gnd good on all connectors. rplugged and rebooted, still no video, on two different monitors/tv combos.
    The HDMI works great, but I would have to invest in another monitor(129.00usd) to use composite(rca) or buy a hdmi to vga adapter(50.00).
    Could it be that I smoked the rca composite output. I am going to put the scope on and look at the sigs next……..as there are no maintenance docs on this eqt. Or for that matter service docs either…….very sad??????

    • Are you trying with anything plugged in the HDMI port? If it detects anything on HDMI it won’t enable the composite. Also use the latest Raspbian image and see if that helps. There are options in the /boot/config.txt file where you can force Composite to be used so it might be worth trying those.

  10. Hi Everybody

    I get Raspberry PI B+ and have old TV I connect this TV by RCA cable 3.5mm RCA audio/Video the problem is I not have signal video on old TV I see black screen only.. If I connect the Raspbeerry PI by HDMI TV all see good… anybody knows how can fix?

    • Try editing the config.txt file in the /boot partition. You should be able to do this on another computer as the /boot area is readable on the SD card in Windows/Mac.

      Add the line :

      Look for a line that says :
      remove the #. If you are using a PAL format screen set it equal to 2 rather than 0.

      Save the file. Reboot the Pi.

  11. Hello first of all sorry for my english but it is not my native language. I recently just bought a Raspberry Pi 2 with a Zune 3.5 jack cable for A/V like this http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000IXLHOM/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    I have a MicroSD with NOOBS from CanaKit , but when I connect the raspberry pi to an old TV LG, I only get a black screen, however when connected via HDMI to a SHARP TV everything works perfectly, the problem is that I really need to have the pi running on the LG TV. Can anyone help me?

    • If you are using NOOBs you can press 3 or 4 during boot to switch the composite output to PAL (3) or NTSC (4). I think it default to PAL and your TV may prefer NTSC. Also make sure you do not have a cable plugged in the HDMI socket if you are using composite video.

    • I also have the RPi2 CanaKit. After I installed the OS, the /boot/config.txt file contained hdmi_force_hotplug=1 which forces the Pi to think the HDMI cable was connected even when it wasn’t. Once I removed that line I was able to get composite video on the RCA plug when booting without an HDMI cable connected. Unfortunately I have the wrong type of RCA plug so I get garbage on the line. It must be an MP3 cable with the ground in the wrong place. Thanks to Matt for this post. Its the best explanation of the pin-outs I have found on the net.

  12. Thank you for this article. I spent the last hour editing config.txt and pressing 1,2,3,4 again and again, before reading this. The continuity test showed i was using a camcorder cable… Just had to switch red and yellow cables, now it works fine. Thanks !

  13. Thanks a zillion for this. I was quite stuck having only used the HDMI socket before.

    I’ve now got the ruddy thing outputting video through the red plug! WTF Raspi Foundation?!!!

  14. Oh, and I’m using a Pi 2 with a comsol 3.5mm male to 3 x RCA cable purchased from OfficeWorks in Melbourne Australia.

    I’m outputting to a Panasonic TH-50PHD8WK just in case that helps confirm this will work for anyone with those parameters 🙂

  15. I recently acquired a Rapsberry Pi 2 (raspi2 for short) and thought it might be helpful to report my observation about the 3.5mm jack with respect to audio. The following is observed with OS raspbian wheezy 7.

    First , I can report that analog 3.5mm audio out on a raspi2 works as long as the raspi2 is booted with the HDMI unplugged. Otherwise the sound will go to the HDMI. That is an ~ok workaround, but when you plug in HDMI after boot it will come up with low resolution video (640×480 , VGA).

    Now, if booted with HDMI plugged-in, I have found no no way to get the sound switched over to the 3.5mm jack. I have tried the command “amixer cset numid=3 1”. It makes no difference. Further, I have tried the command “sudo raspi-config” and choosing successive menus “8=advanced-options” then “A9=audio” and chosen the 3.5mm as output. This also makes no difference, even after a reboot (with HDMI connected during this reboot, since that is the case one would want to test).

    Summary: There exists a workaround, but video resolution will then be wrong. Can possibly fix this by forcing some X11 settings, have not tried yet.

    Finally, about the 3.5mm A/V jack and cable requirements: I can report that I can get audio through a 3-pole audio cable, no 4-pole cable needed. So the problem with “no audio on 3.5mm” is not a function of the cable, it is about getting the output enabled.
    I did also try a 4-pole 3.5mm A/V cable from an old camcorder, and I do get sound, but as implied by the figure of the original article, this camcorder type cable will have audio/right-channel on the yellow (nominally video) plug.

    I hope this helps. I have 20+ years of linux experience but this is my first try with a raspi device.

    This is in raspbian wheezy 7.

  16. Can anyone tell me if plugging a mono 3.5mm (TS or tip sleeve) into a Pi 2 would cause issues?
    I’m using several pi’s to transmit mono audio over ip so the input is only on the left channel but I’m worried about grounding out the right channel even if it isn’t being used.

  17. Thank you for your description.
    A small hint: You have to scroll down to the bottom of the config.txt file. At the end you have to add or remove the commands.

  18. At 1st, I was unaware of cable which I had bought from market. This cable was mp3 cable. and finally, I am able to get my display through this rca cable. what I did is I checked the wires through multimeter and found that cable configuration is mp3 one (as mentioned in above figure). I cut them half and began to switch wires according to apple wire configuration (as in above figure). VOILA, it worked. I got display but you have to boot raspberry pi and make sure you pull out little bit from the male port (in 4 pole connector side). Hope this can help you guys. CHEERS…. mail me if you need help about this topic in… rohitvdy@gmail.com

    • Hi, I have a 3.5mm headphone jack/plug which comes from purchasing Samsung Grand Quattro. Does this work for raspberry pi 2 model b? I’m scared of burning my rpi so i want to ask around first.

  19. Does anyone have a solution for cleaning up video out from RCA on PI2 running Wheezy? The resolution is too low and text barely visible.

  20. Did I understand correctly that “Raspberry Pi 3 Model B” is compatible with any speakers that are compatible with Apple’s 3.5mm plugins?

  21. If you have an xbox, than use the 3,5 mm jack to RCA that came with the xbox it works for me with my raspberry pi 2 b

  22. This post is still useful even 5 and a half years later! After checking continuity with a multimeter I found I have a camcorder cable, so simply using the red connector instead of the yellow one worked as expected. Many thanks

  23. How London on

    I was connecting cables by myself after shifting and I was looking for a solution. and I think I am lucky that I came across this article. Very informative, very helpful after many years. Thanks a lot, keep it up.

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