Shenzhen Xunlong Orange Pi boards are popular with some developers and hobbyists thanks to their low price, but the company is also aware that some are critical of their products. Some of the complaints include that their boards are too difficult to use due to lack of proper firmware and documentation, they are called “Orange Pi”, but aren’t even made with orange color, with some people even going as far as saying their boards are just bricks just good enough to collect dust. The company has taken all remarks into consideration, and has come up with a product that’s simple to use and orange, while breaking the price barrier, as it will be sold for just $1. Yep. You read that right. One Dollar.
I’ve worked with the company to get the exclusive, believe me you won’t find this on any other sites, and they’ve sent me an early sample. Usually packages are not really that interesting, but there was something very peculiar with the package that immediately jumped at me.
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That’s a shoe box! So I double checked with the company if they were really going to send Orange Pi Bricks to their customers in such boxes, and Steven, the company’s spokesperson, explained that indeed they’d send their new systems in recycled shoe boxes in order to limit their impact of the environment. Shenzhen Xunlong clearly trumps the competition as an environmentally friendly development board company!
Anyway. Time to meet Orange Pi Brick!
It’s a beautifully crafted orange block with three holes, some sort of Lego brick for adults if you will. It could be used to build a terrific wall, the sort of which you’ve never seen, or it could be laid out in a garden for decoration purpose, but the key selling point is support for Raspberry Pi Zero and other small factor development boards such as NodeMCU, LinkIt Smart 7688, Wemos D1 mini, and others…
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The central through hole is perfectly designed to fit such boards. It makes an all-weather rugged enclosure for your electronics, and it’s also perfect for discreet smart walls. The side holes and extrusions are both used to either embed modules or pass wires through, while providing a locking mechanism between bricks that allows for cement-less and modular walls.
Orange Pi Brick, HDT22 Temperature sensor, Raspberry Pi Zero, and GPS module – Click to Enlarge
The bottom side of Orange Pi Brick has a patent pending Sensor or LockTM cavities to either place your sensors and/or add-on boards or as interlocking mechanism with other Orange Pi Bricks. I tested the design with Wemos DHT22 temperature and humidity sensor and NavSpark mini GPS module connected to Raspberry Pi Zero board via Dupont cables, and the results was satisfying. The cavities will also provide some heat insulation for the temperature sensor which is always a plus.
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So you can be sure that nobody, nobody, and I mean no-bo-dy, is going to mess with a smart wall or project made with Orange Pi Brick, with the only limit being your imagination. I personally the Orange Pi Brick may become so popular that it may end up being simply called “The Brick” in the Maker communities.
I’d like to thank Shenzhen Xunlong for providing an exclusive Orange Pi Brick sample to CNX Software, and for their continuous and relentless commitment to Make Making Ever Greater Yet Again. The company is still making refinements to Orange Pi Brick, and working on a curved version called Orange Pi Brick Round, but both product should eventually find their ways on the company’s Aliexpress store for $1 plus shipping.