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21 hours ago ยท 2 min read
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Orange Pi Zero

on Aug 26, 2017 ยท 2 min read

==Big photo of small SBC==

My impressions and thoughts about the single-board microcomputer Orange Pi Zero.


Short description:

  • CPU: AllWinner H2 Quad-core Cortex-A7
  • GPU: Mali400MP2 @600MH
  • RAM: 256MB/512MB DDR3
  • One USB 2.0 Port, Ethernet RJ45, Onboard WiFi

Small and compact SBC, apparently designed for a mini-server or for use in IoT purposes. Cheaper Chinese alternative to Raspberry Pi Zero.

Personally, I bought this basically as a very flexible WiFi router. Perhaps you ask "wasn't it better to buy an ordinary router"? The fact is that there is no wired Internet conection in my area. I have to use a mobile 4G connection via a USB modem. So, routers with the support of such modems are expensive for me.

==Photo==

Good news: this device is Lego-compatible too :D

Software

==Screenshot==

For unknown reasons, I was unable to launch the official image of Debian Server, it simply did not work. So, I decided to try the DietPi distribution. The compressed image takes only 70 MB (really dietary), and the unpacked image is ~ 450 MB. This distribution is quite minimalistic, it includes only the basic software. For me it's good - I will install only what I need. Also I liked very convenient and functional utilities for customization (very similar to raspi-config, but more possibilities). Of course, this can be done manually, but selecting the whole web server-stack at once will be faster than typing apt-get ...

Hot as a nuclear reactor

I do not recommend even turning on this thing without any cooling it. If you installed only a radiator, then you shouldn't set high frequencies. Install a cooler together with a radiator is a very good idea, because Orange Pi Zero heats up quickly and strongly. You can see the current temperature using the cpu command. Here's how it looks to me:

Architecture  |     armv7l
Temp          |     32'c | Cool runnings.
Governor      |     interactive

              | Current Freq    Min Freq   Max Freq
CPU0          |      240 MHz      240 MHz    1200 MHz

By the way, it supports dynamic overclocking: the processor will operate at a low frequency, but switch to a higher one if it is under load.

==Screenshot==

Home wireless local network

Thanks to the built-in WiFi module and antenna, I was able to easily launch a wireless access point using hostapd. The work of the AP makes me happy: the ping from PC to SBC is about 1.5 ~ 4 ms, very rarely it "lags" up to 10 ~ 20 ms, WiFi is working without interruptions, it perfectly serves 2-3 devices at once (I don't have more). But I don't know how to check the network bandwidth, because the speed of Internet connection is very low, and when reading from a memory card the speed is limited by it. Maybe you can suggest something in the comments? The maximum connection speed that I noticed is 5 Mbps, but maybe this is not the limit, who knows...

By the way, it works as a server too, GRAV CMS works fine on nginx.

Conclusion

You should buy Orange Pi Zero only if you realize what you are buying, and if you are not afraid of the terminal. For beginners, I would recommend buying a more expensive, but "easy" SBC - Raspberry Pi. There are no such problems with overheating, a larger community, lots of lessons, more ports and outputs. I own RPi too, so believe me, there are less problems for beginners.

But if you want to save money, if you don't need video outputs, but a mini-server or a router, then Orange Pi Zero is quite suitable for you.

==Photo==

Some random thoughts

  • Webmin - a very cool thing, you can change some settings without going into the terminal (for example, from the tablet)

==Screenshot==

  • aria2 - the download manager, which really surprised me. It is able to "squeeze" the maximum speed from my slow Internet connection using multithreading (I checked, it's exactly in multithreading), it supports Metalink, simultaneous loading from different mirrors, Torrent, and there's an excellent web interface (you can start download directly from the tablet)

==Screenshot==

  • ConnectBot - awesome free/libre SSH client for Android
5 Comments:
user_name - 1 day ago
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badnet - on Sep 25, 2018
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๐Ÿ‘

vper - on Aug 12, 2018
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๐Ÿ‘

sandrop - on Dec 25, 2017
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zalex: About $13 with delivery (or $9 without).Also, there is cheaper model with 256 MB RAM, $11 / $7. At the moment "home server" uses less than 100 megabytes of RAM from 512, and this is with running nginx, aria2 and ssh-server.

awesome, that's half the price of the cheapest router here in Argentina. I will be getting one or two soon enough to get my hands dirty. Thanks a lot!

zalex - on Dec 25, 2017
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sandrop: neat, how much did you pay to get it? Sounds like a nice device to implement mesh nets on, albeit the speed limitations.

About $13 with delivery (or $9 without).
Also, there is cheaper model with 256 MB RAM, $11 / $7. At the moment "home server" uses less than 100 megabytes of RAM from 512, and this is with running nginx, aria2 and ssh-server.

sandrop - on Dec 25, 2017
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neat, how much did you pay to get it? Sounds like a nice device to implement mesh nets on, albeit the speed limitations.

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