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Banana Pi BPI-M2 Magic is an Allwinner R16 Development Board with LCD and Camera Interfaces

February 22nd, 2017 Leave a comment Go to comments

Allwinner R16 is a quad core Cortex A7 processor found in Nintendo NES Classic Mini game console, but so far there was no development board based on the processor apart from Allwinner Parrot board that does not appear to be for sale. But Banana Pi has designed their own R16 development board, and released some information about BPI-M2 Magic board.

Banana Pi BPI-M2 Magic specifications:

  • SoC – Allwinner R16 quad core ARM Cortex-A7 processor with ARM Mali 400 MP2 GPU
  • System Memory – 512MB DDR3
  • Storage – 8 GB eMMC flash (option: 16, 32 or 64GB) + micro SD slot
  • Display Interface – 4-lane MIPI DSI connector
  • Camera Interface – CSI connector supporting up to 5MP sensor, 1080p30 H.265 video capture
  • Video Decoder – Multi-format FHD video decoding, including Mpeg1/2, Mpeg4, H.263, H.264, etc H.264 high profile [email protected]
  • Audio – On-board microphone
  • Connectivity – Wifi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 LE (AP6212)
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 host, 1x micro USB 2.0 OTG port
  • Expansion – 40-pin header with GPIOs, UART, I2C, SPI, PWM…
  • Misc – Reset & power buttons, RGB LEDs,
  • Power Supply
    • 5V @ 2A via DC power barrel
    • 3.7V Lithium battery support
  • Dimensions – 51 x 51 mm
  • Weight – 40 grams

Allwinner R16 is apparently pin-to-pin compatible with Allwinner A33, as the company also offers the board with the latter. Note that there’s no HDMI port, so it will only be useful for headless application, or if you connect it to an LCD display via the MIPI DSI interface. The board will run Tina IoT Linux, a lightweight Linux distributions optimized for Allwinner R-Series processor.

Serial Console Output for BPI-M2 Magic Board running Tina IoT Linux

You’ll find some extra info on the Wiki, but as of writing, most pages are currently blank or links not setup. SinoVoIP has not announced pricing and availability yet either.

  1. tkaiser
    February 22nd, 2017 at 14:50 | #1

    @cnxsoft:
    After looking through tinalinux stuff (cloned their github repo) I had to come to the conclusion that this is not a ‘lightweight Linux distribution optimized for Allwinner R-Series processor’ but instead the proof that Allwinner has a serious (management) problem.

    Tinalinux is a weird mixture of horribly outdated softwares containing probably more security flaws than features. They release a kernel 3.4.39 at the end of 2016 (3.4 LTS is at 3.4.113 at the moment) together with outdated OpenWRT and Android stuff and their BSP scripts try to create a so called ‘LiveSuit’ image in the end which has to be flashed with proprietary Allwinner binaries. No one right in his mind wants to deal with that for IoT use cases (not even BPi folks themselves, they just use u-boot+kernel from this weird Tina mixture and combine this with their usual few rootfs).

    Fortunately there is linux-sunxi community already providing good mainline linux support for A33/R16 but if this ‘Tina IoT Linux’ stuff is really all Allwinner provides for their SoCs to compete in the growing IoT market then this is really a sign that they have to exchange some management folks since they clearly don’t get it that security is an issue and tinkerers aren’t stupid/masochistic (and you must be at least masochistic to deal with Allwinner’s BSP)

    For me personally the only interesting thing with R16/A33 compared to all the cheap H3 boards we already use is… battery support since this is something many IoT use cases can benefit from (just add a 3.7V battery and you’re done — everything else is handled by AXP223 PMIC all/most R16/A33 designs also contain). We discussed pros/cons and state of software support for R16/A33 already 6 weeks ago over at Armbian: https://forum.armbian.com/index.php/topic/3251-bpi-r16/

  2. February 22nd, 2017 at 19:38 | #2

    @tkaiser
    I was looking if the CHIP could do some power saving with some kind of ACPI S3 suspend to ram, last time I looked it was not supported by the CHIP kernel and al. Every tablet is doing it, so there should be some way to get it working, and that would be a game changer for battery based applications.

  3. willy
    February 24th, 2017 at 18:14 | #3

    @tkaiser
    Thank you Thomas, I don’t feel alone trying to educate users against such crap vendors shipping totally outdated kernels 🙂

  4. March 10th, 2017 at 22:33 | #4

    does any one know how to connect arduino to android mobile??? please rely as soon as possible. i am doing my thesis on it

  5. tkaiser
    March 20th, 2017 at 15:14 | #5

    https://github.com/BPI-SINOVOIP/BPI-M2M-bsp/commit/e42c5eec39efff10a9b9bdac903acf59b778a111

    Yeah, an IoT device released in 2017 shipping with ‘brand new’ kernel 3.4.39 (not even updated to latest 3.4 LTS version 3.4.113). Fortunately network bandwidth is rather limited so if this magic thingie becomes part of the usual IoT botnets it can not cause that much harm. 😛

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