The Orange Pi Zero development board is built around a microprocessor Cortex A7 quad core Allwinner H2+. It is available in two versions, 256, or 512 MB of RAM. The Orange Pi Zero include one Ethernet port, one USB 2.0 port and 2 connectors of extensions. The micro USB OTG port is used to feed the 5V power. It can also be powered using the Ethernet cable (PoE, Power Over Ethernet). This requires having a switch Ethernet with a POE port or a adapter allowing injector a power supply on an existing Ethernet network.
Orange Pi Zero is now available for sale on Aliexpress about €6.72. You need to add the shipping cost (about €3.45) bringing the total to €10.17. Version 512 MB cost about €2 more.
Technical specifications of the Orange Pi Zero
SoC: Allwinner H2+ quad core Cortex A7 processor @ 1.2 GHz
- GPU: Mali-400MP2 GPU @ 600 MHz
- Memory: 256MB or 512MB DDR3-1866
- Slot for microSD board up to 64GB
- Ethernet 10/100M
- Wifi + 802.11 b/g/n (Allwinner XR819 WiFi module) with on board IPEX connector. Allows to replace the supplied antenna to increase range if necessary.
- USB Connectors
- 1x USB 2.0
- 1x micro USB OTG port
- Expansion slots
- 26-pin, compatible Raspberry Pi B+ (be careful not compatible with the 40-pin model B+)
- 13-pin connector for connection: headset, 2x USB 2.0, TV out, microphone and infrared receiver, power supply
- 3-pin connector for debugging using a serial port console
- LED: Activity
- Power supply: 5V via micro USB port or optional PoE
- Dimensions: 52 x 46 mm
- Weight: 26 grams
Based on the Allwinner H2+ SOC which is close enough to the Allwinner H3, this board is a serious competitor to the Raspberry Pi Zero (and NanoPi NEO) for applications that do not display. The WiFi XR819 module is fairly new but this should not be a problem because it is already supported by the Armbian distribution.
One regret, the Orange Pi Zero does not have port camera (CSI format). You must use a USB camera for video applications. With a single USB 2.0 port available, we might quickly be limited. Orange Pi for developed a small expansion board that adds 2 extra USB 2.0 ports as well as an IR sensor, a power connector (DC4.0*x1.7mm), and a microphone. This board costs about €2 . She just plug into the connector 13 pins without interfering with access to the GPIO 26 connector pins.