Orange Pi is a low-cost of the Raspberry Pi competitor. It is developed by the Chinese Shenzhen Xunlong CO Software company based in Shenzhen in the Guangdong province. Just like the Raspberry Pi, Orange Pi is an Open Source project. Unlike the Raspberry Foundation, which for made the choice to offer two models (if you don’t count the annual changes), Orange Pi offers a wide range of board. This is a big advantage because you can choose the board best suited to its application. Not always easy however if find in denominations. Here are a few comparison charts to help you find the board that fits your needs from a Raspberry Pi 3.
Comparison of Orange Pi by CPU power and RAM
The vast majority of the Orange IP boards work with a H3 (Cortex – A7) microprocessor clocked at 1.2 or 1.6 GHz. The Pi Zero entry uses an H2 clocked at 1, 2 GHz. It’s really a little board to all do (Ethernet, WiFi, GPIO) ideal for small objects. It is also the only model of the range to offer feeding cable Ethernet (POE). Only regret, Orange Pi Zero for no connector camera (CSI format), so it will fall back on cameras (or webcam) USB.
another strong point of the range Orange Pi, several boards systems 8-16 GB of flash memory which allows to install the system directly on the board or use of additional storage space.
(1) 64-bit processor
(2) 2.7GPixel/s, EGL, OpenGL ES 2.0/1.1/1.0, OpenVG 1.1
Comparison of Orange Pi by connectivity
Orange Pi most models and older2 are the high-end models. They integrate a WiFi Realtek RTL8189ETV chip and a connector SATA to connect a hard drive or external SSD up to 2T. A 5V connector is also available for the external drive.
Since 2017, some models offer bluetooth connectivity 4.2 (LE). You can always add a USB dongle to other models.
|Board||Ethernet||Ethernet POE||WiFi||Bluetooth||SATA connector (1)||5V SATA|
|OPi Zero||10/100 M||X||X|
|OPi One||10/100 M||–||–|
|OPi PC||10/100 M|
|OPi PC 2||100/1000 M|
|OPi PC Plus||10/100 M|
|OPi PC 2||100/1000 M||Realtek RTL8189ETV|
|OPi Plus||100/1000 M||Realtek RTL8189ETV||X||X|
|OPi Plus 2||100/1000 M||Realtek RTL8189ETV||X||X|
|OPI Win||100/1000 M||AP6212||4.2|
|OPI Win Plus||100/1000 M||AP6212||4.2|
|OPI Prime||100/1000 M||AP6212||4.2|
|Raspberry Pi 3||10/100 M||X||X|
(1) SATA connector to use an external hard drive or an SSD up to 2 T
Comparison of Orange Pi by I/O
No Orange Pi does have a connector DSI the touch screen TFT supported as on the Raspberry Pi.
|Board||HDMI||Audio||USB 2.0||Micro-USB 2.0 (OTG)||Camera (3)||GPIO||microphone||IrDA|
|OPi One||HDMI||2||1||1080p@30fps] [||40 (2)||X||X|
|OPi Lite||X||HDMI||2||1||1080p@30fps||40 (2)||X||X|
|OPi PC||X||Jack||3||1||1080p@30fps||40 (2)||X||X|
|OPi PC 2||X||Jack + HDMI||3||1||1080p@30fps||40 (2)||X||X|
|OPi PC Plus||X||Jack + HDMI||3||1||1080p@30fps||40 (2)||X||X|
|OPi PC Plus 2E||X||Jack + HDMI||3||1||1080p@30fps||40 (2)||X||X|
|OPi Plus||X||Jack + HDMI||4||1||1080p@30fps||40 (2)||X||X|
|OPi Plus 2||X||Jack + HDMI||4||1||1080p@30fps||40 (2)||X||X|
|Raspberry Pi 3||Jack||4||5V power supply||CSI||40|
(1) Multifunction 13 connector pins : 2x USB 2.0, video output (TV), microphone, IR, output audio (jack).
(2) Connector compatible Raspberry Pi B +
(3) Supports 8-bit YUV422, CCIR656 (NTSC or PAL), SM pixel
|Board||Dimensions||weight||Led (power on, status)||GPIO UART (1)|
|OPi Zero||48 mm × 46mm||26 g||X|
|OPi One||69 mm × 48mm||36g||X|
|OPi Lite||69mm × 48mm||60g||X||X|
|OPi PC||85 mm × 55mm||38g||X||X|
|OPi PC 2||85 mm × 55mm||70g||X||X|
|OPi PC Plus||85mm × 55mm||70 g||X||X|
|OPi PC Plus 2||108 mm × 67 mm||83 g||X||X|
|OPi Plus||108 mm × 60 mm||50 g||X||X|
|OPi PC 2||108 mm × 67 mm||83 g||X||X|
|Raspberry Pi 3||86 mm x 56 mm x 21mm|
(1) mini connector 3-pin to retrieve messages from debugging from a monitor series.
Which Linux distribution to install?
The development team of Orange Pi board did a huge job of adaptation of the major Linux distributions available. this page, you will find the images available for your model. Impossible to test everything! The list is not necessarily up-to-date with respect to the traded board as you can see. We understand why with the number of distributions and boards to manage!
The easiest is definitely to opt for a very light Armbian distribution. They are built from Debian or Ubuntu supports the technical specifics of ARM processors and peripherals available on the boards (WiFi chip …). I also advise you to opt for this distribution if you are sensitive to safety. Shenzhen Xunlong Software CO works with the Armbian team and is involved in financing the project pending the creation of its own software development team. The distribution is updated very regularly and integrates the evolutions and correction of the Linux kernel. You can also compile your proposed distribution from the source code by following this tutorial.
|Distribution||Pi Zero||Pi One||Pi Lite||Pi PC||Pi PC2||Pi + PC||Pi + PC 2||Pi +||Pi + 2|
|Debian 8 XFCE||X||X|
Install Armbian without keyboard or mouse
The HDMI port of all Orange Pi models is configured for display on a television screen. In the best case, the image will be cropped. In the worst case (screen with DVI connector), you will not have any image displayed. The first tip is to plug the Orange Pi on a recent television screen or a video projector in HDMI. The other more elegant solution is to use the 3-pin UART connector on all boards to install Armbian using an SSH connection from another computer. Follow this tutorial to learn more.
Where to buy your Orange Pi?
Very few shops offer Orange Pi in Europe (at a reasonable price!). The easiest way is to order directly from Shenzhen Xunlong Software’s official AliExpress store. It will add a few euros of postage. Like all direct purchases from China, it takes at least 2 weeks. You will also find all the good deals on the price comparison site. Shenzhen Xunlong also offers the Orange Pi in the form of pack (case, expansion board, 2MP camera, 5V power supply …).
- Install Home Assistant (HASS) on an Orange Pi running under Armbian
- IoT development based on Orange Pi, Arduino (Firmata), Nodejs, Blynk and Johnny-Five
- Blynk + Node.js + Johnny-Five: drive a Pan-Tilt PTZ SG90 kit on Orange Pi with an Arduino / Firmata
- Start programming with Node Js and Johnny-Five: IoT and robotics based on Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Orange Pi
- Orange Pi: test of the OPI.GPIO package for Node-Red (node-red-contrib-opi-gpio)
- Orange Pi (Armbian): replace the GPIO by an Arduino/Firmata, Node-RED and Johnny-Five