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Banana Pi BPI-M2 Berry Allwinner V40 Development Board, Allwinner Business Units & SDK/Software Management

SinoVoIP has unveiled yet another new board with Banana Pi BPI-M2 Berry this week-end. It’s actually quite similar to Banana Pi BPI-M2 Ultra board, by they replaced Allwinner R40 with Allwinner V40 processor, removed some features, and use Raspberry Pi 3 form factor. If we look at Allwinner V40 product brief we can see the specifications look almost identical, with V40 potentially exposing an extra CAN bus. The company’s announcement was very confusing since they show Banana Pi BPI-M2 Berry board with Allwinner R40 instead of Allwinner V40.

Banana Pi BPI-M2 Berry specifications:

  • SoC – Allwinner V40 quad Core ARM Cortex A7 processor with ARM Mali-400MP2 GPU
  • System Memory – 1G DDR3 SDRAM
  • Storage – micro SD slot, SATA interface
  • Connectivity – 1x Gigabit Ethernet port, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 (AP6212 module)
  • Video Output – HDMI 1.4 port up to 1080p60, 4-lane MIPI DSI display connector
  • Audio I/O – HDMI, 3.5mm headphone jack, built-in microphone
  • USB – 4x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x micro USB OTG port
  • Camera – CSI camera connector
  • Expansion – 40-pin Raspberry Pi compatible header with GPIOs, I2C, SPI, UART, ID EEPROM, 5V, 3.3V, GND signals.
  • Debugging – 3-pin UART for serial console
  • Misc – Reset, power, and u-boot buttons
  • Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port; AXP221s PMIC
  • Dimensions – 85mm x 56mm

The Wiki is also shared for BPI-M 2 Ultra/Berry boards. The company also showed a picture of BPI-M2 Ultra with Allwinner V40 confirming both processors are  pin-to-pin-compatible.

BPI-M2 Ultra Board with Allwinner V40 Processor

So why bother doing different processors since they are so similar? Last time, we were told Allwinner A64 and R18 had different SDKs, so it should be the same for R40 and V40. Allwinner has different family of processors dedicated to different market segments: A-series are application processors, H-series are for home entertainment, R-series for the IoT, and V-Series for video camera applications. In some ways, it makes sense to have different business units that specialize in specific market segments. If you customer wants to make an action camera redirect him to the V-series guys, a TV box that’s for H-series, and so on.

There’s been a long-ish discussion about Allwinner business units on CNX Software. What has apparently been happening is that some processors can be used across market segments, so they have duplicates (or close to it) with for example Allwinner A64/R18 that’s just the same chip but assigned to a different business unit. Each business unit work and release their own SDK, and based on different Linux and Android version for different SDK, there does not seem common work across business units, and they appear to have separate software teams.  The processors are differentiated by “CHIP ID”, and by default you can’t run firmware generated by R18 SDK on A64, and vice-versa, since the bootloader will detect the ID and prevent the software to run.  That also looks like a bad idea, since for example a software bug fixed on Allwinner R18 SDK, may go unnoticed on Allwinner A64 for years etc… So ideally all business units should get their software from a single team taking care of low level software (bootloader/kernel/drivers), middleware (Android/rootfs), while software developers’ part of a given business unit may work on the market specific software.

Jon had more insights on this business organization:

The R group is releasing a different SDK for the R18. They are not using the A64 one. That strongly suggests to me two sets of software people. A single software group would have simply added the R18 extras into the A64 SDK.

You want a centralized Linux and Android group. Then inside that group you develop specialists. For example the DMA person, the UART person, the Ethernet person, etc. That person is responsible for driver support over all of the CPUs Allwinner makes. They become experts on this piece of the SOC. The output of this group is a single SDK that supports all Allwinner processors. Like what mainline Linux is doing for Allwinner SOC currently. Not the single CPU kernels that AW keeps releasing.

Then you can give this central software group two instructions:
1) Add a new SOC to the existing base. Each specialist will extend their existing driver to add support for the new SOC. Not cut and paste then edit to make a new driver! That happens with separate groups.
2) Add support for a new kernel or Android release. Everyone in the group works together to bring all of the SOC support up to this new release. This is not that hard now since each expert in their niche will know exactly what the issues are.

The central group allows these vertical specialists to exist. Having the chip groups do it results in a lot of copy/paste/edit (which we see in spades) and many bugs because the work is having to be done by generalist assigned to the group. When the programmers belong to the hardware groups Allwinner is creating “port and forget” specialists.

and also mentioned it’s been tried before, and failed:

This awful management style was practiced by most of the US semiconductor industry in the 1990’s. Most have discovered that it was a really bad way to do things and have reorganized.

This management style occurs when chip people end up in top management at these SOC companies. They treat everything like a chip and software is definitely not a chip. But these “chip heads” don’t know much about software so they can’t see how bad this organization design is for long term support. You can’t blame the “chip heads” for acting this way, it is the only area they have worked in. What they are doing is the correct model for making chips.

Now I don’t have detailed internal org charts for Allwinner. But I used to work for US companies that had this exact management structure before realizing how messed up it was. Only after a couple of very expensive failed launches of new chips because the software supporting them didn’t work did management change.

Another not-directly related complain is that Allwinner will also release the source code as tarballs, and they don’t have a git (or other revision control system) repository accessible to customers, for example like Amlogic or Rockchip already do. Instead they release those large tarballs, and then linux-sunxi community may import the u-boot/Linux kernel part to github, and work on them, although those days, they may prefer to focus on mainline rather than on Allwinner SDK releases.

  1. May 29th, 2017 at 18:26 | #1
  2. Alex
    May 29th, 2017 at 18:35 | #2

    @agumonkey
    The V40 board is freshly cooked, there is still flux on the V40 chip 😀

  3. tkaiser
    May 29th, 2017 at 18:58 | #3

    @agumonkey
    The picture with V40 on it shows the BPi M2 Ultra and not M2 Berry. The guy doing ‘documentation’, ‘specifications’ and announcements at SinoVoip is maybe the most careless person on this planet (or lost his brain somewhere years ago).

    You can replace R40 with V40 as you can replace R16 with A33 and R58 with A83T and so on. But that’s not the news here. They can replace R40 with V40, show us that they did with at least one M2 Ultra sample, show us clearly they provide M2 Berry with R40 but the confused person writing their announcements as usual and again confused everything and mixed one announcement with the other.

    BPi M2 Berry is simply the attempt to rip-off as many clueless Raspberry users as possible. Same form factor, same shitty DC-IN, an internal USB hub so overall USB bandwidth sucks just like on every Raspberry. But users will love it, this will be SinoVoip’s cash cow from now on since their target audience doesn’t do the necessary research prior to an impulse buy but only later.

    Instead of fixing any of the instability problems M2 Ultra is already affected from (please visit forum.banana-pi.org –> ‘BPI-M2-Ultra / Berry category’ and enjoy thread titles like ‘defect board’ and ‘frequent freeze-ups’ and all the other joys of dealing with Banana software/settings) they introduced ‘instability next level’ and added Micro USB for DC-IN to the mix. BPi M2 Berry unlike Raspberries does not contain under-voltage detection circuitry immediately throttling down CPU, GPU and VPU so RPi users switching over will experience great freezes, reboot loops, instabilities and all the other funny stuff that’s delivered as by-product of using Micro USB to power a board (and a connected SATA disk. It’s really too funny how the same company can repeat the same mistake over and over again. Even on first Banana Pi M1 it has been discovered by customers/users pretty fast what an insanely crappy idea it is to power such a setup through Micro USB)

  4. tkaiser
    May 29th, 2017 at 19:06 | #4

    @cnxsoft:

    You’re also confused by their weird announcement. This Berry here is something different than the Ultra board. It simply doesn’t matter whether they use V40 or R40 on either board but the other differences matter. And this Berry thing is a stripped down Ultra version aiming at Raspberry Pi users that will be lured with the claim BPi-M2 Berry would be just like a Raspberry Pi 2 but with much faster network and true SATA (they provide even Raspbian OS images people will fail with since config.txt and cmdline.txt aren’t used with R40/V40). I would assume it’s priced competitively (maybe as low as €35 in EU) and they trust in RPi users buying BPi M2 Berry as a Raspberry replacement re-using their PSU and cables (which will lead to all sorts of troubles since only RPi foundation learned to masquerade crappy Micro USB problems in the meantime while all other SBC vendors who also use Micro USB did not)

    TL;DR: It’s not about R40 vs. V40 here but ‘Berry’ is a stripped down ‘Ultra’ directly targeting the Raspberry market claiming better network and ‘true SATA’ (dog slow but their customers won’t notice anyway) and introducing a new era of instability due to under-voltage problems again.

  5. May 29th, 2017 at 19:15 | #5

    @tkaiser
    Do you mean they laid out a new PCB, and the picture with V40 on Ultra board won’t be the actual BPI-M2 Berry board? How would you know that?

  6. tkaiser
    May 29th, 2017 at 19:29 | #6

    @cnxsoft
    Huh? These are two totally different designs, the ‘Ultra’ matches dimensions and connector placement of their M3 and M64 but Berry is (just another) RPi clone here (like ODROID-C1/C2, NanoPi K2, ASUS Tinkerboard, MiQi board or soon to be released Rock64 — unfortunately only the latter and the 2 ODROIDs do not feature the moronic DC-IN variant called Micro USB).

    Just look at the pictures at their ‘documentation’ wiki and compare hardware ‘specs’ for example: https://bananapi.gitbooks.io/bpi-m2-ultra-open-source-single-board-computer/content/bpi-m2-berry-hardware/bpi-m2-berry-hardware-spec.html (of course clockspeed listed there are all plain bullshit since the careless person doing this kind of ‘specification writing’ always suffers from ‘copy&paste gone wrong’, DRAM is clocked with max 576 MHz and still shows instabilities, GPU with 360 MHz according to their fex settings)

  7. tkaiser
    May 29th, 2017 at 19:31 | #7

    @cnxsoft
    Ultra vs Berry is not about R40 vs. V40 (that’s just their stupid announcement suggesting) but Ultra following their usual design style and Berry following RPi as close as possible (board dimensions, connector and mounting hole placement and maybe even price).

    They can replace R40 with V40 and vice versa on either board anyway (but this might then require a different boot0 blob — TBC)

  8. May 29th, 2017 at 20:48 | #8

    @tkaiser
    OK. I should have spent more time double-checking their pictures. It’s really crazy to announce BPI-M2 Berry with Allwinner V40, but show a picture of the board with Allwinner R40, then show a BPI-M2 Ultra board with Allwinner V40 unrelated to Berry, in the Berry section of the Wiki shared for both boards.

  9. May 29th, 2017 at 20:57 | #9

    Anyway, thanks. I’ve updated the post, so it does not contain any more “fake news” hopefully.
    The main reason I wrote the post was to write about the discussion last time about the way Allwinner handle SDK through different business unit.

  10. JotaMG
    May 29th, 2017 at 21:09 | #10

    cnxsoft:
    ” I should have spent more time double-checking their pictures.”
    Really?
    Will that matter, as you tend to write only superficial reports??

    ” A-series are application processors, H-series are for home entertainment, R-series for the IoT, and V-Series for video camera applications”

    Wow…
    where did you find that out??
    Shame on you, cnxsoft!!

  11. tkaiser
    May 29th, 2017 at 21:17 | #11

    @cnxsoft
    Of course it’s crazy but it’s also what happens always. And they do not only f*ck up such announcements by mixing ‘we have a new board more compatible to RPi’ with ‘Hey, as usual we can exchange identical SoCs named differently on our boards’ but also as usual their specs are wrong (I did not encounter a single time that those careless SinoVoip people managed to get this right, they copy&paste from here to there and you never know what’s information and what’s just BS).

    Maybe it’s just a strategy to scare away every potential user with a brain to focus only on absolutely clueless customers?

    Anyway: their target audience (Raspberry Pi users) should be prepared for the following:

    – Most probably under-voltage problems due to Micro USB (no schematics released so maybe they improved the power design)
    – When you use any display with a somewhat exotic resolution you’re already lost. You can fiddle around in /boot/config.txt as long as you want, this file will never be read on BPi M2 Berry and you end up with a non native display resolution since R40 HDMI driver is as limited as those for all other more recent Allwinner SoCs
    – Same with max_usb_current and other stuff, you can edit config.txt as you want, it’s absolutely useless
    – want to fix something in /boot/cmdline.txt? Try it, won’t be read anyway
    – search for boot config stuff that’s really relevant? It’s somewhere on this 100 MB FAT partition filled with useless junk for all their Bananas and of course nothing is documented
    – DSI (LCD connector) is different and of course positions of CSI and DSI connector are exchanged between real Raspberries and this Berry here. But since RPi LCDs can’t be used anyway (and I would believe it’s the same for camera as well)… it shouldn’t matter. You only have to be prepared that camera and display aren’t compatible to common RPi enclosures.
    – R40/V40 have two real USB host ports that do not have to share bandwidth. Since schematics are not released I don’t know for sure: but since SinoVoip has a long history of repeating the same mistakes over and over again most probably they leave one USB host port disconnected and attach the internal USB hub with all exposed USB receptacles to the other SoC’s host port (USB bandwidth situation as crappy as on every Raspberry)
    – Your RPi enclosure has vents to improve heat dissipation? Most probably at the wrong location when used with this Berry
    – Full sized HATs most probably interfere with the SATA connector but better check GPIO definition before anyway

  12. tkaiser
    May 29th, 2017 at 21:36 | #12

    cnxsoft :
    Anyway, thanks. I’ve updated the post, so it does not contain any more “fake news” hopefully.

    Well, I still think both title and contents are wrong since BPi M2 Berry is said to rely on R40, there’s also not a single picture or reference combining this Berry with V40. All the confusion around Berry/Ultra and R40 vs V40 is only based on this weird SinoVoip guy responsible for ‘documentation’ (LOL!), ‘specifications’ (AKA ‘copy&paste’ from other pages without checking facts even once), announcements and also forum moderation and (not providing any real) support there.

  13. Peter
  14. LinAdmin
    May 30th, 2017 at 20:00 | #14

    I just wonder how long these messies will survive?

  15. May 31st, 2017 at 09:06 | #15

    @tkaiser
    On Banana Pi Facebook page: “will use V40 for volume production, software is same”, and “this board preice is 32 USD .it is BPI-M2 Ultra cost down version”.

    We’ll have it see if they can keep the $32 (+ shipping) promise, something they’ve not always been able to do in the past.

  16. May 31st, 2017 at 09:33 | #16

    BPI-M2 Ultra and BPI-M2 Berry , all can support allwinner R40 and V40, and image is same . R40=V40 for chip hardware ,just remark. but allwinner support different SDK . so, just software not same .but for development baord , banana pi image can run both chips .for user , it is same. just chip mark not same.

  17. tkaiser
    May 31st, 2017 at 12:13 | #17

    @lionwang
    So R40 and V40 are the same. Only remaining question: how long will it take you this time to release schematics for BPi M2 Berry? Weeks? Months? A Year as with your ‘routerboard’ R1? What’s so hard with releasing this document so users can check whether they can reliably power this Berry (avoiding Micro USB) or not?

    You still claim ‘open source hardware’ which is of course a lie and you know it (or do you really don’t get it what’s missing to claim OSHW compliance: please read through https://www.oshwa.org/definition/chinese/ and then either start to follow these guidelines or remove all those bold lies from your marketing and ‘documentation’ ressources)

  18. tkaiser
    May 31st, 2017 at 12:28 | #18

    @cnxsoft
    Of course they should be able to do this board for $32. They sell a stripped down version of M2+ called ‘M2+ EDU’ for $22 on Aliexpress which translates to €25 in DE. I guess they try to stay below €40 in Europe to sell this Berry as a direct Raspberry Pi competitor. This target audience is clueless anyway so they will succeed.

    Their European distributor currently focuses on selling strange things to Raspberry users (eg. mSATA HATs for SSDs or UPS HATs called ‘StromPi’) and I believe they’re the ones who defined the ‘design’ of BPi M2 Berry: make dimensions and connector placements compatible to Raspberries, don’t expose the 2 battery pins so they’re able to sell their expensive UPS HATs and keep the price in a reasonable range.

  19. tkaiser
    May 31st, 2017 at 12:40 | #19

    @LinAdmin
    ‘Survive’? This Berry will be soon their top seller. At least in Europe if they’re able to keep Raspberry pricing (~36€). And if it’s priced that way it also becomes a logical replacement for the A20 based Banana Pi once mainline kernel support for R40/V40 is ready. SATA performance with R40/V40 is as bad as with A20 but network and overall performance is better. With a SATA connected disk we should get NAS read speeds of +100 MB/s (same for write speeds when using good settings as long as the amount of data fits into memory).

    The only open question is: can we reliably power the board which means bypassing this stupid Micro USB jack for DC-IN (using GPIO header or SATA power as on the first Bananas)? These Banana guys still talk about every of their designs being ‘the open source hardware platform’ but are not even able to release schematics timely.

  20. tkaiser
    May 31st, 2017 at 14:11 | #20

    cnxsoft :
    We’ll have it see if they can keep the $32 (+ shipping) promise, something they’ve not always been able to do in the past.

    Searched for it: http://forum.banana-pi.org/t/banana-pi-bpi-m2-ultra-quad-core-single-board-computer/2225/7

    So with BPi M2 Ultra those ‘about 35-40 USD’ are $50 in reality and here in DE this board costs €60 (taxes included without shipping). If their ‘$32 (+ shipping) promise’ will result in a similar $45 / €55 real price this board is not worth a look since still too expensive.

    I wonder why there’s still no cheap R40/V40 board accepting 12V on a common 5.5/2.1mm barrel jack using the usual 2.5″/3.5″ SATA connector (with 12V on the 3 power pins too) and also exposing the 2 UAS capable USB host ports directly. And why R40/V40 devices are only available from this vendor lying about ‘open source hardware’ all the time and not even able to release schematic.

  21. JotaMG
    May 31st, 2017 at 15:26 | #21

    Tkaiser:
    I’ve been using the Bpi m2u R40 for the last 2 weeks as my main home server (with a heavy postgresql database running on it), and I’m very happy with it.
    Even with the “performance” governor”, and >28º ambient temperatures, it runs cold, not need a dissipater.
    Their last ubuntu image is also very stable. Also love their install method, via bpi-copy, much more easy than Armbian.
    The Emmc is fast enough, and overall performance is very good.
    On the downsides, missed a headless server image, lost hours trimming down their ubuntu desktop image, and of course, a updated kernel and proper docs will be great.
    So, i don’t know what you have against Sinovoip, but this R40 board is not as bad as you describe.

    My opinion is that this Bpi guys are trying to improve and do better, and they deserve this credit!
    Compare that with the shameful Orange Pi people, who just don’t care about support and software.

    ” I wonder why there’s still no cheap R40/V40 board accepting 12V on a common 5.5/2.1mm barrel jack using the usual 2.5″/3.5″ SATA connector (with 12V on the 3 power pins too) and also exposing the 2 UAS capable USB host ports directly. ”

    Yes, you are right, that is a great idea for a great board!
    Maybe they will listen, as it seems that for now they have the exclusivity for the R40?

  22. theguyuk
    May 31st, 2017 at 16:10 | #22

    One thing that seems missing from all these different makes of SBC is they all lack design parts some people want.

    I suggest perhaps what’s needed is a community agreed SBC reference design. Yes that is dam hard to do and agree on, but if enough potential customers get together, and discuss openly and respectfully with each other, on what a ideal or desired, SBC spec would be.

    Then made it freely available to manufacturers.

    Just need the SBC manufactures to take note, if they would?

    Seems better approach than present lottery of hoping one manufacture gets it right.

  23. tkaiser
    May 31st, 2017 at 16:20 | #23

    JotaMG :
    So, i don’t know what you have against Sinovoip, but this R40 board is not as bad as you describe.

    Huh? Which R40 board are you talking about? Care to check their forum full of complaints and reports of instabilities? http://forum.banana-pi.org/c/Banana-pi-BPI-M2-Ultra — are all those customers liars or is there something seriously wrong? Like for example introducing HDMI display problems by applying their ‘quality control passed’ sticker?

    The problem with these guys is that they’re absolutely careless. All the time they provide incorrect information and do not even correct their mistakes if they have been told and confirmed (see schematics for BPi M2+, 1.2V written, 1.3V according to their support stuff and I measure 1.4V in reality). They simply don’t give a sh*t about providing correct hardware descriptions (fex files or device tree stuff is just that: precise description of the hardware but they always fail with this). Add to this missing schematics and you know what’s wrong (or probably not, many people also have no problem with a vendor claiming doing ‘open source hardware’ while doing quite the opposite in reality).

    And here it’s about BPi M2 Berry and not Ultra and the most severe difference is that they replaced a sane barrel plug for powering the device with Micro USB so that users of this board will waste many hours with instabilities until they figure out that they’ll suffer from undervoltage. This problem is known since years since all their early Bananas suffer from it too. You find tons of tutorials on the net how to avoid Micro USB on Banana Pi M1, M1+, Pro or their Lamobo R1 or the first M3 batch since it’s known that using that connector is a shitty idea. But of course they did it again (to trick unfortunate Raspberry users into believing they only need to replace their RPi with this Berry re-using same PSU and cables and are done, board design driven by marketing people and not engineers).

    BTW: Please provide iozone numbers for the eMMC on your board if you claim it’s ‘fast enough’ (I wouldn’t call 6 MB/s fast). It’s just an ‘sudo apt install iozone3’ and

  24. JotaMG
    May 31st, 2017 at 16:28 | #24

    @theguyuk

    That’s not the way to do business.
    And, of course you will never reach a consensus.
    What this industry needs – and here the community can help – is to have a common “bios” design, somehow more easy to hack and extend than the current u-boot, and a standard plug-n-play hardware design, that can easily extend the SoC’s main lines and buses to the outside.

  25. JotaMG
    May 31st, 2017 at 17:08 | #25

    @tkaiser

    haha
    I don’t want to dispute with you, but I am viewing this from a different angle than you.
    yes, I’ve also read all that reports on the forums, and I’ve been puzzled, because I’ve not had the single small problem with the board.
    Should we believe all that is written on the forums? (and even on this blog ;-))
    For instance, about the “Hdmi problem and the QC sticker”, the guy said:
    “I removed the QC passed sticker from below the HDMI port and I cleaned up the PCB and HDMI port with Methylated spiirits, now it works. So if anybody has similar problems as me: thats what helped me.”

    -> I ask: is this serious??

    About the docs, you are right, they are bad, and sometimes incorrect (i feel blessed to not have to mess with fex on this Bpi m2u).
    But, to be honest, that is similar to majority of the Chinese board makers, not only with this particular company.
    Remember that not long ago, there were makers selling boards advertise to run at 2.0Ghz when in truth they can only go to 1.6?
    In my view that is far worse than bad docs….

    My Bpi m2u is powered via Micro USB – although with a high quality cable – and also no instability here.
    I can send photos, if you want.
    Regarding emmc I/O, I can not do that test on my board, at least right now, because I’m using it for home tasks. But, when copying files to it, I’ve got max around 7.5 MB/s, ok, it is not fast, but it is good for my use cases, and if in a month or two this board still stays stable, then I will move rootfs to sata.

  26. JotaMG
    May 31st, 2017 at 17:27 | #26

    I’ve just remembered that when i’ve installed the ubuntu image, the hdmi did not work for the first couple of boots, I did not worry because I was going to get rid of the desktop, then, without any change (or cleaning :-)) it worked and I’ve got a nice Mate desktop.

  27. tkaiser
    May 31st, 2017 at 18:01 | #27

    JotaMG :
    because I’ve not had the single small problem with the board

    It sounds you didn’t stress test your device so far? People on the forum complain about instabilities and a reproducibility when using memtester. R40 user manual talks about 576 MHz max DRAM cockspeed, T3 product page at allwinnertech.com (T3 seems to be the same as R40/V40 just with another business unit being responsible for) even mentions ‘Supports 32-bit DDR3/DDR3L/LPDDR2/LPDDR3 up to 580MHZ’ but DRAM settings in SinoVoip’s fex files (and used with their OS images) are 648 MHz (and of course that brain-damaged guy being responsible for writing SinoVoip’s ‘product specifications’ and ‘documentation’ writes 733 MHz on their Gitbook page — that’s still my main concern with these guys: they simply don’t give a sh*t about providing correct information, you never know whether you’re dealing with information/documentation or just plain BS since they’re totally careless).

    Anyway: I’m pretty confident no one of those people claiming their M2 Ultra would run perfectly stable and especially not SinoVoip will try out eg. limamemster to check for DRAM overclocking stability issues (all those reports on the forum sound just like that or the other common reason: under-voltage, maybe a regulator is wrongly adjusted).

  28. lordzahl
    June 1st, 2017 at 01:08 | #28

    @tkaiser
    @JotaMG
    I also have the m2u and am quite ok with it for now. While the mainline kernel is missed (e.g. for up to date btrfs support), the network speed and general IO speed is ok (for now), since everything has to go over wifi anyways.
    The debian image works ok for me as a headless server.
    I only had one failure yet, which was probably power supply related (2×2.5″ HD instead of one and copying from one to the other). So if someone has a concrete advise for a fitting supply (in germany or from china), please let me know.

    I wanted to try the limamemtester, but it seems mali is missing in my image.

  29. tkaiser
    June 9th, 2017 at 22:34 | #29

    JotaMG :
    My opinion is that this Bpi guys are trying to improve and do better, and they deserve this credit!

    After reading through some of the forum contents (preparing currently some sort of a poll system for Armbian developers to decide whether we want to support certain devices or not) I really don’t know what you mean, eg. http://forum.banana-pi.org/t/serial-port-path/3352 (really, that’s their 1st level ‘support’)

    And the guy doing ‘documentation’ is obviously only capable of copy&paste without the slightest idea what he’s doing (maybe not understanding english at all?): https://bananapi.gitbooks.io/bpi-m3/content/en/linux-sunxiwiki.html (wording in linux-sunxi wiki has been changed in the meantime since the original version was too harsh so the only place on earth with these sentences is now in official ‘technical documentation’ of those Banana folks)

    Well, that’s just a stupid example causing no harm but all the various places where they simply provide wrong numbers and ‘information’ and simply don’t care are the real problem. Just look at this M2U or the Berry. R40/V40 are allowed to clock DRAM with up to 576 MHz, their OS images use 648 MHz (guess why there are many threads about instabilities in their forum?) and the fool responsible for their ‘technical documentation’ writes ‘1GB DDR3 with 733MHz’ (this is copy&paste from their M3 using LPDDR3 instead). This insanely high level of ignorance is the real problem with this vendor.

  30. tkaiser
    June 16th, 2017 at 17:46 | #30

    In Germany BPi M2 Berry appears in first online ships ready to preorder for €39 (VAT included). Advertising clearly targets RPi 3 customers tricking them into believing they get high speed SATA here (nope, it’s still as slow as on the original A20 Bananas) and they could re-use all their peripherals, especially their PSU: good luck with Micro USB, under-voltage and missing under-voltage detection circuitry on BPi M2 Berry.

    But maybe there is something that can compensate from crappy powering. Unfortunately this vendor is too stupid to get the meaning of ‘open source hardware’ he constantly uses to describe their products, they’re not even able to provide schematics timely and correctly (in BPi M2 Ultra schematic for example uart2 appears twice — those guys simply don’t give a sh*t about documentation or correct information at all)

  31. June 16th, 2017 at 17:51 | #31

    @tkaiser
    SATA will still be better than whatever USB to SATA you’d get on a Raspberry Pi 3 board, at least for read speeds.

    Most people purchasing Raspberry Pi boards don’t understand “open hardware” concept anyway. Many think that if you can install an open source Linux distribution, the board is open source. Others think that the release of PDF schematics make it open source hardware.

  32. tkaiser
    June 16th, 2017 at 18:18 | #32

    @cnxsoft
    Literally every other board will show better performance than any of those crippled Raspberries with their single USB2 connection. Even a $7 Orange Pi Zero will outperform any RPi 3 by magnitudes if it’s about storage performance and especially combined storage/network performance (add another $7 for a GbE USB dongle and you get 30MB/s NAS performance).

    But that’s not the point, it’s about selling a board as a direct replacement for Raspberries and even mentioning it ‘can run Raspbian’ so clueless customers expect everything being the same (‘look even the same software is running!’) and this M2 Berry just being an enhanced Raspberry featuring the long-awaited SATA port.

    RPi users in the meantime can use almost every HDMI/DVI display by altering contents of /boot/config.txt (every possible resolution adjustable, overscan issues fixable). The file is there in SinoVoip’s Raspbian but of course it has no function here (same with all ‘hacks’ using /boot/cmdline.txt), HDMI driver in Allwinner’s R40 BSP simply sucks and there’s nothing else since almost no one is interested wasting his time on developing on boards that are not even supported by their own hardware manufacturer.

    RPi users are ‘protected’ from the crappy DC-IN connector on their boards since RPi folks added under-voltage protection circuitry starting with 2nd generation RPi A+/B+ so the firmware throttles everything down when under-voltage occurs. On this Berry thing here there’s most probably nothing, users will experience freezes, crashes, boot loops and constant data corruption when using a connected 2.5″ disk (disk activity –> higher current demand –> Ohm’s law –> voltage drop –> freeze –> filesystem and/or data corruption). Of course those famous SinoVoip ‘engineers’ don’t notice since they only test with bench PSUs and reliable cables unlike +99 percent of their future customers out there.

    And wrt ‘open source hardware’: it’s not about customer perception but vendor stupidity. Those guys managed to implement at least one serious design flaw in every of their boards starting with Lamobo R1 / Banana Pi M3. It takes always ages until they release schematics (with R1 one whole year!) and all the time their users discovered those flaws and developed workarounds by time consuming reverse engineering. So why don’t they publish schematic earlier the next time? So they can fix some of the flaws their users will show them? They’re not able to learn, same with specifications/information/schematic incorrect again and again.

    I only wonder why Allwinner partners with a vendor with such a horrible history proving not being able to improve (seems they still get access to R40/V40 exclusively).

  33. tkaiser
    June 16th, 2017 at 23:34 | #33

    Also funny: SinoVoip does not even improve in anything if they get everything for free.

    Their OS images for this device here or M2U are based on kernel 3.10.65. This kernel version has been released 29 months ago and misses tons of general and security fixes. What do they do with that? Don’t give a sh*t as usual.

    What is community doing? Community as usual does their work, patching the kernel up to most recent 3.10 LTS version so at least known security vulnerabilities got fixed. What does SinoVoip do? Ignore this of course even if been told multiple times.

    4 weeks ago Daniel (@Dan-And) even rebased his patches and sent them as pull request they simply need to merge (that’s a single mouseclick on Github): https://github.com/BPI-SINOVOIP/BPI-M2U-bsp/pull/2 — if they would ‘invest’ the single second to merge all those patches their insecure 3.10.65 kernel would’ve been at 3.10.105 already weeks ago.

    Yesterday @willy released 3.10.106, today Daniel added the necessary patch to bring SinoVoip’s M2 Ultra/Berry kernel to exactly this version. And what do those SinoVoip losers do? Still ignore everything they get for free only to put their users at risk running a kernel that is outdated since two and a half years. Their level of ignorance is alarming. But maybe it’s not ignorance but just plain stupidity and they simply have not the slightest idea what they’re doing?

  34. tkaiser
    June 23rd, 2017 at 03:28 | #34

    The brain damaged retards producing this board still fail to

    – merge the pull request from @Dan-And to leave their customers vulnerable to unpatched kernel security issues
    – provide schematics for this board so users can check and correct their mistakes
    – fix the stability issues of the related BPi M2 Ultra (either related to DRAM overclocked or parts undervolted)
    – provide any performance numbers

    A lot of users just look at marketing BS like ‘real SATA’ and will buy this board even if performance will horribly suck compared to much cheaper other boards available soon: https://forum.armbian.com/index.php?/topic/1925-some-storage-benchmarks-on-sbcs/&do=findComment&comment=34192

  35. June 28th, 2017 at 14:11 | #35

    @tkaiser
    thank you , i also can see you attack banana pi at everywhere . thank you for you spend more time to say about banana pi .:)

  36. tkaiser
    June 28th, 2017 at 14:27 | #36

    @lionwang
    You really don’t get it. The wall of ignorance you built protects you from getting the idea how much easier everything would be if you start to improve instead of ignoring.

  37. tkaiser
    June 28th, 2017 at 21:42 | #37
  38. June 29th, 2017 at 08:06 | #38

    @tkaiser

    If you become friendly and tolerant, and stop showing off your annoying aggression, it will be easier.Because even I’m trying to ignore anything you say.
    We should try to see each other’s efforts and give support, which will make many things easy.
    So, in some ways, you think we’re ignorant, whereas in some ways, you show enough ignorance.You ignore our efforts.

  39. June 29th, 2017 at 08:28 | #39

    @tkaiser
    yes, i read it ,and learn a lot, but you need know , MTK full support BPI-R2 , someone of MTK do many many work to support open source ,they do the best now , so , MIKEY , Gary ,Ning also do they best. this is banana pi team t first project coworker with MTK , we all work hard ,

  40. June 29th, 2017 at 10:00 | #40

    @tkaiser

    So you think allwinner supports who’s best.Orange PI???They do less, you want something like this??Or, as you said, we’re garbage, and we’re going to do nothing, let the community, the software is all done by armbian, so that you can achieve your goal, right?

    You see why I chose to ignore you.

  41. tkaiser
    June 29th, 2017 at 11:36 | #41

    lionwang :
    You see why I chose to ignore you.

    Yes, that totally explains why you’re not merging pull requests on github containing important security patches and fix your three main issues (providing no schematics, no correct information/documentation, no sources). Good luck being trappid in a stupid little world feeling attacked by a single guy while not understanding at the same time that all of the above are basic requirements no one has to ask for: providing schematics, correct information/documentation, sources, fixing security issues especially if you get this totally for free.

    It’s amazing that you don’t get this. And it’s also amazing that you again designed a board with Micro USB for DC-IN and not understand why that’s irresponsible and why anyone not being clueless immediately needs to look in schematics.

  42. June 29th, 2017 at 12:08 | #42

    @tkaiser

    why we not merging pull requests on github ?? for allwinner have update tinaLinux kernel ,we need to update our code from allwinner , we must do this work at first . and facat have build a github for BPI-M2 Ultra ,we have all place at https://bananapi.gitbooks.io/bpi-m2-ultra-open-source-single-board-computer/content/bpi-m2ultrasourcecodeongithub.html

    why we use micro USB for power ? when we design hardware , we all compatibility DC and micro USB interface. if you are maker ,you can easy to find micro USB adapter , if you want to do a real product ,you can use DC port.Different applications, different choices.

    open souce community, Need understanding and tolerance. We can’t get everything done in the first place. I never say you’re trash, but you always say banana pi is trash. you lose your basic position and respect.You can look on, but you can’t lose basic morals.

  43. tkaiser
    June 29th, 2017 at 12:57 | #43

    lionwang :
    and facat have build a github for BPI-M2 Ultra ,we have all place at

    Thank you for these insights. They’re frightening. It’s really impossible to get through your wall of ignorance. Thank you for publicly documenting this 🙂

    Since ‘facat’ got zero help on your forum (care to remember that you ignore all user problems there?) he cloned your sources adding one single potential fix (or the try of a fix). It’s amazing that you don’t merge this fix if you think it would help and it’s also amazing that you mention this other repo at all since it clearly shows the source of the problem. 🙂

  44. Peter
    June 29th, 2017 at 14:40 | #44

    lionwang :
    Different applications, different choices.

    I appreciate that, but really, we’re using microUSB for power? With contacts rated at at 1.8A at best, and not even considering the fact that the USB2 spec sets power ouput at 500mA per port (and a whopping 900mA USB3). Now even though the USB charge standard exists and ranges between 1.5 and 3.0A, and is clearly what you intend the end user to use, why confuse them and use a connector which will tempt them to use unreliable power supplies, crappy USB leads, and will simply end in tears and complaints later down the path when they encounter stability issues and corruption. Use a micro barrel jack, and get it right! FFS… open source community works two ways, not one! that’s my 2cents anyway.

  45. tkaiser
    June 29th, 2017 at 15:15 | #45

    Peter :
    why confuse them and use a connector which will tempt them to use unreliable power supplies, crappy USB leads, and will simply end in tears and complaints later down the path when they encounter stability issues and corruption.

    I assume that’s something ‘SIMAC Electronics Handel GmbH’ is responsible for. They asked for a cheap board with Gigabit Ethernet and SATA that can be sold as a direct RPi replacement. Then you need of course also the crappy DC-IN connector so people are able to fail with their phone chargers and insufficient USB cables.

    From an engineering point of view what then follows is just another example of ignorance, this time rejecting reality: ‘when we design hardware , we all compatibility DC and micro USB interface. if you are maker ,you can easy to find micro USB adapter’. In other words: these engineers sit in their lab, even know about the problems, use a bench PSU set to 5.2V, a perfect short Micro USB cable with minimal resistance, test with this setup and come to the conclusion: ‘all working fine’ while the customers later try to use these boards in a totally different environment, something called ‘real world’.

    It’s 2017, Micro USB crappiness is well understood in the meantime, all Raspberries even contain under-voltage detection circuitry since it’s such a shit show. And now someone starts to sell a new device to be used together with a board powered SATA disk to be powered with Micro USB while advertising users can re-use all of their RPi accessories. That’s just wow!

    Problem well documented with Bananas since years: http://forum.lemaker.org/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=8312

  46. Peter
    June 29th, 2017 at 16:45 | #46

    It’s nonsense like this that makes me think when I was looking for a board to make my own simple file share NAS (plus linux SBC playtoy) after the store-bought one I had been using failed that I could have easily made worse decisions that a Cubietruck. It has ended up being a stable board, with a sane barrel power connector, onboard sata, and GbE. I know I could have done better, and obviously a lot worse, especially if I was looking again now, because this board would have been on my list of boards to consider… if I didn’t know better. And this was a board that was released a good four years ago! My fear is how many other beginners will get sucked in by this, by a company which has made mistakes in the past, and doesn’t seem to be learning much from them, as each time they say… what was it… “We can’t get everything done in the first place”… I thought that was part of what open source was about… listening to the experts in the community that are *willing* to help you make a better board (not that this is your first), and make two or three revisions of the hardware before you decide to start the production ball rolling.

    And that other statement that was made “MTK do many many work to support open source ,they do the best now”… that is a joke right?? Allwinner seems to just throw some half-backed board support package together and call it a day. I don’t know enough about MTK to know if they can top that… but I suspect they do. Rockchip is going to be the one to pay attention to… they actually know how to use github, and are actually working towards mainlining their stuff… rather than just going… here you go… have this linux kludge that we can’t be bothered maintaining and will most likely break if you breathe near it. They may not be perfect, and could improve on a lot of stuff, but at least they are actually making that effort. The same can’t be said about MTK or Allwinner.

  47. tkaiser
    June 30th, 2017 at 21:34 | #47

    Peter :
    Use a micro barrel jack, and get it right!

    Interesting insights from an electrical engineer talking about another Banana Pi product that still uses Micro USB for DC-IN (no new PCB revision to fix this within 2 1/2 years!) and is also supposed to power a 2.5″ HDD just like the M2 Berry now:
    5V power for some hardisk is not good to work , but we test . if you use 5.5V , 2.A will work fine . so we do 5.5V , 2.1A power for R1. 5.5V sounds like a huge voltage drop?! Ah, sorry, we’re talking about Micro USB here… so as expected 🙂

    Most interesting detail: This was in Feb 2015 and even 6V wouldn’t been of any help with vendor OS images since they simply forgot to turn on SATA power. The device in question (the famous BPi-R1) has been sold already since months, the vendor’s hardware documentation was incorrect as always (the so called fex file, Allwinner’s equivalent to device-tree, was plain BS and at that time nothing else existed) and it was just days ago that a community member reverse engineered R1 power scheme to get a clue which pin has to be toggled to provide the 5V to a SATA disk. Once this was done it was a simple fix to make SATA work (3rd parties integrated the fix, the vendor not). Why did it took that long? Since the vendor refused to provide correct documentation and schematics (we got the latter in early 2016, just one year later).

    It’s 2017 now. The same company again designes a board with Micro USB that should power a 2.5″ SATA disk. In early 2015 the same engineer was talking about ‘5.5V , 2.1A’, now he tells us ‘why we use micro USB for power ? when we design hardware , we all compatibility DC and micro USB interface.’ And in a few weeks at least in Germany users will try their luck with this board combined with 2.5″ disks and phone chargers. It could be funny but it’s a tragedy.

    Same situation again: Community asks for correct documentation, community asks for schematics. What do we get? Nothing. We’re only told we should be ‘friendly and tolerant’ otherwise we’re ignored. Tolerant wrt providing wrong or no information/documentation/schematics? Tolerant? Really?

  48. July 1st, 2017 at 11:43 | #48

    @tkaiser
    I like how you use web archive, instead of direct links to banana pi forums. They must have made a habit of removing posts…

  49. tkaiser
    July 1st, 2017 at 13:32 | #49

    cnxsoft :
    @tkaiser
    I like how you use web archive, instead of direct links to banana pi forums.

    Well, this was their first forum that isn’t available any more. They moved it to a new host and deleted the contents in a way that also Google cache doesn’t list anything any more destroying a lot of community generated knowledge collected there in the beginning (just try bananapi.com/index.php/forum/ now). From their point of view it made a lot of sense to deal with their own old forum that way since it’s only documenting that this vendor now fails the 3rd year in the same way: ignorance.

    And yes, also in their new forum they’re removing posts they don’t like or don’t understand. Everything that interferes with their perception of reality gets deleted. A thread with 5 people complaining about documentation being wrong? Let’s remove the thread instead of trying to solve the real problem: Hiring someone who is able to write technical documentation. But if the copy&paste monkey responsible for SinoVoip only providing wrong or no documentation (and soon something in Germany considered being ‘Irreführende Werbung’) is also responsible for censoring the forum then it all starts to make some sense immediately 🙂

  50. tkaiser
    July 10th, 2017 at 01:01 | #50

    Maybe also important for BPi M2 Berry users soon. Hardware vendor simply don’t giving a sh*t about instability problems so community needs to fix all their mistakes: http://forum.banana-pi.org/t/an-unofficial-method-to-solve-instability-problem/3495

    (the @charles guy there is banned and many of his posts got deleted)

  51. July 22nd, 2017 at 14:38 | #51

    Tkaiser , you know why i agree to delete your post . you lost objective and respect, Now everyone know why you never says a bad word about orange PI.

    http://www.cnx-software.com/2017/07/15/office-factory-business-model-and-ambitious-plans-of-shenzhen-xunlong-software-orange-pi-maker/

    You don’t need to take a wrong way to achieve the purpose of you

  52. tkaiser
    August 5th, 2017 at 18:11 | #52

    Quick M2 Berry review focusing on the use case it has been ‘designed’ for: https://forum.armbian.com/index.php?/topic/4864-banana-pi-m2-berry/

  53. JotaMG
    August 28th, 2017 at 08:07 | #53

    Well, maybe something is changing ??
    (better late than never!)

    “Banana pi BPI-M2 Ultra/BPI-M2 Berry new image: 2017-08-24-ubuntu-16.04-mate-desktop-beta
    – support BPI-M2 Ultra & BPI-M2 Berry kernel 3.10.107 ”

    https://github.com/BPI-SINOVOIP/BPI-M2U-bsp

    (but still missing a headless light server image)

  54. tkaiser
    September 19th, 2017 at 15:35 | #54

    I enabled SATA port multiplier support in R40 vendor kernel and let a friend test with 3 disks connected to an el cheapo PM connected to the M2 Ultra: https://forum.armbian.com/index.php?/topic/5199-banana-pi-m2u-wont-boot/&do=findComment&comment=39587

    It works (as expected) but performance is as low as it was with A20 already years ago. The most funny thing is Banana users will never know since in Banana forum no information is spread and my posts are censored 🙂

  55. JotaMG
    September 19th, 2017 at 19:53 | #55

    Yes the performance is not good, and I fully agree that Banana Pi people should be explicit about that.
    Probably they will win more sales if they are honest, because in the end Bpi M2U is not a bad product.
    One credit however to the Bpi guys is that they seem to be learning the lessons, and seem keen to change for better.
    Maybe if you are not so radical in your comments – and you are not wrong in your opinions, the problem was sometimes you just used strong words – they will not censor you.
    I would like very much for you and lionwang to re-conciliate and be on the same wavelength.

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