Banana Pi First Impressions

I received today my first Banana Pi boards. The quality looks decent. That means that it is not anything that would pass any QC in Finland. Some of the components and connectors were not straightly aligned and there were quite a lot cold solder joints in the board but it should work.

Banana Pi board in marketing picture

I ordered also enclosures so installed one of them and then for software. I choosed Raspbian as os to give an first try, so went downloading that.  From and under Resources / Downloads choosed Raspbian_For_BananaPi_v3.1 dated 12:th Aug 2014.

Setting up SD Card

As I’m on mac, then once downloaded

md5 Raspbian_For_BananaPi_v3.1.tgz 
MD5 (Raspbian_For_BananaPi_v3.1.tgz) = 22a0b5c23de914f273423b3caa4292f
tar -xvf Raspbian_For_BananaPi_v3.1.tgz

to verify the the md5sum matches the same as on web page and to unpack the image. After that I did following to install it on new empty sd card.

diskutil list
   #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
   0:     FDisk_partition_scheme                        *3.9 GB     disk1
   1:                 DOS_FAT_32 NO NAME                 3.9 GB     disk1s1

diskutil unmountDisk /dev/disk1
sudo dd bs=65536 if=Raspbian_For_BananaPi_v3_1.img of=/dev/disk1

Notice that dd command takes quite a long time to execute. For me it took 45 minutes (maybe my sd card is really slow). After that I ejected the SD card safely and plugged all the cables to banana pi and booted it with the SD.

Later I did the same for 8GB SD from different wendor with

sudo dd bs=4194304 if=Raspbian_For_BananaPi_v3_1.img of=/dev/disk1

and that took only 38 minutes so it probably is depending on the card speed.

First Nothing happened, kind off. Red powerled was lit, and green was flashing but nothing on screen. Then after some surfing found out that it could be hdmi thing and after changing hdmi cable (which though worked on raspberry pi) to another, I got screen.  After some initial playing around.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install iceweasel
#this is firefox
sudo apt-get install iceweasel browser-plugin-gnash
#this is flash
sudo bpi-config
 Expand filesystem
 Internationalization options 
  locale fi_FI.UTF-8
  default fi_FI.UTF-8
  timezone EU/Helsinki
  keyboard Generic 105 PC - Other - Finnish - Finnish - Default - no compose - no
Advanced Options
 Hostname banan1
 ssh enable
Finnish - Reboot Yes

After that when it boots back you should have decent Banana Pi testing environment at your hands.

Final thoughts of Banana Pi first impressions

Quality decent, some unexpected issues with HDMI cable compability, but relatively smooth process to get started.

Author: Veli-Pekka Lehtosaari

Veli-Pekka Lehtosaari, most call me VP, age 44 (2016), CEO, Consult, M.Sc.(Tech), Electronics, ICT 1997, Married, 2 children (Girls), Hobbies: ICT, Motor racing, Snowboarding

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