No ethernet - how to stop the blinking?

Hi all,
I assume this question has been asked a thousand times, but I can not find the answer. ;( Shortly said: I will have a poor man’s zynthian, just a pi4 (and hopefully later with my 12 euro 3.5" screen). I’m stuck…

The problem is: I do not have ethernet-cables or any ethernet connection or anything ethernet at all - everything I own has wifi.

My question: which file do I change how (with another pi and a USB-microSD-reader), so that the screen stops blinking all the time when attached to a regular HDMI? Now I can not add wifi credentials or add the screen drivers, the blinking prevents me to do anything at all.

Super thanks!!!

THe Zynth doesn’t need Ethernet to start in normal operation so that isn’t the cause of your blinking as you describe it. It more likely that you haven’t configured the device via webconf, but of course to do that you have to connect to a browser via … an internet connection.

Sadly the default wifi connection is off so the zynth by itself is not going to connect to any wifi it does detect ( their are pi’s without wifi in the early days of the zynth so it wasn’t an option.

The file you are looking for is


which is a shell script that sets the environmental variables. . . So be careful with syntax like ='s and #'s and such like

The file is mentioned here ( Zynthian GUI start up walkthrou' - ZynthianWiki ) which might explain some of the details.

You also have the wpa_supplicant.conf file for the wifi details.

You have discovered one of the zynth gotcha’s so congratulations! This doesn’t releave you of your :face_with_monocle: duties (press on the moncle’d icon if this makes no sense) … but we obviously need a working zynth before we can admire the contribution !

Obviously this relies on you getting access so if if doesn’t work as you would like get back on and complain here vociferously !

The kit will need setting

and the Audio card and display

export SOUNDCARD_NAME=“Dummy Device”

export DISPLAY_NAME=“Generic HDMI Display”

That should get it going, or a little bit further down the road. I’ve not tried doing this ( or if I did it was back when the earth cooled …) so I could well have forgotten something critical but if it gets as far as the gui you can do turn on and off stuff like the wifi via the admin function, and once you can do that you can start a hot spot to get to the webconf via wifi…

Tell us how it goes.

First let me tell you: SO MANY THANKS for your lengthy and carefull reply. I am really happy to see that you take your time to respond to me. Thanks!!

And well, I tried “systemctl stop zynthian” and that did the trick for now. I also did “systemctl disable zynthian” in order not to have to do it again. Thanks for letting me know where the is, that will surely help me in my next steps.

If you like to know more: I carried around an old WindowsXP laptop between 2007-2018 with the greatest VST organs piano’s and electric piano’s, keeping me from having to pay thousands for a very-very-similar-sounding Nord Stage - with a samplebuffer of just 98 samples, so near-zero-latency . Last few years that was a Raspberry PI 4 and a buggy 7 inch touch-display with my precious soundfont collection (including amazing piano’s, electric piano’s, organs etc), setbfree and ams (for great sounding filtered lead synths) and a 6 euro soundcard (with a soundbuffer of 16 or 32 samples, so no latency). Now I want more ease in controlling everything.

I am using raspberry pi’s fulltime, I am right now typing on one of my pi 4 workstations, which I use for more than 10 hours a day. Only when I have a Zoom call, or start making music, I grab my PC. So, I will próbably figure out now to get there together with the ZynthianWiki, if not I will ask again. Not sure yet how to work around the ethernet (last time I touched an ethernet cable was in 1999 just before I installed my first wlan) but your wiki looks like a great starting point.

Again so many thanks! I would love to start contributing (C++) to this project too!

Generally I prefer wired Ethernet for MIDI timing signals and such like. It seems a little more rugged than wifi…

The trick wift zynthian wifi is to convince the machine to start up as a hotspot, then use a separate device to config the webconf interface.

The problem THEN is that you need to know the IP address from a lot of devices as they won’t resolve the default zynthian name… Which is something, perhaps, we should address. It makes it difficult to config if you can’t get that all important device IP address. . .

Course once you are on from the hotspot you will need to switch it to the house network, and for that you have to disable the hotspot and switch to a dedicated network. The add network button in the webconf should populate with the detected network names and so you are just a key addition and you are there … .

However: I keep an Ethernet cable and usb hub with an ethernet port on it handy, just in case :smiley:

Ah yes ethernet is better for MIDI, I believe that right away. I did quite some midi over tcp tests in the past (talking 1997, called “MidiChat”), worked like a charm, only milliseconds delay between my school in the Netherlands (Hilversum) and a school in Bulgaria. That was just before everything came shipped with wifi.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on how to avoid using ethernet and setting things up. I had similar thoughts like you mention here. It is a bit of a circle I get into.

I will simply buy an ethernet cable from a 2nd hand store, and then hook it up to my ancient wlan-router (attached to my ancient-but-still-working laserprinter). Well anyway, that is the easiest I guess.


For anyone who reads this post and also has no ethernet cables, try this:

  • download and put the image on an SD card
  • insert the SD card into a unix system with an external SD-card reader
  • sudo nano /home/pi/config/
    change the existing line to: export ZYNTHIAN_WIFI_MODE = “hotspot”
  • plug the SD card in, wait 10 minutes (SD resize and a slow startup) before the wifi-accesspoint "zynthian’ appears
  • log into that wifi accesspoint with password “raspberry”
  • point your browser to to set things up.