So you’ve got a Raspberry Pi board, an enclosure, and a few add-on boards. Your application would however do with some more processing power, or you’d like to run Android, but you don’t want to have to purchase accessories all over again for another board. Banana Pi could be the solution, as it’s
apparently [Update: it’s not. See comments] mechanically and electrically compatible with the Raspberry Pi, and comes with a dual core Cortex A7 AllWinner A20 SoC with 1GB RAM, a Gigabit Ethernet port, and a SATA port, among other things.
The board does indeed look familiar, with all external connectors at the exact same positions, but the hardware specs are fairly different:
- SoC- Allwinner A20 dual core Cortex A7 processor @ 1 GHz with Mali-400MP2 GPU
- System Memory – 1 GB RAM
- Storage – SD card slot, SATA connector
- Video output – HDMI, Composite, and LVDS/RGB
- Audio I/O – HDMI, 3.5mm stereo jack, and on-board microphone
- Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet
- USB – 2x USB 2.0 ports, 1x micro USB for power
- Expansion – Raspberry Pi compatible headers (26-pin P1 header only), Camera connector (CSI), and LCD connector (DSI).
- Misc – 3x on-board buttons, IR receiver
- Dimensions – 92 x 60 mm (Raspberry board is reported to be 85.60 x 56 mm)
- Weight – 48 g
The board is said to support sunxi Debian, Ubuntu, Android 4.2, XMBC, and FireFox OS (work in progress). You’ll notice the dimensions reported for Banana Pi and Raspberry Pi are different, but this may depend how they’ve measured it: PCB only, or including connectors. Most likely both board are the same dimensions, or Banana Pi would bring little to the table. I’ve just measured my board. PCB only: 84.85 x 56 mm. Including connectors: 92.25 x 64.67 mm. This is confusing, so if somebody has the board and tried with a Raspberry Pi enclosure, please let us know.
The board is also said to support 2160p capacitive touch screen, and designated camera modules, and even though it’s possible the board is electrically compatible to the Raspberry Pi, It’s not clear at all if the software is there to work with the Raspberry Pi camera module for example. So even if most R-Pi accessories will happily be connected to the Banana Pi, they may not work out of the box without substantial (software) work.
You can find a bit more information on Banana Pi website (most of the links do not work), The board is available from Aliexpress starting at $57 including shipping, but the design, e.g. SATA port, seems to be different from the pictures above. [Update: As mentioned in comments, lemaker.org has more information, including download links and forums]
Thanks to Nanik for the tip.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.
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