NanoPI NEO2 Black Allwinner H5 SBC Adds an eMMC flash Module, Up to 1GB RAM

NanoPi NEO2, now called NanoPi NEO2 LTS, is a great little Allwinner H5 SBC designed for server/headless applications with Ethernet & USB ports, as well as I/O headers.

FriendlyELEC is now about to launch a new variant called NanoPi NEO2 Black with the same form factor and Allwinenr H5 64-bit Arm SoC, but adding an eMMC flash module, supporting up to 1GB RAM, modifications to the I/O headers, and featuring a black PCB instead of the blue PCB found in NEO2-LTS. NanoPi NEO2 BlackNanoPi NEO2 Black SBC specifications with changes in bold or stricken-through:

  • SoC – Allwinner H5 quad-core Cortex A53 processor with an ARM Mali-450MP GPU
  • System Memory – 512 MB or 1GB DDR3
  • Storage – MicroSD card slot, eMMC flash module connector
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet (via RTL8211E-VB-CG chip)
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 host port, 1x micro USB OTG port, 2x 1x USB via headers
  • Expansion headers
    • 10-pin header with I2C, 2x UART, SPI, GPIOs, PWM, and power signals (5V in/out + GND)
    • 6-pin header with 1x USB, Line Out (stereo), 1x GPIO, I2S
    • 5-pin audio header with microphone and LINE out signals
  • Debugging – 4-pin 2-pin unpopulated header for serial console / debugging
  • Misc – Power and system LEDs
  • Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port or VDD pin on headers.
  • Dimensions – 40 x 40 mm
  • Weight – ~16 grams

Allwinner H5 Headless BoardThe main advantage of this board is the extra memory and storage options. You’ll find some more details on the (Work-in-Progress) Wiki, where software information is still missing, but NanoPi NEO2 Black should support Ubuntu 16.04 (FriendlyCore), OpenWrt (FriendlyWrt), and Armbian built Ubuntu 18.04 and Debian 10 “Buster” images.

The board is not yet listed on FriendlyELEC store, but since the Wiki is up, we should just be a few hours or days from the actual launch. The eMMC modules are already used on other NanoPi boards, and the price starts at $9.95 (8GB module) and goes up to $28.95 (64GB).

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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willy
willy
11 months ago

Nice! The eMMC was the reason I used to prefer the Plus2 to the Neo2 for some use cases (mini-servers). Having it in a slot is an acceptable alternative making it compatible with existing Neo/Neo2 enclosures.

theguyuk
theguyuk
11 months ago

Why do they use the H5, it is end of life ?

willy
willy
11 months ago

Probably because it’s cheap and well supported everywhere. EOL doesn’t mean it’s *your* problem since the software is not EOL. EOL is *their* problem in that if you need them to engage on providing them over 3 years they will have to make sure it is possible.

blu
blu
11 months ago

If you’re a sizeable client Allwinner will deliver EOL devices no prob. Case in point, Olimex.

dgp
dgp
11 months ago

That only works as long as whatever fabs AllWinner uses keep the lines for those parts running. At some point the fabs will move on and even if AllWinner wanted to do a run just for you they won’t be able to. (This has come up in the past in reference to Olimex -> https://www.eevblog.com/forum/embedded-computing/for-those-who-are-worrying-about-the-longevity-of-allwinner-v3s/msg2558763/?PHPSESSID=o7e7u7ieeshb8lo6jc8hjisf75#msg2558763) Either way for most AllWinner parts there will be trays of components floating around Shenzhen for a while and this board will be produced until those trays are scarce enough that the price goes from decreasing because the part is EOL and no one wants… Read more »

blu
blu
11 months ago

> That only works as long as whatever fabs AllWinner uses keep the lines for those parts running. At some point the fabs will move on and even if AllWinner wanted to do a run just for you they won’t be able to.

Of course. The opposite is also true — if the demand is high enough a vendor may extend the life of a part beyond what was originally planned, including up-port to new fab lines, with or without bug fixes / minor updates, etc.

dgp
dgp
11 months ago

> if the demand is high enough a vendor may extend the > life of a part beyond what was originally planned, If demand is high enough and it’s profitable the chip wouldn’t go EOL in the first place. You generally don’t use a chip that is already EOL’d unless you can secure all of the chips you will ever need and some spares so I think it would be pretty unusual for an EOL chip to suddenly become popular enough that it goes back into production. It’s possible that the 50,000 number given to Olimex is what AllWinner holds… Read more »

blu
blu
11 months ago

>If demand is high enough and it’s profitable the chip wouldn’t go EOL in the first place. You generally don’t use a chip that is already EOL’d unless you can secure all of the chips you will ever need and some spares so I think it would be pretty unusual for an EOL chip to suddenly become popular enough that it goes back into production. It’s also pretty unusual 40nm fabline would go out of fashion soon, and yet we’re discussing the possibilities.. > It’s possible that the 50,000 number given to Olimex is what AllWinner holds as unprocessed stock… Read more »

dgp
dgp
11 months ago

>It’s also pretty unusual 40nm fabline would go out of fashion soon It’s not just the process node. The A13 comes in a high pin count TQFP when everyone has moved to QFN or BGA for similar chips. Will AllWinner be able to get the lead-frames for those packages at a good price forever? Will the lines they use keep the encapsulation tooling around for those packages if no other line is using them? Will they even be able to get the trays for the final chips? >I’d love to hypothesis some more, but here’s what Olimex have said: >‘…As… Read more »

blu
blu
11 months ago

> Those could have been made years ago and encapsulated recently. The real test is if Olimex can still get these chips in 5 years time and they aren’t 5 times the price. We can also look at the part’s availability in 50 years, but let’s first look at the data at hand. The fact is that in August ’19, approx 2 years since Olimex say (their claim) it’s been unlikely to find new lots of A13 floating freely on the market, they get a shipment of 90K (in two batches — second pending), of the long EOL’d chip. To… Read more »

dgp
dgp
11 months ago

>it’s been unlikely to find new lots of A13 floating freely on the market You can buy boxes of them on taobao right now. I would take Olimex’s claim that they are all desoldered parts with a massive pinch of salt. That might be true for something more valuable like 68060’s. >it’s ultimately the end customer’s decision when the part actually dies out. It doesn’t mean that at all. It means AllWinner either had stock or they can still make runs in the short term. That says nothing about their long term availability. It would take on single piece of… Read more »

blu
blu
11 months ago

> You can buy boxes of them on taobao right now. It’s extremely easy to claim things when you’re not in the supply chain. So excuse me if take Olimex’s word with much less salt than yours. > It doesn’t mean that at all. It means AllWinner either had stock or they can still make runs in the short term. That says nothing about their long term availability. Newsflash: nothing gives absolute guarantees about long-term availability. Those 10-yrs-available embedded parts by FSL? Tomorrow XPN buys them and shuts down the division. Large customers who had iron-clad contracts inked get some… Read more »

dgp
dgp
11 months ago

>It’s extremely easy to claim things when you’re not in the supply chain. You can go on taobao and order them just as easily as I can. If you want them cheaper I can give you the contact details of some brokers in Shenzhen that’ll hook you up. >Large customers who had iron-clad contracts inked get some compensation Which is better than being left totally high and dry with a vendor that is totally outside of your legal reach. Also vendors like freescale/NXP work through distributors, provide announcements for product changes and usually provide notice well in advance. They don’t… Read more »

blu
blu
11 months ago

> You can go on taobao and order them just as easily as I can. If you want them cheaper I can give you the contact details of some brokers in Shenzhen that’ll hook you up. Order just as easily how many? 5 pcs? 10 pcs? 1000 pcs? Here’s a suggestion for you: since you’re apparently skilled at procuring parts that Olimex, a vendor that’s been sourcing those since 2012, apparently totally suck at, to the point of depending on Allwinner for scrap runs, why don’t you hook up Olimex, for a small commission for yourself — hey, it’s free… Read more »

dgp
dgp
11 months ago

>Order just as easily how many? 5 pcs? 10 pcs? 1000 pcs? Buying 10 pcs can be harder than buying 1000pcs because a full sealed tray is more valuable to brokers. The packaged unit for the A13 seems to be 600pcs so you’ll be looking at ordering multiples of that if possible. >you’re apparently skilled at procuring parts that Olimex, >a vendor that’s been sourcing those since 2012, apparently totally suck at, They haven’t totally sucked at it. They have 90K of them in their inventory. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t caches of them with brokers and so forth.… Read more »

blu
blu
11 months ago

Erm, I was impersonating you, dgp. Sorry for flying over your head.

dgp
dgp
11 months ago

Who said anything about getting 90K from taobao? You said there aren’t any on the market and there are some on taobao. All you’ve done is move the goal posts again. If I found a stash of 90K, bought them and had them DHL’d right to your front door you would then claim they don’t count because they spelt your name wrong on the address label or something. I don’t think your 4D chess fu is as good as you think it is. It might not have dawned on you but maybe olimex have ordered 90K of them because they,… Read more »

dgp
dgp
11 months ago

>Why do they use the H5, it is end of life ?

Because they can get the chips and people will buy the boards. It’s not like they have to supply them for 10 years, provide a last order date or anything.

manuel
manuel
11 months ago

If H5 is EOL, what is the allwinner procesador that is not EOL? H6? H3?

willy
willy
11 months ago

H6 which is better but I’m not sure is as well supported yet in mainline.

theguyuk
theguyuk
11 months ago

Also the H603 the cut price version

Diego
Diego
11 months ago
Igor Pecovnik
11 months ago

Exactly. Jernej did a lot of the hard work here. H6 is also planned to move under the Armbian “stable” in next major release. Stability issues expressed on some boards are last remaining nasty known bug, fix coming with 5.4.y. Core stuff is operational for some time.

Guest
Guest
11 months ago

I love the tiny form factor, plus the eMMC connector. If it’s really using a SY8106A regulator controlled via I2C then this should be clockable to 1.4GHz (like on the NEO Core2), which would be great.

However it’s really unfortunate that they don’t bring SPI out on the I/O pins. I use several NEO2s (and Plus2s) today and utilize SPI on all of them…sigh

Willy
Willy
11 months ago

At this point I think they’re really victim of their form factor. There’s simply no more physical room on the board to even add connectors. And having the eMMC on a connector already saves room by placing it above the PCB and only taking the PCB place needed for the connector. The next huge thing to remove should be the SD connector but most users would rightfully complain.

I’m seeing that the connector has GPIOA0 & GPIOA2, you can probably bit-bang SPI there.

dgp
dgp
11 months ago

>There’s simply no more physical room on the board to even add connectors.

They could use SMD 2.54MM headers for the common signals and place the less used signals underneath on a mezzanine.

The i2c/uart/gpio connector is ~10mm wide, a 0.4mm mezzanine connector[0] under there gets you 50 connections in that space if it’s actually possible to route.

0 – Something like this https://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/panasonic-electric-works/AXT650124/255-2399-2-ND/1986593

Willy
Willy
11 months ago

> They could use SMD 2.54MM headers for the common signals and place the less used signals underneath on a mezzanine
Not that much in fact, because the sole reason for this form factor is its compatibility with existing enclosures, and this implies that a flat aluminum plate/heat sink is placed underneath.

dgp
dgp
11 months ago

If you were using the mezzanine connector it would be up to you to work out how to put it in a case… but if really has to go in an existing case use SMD headers and then put an FFC connector sticking out from the edge of the board. You wouldn’t get as many pins but better than them not being broken out at all.

theguyuk
theguyuk
11 months ago

Wonder why they have not tried the Core6818 SoC S5P6818 for one of these form factors?

Willy
Willy
11 months ago

The chip is quite large. On my Fire3 there are a number of components around that I’m not sure would fit in 4cm*4cm. It’s true however that it would bring an impressive amount of power per square cm!

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