FriendlyArm NanoPi R4S SBC

NanoPi R4S

My Raspberry Pi4 is in the process of upgrading to today’s NEW upgrade to Raspberry Pi OS, the artist formerly known as BUSTER. Done – and in case you are wondering – here is the post-upgrade login message in the console. “Linux rpi418buster 5.4.79-v7l+ #1373 SMP Mon Nov 23 13:27:40 GMT 2020 armv7l”

Meanwhile I spent the morning reading the news to learn that French President Macron is apparently doing his best to scupper the Brexit deal – nothing changes (we should start calling him De Gaul) – you would think people would be more cooperative in a game-changing world pandemic – but apparently not. Presidents aren’t what they used to be.

Meanwhile, the Chinese announce a Quantum computer supposedly billions of times faster than Google’s own Quantum offering and already the tabloid press are asking “is this the end of world banking security?”.

With the above in mind and the possibility that we’re all doomed, I thought now would be a good time to see if the new R4S from FriendlyArm (FA) is any better than their abysmal R2S OpenWrt-equipped board which my friend and blog subscriber Antonio (Mr Shark) and I looked at here.

Well, starting at the beginning – the package arrived here in lockdown Southern Spain this morning in a large Fedex envelope, clearly marked PCB Board (Material: Metal and Plastic; Use: data storage). Well, that says it all. Within the package was another package and within that, a cardboard box within which was the cased R4S and a 16GB Sandisk Edge MicroSD which I’m hoping contains the OpenWrt image ready to go.

R4S from FriendlyArm

The black metal enclosure looks impressive, don’t you think?

The R4S comes with two USB 3.1 (the light blue) sockets – and of course USB-C for power. If you don’t like USB-C you can do what I did and buy some of these.

As always with FriendlyArm, you can get the full spec for the R4S from the FA WIKI, but here’s a couple of important points.. The NanoPi R4S uses the RK3399 SoC. Oh and according to the FriendlyArm store – the boards are around $45 but the price will of course vary depending on where you live.


The unit has two Gbps Ethernet ports and 1G/4G DDR4 RAM (in my case 4GB). FriendlyElec ported an OpenWrt system for it and also FriendlyCore. It is (apparently) a good hardware platform for developing IoT applications, NAS applications, smart home gateways etc. NAS applications? Now I’m interested, given the twin high speed USB3.1 connections.

I plugged in the SD that came with the R4S, plugged WAN into my network and powered up. Sure enough the lights came on and OpenWrt is running – I checked with “Advanced IP Scanner on my PC and when I found the board I checked it in a browser – – OpenWrt.

This worked immediately on my Blitzwolf USB charger on the top QC3.0 output (despite warnings on the FriendlyArm FAQ about what kind of supply to use – the Blitzwolf was the only thing I had handy with lots of power output..

One thought for making this board really useful is to add OpenMediaVault – and that means Debian 10 for OMV 5.x – so – I guess we’ll wait for Armbian to come up with something. Shouldn’t take too long.


6 thoughts on “FriendlyArm NanoPi R4S SBC

  1. Please let me know if anyone knows when this board gets working (or is already working) with opnsense or pfsense. It could be a good firewall device and can free up my desktop computer.
    OpenWRT is fine but I have opnsense and would like to keep it.

    1. I think its working on opnsense.. some forums talking about it . If it does and you can confirm im another indian waiting to pull the trigger on it.

  2. «Presidents aren’t what they used to be.»

    You just called him De Gaulle – isn’t that the definition of “being what they used to be”?

    On the other hand, no one will call BoJo “Thatcher”.

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