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Orange Pi Lite Quad Core ARM Linux Development Board with WiFi is Now Available for $12

Shenzhen Xunlong Launched Orange Pi One Allwinner H3 board with Ethernet for $9.99 a couple of months ago, and the company has now started to sell Orange Pi Lite featuring a WiFi module, two full-size USB ports, an IR receiver, and an on-board microphone for $12 + shipping.

Orange_Pi_Lite

Orange Pi Lite specifications:

  • SoC – Allwinner H3 quad core Cortex A7 @ 1.2 GHz with an ARM Mali-400MP2 GPU up to 600 MHz
  • System Memory – 512 MB DDR3
  • Storage – micro SD card slot up to 64GB
  • Video & Audio Output – HDMI with CEC support
  • Audio Input – Built-in microphone (not part of the listed specs, but clearly on the board)
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi via Realtek WiFi module with u.FL connector
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x micro USB OTG port
  • Camera – CSI Interface
  • Expansions – 40-pin Raspberry Pi compatible header
  • Debugging – 3-pin UART header for serial console
  • Misc – Power button; Power and status LEDs; IR receiver (not shown in specs either)
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A via power barrel
  • Dimensions – 69mm × 48mm

Since there’s no PCB nor chip antenna, Orange Pi Lite board will likely ship with the same external antenna used on Orange Pi Plus, and other Orange Pi boards with WiFi.

Orange_Pi_Lite_Allwinner_H3_WiFiThe board is said to support Android, Debian and Raspbian images available on Orange Pi Download page, but if you are going to run a Linux distribution, Armbian is currently recommend on Orange Pi boards, at least the ones based on Allwinner H3 processor. I wrote an Orange Pi One Board Quick Start Guide with Armbian in March, and also tested the image which worked reasonably well considering that’s a $10 board.

The company is also selling Orange Pi Lite kits with camera, power cable, and/or extra USB WiFi dongle (why?) for $13.50 to $17.10. Shipping is around $3.5 to the US for all four options currently available.

  1. Deets
    May 9th, 2016 at 19:56 | #1

    What chip antenna?

  2. May 9th, 2016 at 19:57 | #2

    Armbian still does not run a mainline kernel, the ethernet driver is still unstable last time I heard.

  3. May 9th, 2016 at 19:59 | #3

    @Deets
    The small shiny rectangle between the two USB ports. I don’t know which model. The pictures are not clear, and I don’t think they’ve released the schematics or/and BoM.

  4. Frederir
    May 9th, 2016 at 20:13 | #4

    @Deets
    I do not see a chip antenna, and the connector looks more like an UFL than SMA.

  5. Jan de Boer
    May 9th, 2016 at 20:22 | #5

    @cnxsoft

    Why would you think that shiny rectangle that has no visible traces to u.FL connector, looks exactly like a quartz oscillator _and_ is marked “X4” on silkscreen would be an antenna?

  6. May 9th, 2016 at 20:23 | #6

    @Frederir
    I’ve corrected that SMA/u.FL mistake.
    So there’s no on-board antenna, and they don’t include an external antenna with the board? How is that supposed to work?

  7. tkaiser
    May 9th, 2016 at 20:46 | #8

    @zoobab
    Armbian does support H3 Ethernet with mainline kernel but we don’t provide OS images yet since we want THS stuff (SoC protection through throttling) also working since heavy workloads could damage H3 and some of our H3 users seem to lack reading skills at all (so warnings are useless)

    BTW: OPi Lite has no Ethernet, should work flawlessly with Armbian’s OPi One image but I’ve not the slightest idea about WiFi since according to Xunlong they now use a different WiFi chip than before (but obviously ship with the cheap external Antenna like they currently do with OPi Plus, 2 and Plus 2) and in my personal opinion all these cheap/slow onboard WiFi solutions are something not worth a look 🙂

  8. Benjamin
    May 9th, 2016 at 20:46 | #9

    Any word on the Orange PI zero release date ?

  9. May 9th, 2016 at 20:49 | #10

    @tkaiser
    So I guess that means Orange Pi Lite WiFi might not be supported on Armbian yet. So no properly working image for the board at all for the first few weeks maybe…

  10. Aaa
    May 9th, 2016 at 20:55 | #11

    @Benjamin
    Orange PI One is not good enough?

  11. Benjamin
    May 9th, 2016 at 21:00 | #12

    @Aaa

    I’m just interested in what they can pull of for 5.90$ (thats the price they mention on the forums).

    Personally, i’m far more interested in cheap boards supporting usb3/sata and gigabit ethernet. But none of those.

  12. tkaiser
    May 9th, 2016 at 21:05 | #13

    @cnxsoft
    No idea since I neither care nor know if it’s a) really RTL8189FTV as someone said in the forums and b) whether this chip still works with the somewhat crappy 8189 drivers we have to use now.

    I’ve seen some users and Armbian devs spending huge amounts of efforts/time on wireless drivers for Orange Pis lately but since slow SDIO WiFi implementations only able to use the overcrowded 2.4GHz band are close to useless for me didn’t take notice how far we’re now. But I would suspect Igor integrates a newer variant of the 8189es driver into next Armbian 5.11 release and if that also works with 8189FTV and not only 8189ETV used now…

    It would be nice if board vendors send out dev samples timely (and also if they would stop using these cheap WiFi chips at all 😉 )

  13. tkaiser
    May 9th, 2016 at 21:20 | #14

    @Benjamin
    OPi Zero for 5.90$ comes with zero connectivity, zero usability, nearly zero availability but twice the shipping costs to ensure that only the “Buy cheap, buy twice!” target audience gets really excited 😉

    Since Xunlong switches away from Allwinner/H3 (OPi PC 2 with H64, another yet announced new board with USB3 and SATA) maybe OPi Zero will also use a completely different SoC? Currently these zero boards are more of a PR stunt than a useable product. But let’s see.

    My first thought when hearing about OPi Zero was: Maybe something useful as cluster node? No connectors at all, just H3, 1GB DRAM, DC-IN and Ethernet exposed on a connector to be used with a baseboard that contains an Ethernet switch IC.

  14. Benjamin
    May 9th, 2016 at 22:00 | #15

    @tkaiser

    Well, if its small and power efficient, that it sorta makes sense for certain projects.

  15. tkaiser
    May 9th, 2016 at 22:15 | #16

    @Benjamin
    Using H3 I wouldn’t build any cluster but since Xunlong prepares at least one board with H64 (A64’s twin) an ‘Orange Pi Zero 2’ based on this would be already interesting (Linpack performance twice as much when using ARMv8 instructions!).

    Unfortunately H64 AFAIK contains no Ethernet PHY and needs a PMIC which might increase the costs by a whopping 2.40$ 😉

  16. xxiao
    May 10th, 2016 at 03:36 | #17

    @Benjamin
    high performance little boards like that are indeed hard to achieve, the chip alone could be above $10

  17. samira
    May 10th, 2016 at 03:52 | #18

    what size is the power barrel ?

  18. Gung Sukma
    May 10th, 2016 at 11:00 | #19

    @samira
    PSP cable.

  19. Theguyuk
    May 10th, 2016 at 14:59 | #20

    Personally I think Orange Pi should leave Pi Zero to it, the Orange Pi One is a better board for low income people and education use, I know most think that’s not the market the Zero is aimed at or that exists.

    If Orange Pi want to stir up the market then I would suggest a new market. A standard H3 Android TV box but with built in GPIO added and option to boot from SDcard. 2GB ram. GPIO to be accessible and useable from within Android,. target market normal non technical people, makers and education.

    A lot of Orange Pi user struggle with English as it is not a native tongue to them.

    It will be interesting to see how the Orange Pi Lite does there appears to be over 10,000 made if you can trust Aliexpress available numbers.

    I have purchased a few just need them delivered now.

  20. Theguyuk
  21. Roel
    May 10th, 2016 at 17:07 | #22

    @Theguyuk
    It’s also a way to add wifi to the board, strange nobody mentioned this solution before…

  22. tkaiser
    May 11th, 2016 at 14:46 | #23

    @Theguyuk
    Feels weird to see someone really recommending Orange Pi One since with included shipping costs spending 35 percent more one gets sooo much more choosing Orange Pi PC instead. Only recommending Orange Pi Lite would be even more weird unless it’s confirmed that a working WiFI driver is available and performance is ok.

  23. No sh#t
    May 11th, 2016 at 17:14 | #24

    @tkaiser

    Hello and thank you for the work the Armbian team put in supporting so many manufacturers boards.

    I noticed the WiFi is Realtek going off the released photo and admin on Orange Pi have confirmed it is 8189ftv

    If that helps.

    As to which or what Orange Pi board is not so simple because tax, postage, availability and the perceptions of the buyers affect choice. You can explain to them that the OPI PC is a better choice but still beginners say ” I just want to see if I like Orange Pi first”, so buy the cheapest they can. People I meet seem to assume the OPI One is better than a unavailable not in stock RPI 0 , a upgrade from a Chinese, 2.50GBP, with cable Arduino UN0 R3.

    They are not businesses but makers, tinkerers and beginners looking for a cheap way to start. Many will not buy through Aliexpress as it is unfamiliar to them. They are Amazon and eBay shoppers

    Mind you looking at Aliexpress sales figures the Orange Pi One has sold in Tens of thousands to people, so these people chose the One.

  24. tkaiser
    May 11th, 2016 at 17:51 | #25

    @No sh#t
    I read also that 8189ftv is confirmed. But of course no additional ‘(100% software compatible)’ added so still no one outside Xunlong knows what to expect (they chose a different chip by intention so it can not be expected automagically that no software changes are needed — tbc)

    Regarding sales figures based on Aliexpress Orange Pi PC still sells better and for whatever reasons newbies buy this board or that paperweight doesn’t matter that much since with some limited knowledge you can avoid buying the wrong device. So many people dream of soldering the missing connectors to Orange Pi One/Lite later just to save $5 and to realize how small board and solder pads are. IMO not worth the hassles/efforts. But YMMV as usual 🙂

    Again regarding sales figures. The IMO most interesting board — Orange Pi Plus 2E — has been said to be available at the end of this week. I’m really curious how many people get what a nice server this board would make.

  25. tkaiser
    June 1st, 2016 at 16:33 | #26

    New OpenELEC and Armbian releases for Orange Pi Lite available fully supporting all features:

    * New RTL8189FTV WiFi works in client, AP and monitor mode (see Armbian forum for details)

    * New improved THS settings improving cpufreq scaling and throttling and therefore increasing performance when throttling jumps in (also new kernel code to bring back killed CPU cores in case heavy overheating occured)

    * USB OTG port useable as host port by default (performance of the OTG Micro USB port just a little bit lower than that of the 2 type A host ports) so you’ve 3 USB 2.0 ports on this device

    * Ethernet performance with cheap RealTek RTL8153 based USB dongles is reported to exceed 350 Mbits/sec

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