Wednesday, 30 March 2016

FriendlyArm Nano Pi2/M2

Today I got a nice big package in from Friendly Arm in China, I bought 2 of their higher end machines the Nano Pi2 and the M2, as well as a couple of their absurdly cheap $11 quadcore M1's

$11 do they make money?

Anyway....I'll start with the Nano Pi 2, It came very nicely packaged in a book style folding box, and is very neat, bigger than a Raspberry zero, but about half the size of a standard Pi.

Not a lot of software out there, but the Forum seems well set up and the images were easy to find for Debian and Android, I went for Debian of course.

I have to say this was by far the easiest burn and play I've had so far. It worked perfectly and I had a very nippy running version of Debian in no Time. Which is good as I was a worried after reading that some early adopters had to change resisters on the board. But no it was all fine.

I used the exact same SD card on the M2...again booted no problem.

Can't really say anything bad yet, expect that the video res was a little low at 1280 instead of 1920, so I'll change that when I know now. It was only a quick boot and test, but I nosed around the libs, with ease since it was so responsive even ran a few stress tests to see how hot it got, it seemed to manage ok, hot but not HOT!!!

I like this, when this do what they are supposed to, I will play with them properly at the weekend.

The M1 sadly however did not boot from the same SD, so I went to go get the M1 images....which despite being referenced in the Wiki...are not there...oops. I think I may well be the 1st Western customer for this board, since no one else has reported missing M1 images, they have a Chinese download site to, but I can't get to it, so am guessing that's where that are at the moment.

Hopefully they will be up tomorrow and I can give a report on it separately. I bought 2 of those since at $11 there are a total bargain and I am sure I will find a nice use for them in spite of the almost total lack of software

I ordered them with cases which are 3D printed, and tbh are a little on the coarse side, screw holes will need to be filed out in order for screws to fit....but not to worry, these are so rare over here, I doubt I'd be able to find anyone doing my preferred clear Perspex open sided enclosures.

So that was just an unbox and test... I was pleased, I hope that in use they are just as pleasing.

Edit... well ok, maybe I spoke to soon. Though the issues are not really down to the Nano's, just my total lack of understanding of Debian. However it does seem to be a painfully light version with a lot missing, and method to resize the disk does not work since sudo refuses to resolve the username
no idea at the moment how to fix that but I'm sure someone will inform me in the coming days.

It did crash, one time and possibly from entering the wrong passwords too often..which is not surprising as the Debian password is not listed, its fa by the way.
I can't change the user to root though since any attempt to change the user causes a crash...most likely due to not being able to resize the partition.. hmm

ok well the M2 was not able to find any networks with my RPi wireless dongle...bit of a pisser but not entirely unexpected I'll hook it up to a hardwire network soon.
The Pi2 took a bit of time to connect to my in house wifi but it did work, though I don't seem to have the right passwords for SSH connections...again I will wait for a response. Then hopefull we can test it out.
I put a little heatsink on the chip though, it was getting mighty hot, and even though I am not sure the crash was heat related its not going to do any harm.

So until I get passwords resolve..I'm stuck

Short update, the day after, the Pi2 seems to have issues, with overheating, I left it running for a while and went back to it to find a white screen, though it may not be a heating issue, could be software trying to enter sleep mode...But I tried leaving it overnight and in the morning white screen again.

I do think this is more of a bad sleep mode though.

I now have M1 Debian and Ubunu builds which I'll work on later tonight, but still waiting for passwords from the forum support. I will just burn Ubuntu on them and see what I get.


  1. Hi,
    I'm also trying the NanoPi2.
    I'm planning to use it on an IOT proyect.
    Are you using the GPIO of the card? Or are you planning to do it?
    Because I'm having trouble with C Programming and Building, and I think we can share some info.


    Abel Rodriguez.

    1. Hi, no I have no plans to use the GIO, I am only doing game programming with it, so my main points of interest are a working OS/acess to keys/mouse and a decen GPU. If you pland to do any C/C++ coding, You will need to install GCC onto it, for C coding/building, I prefer to use my PC as a build system using VisualGDB