How to Build an Orange Pi Zero LoRa Gateway

Armbian LoRa Gateway

LoRa gateways tend to be fairly expensive, especially because of the radio part, but anything that may help lower the cost is probably welcomed. And one way to to do that is to use dirt cheap boards like Orange Pi Zero as Edzelf did, by combining the low cost Arm Linux board ($15 shipped) with Rak wireless RAK831 concentrator module kit ($143) via a custom cable, and a power supply board. All assembled into a metal case. RAK831 communicates with Orange Pi Zero over an SPI connection. While some other Orange Pi boards are suitable for the project, note that Orange Pi Zero Plus lacks a spare SPI interface, and can’t be used with this particular application. A fan was also added for cooling, a well as a USB serial debug board for debugging purpose, but it can be removed once the gateway is in the field. Software-wise, Edzelf installed Armbian 5.38 on the board, and setup the timezone and …

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Orange Pi 3G/4G Cellular IoT Development Kits with Touchscreen Display Launched for $35 and Up

Orange Pi 4G-IoT Set5

Earlier this year, Shenzhen Xunlong introduced two new Orange Pi cellular IoT boards running Android – but no Linux distribution just yet – with Orange Pi 3G-IoT and Orange Pi 4G-IoT boards, with LTE bands suitable for Asia and most part of Europe, but not the US. But boards are quite cheap, the 4G-IoT model recently got Android 8.1 Oreo support, if you’d like a display with the board, you can now buy various kits with touchscreen display and in some sets a power supply as well for $34.80 and up plus shipping, or the displays only for $14.80 and up. Four kits have been launched so far: $34.80 Orange Pi 3G-IoT-A Set1 with Orange Pi 3G-IOT-A board powered by  Mediatek MT6572 dual core Cortex A7 processor + 256MB RAM/512MB eMMC combo chip, and a 4.98″ TFT LCD touchscreen display (854 x 480) $39.80 Orange Pi 3G-IoT-B Set1 with Orange Pi 3G-IOT-B board powered by Mediatek MT6572 dual core Cortex …

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Linux 4.17 Release – Main Changes, Arm & MIPS Architectures

Linus Torvalds released Linux 4.17 last Sunday: So this last week was pretty calm, even if the pattern of most of the stuff coming in on a Friday made it feel less so as the weekend approached. And while I would have liked even less changes, I really didn’t get the feeling that another week would help the release in any way, so here we are, with 4.17 released. No, I didn’t call it 5.0, even though all the git object count numerology was in place for that. It will happen in the not _too_distant future, and I’m told all the release scripts on kernel.org are ready for it, but I didn’t feel there was any real reason for it. I suspect that around 4.20 – which is I run out of fingers and toes to keep track of minor releases, and thus start getting mightily confused – I’ll switch over. That was what happened for 4.0, after all. As …

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Orange Pi 3G-IoT SBC Launched for $24.90

Orange Pi 3G-IOT

We had two Arm Linux SBCs with cellular connectivity from Shenzhen Xunlong so far: Orange Pi 2G-IoT for 2G connectivity, and Orange Pi 4G-IoT with LTE support in Asia and Europe. But what if you needed 3G connectivity, and did not want to spend $45 on the 4G board? There was no option until today, but the company has just launched Orange Pi 3G-IoT with WCDMA (UMTS), TD-CDMA and CDMA2000 support. Orange Pi 3G-IoT-B board specifications: SoC – MediaTek MT6572 dual core Cortex A7 processor @ up to 1.2 GHz with Arm Mali-400 GPU System Memory – 512MB DDR2 Storage – 4GB eMMC flash, micro SD slot Display I/F – FPC connector for FWVGA display (854×480) Camera I/F – MIPI connector Audio – 3.5mm audio jack, built-in microphone, 2x solder pads for optional speakers Connectivity Cellular Nano SIM card slot 2G GSM – 850/900/1800/1900 MHz 3G WCDMA -(B1/B2/B5/B8), TD-CDMA, CDMA2000 WiFi, Bluetooth, FM and GPS all in one USB – …

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Android 8.1 Firmware and SDK Released for Orange Pi 4G-IoT Board

Orange-Pi-4G-IoT-Android-8.1

When Orange Pi 4G-IoT board launched a few months ago, it shipped with a not so recent Android 6.0 operating system. But the good news is that Shenzhen Xunlong Software has now released Android 8.1 firmware for their Mediatek MT6737M quad core Cortex A53 LTE Cat 4 board, as well as the corresponding SDK. This makes it the cheapest Android 8.1 board with LTE connectivity available on the market so far as it goes for just under $50. The SDK is a large tarball (22.6 GB) split into 11 smaller files. It’s hosted on MEGA so download is fairly fast, but due to the size I had to install MEGA Sync software in order to download it easily. Once the download is complete, it’s not recognized in Nautilus, but you can extract the SDK as follows in a terminal: This will take a while and extract over a million files for a total of 64.8 GB. We can now have …

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24 Orange Pi Zero Boards Cluster and ArmWizard’s Debian Image

ArmWizard forum member “-W.-” needed a cluster to test his firmware build and deployment solution for Orange Pi Zero boards which can deploy the firmware to multiple boards from one single board. So he procured 24 Orange Pi Zero boards, a 24-port switch, some USB hubs and debug board, as well as some other accessories, power supplies, and two wooden planks. That’s the results after assembly. So we have 4 tower of six Orange Pi Zero boards fairly neatly connected to the 24-port Ethernet switch with 30 cm Ethernet cables, and four black USB hubs for the USB to TTL debug boards. The side view below shows the boards are powered by micro USB cables connected to three different power supplies, cooling achieved via four fans,  and the power extension is hidden right underneath close to the Ethernet switch. The cluster will also be used for machine learning latter on,  at least to detect potential bottlenecks due to the relatively …

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Shedbuilt Binary Blob-Free Linux Distribution Works with Allwinner H3/H5 Boards (Orange Pi, Libre Computer)

Most open source Linux distributions are only partially open source, as while most packages will be built from publicly available source code, they usually come with closed source binary blobs for GPU drivers,  wireless module firmware and so on. Shedbuilt is described as “a decentralized, self-hosting GNU/Linux for Arm devices built from the latest upstream sources”, and as the developer (Auston Stewart) explains – see comments section –  it does not contain any binary blob. Eventually the distribution may support more boards, but for now, the current System 1 “Amano” release supports four Allwinner H3/H5 boards: Orange Pi PC, Orange Pi One, Orange Pi PC 2, and Libre Computer ALL-H3-CC “Tritium”. Orange Pi Lite (with WiFi) and Libre Computer AML-S905X-CC “Le Potato” images are said to be coming soon. You can download the SD card images and access documentation on Shedbuilt.net. The Linux distribution relies on Shedmake script to automate the compilation, installation, upgrade and removal of software. Watch Shedbuilt …

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Linux 4.16 Release – Main Changes, Arm and MIPS Architectures

Linus Torvalds has just released Linux 4.16: So the take from final week of the 4.16 release looks a lot like rc7, in that about half of it is networking. If it wasn’t for that, it would all be very small and calm. We had a number of fixes and cleanups elsewhere, but none of it made me go “uhhuh, better let this soak for another week”. And davem didn’t think the networking was a reason to delay the release, so I’m not. End result: 4.16 is out, and the merge window for 4.17 is open and I’ll start doing pull requests tomorrow. Outside of networking, most of the last week was various arch fixlets (powerpc, arm, x86, arm64), some driver fixes (mainly scsi and rdma) and misc other noise (documentation, vm, perf). The appended shortlog gives an overview of the details (again, this is only the small stuff in the last week, if you want the full 4.16 changelog …

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