Orange PI zero

20 August 2017

The Orange PI Zero is a 10€ single-board computer. It is a cheap alternative for the Raspberry PI. But it has also a few drawbacks. It has a little community, so don't expect much support if you have a problem. Also the wifi Xradio driver that the Orange PI uses is so terrible that "it just about works". So if you want to buy this board, don't expect much from the wifi.

How to enable and use the UART pins

The UART pins on the Orange PI zero are not enabled by default. Note that i'm using the experimental version of Armbian with the Linux kernel 4.11. You can find your kernel version with the uname -a command. Orange PI zero pinout For example if you want to enable UART1 you have to add overlays=sun8i-h3-uart1 to /boot/armbianEnv.txt. But if overlay_prefix=sun8i-h3 is already in there you only have to add overlays=uart1.

My /boot/armbianEnv.txt file looks like this:


After you reboot now, UART1 should be at /dev/ttyS1

If you want to interact with the port from the command line you can use an application called screen (install with sudo apt install screen). For example screen /dev/ttyS1 9600 will open /dev/ttyS1 at a baudrate of 9600bps.

To close screen press ctrl + a, k then it will ask if you really want to terminate the window. Press y.