NanoPi NEO2 Black Arm Linux SBC for Headless Applications Launched for $20 and Up

NanoPi NEO2 Black is an Allwinner H5 SBC designed for headless applications that improves on the existing NanoPi NEO2 board by adding an eMMC flash module support, and higher memory capacity (up to 1GB RAM).

The board was announced last month, but it’s now available for purchase for $19.99 plus shipping on FriendlyElec website.

Here’s a reminder of the specifications:

  • SoC – Allwinner H5 quad-core Cortex A53 processor with an ARM Mali-450MP GPU
  • System Memory – 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, 1x USB via headers
  • Expansion headers
    • 10-pin header with I2C, UART, GPIOs, and power signals (5V in/out + GND)
    • 6-pin header with 1x USB, Line Out (stereo), 1x GPIO
  • Debugging – 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

NanoPi NEO2 Black supports Ubuntu 18.04 (FriendlyCore) and OpenWrt (FriendlyWrt) and you’ll find all you need to get started on the Wiki. Armbian is also already supported.

Beside the board itself, there are some interesting accessories including:

  • $2.97 heatsink
  • $9.95 – $28.95  8GB to 64GB eMMC flash module
  • $4.99 machine-cut black metal case
  • $39 CNC Metal case kit including NEO2 Black board, 16GB micro SD card and OLED Display as pictured above.
  • $12.99 NAS Kit v1.2 to convert it into a 2.5″ SATA drive NAS
  • Various NanoHAT add-on modules

So there are plenty of applications possible for the tiny board from networked storage to automation gateway,  various IoT projects thanks to NanoHAT sensor modules, smart speaker, or networked music player. Existing projects based on NanoPi NEO & NEO2 should be easily ported to NanoPi NEO2 Black, and in many cases there may not be anything to change at all.

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17 Replies to “NanoPi NEO2 Black Arm Linux SBC for Headless Applications Launched for $20 and Up”

          1. Exactly. This board can do many things ESP32 boards do + full fledged arm pc (buying the metal case). It may feel more expensive than a regular ESP32 solution, but it’s worth it. If something was learnt from it is that, if you plan to spend some extra money on it, go for sbc, if you want to go ultracheap, go for the other.

  1. Compared to the NanoPi NEO2, the NanoPi NEO2 Black seems to not have the same pin header. Is it still possible to connect it to the NAS kit?

    1. It looks like one USB pin is not in the same location… I did not check it at first since they have “1-Bay NAS Dock for NanoPi NEO/NEO2” as option, but it looks like it may not work 🙁

      1. I’m sure it does not work. The USB pins were close to the microSD card, and now there aren’t any headers in that location.

        1. I also assumed that it should fit, because it is an ordering option. That’s unfortunate. Thank you for checking!

  2. I’ve been asking for this one for quite some time. It has everything needed to make network probes or SSH gateways that you can ship to your customers: internal storage, metal enclosure, screen+buttons for IP config + checking current state. Previously you had to pick two between these 3. And it’s 64-bit with crypto extensions, this can be relevant for other applications like VPN gateways.

    1. EOL, and so what ? It’s not as if CPUs would receive fixes! EOL for a CPU means the vendor will stop to mass-produce it unless there is a huge order. As long as your vendor can continue to provide you with the devices you need, it’s not an issue. The code is not going EOL any time soon and in fact it starts to work well out of the box. I’d say it’s the right moment to start buying H5 devices, they’re finally working. Too late of course but that’s usual with ARM on Linux (and some devices were even less lucky: look at S5P6818 used in NanoPi-fire3, it gets 8 A53 at 1.6 GHz, is still more powerful than most similarly sized and priced alternatives and still not mainlined).

  3. Is there enough space inside the metal cases for the heatsink or does/can the case act as the heatsink?

    Where I have in mind to stick a couple of these can easily hit 50-65*c ambient in summer(can hit 70*c on the rare 40*c+ day)

    1. CPU is at the bottom side of the sbc.
      If you buy a metallic case, it cant act as a heatsink,

      if u use acrylic/plastic case,
      i like the cpu on the bottom side, since you can cut a hole on the plastic case and put a large heat sink easily.
      or use a wide enough aluminum heatsink and drill holes into it to match the board screw holes

    2. When you look at the photos of the enclosure on the site, one of them shows that one side of it is made of small fins, which clearly indicates that it serves as a heat spreader. I imagine that there’s simply a thermal pad between the CPU and the enclosure. That’s a common design at FriendlyElec to place the CPU on the bottom side to ease thermal dissipation so I’m pretty sure you don’t need anything else. I’m really tempted to buy at least one now. What I don’t know is if I’ll stay reasonable and buy only one 🙂

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