vcgencmd is a command line utility that can get various pieces of information from the VideoCore GPU on the Raspberry Pi. Much of the information available is only of use to Raspberry Pi engineers, but there are a number of very useful options available to end users that will be described here.
The source for the application can be found on our github page here.
To get a list of all the commands that
vcgencmd supports, type
Some of the more useful commands are described below.
vcos command has a number of sub commands.
version Displays the build date and version of the firmware on the VideoCore.
log status Displays the error log status of the various VideoCore software areas.
Displays the build date and version of the firmware on the VideoCore.
Displays the enabled and detected state of the official camera. 1 means yes, 0 means no. Whilst all firmware (except cutdown versions) will support the camera, this support needs to be enabled by using raspi-config.
Returns the throttled state of the system. This is a bit pattern - a bit being set indicates the following meanings:
|1||Arm frequency capped|
|3||Soft temperature limit active|
|16||Under-voltage has occurred|
|17||Arm frequency capping has occurred|
|18||Throttling has occurred|
|19||Soft temperature limit has occurred|
A value of zero indicates that none of the above conditions is true.
To find if one of these bits has been set, convert the value returned to binary, then number each bit along the top. You can then see which bits are set. For example:
0x50000 = 0101 0000 0000 0000 0000
Adding the bit numbers along the top we get:
19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
From this we can see that bits 18 and 16 are set, indicating that the Pi has previously been throttled due to under-voltage, but is not currently throttled for any reason.
Returns the temperature of the SoC as measured by the on-board temperature sensor.
This returns the current frequency of the specified clock. The options are:
|core||VC4 scaler cores|
|isp||Image Signal Processor|
|pwm||PWM block (analogue audio output)|
|emmc||SD card interface|
|vec||Analogue video encoder|
|dpi||Display Peripheral Interface|
vcgencmd measure_clock arm
Displays the current voltages used by the specific block.
|core||VC4 core voltage|
Displays the content of the One Time Programmable (OTP) memory, which is part of the SoC. These are 32 bit values, indexed from 8 to 64. See the OTP bits page for more details.
Reports on the amount of memory allocated to the ARM cores
vcgencmd get_mem arm and the VC4
vcgencmd get_mem gpu.
Note: On a Raspberry Pi 4 with greater than 1GB of RAM, the
arm option is inaccurate. This is because the GPU firmware which implements this command is only aware of the first gigabyte of RAM on the system, so the
arm setting will always return 1GB minus the
gpu memory value. To get an accurate report of the amount of ARM memory, use one of the standard Linux commands, such as
Reports whether the specified CODEC type is enabled. Possible options for type are AGIF, FLAC, H263, H264, MJPA, MJPB, MJPG, MPG2, MPG4, MVC0, PCM, THRA, VORB, VP6, VP8, WMV9, WVC1. Those highlighted currently require a paid for licence (see the FAQ for more info), except on the Pi4, where these hardware codecs are disabled in preference to software decoding, which requires no licence. Note that because the H265 HW block on the Raspberry Pi4 is not part of the Videocore GPU, its status is not accessed via this command.
get_config type | name
This returns all the configuration items of the specified type that have been set in config.txt, or a single configuration item. Possible values for type parameter are int, str, or simply use the name of the configuration item.
Displays the resolution and colour depth of any attached display.
Displays statistics on any Out Of Memory events occuring in the VC4 memory space.
Displays statistics from the relocatable memory allocator on the VC4.
Returns the curent speed voltage and temperature of the ring oscillator.
Displays the current HDMI settings timings. See Video Config for details of the values returned.
Dump a list of all dispmanx items currently being displayed.
display_power [0 | 1 | -1] [display]
Show current display power state, or set the display power state.
vcgencmd display_power 0 will turn off power to the current display.
vcgencmd display_power 1 will turn on power to the display. If no parameter is set, this will display the current power state. The final parameter is an optional display ID, as returned by
tvservice -l or from the table below, which allows a specific display to be turned on or off.
vcgencmd display_power 0 7 will turn off power to display ID 7, which is HDMI 1 on a Raspberry Pi 4.
To determine if a specific display ID is on or off, use -1 as the first parameter.
vcgencmd display_power -1 7 will return 0 if display ID 7 is off, 1 if display ID 7 is on, or -1 if display ID 7 is in an unknown state, for example undetected.