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$25 ODROID-C0 Development Board Targets IoT, Wearables, Robots and Drones

February 15th, 2016 Leave a comment Go to comments

Hardkernel started to mention ODROID-C0 board last November, a cost-down and smaller version of ODROID-C1+ board powered by Amlogic S805 quad core Cortex A5 processor with 1GB RAM, dropping Ethernet, and a few USB port, but gaining a  Li-po battery management unit. The company has now officially launched the board, which can be purchased for $25 on Hardkernel website or via distributors such as Ameridroid.

ODROID-C0ODROID-C0 specifications:

  • SoC- Amlogic S805 quad core ARM Cortex-A5 @ 1.5GHz with ARM Mali-450MP GPU
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3 @  792Mhz
  • Storage – eMMC Module Socket, micro SD card slot up to 128GB
  • Video Output – HDMI
  • Audio Output – HDMI, I2S
  • USB – 2x unpopulated USB2.0 ports
  • Expansion Headers
    • Unpopulated 40-pin header with GPIO, UART, SPI, I2C, and ADC signals
    • Unpopulated 7-pin header for I2S
  • Debugging – Unpopulated serial debug header
  • Misc – On-board RTC function with battery connector, unpopulated IR receiver
  • Power Supply
    • 5V/2A via 2.5/0.8mm power barrel
    • 3.7V Li+ battery
  • Dimensions – 58 x 56 x 11 mm approx
  • Weight – 16 grams without heat sink, 30 grams with optional heat sink
Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

In case you need WiFi, the company provides a 802.11b/g/n 1T1R USB dongle with antenna, but you could probably use your own too, and the board runs Ubuntu 14.04 with OpenGLES, and Android 4.4.x both relying in Linux 3.10, which happens to be exactly the same as ODROID-C1/C1+ since all three boards are software compatible. You can find OS images, source code, and documentation in the Wiki, or directly access ODROID-C1 user’s manual.

There are several unpopulated connectors to make the board more compact and light for drones or robotic projects, but for people who do need the connectors, Hardkernel also sells a connector pack for $1.80, which you’ll need to solder yourself.

  1. February 15th, 2016 at 19:43 | #1

    A much better deal than any of the cheap banana/orange pi’s out there..ODroid’s support for boards is excellent and the price unbeatable. I’ve already ordered 2!. I will probably be getting a couple of C2s as well when they come out. Thanks hardkernel for these amazing boards!

  2. hanza
    February 15th, 2016 at 22:27 | #2

    Idea is to solder rj45 socket to C0, will it work? is it connected to amlogic cpu?

  3. Carlos
    February 15th, 2016 at 22:33 | #3

    I think that the unpopulated USB ports is a big mistake.

  4. tkaiser
    February 15th, 2016 at 23:27 | #4

    @Carlos
    And there are so many people complaining about the height of a dual port USB receptable. Since this board is targeted at DIY makers this won’t be much of a problem if someone also orders the ‘connector pack’ containing two different USB host connectors and solders the one that fits his needs. Also without a heatsink the board will suffer from thermal throttling most of the time…

  5. tkaiser
    February 15th, 2016 at 23:34 | #5

    @halherta
    ‘Unbeatable price’? For me in the EU this ends up at ~35€. For the very same price I get already 3 Orange Pi One (of course without any software/support but who cares — we just added all H3 Orange Pis to our Armbian build system ;). Orange Pi One costs less than 12€ including shipping (therefore EU VAT exempt applies). But I agree: Hardkernel does a way better job regarding software/support/documentation than most of the ‘fruit Pi’ vendors.

  6. February 16th, 2016 at 02:11 | #6

    ameriDroid.com offers a service to install the ports needed if the user doesn’t have the equipment/skill/desire to do it themselves. See http://ameridroid.com/products/c0-connector-pack for details.

  7. renw0rp
    February 16th, 2016 at 03:03 | #7

    @tkaiser
    And how much is an hour of your work worth?

  8. tkaiser
    February 16th, 2016 at 05:13 | #8

    @renw0rp
    That’s a pretty good question 😉 You should be aware that I’m one of the guys contributing to http://www.armbian.com/download/ and http://linux-sunxi.org/

    ODROID C1/C1+/C0 is also on my list. And the reason is simple: manufacturer provided OS images all suck more or less and that’s the way Open Source software development works 🙂

  9. February 16th, 2016 at 06:04 | #10

    @tkaiser
    I congratulate you for your amazing effort in supporting H3 Orange Pi into your Armbian build system. I’ve built Linux based operating systems images and I know how much of a pain that can be. I really believe that Orange Pi company should pay you for the support that you’re offering to their boards.

    Any company that makes Linux hardware without properly supporting it’s own product through up-to-date tested images, a kernel tree and bootloader repo at least is basically pushing the software development costs of the board on to the potential buyer.

    Sure if one is an Embedded Linux Engineer that loves spending hours of their time compiling and patching kernels…its great. But if you just want to use the Linux OS to do stuff or even worse if you are a complete newcomer to Linux, the headaches related to using such boards are simply not worth the $15 that you’ll save.

    The Odroid-C0 might cost $15 more than the cheapest Orange Pi. I’ll gladly pay that to get vendor support for their own product. $15 for no hassle, error free images where all or even 90% of the hardware is supported properly is money well spent.

  10. Jon Smirl
    February 16th, 2016 at 08:01 | #11

    @Hussam

    OrangePi is barely making enough off from these boards to support themselves. These boards are not meant for newbies. Newbies can use a RaspPi or x86 machine.

    But what you are really seeing is that Amlogic is better at providing OS support than Allwinner is.

  11. February 16th, 2016 at 08:42 | #12

    @Jon Smirl
    Jon, I agree. The problem is that the OrangePi boards are advertised as if they are clones of the RPi..insinuating that the buyer will get similar level of support at a lower price. The unsuspecting buyer; who may or may not be a newcomer to linux; looking to get into SBC’s on the cheap might think that the H3 boards are a good way to go. Only to later discover that its literally a major pain just to get the board to boot.

    There is a high degree of false advertising here, even some of the Orange Pi images are called Raspbian. The maker of these boards should simply market these H3 boards to the Embedded Linux guru or provide a disclaimer saying that these boards do not come with proper software support out of the box.

    ‘Here’s the hardware…..good luck getting the software going’. You’ll save $15 upfront but then gain a few grey hairs getting the darn thing to boot.

  12. tkaiser
    February 16th, 2016 at 14:12 | #13

    @Jon Smirl
    Regarding OS support one should consider that there exists the very active linux-sunxi community working on mainline support (both kernel and u-boot) for Allwinner SoCs and compared to that there’s not that much activity around Amlogic SoCs.

    Both vendors provide outdated kernel sources for their SoCs (Allwinner 3.4.x, now 3.10.x for A64 and Amlogic started with 3.10.x and is now at 3.14.29 for S905 used on the announced ODROID-C2). Linux longterm support for 3.10 ended just a few weeks ago and is planned to end for 3.14 in a few months: https://www.kernel.org/category/releases.html

    With Amlogic SoCs you’re already cut off from Linux kernel development (if you care about important bug and security fixes) which is not the case for Allwinner. I use an Orange Pi PC since weeks as headless server running mainline kernel (4.5.0-rc1). That’s where the linux-sunxi community makes the difference.

    The other difference is vendor support for HW accelerated graphics and video in Linux. Here the situation with Amlogic is clearly better but the real difference made the Hardkernel folks maintaining kernel sources (and applying patch after patch as long as 3.10.y was supported) and providing not countless crappy OS images but one for each SBC that works.

    Android might be a different story but none that I’m interested in 🙂

  13. tkaiser
    February 16th, 2016 at 14:30 | #14

    @Hussam
    I agree that the OS images available for different Allwinner based ‘Fruit Pi’ all suck more or less (not limited to Oranges but applies to Bananas as well, especially the totally incompatible M2 and M3 variants).

    But this is the reason projects like Armbian were born providing OS images that work for a variety of boards. For some of our use cases it’s also important to be able to build a whole working OS image from scratch and trustworthy sources not having to rely on a vendor’s OS image. And that’s were Armbian’s build system can shine.

    And if people think they get the same level of software and support from a hardware vendor for $9.99 then there must be something wrong with them. You get what you pay for. BTW: I never complained about any of the ODROID’s prices. They’re reasonable but not ‘unbeatable’.

    I think the C0 is a great device for the DIY target audience due to it’s small form factor, charging capabilities, maintained compability to C1/C1+ and when used with reasonable cpufreq settings also low consumption. And most importantly the superiour support by Hardkernel and community either directly or through their forums. I would believe the ODROID community being the second most active after RPi?

  14. February 16th, 2016 at 16:24 | #15

    @tkaiser
    It is unfortunately the way it works. Those boards manufacturers are just good at assembling the hardware, copying the reference design boards from the main SOC manufacturer.

  15. tkaiser
    February 16th, 2016 at 17:48 | #16

    @zoobab
    I fear I have to disagree regarding Hardkernel. IMO they do a pretty good job in maintaining software (and there are a few other board manufacturers as well).

    But isn’t it also about use cases? I’m currently developing an authenticated printing/scanning solution (using RFID tags for authentication) and since we brought Armbian to the H3 I could also use Orange Pi One since last week. It simply doesn’t matter which board is used as long as the required count of ports is available and it’s supported by Armbian (that’s the main reason I contribute there). 3.4 LTS kernel support will be EOL September 2016, we already patched Allwinner’s kernel to the most recent 3.4.110 version and in September Mainline kernel will be ready.

    From my point of view or regarding our use cases H3 receives excellent support, is as performant as the S805 used on C1/C1+/C0 and has an identical feature set. But it’s a totally different story regarding the use case the C0 was made for. I think there the strong ODROID community matters even more than software when it’s about DIY/maker stuff.

  16. Roel
    February 16th, 2016 at 22:12 | #17

    @tkaiser
    It’s only recently I discovered Armbian. It made me dust off my cubieboard A10. In my opinion you guys are doiing a very good job. Normally I use ALARM, but Armbian is already tweaked to run great and this for a lot of boards who are getting minnor attention in general.

  17. Jon Smirl
    February 16th, 2016 at 22:15 | #18

    The root cause of the software mess at the various SOC vendors is practicing “port and forget”. Port and forget says that you take a release like Android 4.4, make it work on the chip, and then never touch the code again. They do this over and over making point releases for all of their chips. Allwinner is the king of the “port and forget” pile. This is terrible development model that was abandoned in the US around 1990.

    The right way to do this is to develop a unified release system. You have a single kernel that supports all of the vendor’s SOCs. This unified kernel is kept up to date tracking mainline. Merging it would be even better.

    Android then has a device directory for each specific dev board the company makes for the SOC. There is a single release of Android for all products from the vendor. And stop with these useless 6GB tarballs. Provide public git servers and rely on the Google server to serve up the bulk of Android.

    Rockchip is the only Chinese vendor I know that is half ways towards unified releases.

    The silly thing here is that over the long run unified releases are probably less work than “port and forget”. “Port and forget” is one of those penny wise, pound foolish things.

  18. tkaiser
    February 17th, 2016 at 13:00 | #19

    @Jon Smirl
    Couldn’t agree more. And then there are even board vendors like Linksprite that refrain from publishing these crappy 6GB tarballs containing a BSP for a new SoC (H8 in this case) since they fear license infringements against Allwinner:
    http://forum.linksprite.com/index.php?/topic/4533-missing-software-support-for-pcduino8-uno/

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