LicheePi Nano is an SD Card Sized Linux Board Powered by Allwinner F1C100s ARM9 Processor

Before Allwinner launched their popular A10 Cortex A8 processor earlier this decade, the company had Allwinner F-series ARM9 processors found in E-ink readers, vehicle multimedia systems, audio products and so on.

I would not expect a new board based on of those processors in 2018, but LicheePi Nano looks to be exactly that with an Allwinner F1C100s processor, a form factor roughly the size of an SD card, and support for RGB LED displays.

LicheePi Nano Board
Click to Enlarge

LicheePi Nano board specifications:

  • SoC- Allwinner F1C100s ARM926EJS processor clocked at up to 900MHz
  • System Memory – 32MB DDR integrated into SoC
  • Storage – Micro SD card, and optional 8M SPI flash (unpopulated in the photo above)
  • Display I/F – 40-pin RGB LCD FPC connector supporting 272×480, 480×800, 1024×600 and other resolutions resistive and capacitive displays
  • Video Decoding – H.264 / MPEG up to 720p
  • I/Os via 2.54mm pitch through holes and 1.27mmm pitch castellated holes
    • SDIO for WiFi module
    • 2x SPI, 3x TWI (I2C),3x UART
    • 1x TV out, 2x TV in
    • 2x PWM
    • 1x LRADC
    • 2x speaker output, 1x mic input
  • USB – 1x micro USB OTG port
  • Power Supply
    • Input 5V via micro USB port, 3.3 to 5V via pin
    • Output – 3.3V, selectable input RTC voltage
  • Power Consumption – 54mA (idle) with Linux, 250mA with display
  • Temperature Range – Storage:: -40~125°C; operating: -20 to 70°C

Linux Board SD Card Size

The board works with 3 different operating systems: Linux, RT-Thread (RTT), and Xboot. With the amount of RAM in the board don’t expect to run a desktop environment though. There’s what appears to be good documentation in a dedicated website, with the main downside that it is currently only in Chinese language. The company however offers support via Telegram, and they can speak very good English there.

I first found the board in Banggood where it is sold for $8.46 shipped without SPI flash, and $9.59 with 8MP SPI flash. A 5″ capacitive display with 800×480 resolution is also available for $27.43 including shipping.But the board is also listed in  Taobao for 9.99 RMB and up. So that’s under $2. The only problem is that it looks to be out of stock. We can also see other versions of the board with WiFi, and kits with a 5″ display. Banggood includes a USB to OTG adapter and worldwide shipping, but still I’d expect the “oversea” price to eventually drop closer to $5 or $6 with shipping.

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25 Comments
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Icenowy Zheng
Icenowy Zheng
2 years ago

However the SoC itself is a new one in 2017 (or 16), and at “suniv” series (not the old “sun3i”).

Yes, a new ARM9 chip, this is terrible.

exquisitus
exquisitus
2 years ago

you know, just a note that the guy behind this treated his backers like shit, sent random second hand garbage instead of what was actually pledged. never ever answered any inquires, including as to why he decided to scam his backers… so yeah…
so why so much publicity for a proven scammer?

Johnny P
Johnny P
2 years ago

I bought several times from Zepan’s Taobao store, no problems at all. My order was shipped in 1-2 days. He always replies when I have questions. From my point of view he is not scammer at all.

GungSukma
GungSukma
2 years ago

I backed the Lichee Pi and have receive them and successfully running linux on them. Not scam.
But it lacks tutorial/documentation. I don’t even know how to blink the LED.

Jon Smirl
2 years ago

I received my lichee pi zero without issue. It worked as advertised. I have enough experience with Allwinner to know that it wouldn’t come with a tutorial. but I think there is one now on the lichee pi wiki. These lichee boards are not for beginners, get a rasp pi zero for your first board. Why bother with the Allwinner chips? Because if you are going to make anything based on the Rasp Pi Broadcom won’t sell you the chips used on the Rasp Pi unless you will commit $1M to buying them. Or you can buy compute modules for… Read more »

Jerry
Jerry
2 years ago

The specs don’t look that impressive considering the price of $5 for Raspberry zero which comes with full community support and millions of users.

Jon Smirl
2 years ago

Rasp Pi Zero is sold at BOM cost. Don’t use it as a yardstick for what things really cost. That’s why you are always restricted to buying one or two units. Try to buy 10,000 PI Zero at $5. You can’t, they will quote you around $12.

zoobab
2 years ago

“With the amount of RAM in the board don’t expect to run a desktop environment though.”

I was running the Gimp on my first PC with Linux, which had 32MB of RAM.

willmore
willmore
2 years ago

Yeah, my 386DX40 had 4MB and ran my desktop just fine. 🙂 We’re letting our desktop environments suck up way too many resources these days.

Jerry
Jerry
2 years ago

One could say the resources are put in good use. Large memories enable the use of JavaScript powered technology. This allows normal users to contribute. Soon even resource scarce embedded boards will run JavaScript.

Jimmy Pedersen
Jimmy Pedersen
2 years ago

Thinking of JerryScript are you, Jerry? 😉
https://github.com/jerryscript-project/jerryscript

willy
willy
2 years ago

Sure, and to run malware in virtually every browser, spin my laptop’s fan while trying to quietly read cnx-soft and other sites, and generally make the web much slower than what it used to be 20 years ago for a much poorer average quality. Netscape 2 used to load any page instantly over a 9600 bps modem 20 years ago. This on my 32MB Cyrix 133 MHz. That’s when the web was interesting. The only thing we’ve really won in exchange for all these wasted resources is realtime audio and video playback, which do not require javascript.

notzed
notzed
2 years ago

“This allows normal users to contribute”

DIY is great and all but you still need to know what you’re doing otherwise you’re just creating junk and wasting everyones time. And with software if you know what you’re doing JavaScript isn’t a particularly appealing solution to any reasonable problem and an awful one for most.

(and even then, most programmers just aren’t very good at their chosen trade regardless)

Bernard Xiong
2 years ago

Good board, we are running our animated GUI and JavaScript smoothly in this board with RT-Thread OS.

Anonymous
Anonymous
2 years ago

You wrote “800×600” but the aliexpress page says “800×480”, and so does the url

Catalin
Catalin
2 years ago

Looks like my next wired zsun if usb otg works (both as power and data)

Dim
Dim
2 years ago

I got some of those boards. The Linux and u-boot support isn’t so good. It seems the developer will not support some Linux with packaging system like Debian etc.
If you get version with SPI FLASH to re-program the flash, currently must ground the flash clock pin etc.
One forum with many topic about LicheePi Nano (only in Chinese language): https://debugdump.com/f_17.html

kissste
2 years ago

Steve:
This is how I see lichee * boards – 1/ lichee pi nano – does not make any sense, given the you can get raspberry pi zero for less and with millions of existing user base; 2/ lichee tang – is not meant for the World as is can be purchased only in China, 3/ lichee ai – appears to be promising, but my guess is it will become obsolete by the time it will be available to the World. Concluding…. This is a dead-end

Dim
Dim
2 years ago

@kissste, RPi Zero is expensive, in EU is about 10 EUR with shipping and the price is limited to 1 pcs. To mention not that Broadcom is not willing to provide chips to small developers. So their solutions do not present any interest. Orange Pi Zero seems a better alternative, but the latest versions gets hot, apparently they increased the CPU core voltage … LicheePi Nano has LCD interface as well as according to the datasheet the touchscreen ADC can be used as single-ended 12-bit ADC. It is a very good solution for portable equipment. Also with cheap WiFi module… Read more »

Guest
Guest
1 year ago

Tell me if you can program “Hello World!” on this chip. hahaha. Advertise something useful to the customers.

Dim
Dim
1 year ago

This is not advertisement, some opinions. If you do not have basic Linux programming skills there courses on internet etc. To the best of my understanding the F1C100S Linux support is still under development etc. But the Chinese raised the price of LicheePi Nano etc.

Update: Had recently some issues with https://www.shipforwarder.com/, do not recommend to use it.

ttrme-koko
ttrme-koko
1 year ago

input-output shield or ethernet/wifi
needed.

Guest
Guest
1 year ago

I bought many of this chip for making drone. I was not even able to connect network no matter what I do. Their website has extremely poor documentation. Camera module was not even ready. Most of documents were distributed thru BAIDU which requires ability to read Chinese and you will have to install BAIDU downloader to download anything they distributed. Buying this chip would be totally waste of time and money. Yah, it is dirt cheap, but is your time also that cheap? I am even MAD to the maker of this chip. Someone down there says these guys are… Read more »

Customer
Customer
1 year ago

So far, I haven’t seen anyone who could put this board to the network, able to install smb, python, gcc, or anything. This board is nothing more than a junk. This board could have been good if the one who made has even a slightest sense of customer service. Board itself is OK for price. Their software is deep shitty quality that you cannot do anything with it. Their customer service mind is at the level of some unknown country from Africa; it is way below the standard even for Chinese.

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