In today’s postbag, a pair of the new NanoPi K1 PLUS boards from FriendlyARM. These powerful H5-based boards look interesting and in this case came complete with heatsinks, Pi-size transparent case and handy FTDIs for programming.
First things first, the board is the same size as a Raspberry Pi, comparing to a Pi 3B+, the FA board has 3 USB2 connectors whereas the 3B+ has 4 USB connectors. There are functional differences but layout-wise, cases should not be a problem (FA do their own, included in my package).
Are you ready, it also has 2GB RAM (there should be more like this), on-board WIFI with internal antenna, Gigabit Ethernet, IR remote, 3.5mm audio jack and supports an external eMMC module.
There is of course more but this is covered adequately on the FA WIKI. Apparently both Ubuntu and Armbian are ready to go. As usual, images are available for download.
You will need a 5v 2a supply. Power comes in via microUSB. Below, the cases and boxing. I noted also, a microphone built onto the board.
Quality FTDI supplied.
And here it is, all boxed up and looking spiffy, ready to be programmed…
AND.. it looks like many months of hammering home the message of making life easy for users has paid off. Ubuntu Core 16.05 straight into Flash, no problem,no screen, no keyboard. I went in on my PC using Wn32DiskImager to create the image from their downloadable 600MB Xenial zip file, no size adjusting.
I simply logged in with WinSCP as user pi, password pi. Used is 13% of 15GB. RAM 2% of 1999Mb (should be capitalised, make a note, FA). Shows the IP address and system load, what better start could you want. “The script” loaded and everything worked a treat. Initially I could get no audio but I contacted FA and then realised my normal 3.5mm stereo jack plug was no good – I’d need a plug which handles video and these are slightly different. Not a brilliant design decision but there you go.
sudo npi-config suggests apparently no device (for hdmi) but FA informed me about select_audio.sh. I checked and my script had installed amixer too. Better if they fix npi-config but all working.
However, I have to say that I am very frustrated with this board. When messing around I heard something coming out of the audio but even with an RCA type connector which handles video and ordinary stereo, I cannot get audio out and worse, I2c channel 1 is supposedly ON, but when connecting an SSD1306 board, even with pullups, the I2c test says nothing is there. Life is too short for this… I need working audio and i2c without this hassle.