Thursday, 5 May 2016

Nano Pi2 continuing the love

I went back to the Nano Pi2 yesterday, as I now have enough SD cards to give everyone of my pets their own card. I had reused the previous NPi 2 card, so this was a fresh install, which went a little different to the last one so a new report.

No problems at all burning it and resizing, now that I know how to do it. But some major confusion with its onboard wifi ate up some time and patience. Last time I managed to get it to hook up, but this time the wifi refused to recognise any of my home networks, even one a few inches away from the unit. It showed a blank list.

It did however act as a base sender, that my PC was able to see, but not to hook up to as I had no password..

Considering the NPi2 has no wired  network port, this is a bit of an issue, I tried using a USB hub with an RJ45 connector, but it still could not go to the router.. I think that may be due to the NPi2 only having one USB and trying to share with a network converter as well as mouse and keys might be asking too much...

No connection to my home network, meant no updates, no libs and worse, no SSH to my dev machine to send to.

But as with most things, RTFM comes to the rescue, in this case the manual is on the Friendlyarm wiki

Its not entirely accurate, and its probably a little bit out of date, but it is a good effort from what seems to be a one man team keeping it updated.
There was a germ of information about the NPi2's Wifiap that caught my  eye. This was what I was seeing on my PC, and there was a password. kinda. 1234567890 is not a password. but hey ho.

I realised that the distro I was using had the NPi2 already set to transmit not to receive. I could have chosen to connect my PC to it, but I wanted to update the Debian, so I switched off the wifiap as explained in the docs and sure enough, the little beauty found the networks.
Once hooked up, and reset to be sure, it was perfectly happy doing an update then an upgrade, and installing mesa libs..

It is now a fully working system, albeit only wireless. which makes it a bit slow for development, I probably should have bought the network equipped NPi2Fire.

I also left it alone for some time and this version of the distro was much more reliable and didn't hang....after a few hours doing nothing.

It is a very very basic version of Debian though, if you plan to do anything special with it, you probably need to install lots of extras, but I like the light builds, for my purposes its now perfect.

It also is currently set to a low 720p res, now I know thats just a script I have to change, but as we know my understanding of Linux scripts is 0.1 out of 100 and I need to hunt for an idiots guide to do that. But that's a small niggle.

The NPi2 represents a really nice small quadcore, Mali 400MP (1core I think),  which will be fun to try out now.

Yes I am liking the Nano range, they have some issues with their support, the forums are almost empty, the wiki's not entirely accurate,  and I was a little harsh on my 1st reviews due to faulty SD cards, but these are actually very nice little machines, (so long as you fit a heatsink)

I''ll re-review the M1 and M2 soon, but I am actually very happy with them, they've been my goto non RPi machines with their solid compact cases making them ideal, pop in the bag to take to work systems.

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