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Posts Tagged ‘orange pi’

$25 Orange Pi Lite2 Board Comes with Allwinner H6 Processor, 802.11ac WiFi + BLE Module, USB 3.0, and More

January 10th, 2018 15 comments

After Shenzhen Xunlong launched of the first low cost Allwinner H6 development board with Orange Pi One Plus at the very end of last month, we know more Allwinner H6 were coming, and the company has now launched Orange Pi Lite2 development board with 1GB LPDDR3, 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth module, and a USB 3.0 port.

The board however does not come with an Ethernet port, so people wanting to get H6 with Gigabit Etheret and USB 3.0 will need to wait a little longer. Orange Pi Lite2 is sold for $25 plus shipping on Aliexpress.

Click to Enlarge

Orange Pi Lite2 board specifications:

  • SoC – Allwinner H6 V200 quad core Cortex A53 processor with Arm Mali-T720MP2 GPU
  • System Memory – 1 GB LPDDR3
  • Storage – micro SD card slot up to 32GB
  • Video Output – HDMI 2.0a up to 4K @ 60 Hz with HDCP 2.2 (TBC)
  • Audio – HDMI audio output, built-in microphone
  • Camera – Parallel CSI connector with support 5MP camera up to 1080p30
  • Video Decoding – 10-bit H.265 up to 4K @ 60 fps, VP9 and H.264 up to 4K @ 30 fps
  • Connectivity – 802.11b/g/n/ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1 via Ampak 6255 module
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0 port, 1x USB 2.0 host port, 1x micro USB OTG port (also used for power)
  • Expansion – 26-pin header
  • Debugging – 3-pin serial console header
  • Misc – Power & status LEDs, power button, IR receiver
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A via power barrel jack, or micro USB port; AXP805 PMIC
  • Dimensions – 69 x 48 mm
  • Weight – 50 grams

The company provides Android, Ubuntu, and Debian for the board, but as mentioned for Orange Pi One Plus, Allwinner H6 is pretty new, so if you plan to use Linux, expect some initial pain… The images will eventually be one Orange Pi resources pages, and I can see the company release Android 7.1 firmware & SDK, tools, and a “user’s manual” for Allwinner H6. I’d expect Allwinner H6 to be supported by Armbian in a few months.

Year 2017 in Review, Top 10 Posts, and Some Fun Stats

December 31st, 2017 20 comments

2017 is coming to an end, and as I do every year, I’ll take a look back at the year that was on CNX Software. The pace of development boards launches has not slowed down this year, and we get an even wider range from the low-end with Orange Pi or NanoPi boards, to much more powerful ARM boards, and some new entrants like Libre Computer. The same is true for TV boxes, most of which now support 4K HDR, ranging from ultra cheap models selling for less than $20 to higher end Android TV boxes, while mini PCs were dominated by Intel Apollo Lake models, although some Cherry Trail products were also launched.

Processor-wise, Amlogic launched more Amlogic S905X derivatives with S905W/S905D/S905Z, which are popular in the TV box market. Rockchip’s most interesting processor this year was RK3328 quad core Cortex A53 processor designed for 4K HDR Android TV boxes, but also popular with single board computers thanks to Gigabit Ethernet and USB 3.0 interfaces that provide good I/O performance. Allwinner H2+/H3/H5 were launched last year, but they kept being used in cheap development boards, retro game consoles, etc.. The company also launched A63 SoC for 2K tablets, and H6 for 4K OTT TV boxes, and we can expect the latter not only to be found in TV boxes such as Zidoo H6 Pro, but in more Orange Pi H6 boards, and likely other products in 2018 since beside media capabilities, the processor also supports Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0, and PCIe. Intel’s Celeron and Pentium Apollo Lake processors dominated the entry-level Windows mini PCs market this year, and Linux was much better supported than in Bay Trail / Cherry Trail processors, but few manufacturers decided to offer Apollo Lake mini PC pre-installed with Ubuntu or other Linux distributions.

2017 was also an interesting year for the Internet of Things (IoT) with Espressif ESP32 going into full gear, and prices dropping to $5 for maker boards. Other WiFi IoT solutions that looked promising last year such as RTL8710AF, did not really took off in a big way. LPWAN (Low Power Wide Area Network) solutions got even more traction with LoRa dominating, but far from being alone with Sigfox, and the emergence of 3GPP standards like NB-IoT and eMTC.

While I had written articles about 3D printing in the past, it really became a proper category on the blog this year, thanks to Karl’s reviews, and 3D printers provided by GearBest. I’d also like to thank Ian Morrison (Linuxium), TLS, Blu, Nanik who helped with reviews and/or articles this year.

Top 10 Posts Written in 2017

I’ve again compiled a list of the most popular posts of 2017 using the pageviews from Google Analytics, but for a change, I’ll show the results in reverse order:

  1. Google Assistant SDK Turns Your Raspberry Pi 3 into Google Home (May 2017) – Voice assistants like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant went beyond the companies’own products, and Google Assistant SDK release allowed developers to make their own DIY smart speaker based on Raspberry Pi 3 board, or other ARM Linux boards. I could successfully implement my own using an Orange Pi Zero kit.
  2. Mecool BB2 Pro Review – TV Box with DDR4 Memory – Part 2: Android Firmware, Benchmarks, Kodi (January 2017) – Mecool BB2 Pro was one of the first Amlogic S912 octa-core TV boxes with DDR4 memory, but my tests did not show any benefits over DDR3 memory.
  3. Mecool KI PRO Hybrid Android TV Box with Amlogic S905D SoC, DVB-T2 & DVB-S2 Tuners Sells for $80 (May 2017) – For some reasons, post about VideoStrong/Mecool Android set-top boxes are quite popular on CNX Software, and KI PRO was the first model based on Amlogic S905D processor with support for multiple demodulators.
  4. Orange Pi 2G-IoT ARM Linux Development Board with 2G/GSM Support is Up for Sale for $9.90 (March 2017) – “Cellular IoT Linux board for $10? Where’s the buy button?” might have been the first reaction to many people. But when buyers received their board, it was a struggle and may still be, since it was based on a  RDA Micro processor for phones poorly supported in Linux.
  5. Installing Ubuntu 17.04 on CHUWI LapBook 14.1 Apollo Lake Laptop (February 2017) – People want their cheap and usable Ubuntu laptop, and if manufacturers won’t make one for them, they’ll find ways to make their own. Sadly, CHUWI massively changed the hardware, and it’s not such a good solution anymore.
  6. ASUS Tinker Board is a Raspberry Pi 3 Alternative based on Rockchip RK3288 Processor (January 2017) – A large company like ASUS entering the maker board market, and the solution inspired from Raspberry Pi 3, but more much powerful. That got people interested!
  7. Creality CR-10 3D Printer Review – Part 2: Tips & Tricks, Octoprint, and Craftware (May 2017) – It was the year of cheap $100 to $200 3D printer, but CNX Software visitors were more interested in a better model, and Creality CR-10 review was the most popular 3D Printer review/post this year.
  8. Mecool KIII Pro Hybrid STB Review – Part 2: Android Firmware, TV Center, and DVB-T2 & DVB-S2 App (March 2017) – VideoStrong sells some inexpensive Android TV boxes with tuner under their Mecool, and KIII Pro was their first octa-core model with both DVB-T/T2 and DVB-S2 tuners.
  9. ASUS Tinker Board’s Debian & Kodi Linux Images, Schematics and Documentation (January 2017) – ASUS board was somehow started selling before the company intended to, and while firmware & documentation were there, they were hard to find, so people looked for that information, and found it on CNX Software.
  10. MINIX NEO U9-H Media Hub Review – Part 2: Android 6.0 Firmware & Kodi 17 (March 2017) – Apparently, I’m not the only to consider MINIX NEO U9-H to be one of the best Android TV boxes, as my review of the media hub was the most read post of 2017.

Stats

981 posts were published in 2017. Let’s go straight to users’ country and city location data.

The top five countries have not changes, but this year Germany overtook the United Kingdom in second position. Traffic from India increased on a relative basis, and Australia made it to the top ten at the cost of Russia. London and Paris kept the two top steps, but Bangkok rose to third position, while last year third, Tel aviv-Yafo went away completely from the list. New York is gone being replaced by Warsaw in 8th position.

The list of the most used operating systems, and browsers is fairly stable, but the trends noticed in past years continues, with Windows share of traffic going down, Android going up, and Linux stable, while Chrome dominated even more, with most other browsers going down in percentage basis, except Edge that is very slowly replacing Internet Explorer, and Samsung Internet that replaced Opera mini in the list.

Desktop traffic still rules, but mobile + tablet traffic now accounts for around a third of the traffic.

Finally, I went to dig into pagespeed data with pages loading in 15.58 seconds on average. I then filtered the countries with more than 5,000 pageviews, and CNX Software pages and posts loaded fastest in Portugal, Denmark, and Macedonia. However, people in Venezuela need to wait close to 2 minutes for a page to load on average, and in China and Iran around one minute.

Next year looks promising, and I expect to test Gemini Lake mini PC, and maybe some ARM based mini PCs or laptops, but I’ll review less TV boxes as due to some new regulations I can’t easily import them. The regulatory framework is now in place for LPWAN standards, and I should be able to start playing with LoRa and NB-IoT in 2018, using local services, or my own gateway(s). I’ll keep playing with development boards, as I’m expecting interesting Allwinner H6, Realtek RTD129x, Hilsicon, and other platforms in the year ahead, as well as various IoT products.

I’d like to come together with some of the devices and boards reviewed in 2017 (and a Linux tux) to wish you all a prosperous, healthy, and happy new year 2018!

Click to Enlarge

Google Assistant SDK Now Supports Device Actions, More Languages (French, German, Japanese)

December 29th, 2017 1 comment

Back in May 2017, Google released the Assistant SDK that worked on Raspberry Pi 3, and other ARM boards, essentially transforming low cost development boards into Google Home equivalent. The SDK became more popular once Google’s AIY Voice Kit was launched since it offered an easy and inexpensive way to use it with Raspberry Pi 3 board.

Since all you need was a Linux board with an Internet connection, a microphone, and speaker, I tried Google Assistant SDK on one of the cheapest platform available: Orange Pi Zero Set 6 Kit including Orange Pi Zero board, but also an expansion board with built-in microphone and audio output jack, and a cute little case. I added my own pair of speakers, micro SD card, and USB power supply, and after setting up the software, I was able ask question, and get answers with female voice using the demo app.

At the time however, there was some limitations, as integration with home automation devices was not easy, English US was the only language option, and we were stuck with a female voice. Since then, Google has added support for male voice for text-to-speech, and as I checked the release notes, Google added support for more languages, and device actions in December 20.

Changelog:

  • Google Assistant Library (developer preview 0.1.0)
    • Support for Device actions.
    • Support for more languages: English (Australia, Canada, UK, US), French (Canada, France), German, and Japanese. Selectable from Google Assistant app.
    • Location can now be configured as a street address in the Google Assistant app.
    • Better handling of connection errors.
  • Google Assistant Service (v1alpha2)
    • Support for Device actions.
    • Support for more languages: English (Australia, Canada, UK, US), French (Canada, France), German, and Japanese. This setting can be passed through the Service API or selected from the Google Assistant app.
    • Location can now be configured as a street address in the Google Assistant app, or as a latitude and longitude via the API.
    • Support for displaying the text of the user’s request and the text response from the Google Assistant.
    • Support for submitting queries via text input (Using Device actions or IFTTT).

I could update the library on Orange Pi Zero as follows:

I could still use my DIY smart speaker to ask questions and get answers after a reboot, so the update went smoothly. Controlling other devices like Sonoff TH16 will require some more studying.

Orange Pi One Plus Allwinner H6 Board Launched for $20

December 28th, 2017 42 comments

Allwinner H6 is a processor designed for 4K HDR set-top boxes such as Zidoo H6 Pro, but with USB 3.0, Gigabit Ethernet, and PCIe interfaces, the processor is also a good candidate for ARM development boards where you need fast I/Os.

I was expecting Orange Pi 3 Plus as the first board based on the processor, but instead Shenzhen Xunlong has just launched a cheaper Orange Pi One Plus version that sells for $19.99 plus shipping.

Orange Pi One Plus specifications:

  • SoC – Allwinner H6 V200 quad core Cortex A53 processor with Arm Mali-T720MP2 GPU
  • System Memory – 1 GB LPDDR3
  • Storage – micro SD card slot up to 32GB
  • Video & Audio Output – HDMI 2.0a up to 4K @ 60 Hz with HDR, HDCP, CEC
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet (via Realtek RTL8211 transceiver)
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 host port, 1x micro USB OTG port
  • Expansion – 26-pin header (but no detailed info available yet)
  • Debugging – 3-pin serial console header
  • Misc – Power & status LEDs, power button, IR receiver
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A via power barrel jack, or micro USB port; AXP805 PMIC
  • Dimensions – 68 x 48 mm
  • Weight – 50 grams

The board only supports Android 7.0 for now, with Linux images (Ubuntu and Debian) under testing. Bear in mind that Allwinner H6 is relatively new, and Orange Pi One Plus is the first low cost Linux development board to be launched with the target, so I’d expect some difficulties at first. Everything will likely have to be based on legacy kernel (Linux 3.10), and some features like 3D graphics acceleration may not work in Linux, but hopefully better support will eventually come through the work of linux-sunxi (u-boot/kernel), and Armbian (integration with Ubuntu/Debian) communities.

This first board is a bit of a disappointment, as beside Gigabit Ethernet, and HDMI 2.0a, it does not really leverage the nice features found in Allwinner H6 processor. I’m especially surprised by the USB 2.0 connector since USB 3.0 would have been nearly free to add as it’s supported by H6 SoC. But I’m told that Orange Pi Lite2 will come with USB 3.0 later next month. However, since it is based on Orange Pi Lite design, then the board will use WiFi, and Gigabit Ethernet will not be present. So we may have to wait for Orange Pi 3 Plus to get a more features-packed H6 board with GbE, USB 3.0, and PCIe interfaces.

Another interesting part of Orange Pi One Plus board is the DDR3 chip: Allwinner AW52A8G32. So it looks like Allwinner has entered the RAM business, or they re-branded the chip from some other company.

ZeroShell Firewall/Router Linux Distribution Works on x86 Hardware, Raspberry Pi 2/3, & (Some) Orange Pi Boards

November 30th, 2017 12 comments

We’ve just seen pfSense is now available for Arm via firewall appliances such as Netgate SG-3100, but AFAIK there’s no pfSense community Arm firmware images yet. Several Arm SoCs & boards are now supported by FreeBSD, so in theory pfSense could be ported to those, but the page on FreeBSD does not seem to have been updated for a while.

If you want a firewall distributions with an easy-to-user web interface like pfSense, but that also works on cheaper Arm hardware, Linux based ZeroShell distribution could be worth a try, as beside working on Intel & AMD x86 platforms, the developers also provides images for Raspberry Pi 2 & 3 boards, and several Orange Pi boards, namely Orange Pi R1, Orange Pi Zero, Orange Pi PC, and Orange Pi Plus/Plus2. The latter is the only supported Arm board with Gigabit Ethernet.

ZeroShell Web Interface | Net Balancer Section – Click to Enlarge

Some of ZeroShell features include:

  • Load Balancing and Failover of multiple Internet connections.
  • UMTS/HSDPA connections via 3G modems.
  • RADIUS server for providing secure authentication and automatic management of the encryption keys to WiFi networks.
  • QoS (Quality of Service) management and traffic shaping.
  • HTTP Proxy server to block web pages containing virus.
  • Wireless Access Point mode with Multiple SSID and VLAN support.
  • Host-to-LAN VPN with L2TP/IPsec in which L2TP (Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol) authenticated with Kerberos v5.
  • LAN-to-LAN VPN with encapsulation of Ethernet datagrams in SSL/TLS tunnel with support for 802.1Q VLAN.
  • Router with static and dynamic routes (RIPv2 with MD5 or plain text authentication and Split Horizon and Poisoned Reverse algorithms).
  • 802.1d bridge with Spanning Tree protocol to avoid loops even in the presence of redundant paths.
  • 802.1Q Virtual LAN (tagged VLAN).
  • Many more…

Gateway Configuration

You’ll find the complete list of features on the project page. You’ll find live CD images for x86, and micro SD card image for supported Arm boards on the download page, and support is available via the forums. However, I have not been able to find the source code, nor instructions to build from source.

Via Time4EE

Armbian v5.35 Released with Linux 4.13, U-boot v2017.09, New Boards Support

November 27th, 2017 19 comments

Armbian v5.35 has been released last Friday as a major update that brings Linux mainline kernel to version 4.13, U-Boot mainline to version v2017.09, adds support for 7″ Raspberry Pi display, Realtek WiFi drivers (mainline), and new stable hardware support for NanoPi Duo, Pinebook, and Orange Pi R1.

Some other boards got experimental support, including Le Potato, NanoPi NEO 2, Orange Pi Zero Plus, Orange Pi Zero Plus 2 (H5). The desktop version of the images gets a full featured XFCE terminal, OpenVPN connector, a new wallpaper, and various other changes and fixes.

Armbian v5.35 on NanoPi NEO with Legacy Kernel

armbian-config is normally used to configure the board for example networking configuration, but the utility has become even more useful with support for Hotspot, Bluetooth, SSH server configuration, swtich between stable & beta builds and between kernel applications, adds the ability to start an RDP server, and install third party software such as SAMBA, OpenMediaVault, PiHole, Transmission BT, and so on.

If you have an existing installation, you can simply upgrade with the following commands, as I did for NanoPi NEO board above:

For a fresh installation, download the images from the download page instead.

RetrOrangePi 4.0 Released

November 6th, 2017 9 comments

RetrOrangePi is a retro gaming & media center firmware based on Armbian Debian image and working on Allwinner H3/H2+ based Orange Pi boards, Banana Pi M2+, and NanoPi M1, as well as Beelink X2 TV Box.

Right at the end of last year, I reviewed RetrOrangePi 3.0 on Orange Pi One board to which I connected Mars G01 gamepad, and I could play some games like Wolfenstein 3D and Quake, and watch videos on OpenELEC/Kodi 16. The firmware also comes with various emulators, but you’d have to load the ROMs yourself due to intellectual property / license issues. The developers have now released RetrOrangePi 4.0.

RetrOrangePi 4.0 changelog:

  • Latest Armbian v5.32 (Debian Jessie kernel 3.4.113)
  • RetroPie-Setup v4.3.3 (unofficial fork, upgradeable)
  • New RetrOrangePi repository for easy updates and fixes
  • EmulationStation v2.6.5 with video and game collection support, Desktop/OpenELEC shorcuts from main menu
  • New ROPi “Attract-Mode”-like theme (based on Cosmos theme)
  • Retroarch 1.6.7 – Retroachievements tested
  • Kodi Krypton 17.4 (hardware acceleration provided by MPV + VDPAU): IPTVsimple included, quit button fixed
  • OpenELEC (Kodi Jarvis 16.1) with CEC support by Jernej Skrabec (optional installation)
  • Slim and Full versions for all compatible boards
  • All Libretro cores updated
  • All RetroPie themes available for installation
  • Experimental new libretro cores: DOSBox, MAME2014, VICE, X68000, Amiga PUAE
  • PPSSPP latest v1.42
  • Mupen64Plus standalone emulator (with hires textures support)
  • AdvanceMAME 3.5
  • AdvanceMENU frontend integrated
  • AdvanceMESS (support for ancient platforms, tested OK: Bally Astrocade, BBC Micro, Channel F, Colecovision etc.
  • New Quake 2 port (Yamagi Quake)
  • New Streets of Rage Remake port (needs BennuGD engine downloaded to home folder)
  • Improved Amiga emulation – fullscreen UAE4ARM with JIT support, optional WHDLoad
  • Hatari 2.0 (SDL2) – atariST emulator
  • Vice 3.1 (SDL2) – Commodore emulator
  • Boot selection – from Desktop (EmulationStation, Kodi, AdvanceMENU, RetroArch, Desktop)
  • Onscreen keyboard (Florence)
  • Overscan fix in AV outputs (Allwinner_TVOUT_manipulator)
  • New Desktop wallpaper, wifi config, ES, Kodi, Donate and Support icons
  • Customized Retroarch configuration (optimal settings, appearance tweaks, original aspect ratio)
  • New HDMI/Analog AV configuration tool (thanks Jose Rios) + our overscan fix
  • New exclusive ROPi Radio beta version
  • Scraper by Sselph update
  • Universal XML Scraper integration and tutorials
  • Binary cores updates
  • GPIO driver can be installed from driver section.
  • RetroPie services tested: USBROMSERVICE – create a retropie-mount folder in your FAT32 flash drive, Virtual gamepad
  • Custom ES splashscreen by Francois Lebel @MagicFranky – the number 4 was on us :p (great skills!)
  • Custom MOTD with ROPi invader + Armbian info
  • Improved filesystem support: FAT32 automount, ExFAT support

The full images are not yet available, but if you are an existing users with ROPi 3.0.1 instead, you can upgrade to version 4.0 by running ropi4.sh script in your board/device as pi user:

The images for new users will be coming later once one of the developers involved get more free time. In the meantime, you’d have to download & install RetroOrange Pi 3.0.1, and run the script to upgrade to 4.0.

You’ll find more details about the release in the forums, where you can also ask for support questions. The source code can be found on github.

OpenBSD 6.2 Adds Support for Orange Pi PC 2, Firefly-RK3399

October 10th, 2017 No comments

OpenBSD has been supporting 32-bit (ARMv7) and 64-bit (ARM64) ARM targets, but the just released OpenBSD 6.2 adds support for two more ARM64 boards: Orange Pi PC 2 and Firefly-RK3399.

Those two add to the ARM64 list comprised of Raspberry Pi 3, Pine A64/A64+, and AMD Opteron A1100 based development board and SoftIron OverDrive 1000 servers.

Other platforms based on Allwinner A64 & H5, and Rockchip RK3399 could likely also be supported. If you want to try it on your board, visit OpenBSD 6.2 ARM64 page to download the files:

  • INSTALL.arm64 – Installation notes
  • SHA256 – Output of the cksum(1) program using the option -a sha256, usable for verification of the correctness of downloaded files.
  • SHA256.sig – The above file, signed with the OpenBSD signing key for the 6.2 release, usable for verification of the integrity of the above file, and thus of the downloaded files.
  • miniroot62.fs – A miniroot filesystem image to be used if you for some reason can’t or don’t want to use the ramdisk installation method.
  • *.tgz arm64 binary distribution sets
  • bsd – A stock GENERIC arm64 kernel which will be installed on your system during the install.
  • bsd.rd A compressed RAMDISK kernel; the embedded filesystem contains the installation tools. Used for simple installation from a pre-existing system.

The binary distributions sets include:

  • base62 – The OpenBSD/arm64 6.2 base binary distribution. You MUST install this distribution set. It contains the base OpenBSD utilities that are necessary for the system to run and be minimally functional.
  • comp62 – The OpenBSD/arm64 Compiler tools. All of the tools relating to C, C++ and Objective-C are supported.
  • game62 – This set includes the games and their manual pages.
  • man62-  This set includes all of the manual pages for the binaries and other software contained in the base set.
  • xbase62 – This set includes the base X distribution. This includes programs, headers and libraries.
  • xfont62 – This set includes all of the X fonts.
  • xserv62 – This set includes all of the X servers.
  • xshare62 – This set includes all text files equivalent between all architectures.

You’ll need to follow the instructions in INSTALL.arm64 to try it with a micro SD on your board. I understand it;s a two step process on supported boards

  1. Flash miniroot62.fs to your micro SD card with dd, Win32DiskImager or Etcher
  2. Connect the board to the serial console, and follow the instructions in the installer to handle binary distributions sets

Good luck.

Via Orange Pi Forums