#Test: Orange Pi Plus 2e: unpacking and installing Armbian on eMMC memory

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The Orange Pi Plus 2e (also Orange Pi+ 2e) is a computer card built around the SoC Allwinner H3. The H3 is a Cortex-A7@1.6GHz quad-core microprocessor capable of delivering a 4K (H.265 / HEVC) image using the Mali400MP2@600MHz graphics chip (compatible with OpenGL ES 2.0). Compared to the Raspberry Pi 3 which became the reference of the domain, the Orange Pi Plus 2e comes with 2GB Ram DDR3 (shared with the GPU) as well as a 16GB Samsung KLMAG2GEND-B031 eMMC module that equips many smartphones, Tablet and smartTV. Faster, more economical and energy efficient, eMMC memory is also more reliable than SD cards usually used to operate the system. The Pi + 2e approximates the raw performance of the Odroid C2 at a much lower price (the eMMC module must be purchased separately).

Unpacking Orange Pi Plus 2e

Like all models in the Orange Pi familly, it is recommended to use a 5V – 2A power supply.

orange-pi-plus-e2-deballage-installation-armbian-emmc

OrangePi+ 2e is found on the main online commerce sites

orange pi plus 2e vue dessus top

orange pi plus 2e vue dessous bottom vue

Technical characteristics

  • CPU: Allwinner H3 Quad-core Cortex-A7@1.6GHz
  • GPU: Mali400MP2 @ 600 MHz (OpenGL ES 2.0)
  • Memory :
    • RAM: 2GB DDR3
    • EMMC: 16GB
  • Connectivity
    • Ethernet: 10/100 / 1000M
    • Wi-Fi: IEEE 802.11 b / g / n (Realtek RTL8189ETV). APEX connector to replace antenna for larger range
  • Video Output: HDMI
  • Audio Output: Jack + HMDI (supported by Ubuntu – Pulse Audio)
  • USB 2.0: x3
  • Micro-USB 2.0 (OTG): x1
  • Camera (1): 1080p@30fps
  • GPIO (2): 40 pin
  • Microphone: x1
  • IR: x1
  • Dimensions: 108mm × 67mm
  • Weight: 83g

(1) Not compatible with the camera of Raspberry PI. It is necessary to use the camera 2MP sold by Orange Pi, which limits the interest of the connector.

(2) Raspberry Pi B + compatible connector. The connector is rotated 180° from the Raspberry Pi!

Prepare an SD card with Armbian

OrangePi makes available on its site images of different Linux systems (Arch, Debian, Ubuntu, Android …). Returns are not always positive on the forum. I advise you to install the Armbian distribution already presented several times.

You can retrieve the Armbian image adapted to the Orange Pi Plus 2e here.

image armbian orange pi plus 2e

You can also build your own image from Linux sources by following this tutorial. This is what we will do in this tutorial.

Prepare your SD card with Etcher as usual on Windows, macOS or Linux.

armbian preparation carte sd etcher en cours

DVI compatible video configuration

convertisseur hdmi dviHdmi dvi converter for the entire Orange PI family, you may experience a display problem on a DVI or VGA monitor if you are using an HDMI / DVI or HDMI / VGA converter. Connect the Orange Pi+ 2e to a TV using an HDMI cable. After creating the user account, Armbian suggests you change the video configuration. Accept by pressing ‘Y’.

Here are the different available. Choose a format compatible with your monitor.



The desired format is indicated to the control. Either in the explicit format, for example -m 1280×1024, or by the number – m 33. If you are using an HDMI to DVI converter, you have to specify it with the -d parameter, which gives for example

Restart (sudo reboot) to take the configuration into account.

Note. Use the h3disp command at any time to change the video configuration.
After updating the system with the apt-get upgrade command, the display is likely to be reset. It will be necessary to re-run the command h3disp with the -d option to return to normal. To do this, go through an SSH connection from another computer or smartphone

Installing Armbian on the eMMC

The big advantage of the Orange Pi Plus 2e is therefore its eMMC memory of 16GB. The module is soldered on the card unlike the Odroid C2 which made the choice of a connector allowing to choose different capacities. We can not change the capacity but it is not a big problem, Linux being an economical system in place. The SD card slot remaining available, or will be able to use a large capacity SD card for file storage. On the other hand the Orange Pi Plus 2e does not offer any SATA connector to connect a external hard drive faster, it will be satisfied with USB 2.0. If you need a SATA connector, you should opt for Orange Pi Plus or Plus2

Start on Armbian on the SD card

To install Armbian on the eMMC memory, start Armbian on the SD card as usual. For this tutorial, I used the image built in the previous tutorial.

After booting, open a Terminal and run this command and answer a few questions

Accept

 installation transfert armbian sur memoire emmc

Warning

installation transfert armbian sur memoire emmc - avertissement

Select filesystem

https://www.projetsdiy.fr/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/installation-transfert-armbian-sur-memoire-emmc-type-formatage.png

Fast format

installation transfert armbian sur memoire emmc-formatage

About 36 minutes to complete the installation.

installation transfert armbian sur memoire emmc-avancement copie fichiers

Installation is complete. Turn off the Orange, remove the SD card from the drive, and turn on the Orange, which will now boot into the eMMC.

installation transfert armbian sur memoire emmc-redemarrage

Armbian on eMMC

Once restarted, you will find the system and all your old files on the SD card.

Conclusion

The Orange Pi Plus 2e is a credible alternative to the Raspberry Pi 3. The price / performance ratio is very good. The 2GB of RAM and the eMMC module of 16GB is a plus compared to the Raspberry Pi 3. Small regret however, the bluetooth is not part (as on the whole Orange Pi range for that matter). This is a bit of a shame because the Pi Plus 2e is well suited for building a small multimedia server and installing OpenElec for example. You will need to add a Bluetooth dongle to enjoy a wireless keyboard. The GPIO is identical (and compatible) to that of the Raspberry Pi but the library (WiringOP) requires to adapt the programs developed for the Raspberry.

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  • mrmrulti

    hey! I followed these instructions, and it booted from the emmc, but chrome now crashes! i tried re-booting to the flash card, but the same thing happens… what can i do?

    • Hello Rulti. It’s strange, installing to eMMC is just a simple copy. It’s exactly like making a copy of Armbian on the SD card with Etcher. I think Chrome should already be broken before installation on the eMMC memory. You might try to uninstall it sudo apt-get remove chromium-browser, then sudo apt-get install chromium-browser. Tell me if it works. Have a nice week end

      • mrmrulti

        I know this is old, but the reason i guess was that the chrome updated itself with an unstable update. I had to set it back to a stable version.

        • Thanks a lot for the information. It is very nice to have kept us informed!

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