October 18, 2017
Updated: November 27, 2017
Google Assistant on an Orange Pi Zero running DietPi
  Serial Connection with the Orange Pi Zero

On paper, the Orange Pi Zero looked like a a single board computer that could be useful, so I purchased one. As a first test, I installed Ubuntu Server (Armbian). I also installed mosquitto the MQTT broker.

The comments below are only first impressions because I only wanted to check that the hardware worked. I will set aside the Orange Pi Zero to complete more urgent projects.

Table of Contents

  1. Hardware
  2. References
  3. Installation of Armbian
  4. First Boot
  5. Updating Armbian
  6. WiFi Connection
  7. Static IP Addresses
  8. Configuring the Orange Pi Zero
  9. Installing Domoticz
  10. Setting Up Domoticz
  11. Installing a MQTT Broker
  12. H2+ Running Hot
  13. Observations

  1. Hardware
  2. The Orange Pi Zero (now OPiZ), from Shenzhen Xunlong Software CO., Limited is a very small single-board computer that nevertheless has a four-core processor. In my opinion, its capabilities place it between the Raspberry Pi Zero W (ireless) and the Raspberry Pi 3.

    Orange Pi Zero Raspberry Pi Zero W Raspberry Pi 3
    SOC Allwinner H2+ BCM 2835 BCM 2837
    CPU ARM Cortex A7 ARM11 ARM CORTEX A53
    Coeurs 4 (32 bits) 1 (32 bits) 4 (64 bits)
    Cadence 1.2GHz 1 1.2GHz
    GPU Mali400 (600MHz) VideoCoreIV (250MHz)VideoCoreIV (400Mhz)
    RAM 512MB 512MB 1GB
    Storage MicroSDHC MicroSDHC MicroSDHC
    SPI Flash 2MB --- ---
    Ethernet 10/100Mb --- 10/100Mb
    WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
    Bluetooth --- 4.1 & BLE
    USB 1 --- 4
    USB OTG 1 1
    HDMI output --- mini yes
    Composite video yes yes yes
    Camera connector --- CSI CSI
    GPIO 26 pins, 13 pins 40 pins 40 pins
    Dimensions 46x48 mm 65x30mm 85.6x56.5mm

    There is a slightly cheaper version with only 256MB of memory. There is also an expansion card adding two USB outputs, a microphone, an infrared receiver and an audio/video output. I bought Set 6 which adds a small case that can accommodate the OPiZ and the expansion card. It all cost just under $ 25 CDN including shipping costs.

    cartes et boîters

    A 4GB or greater micro SD card is also needed. I used a 16 GB Verbatim class 10 card. Finally, a 5V power supply with a microUSB cable is necessary.


    The OPiZ is fussy about its power supply. It refused to work with a power supply (1A at 5V) used with Raspberry Pis, smart phones, tablets, etc. In contrast an old power supply for Nexus 7 (1.3A at 5.2V) bought used and a generic power supply (1A at 5V) worked without problem.

    In addition, some USB cables can not be used. It seems that the microUSB connector was too short when the OPiZ was in the case because the same cables worked if the board was out of the case. This is something that I have already observed with a Raspberry Pi 3 in a tranparent case with thick plastic walls.

  3. References
  4. The manufacturer's website dedicated to the Orange Pi Zero is the obvious starting point when looking for documentation about this single-board-computer.

    Many have videos on YouTube or sites with information that may be useful. I subscribed to MickMake who tested the OPiZ Orange Pi Zero: Better than the Raspberry Pi Zero? // Review. Perhaps it was because of this video that the idea of buying OPiZ sprouted in my mind. The video is almost a year old and I think some of the issues listed (about SPI for example) seem to be resolved if we can trust Kaspars Dambis's video, Display for Orange Pi Zero. The video Orange Pi Zero Setup and Setting up of Orange Pi Zero using an Armbian/Debian Jessie distro by Brian Greul have proved to be useful when it came to the TV output. I also appreciated two videos by Richard Hughes, Orange's Pi Zero Review accessories & comparison and Orange Pi zero update.

    Finally, let us mention that according to Shenzhen Xunlong we can do almost what we want with the OPiZ because it is "open source". Indeed, we can find the schematic of the board.

  5. Installation of Armbian
  6. Almost everyone listed above has chosen an Armbian image of Debian or Ubuntu as their operating system. So I decided to follow suit by installing Ubuntu server - legacy kernel found here. I did not choose the newer Ubuntu server - mainline kernel, because it does not support the XR819 WiFi module found on the board. If you prefer Debian, the images are here. The image has to extracted from the the downloaded archive. This file is easy to identify by its name and size.

    I used ETCHER to copy the image of the operating system to an SD card. The software is available for Linux, Windows and OS X and its operation should be similar on all those platforms. Download the correct version of ETCHER according to the operating system of the desktop. The application has to be extracted from the downloaded archive. In 64-bit Linux, it is named Etcher-1.0.0-linux-x64.AppImage.

    1. Insert the SD card into a card reader on the desktop computer.
    2. Double-click on Etcher-1.0.0-linux-x64.AppImage. When the software asks if it should be installed, I answer No , but if you think you will reuse this application often, you can always answer Yes.
    3. Wait until Etcher starts, which can take a few tens of seconds.
    4. Click on Select image and select the operating system image extracted from the downloaded archive.
    5. If ETCHER does not display the correct SD card as a target, click Change and select the correct target. Since only one SD memory card is plugged in and no other removable drive is connected to my computer, Etcher correctly identified the target.
    6. Click on Flash!.
    7. Wait until Etcher has finished uploading the operating system to the SD card and has completed checking the contents and then close the application.

    Once again, thanks to the developers of Etcher for the simple and effective program.

  7. First Boot
  8. One way to boot the board is to connect a USB-TTL converter to the UART to the three pin header near the RJ45 connector on the OPiZ. This is described in a later post. While I have just today (November 27) tried this, it will become my favourite method of booting the OPiZ especially when trying to debug problems at startup.

    The only Another way to boot the board is by using an SSH connection from another computer while the OPiZ is connected to the LAN with an Ethernet cable. The only difficulty, is to find out which IP address was assigned by the DHCP server (typically by the router) on the network.

    There are two ways to get the information. One can try to spot the newcomer on the network by examining the list of devices connected to the router. Typically, routers display this list in the web interface that is used to manage them. Unfortunately, the presentation of this interface is different from one model to another, it is not possible to give instructions. As an example, here is part of the list displayed by my router showing an unknown device. liste

    The other way to get this list is to use a network explorer that looks at all the IP addresses and, for each, searches for open TCP ports. I use Nmap with the Zenmap GUI (installed from the Ubuntu repository). Others might prefer Angry IP Scanner which runs on Windows, Linux and MAC as long as a fairly recent version of Java is already installed.

    The principle is the same, no matter how we want to identify the OPiZ. An initial scan of the local network is made to obtain the list of devices already connected to the network. Then insert the SD memory card programmed, connect the Ethernet cable into the RJ45 socket and connect the power supply to the OPiZ. If all goes well, Ubuntu will boot and after thirty seconds it will get an IP address and accept an SSH connection on port 22. If we then redo the scan of the local network, it should be easy to identify the new device.


    In the picture above we can follow the steps for Zenmap. First the target is defined: which means a scan of addresses to Then I chose to do a Quick scan which is sufficient for our needs. The analysis is triggered by pressing the Scan button. After the scan was completed, I displayed the IP addresses of hosts based on available Services because, as mentioned above, OPiZ opens port 22 to accept SSH connections. There are only three hosts that offer this service on my network: the first is the Raspberry Pi which is the home automation server. The second is my desktop and I concluded that the last is the OPiZ.

    The most difficult is done, it remains now to launch an SSH connection with the OPiZ as root (password 1234). Immediately, it will be necessary to change the password of root and to create a user account. Automatically that user will be member of the sudoers group which means that the user can execute the commands normally reserved to root by using the prefix sudo.

    michel@hp:~$ ssh root@ (*) root@'s password: 1234 the password is not shown You are required to change your password immediately (root enforced) ___ ____ _ _____ / _ \ _ __ __ _ _ __ __ _ ___ | _ \(_) |__ /___ _ __ ___ | | | | '__/ _` | '_ \ / _` |/ _ \ | |_) | | / // _ \ '__/ _ \ | |_| | | | (_| | | | | (_| | __/ | __/| | / /| __/ | | (_) | \___/|_| \__,_|_| |_|\__, |\___| |_| |_| /____\___|_| \___/ |___/ Welcome to ARMBIAN 5.30 stable Ubuntu 16.04.2 LTS 3.4.113-sun8i System load: 0.40 0.53 0.25 Up time: 3 min Memory usage: 6 % of 494MB IP: CPU temp: 63°C Usage of /: 8% of 15G [ General system configuration: armbian-config ] Changing password for root. (current) UNIX password: 1234 Enter new UNIX password: xxxxxx Retype new UNIX password: xxxxxx Thank you for choosing Armbian! Support: www.armbian.com Creating a new user account. Press <Ctrl-C> to abort Please provide a username (eg. your forename): michel choisir un bon nom Trying to add user michel Adding user `michel' ... Adding new group `michel' (1000) ... Adding new user `michel' (1000) with group `michel' ... Creating home directory `/home/michel' ... Copying files from `/etc/skel' ... Enter new UNIX password: yyyyyy Retype new UNIX password: yyyyyy passwd: password updated successfully Changing the user information for michel Enter the new value, or press ENTER for the default Full Name []: Room Number []: Work Phone []: Home Phone []: Other []: Is the information correct? [Y/n] Y Dear michel, your account michel has been created and is sudo enabled. Please use this account for your daily work from now on.

    (*) If this is the first time that ssh is used with this address, there will be a dialogue asking if the security keys are to be registered. Answer yes ("yes" in full).
    michel@hp:~$ ssh root@ The authenticity of host ' (' can't be established. ECDSA key fingerprint is 8b:44:a8:a0:e3:f2:3a:b3:d9:63:0f:3a:19:ff:14:b6. Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no)? yes Warning: Permanently added '' (ECDSA) to the list of known hosts.

    If security keys have already been registered for this address, a warning is displayed.

    @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ @ WARNING: REMOTE HOST IDENTIFICATION HAS CHANGED! @ @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ IT IS POSSIBLE THAT SOMEONE IS DOING SOMETHING NASTY! Someone could be eavesdropping on you right now (man-in-the-middle attack)! It is also possible that a host key has just been changed. ... Host key verification failed.
    There is probably nothing nefarious going on. As suggested, enter
    michel@hp:~$ ssh-keygen -f "/home/michel/.ssh/known_hosts" -R
    which will erase the old key and then try to connect again.

    It is now better to log off and log in again as the new user.

    root@orangepizero:~# exit logout Connection to closed. michel@hp:~$ ssh michel@

  9. Updating Armbian
  10. I have updated and upgraded Armbian

    michel@orangepizero:~$ sudo apt-get update ... michel@orangepizero:~$ sudo apt-get upgrade ... Do you want to continue? [Y/n] y

    Be aware that this last step can take a considerable amount of time.

  11. WiFi Connection
  12. The Armbian configuration utility can be used to start a WiFi connection.

    michel@orangepizero:~$ sudo armbian-config [sudo] password for michel: the_password which is not shwon on screen

    The following screen is displyaed:

    Hit the space bar to confirm that you understand the risks associated with using this utility with the highest privileges and then hit Enter to go to the main menu.

    Select WiFi, then in the list of access points,

    select your local WiFi network and enter the password.

    Click on the <OK> button.

    I took the opportunity to set the time zone (Timezone) I also looked at Network and found out that the utility does not perform any network configuration. Network Manager (nmui ou nmcli) must be used. Exit the utility by selecting <Exit to shell> in the main menu.

    Now verify that the wireless interface is active:

    michel@orangepizero:~$ ifconfig eth0 Link encap:Ethernet HWaddr 0a:b4:91:ff:73:9c inet addr: Bcast: Mask: inet6 addr: fd00:fc:8d4f:71b2:8b4:91ff:feff:739c/64 Scope:Global inet6 addr: 2607:fea8:f180:c5a:8b4:91ff:feff:739c/64 Scope:Global inet6 addr: fe80::8b4:91ff:feff:739c/64 Scope:Link ... lo Link encap:Local Loopback inet addr: Mask: ... wlan0 Link encap:Ethernet HWaddr dc:44:6d:21:56:1e inet addr: Bcast: Mask: inet6 addr: fd00:fc:8d4f:71b2:de44:6dff:fe21:561e/64 Scope:Global inet6 addr: 2607:fea8:f180:c5a:de44:6dff:fe21:561e/64 Scope:Global inet6 addr: fe80::de44:6dff:fe21:561e/64 Scope:Link ...

  13. Static IP Addresses
  14. The home automation program Domoticz contains a web server that is accessed with a web browser such as Firefox, Chrome, or Safari . This means that the web server must be at a fixed IP address. However, by default, the Orange Pi Zero uses DHCP to obtain a variable IP address from a DHCP server on the local network.

    This will require changes to the network configuration. It also means that a decision must be made as to which interface will be used. The OPiZ contains two network interfaces: a wired Ethernet link (Cat5 or Cat6 cable with RJ45 connectors already in use) and a wireless WiFi connection. The wireless interface is obviously more flexible, because it allows me to place the single board computer almost anywhere.

    Typically, there are two ways to assign a static IP address. You can change the network configuration of the OPiZ or you can change the settings of the DHCP server so that it always assigns the same address to the network interface of the OPiZ. Previously I used both approaches simultaneously (suspenders and belt to be safe!). But if the limit on the number of DHCP reservations in the router is reached then there is no other choice, the network settings of the OPiZ must be changed.

    michel@domopiz:~$ sudo nmtui

    In the main menu of NetworkManager TUI (TUI for Text User Interface I suppose) select Edit a connection then press <OK>.

    Since the connection with the OPiZ was wired (Ethernet), I started by editing the Wi-Fi connection.

    The WI-FI section can be hidden (<Hide>) while the IPv4 CONFIGURATION section can be shown (<Show>).

    You must change the IPv4 configuration to <Manual> and enter the desired IP address. Here I entered The /24 corresponds to a network mask of 24 bits:

    I did the same thing for the Ethernet connection except that the address is The static IP addresses thus fixed must not be in the range of IP addresses that can be assigned by the DHCP server. You have to go to the router's webpage to set this range. Finally to restart the network I use the following command

    michel@domopiz:~$ sudo service network-manager restart

    Unfortunately, it seems that the WiFi connection will only be established if the OPiZ is connected by Ethernet cable to the local network. However, if we return the IPv4 configuration of eth0 to automatic then it becomes possible to open a ssh session via WiFi without a concurrent Ethernet connection. That's a little disconcerting. This is the first time I use Network Manager so it may well be that I made a mistake. The definitions of the interfaces are located in the folder /etc/NetworkManager/ system-connections/. I will examine the files it contains and the whole question later.

    Finally, I used nmtui to change the name of the host that is now domopiz.

  15. Configuring the Orange Pi Zero
  16. I did not change the configuration of the OPiZ much since this was only a first look. But since I wanted to test the composite video output, I had to add tv to the modules to load at startup.

    michel@domopiz:~$ sudo nano /etc/modules
    #w1-sunxi #w1-gpio #w1-therm #sunxi-cir xradio_wlan g_serial xradio_wlan tv

    That allowed me to verify that the video output of the expansion card is working in a fashion. However, there is so much overscan that it will be practically useless without corrections. I found two references on the web about this and if the need arises I will consider the question later: PSA: Orange Pi Zero expansion board tv-out not working solution et Allwinner Composite Video Configuration Tool.

    By default, systemd saves logs to files saved on the SD card. This may not be the best arrangement because there is a limit to the number of reads and writes that can be made on an SD card. It is better to write the log in memory.

    Edit the journald configuration file, changing three lines as shown below.

    pi@domopole:~ $ sudo nano /etc/systemd/journald.conf
    # This file is part of systemd. # [Journal] Storage=volatile Compress=yes RuntimeMaxUse=48M

    The source of this tip is the Domoticz wiki. However, it may be best to wait before taking this advice so as to keep the logs persistent until everything is stable.

  17. Installing Domoticz
  18. As the Domoticz download page explains, a one-line script installs the program.

    michel@domopiz:~$ sudo curl -L install.domoticz.com | bash

    There is a little more to do obviously. Some questions need to be answered, but the default answers are acceptable:

    This is the end of the installation:

    ::: Restarting services... ::: ::: Enabling domoticz.sh service to start on reboot... done. ::: ::: Starting domoticz.sh service... done. ::: done. ::: ::: Installation Complete! Configure your browser to use the Domoticz using: ::: ::: michel@domopiz:/ $

    Start a web browser on your desktop and connect to the Domoticz server site on the Raspberry Pi at There will not be much to see; a black screen for the most part, since nothing is installed yet. At least that confirms that the software is installed correctly.

  19. Setting Up Domoticz
  20. At this stage, some basic parameters of the system should be defined. At a minimum, the location (longitude and latitude) must be specified. In addition, we should add a password and so on.

    To verify that the OPiZ can host the home automation system that is already installed on a Raspberry Pi, I proceeded in another way. I copied the Domoticz server database from the Raspberry Pi to the OPiZ. This operation is done in two steps: copy the database to a desktop computer and then copy this database to the OPiZ.

    1. Open the Domoticz web interface on the Raspberry Pi with a browser on the desktop (in my case at
    2. Click on the Setup tab at the top right of the window.
    3. Select Settings in the drop-down menu.
    4. Click on the Backup/Restore tab.

      écran domoticz 01

    5. Click on the Backupr Database button and save the file to a folder on the desktop computer.
    6. Open the Domoticz Web Server on the OPiZ (at in the desktop browser.
    7. écran domoticz 02

    8. As before, click on the Setup tab at the top right of the window.
    9. Select Settings in the drop-down menu.
    10. Click on the Backup/Restore tab.
    11. Click on the Restore Database button. and save the file to a folder on the desktop computer.
    12. Cliquer sur Restaurer la base de données. The following window appears.

      écran domoticz 02

    13. Click on Browse... to find the saved data base.
    14. Click on Upload to get the data base. As shown on the screen, this may take some time.

    Switches and other devices will now be visible. However, if you click on a lamp to turn it on or off, nothing will happen. The reason is simple, the address of the MQTT broker is not correct. Here's how to correct the address.

    1. Click on the Setup tab at the top right of the window.
    2. Select Hardware in the drop-down menu.
    3. Click on the MQTT row in the table at the top of the window.
    4. Replace localhost in the Remote Address: box with the IP address of the MQTT broker on the Raspberry Pi:
    5. Click the Update button directly below the top table.

    Now the lamps can be controlled with this Domoticz server.

    This shows that potentially this home automation software could be used on an Orange Pi Zero.

  21. Installing a MQTT Broker
  22. To replace the Raspberry Pi as a host of my home automation system, I also verified that Mosquitto can be installed on the OPiZ.

    The procedure is different from that used with the Raspberry Pi, because the Linux system on the OPiZ is Ubuntu and not Debian. Fortunately, it's even easier to install on this new computer by following the instructions found at Mosquitto org.

    michel@domopiz:~$ sudo apt-add-repository ppa:mosquitto-dev/mosquitto-ppa More info: https://launchpad.net/~mosquitto-dev/+archive/ubuntu/mosquitto-ppa Press [ENTER] to continue or ctrl-c to cancel adding it Appuez sur la touche Entrée gpg: keyring `/tmp/tmpxse80m4u/secring.gpg' created gpg: keyring `/tmp/tmpxse80m4u/pubring.gpg' created gpg: requesting key 262C4500 from hkp server keyserver.ubuntu.com gpg: /tmp/tmpxse80m4u/trustdb.gpg: trustdb created gpg: key 262C4500: public key "Launchpad mosquitto" imported gpg: Total number processed: 1 gpg: imported: 1 (RSA: 1) OK michel@domopiz:~$ sudo apt-get update Get:1 http://ppa.launchpad.net/mosquitto-dev/mosquitto-ppa/ubuntu xenial InRelease [23.8 kB] ... Reading package lists... Done michel@domopiz:~$ sudo apt-get install mosquitto Reading package lists... Done Building dependency tree ... After this operation, 1,893 kB of additional disk space will be used. Do you want to continue? [Y/n] y Get:1 http://ppa.launchpad.net/mosquitto-dev/mosquitto-ppa/ubuntu xenial/main armhf mosquitto armhf 1.4.14-0mosquitto1~xenial1 [124 kB] ... michel@domopiz:~$ sudo systemctl status mosqu* ● mosquitto.service - LSB: mosquitto MQTT v3.1 message broker Loaded: loaded (/etc/init.d/mosquitto; bad; vendor preset: enabled) Active: active (running) since Sat 2017-10-14 16:08:55 ADT; 1min 9s ago Docs: man:systemd-sysv-generator(8) CGroup: /system.slice/mosquitto.service └─11365 /usr/sbin/mosquitto -c /etc/mosquitto/mosquitto.conf Oct 14 16:08:55 domopiz systemd[1]: Starting LSB: mosquitto MQTT v3.1 message broker... Oct 14 16:08:55 domopiz mosquitto[11359]: * Starting network daemon: mosquitto Oct 14 16:08:55 domopiz mosquitto[11359]: ...done. Oct 14 16:08:55 domopiz systemd[1]: Started LSB: mosquitto MQTT v3.1 message broker.

    The Mosquitto clients to subscribe to topics and to post messages can also be installed at this point.

    michel@domopiz:~$ sudo apt-get install mosquitto-clients Reading package lists... Done ...

    Once this installation completed, we can see all the messages received by the broker.

    michel@domopiz:~$ mosquitto_sub -d -t "#" Client mosqsub|11704-domopiz sending CONNECT Client mosqsub|11704-domopiz received CONNACK Client mosqsub|11704-domopiz sending SUBSCRIBE (Mid: 1, Topic: #, QoS: 0) Client mosqsub|11704-domopiz received SUBACK Subscribed (mid: 1): 0

    Verification that the MQTT server is working is done by opening a terminal on the desktop and publishing a message.

    michel@hp:~$ mosquitto_pub -h -t "a_topic" -m "a_message"

    Here is what is displayed in the terminal subscribed to the MQTT messages.

    Client mosqsub|11704-domopiz received PUBLISH (d0, q0, r0, m0, 'a_topic', ... (9 bytes)) a_message
    The CtrlC key combination terminates the subscription to the MQTT broker messages.

    Check that Domoticz works with the local MQTT broker on the OPiZ by restoring localhost as the remote address of the MQTT hardware.

  23. H2+ Running Hot
  24. Like many, I noticed that the Allwinner H2+ chip seems to run at high temperatures. The reliability and even the life of the OPiZ could be at stake.

    michel@domopiz:~$ sudo armbianmonitor -m Stop monitoring using [ctrl]-[c] Time CPU load %cpu %sys %usr %nice %io %irq CPU 06:55:49: 1152MHz 0.01 1% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 59°C 06:55:54: 240MHz 0.01 1% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 59°C 06:56:00: 240MHz 0.01 1% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 59°C 06:56:05: 240MHz 0.00 1% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 60°C 06:56:10: 240MHz 0.00 1% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 60°C 06:56:15: 240MHz 0.00 1% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 59°C 06:56:21: 240MHz 0.00 1% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 59°C 06:56:26: 240MHz 0.00 1% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 60°C

    As can be seen, the temperature of the microprocessor is about 60°C while it does practically nothing at a frequency less than 1/4 of its maximum rate. The ambient temperature is about 19°C, the board is not in its case and the expansion card is not connected.

    This phenomenon of overheating is especially associated with the most recent version of the card, version 1.4. Here are three references to this topic: New OPi Zero (v1.4 PCB) - High temperature , OrangePi Zero high temperature? and New OPi Zero - Yet another high temperature issue... . The first link is on the Orange Pi forum, the other two on the Armbian forum. The page dedicated to the Armbian OPiZ contains a link to the last reference with the following mention board revision 1.4 report false high CPU temperatures. Is there an error when reading the temperature? I can press my finger on the chip for more than 15 seconds without burning it. This is not a very scientific test and by reading the posts on the forum, it is not clear that these are false positives

    A utility can be used to reduce power consumption and, in principle, reduce the temperature.

    michel@domopiz:~$ sudo h3consumption Usage: h3consumption [-h/-H] [-p] [-g on|off] [-m max_cpufreq] [-c 1|2|3|4] [-d dram_freq] [-D dram_freq] [-u on|off] [-e on|off|fast] ############################################################################ This tool allows to adjust a few consumption relevant settings of your H3 device. Use the following switches -h|-H displays help or verbose help text -p print currently active settings -g on|off disables GPU/HDMI for headless use -m max_cpufreq adjusts maximum allowed cpu clockspeed (mhz) -c 1|2|3|4 activate only this count of CPU cores -d dram_freq adjusts dram clockspeed (408 - 624 mhz) -D dram_freq like -d but as low as 132 mhz possible (experimental!) -u on|off enables/disabled all USB ports -e on|off|fast enables/disables Ethernet, the fast switch forces 100 mbits/sec negotiation on gigabit devices -w on|off enables/disables Wi-Fi powermanagement when interface supports this and is controlled by network-manager ############################################################################

    Since it is almost certain that the OPiZ will be used as a server, there are no consequences to stopping the graphics processor.

    michel@domopiz:~$ sudo h3consumption -g off Settings changed. Please reboot for changes to take effect and verify settings after the reboot using "h3consumption -p" michel@domopiz:~$ sudo reboot michel@domopiz:~$ sudo h3consumption -p Active settings: cpu 1200 mhz allowed, 1200 mhz possible, 4 cores active dram 408 mhz hdmi/gpu off usb ports active eth0 10Mb/s/Half, Link: no wlan0 Power Management:off ...

    After an hour here is the result

    michel@domopiz:~$ sudo armbianmonitor -m Stop monitoring using [ctrl]-[c] Time CPU load %cpu %sys %usr %nice %io %irq CPU 09:08:44: 912MHz 0.00 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 57°C 09:08:49: 240MHz 0.00 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 58°C 09:08:55: 240MHz 0.00 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 58°C 09:09:00: 240MHz 0.00 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 57°C 09:09:05: 240MHz 0.00 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 58°C

    Hard to say that there is a great improvement especially that the workload of the microprocessor seems weaker. We can reduce the consumption even more.

    michel@domopiz:~$ sudo h3consumption -g off -w on -u off -e off Settings changed. Please reboot for changes to take effect and verify settings after the reboot using "h3consumption -p" michel@domopiz:~$ sudo reboot Connection to closed by remote host. Connection to closed. michel@domopiz:~$ sudo h3consumption -p Active settings: cpu 1200 mhz allowed, 1200 mhz possible, 4 cores active dram 408 mhz hdmi/gpu off usb ports off wlan0 Power Management:on ...

    Here are the results of this more aggressive approach that stops the operation of the graphics processor, the Ethernet interface, the USB connection and which manages the power consumption of the WiFi interface.

    michel@domopiz:~$ sudo armbianmonitor -m Stop monitoring using [ctrl]-[c] Time CPU load %cpu %sys %usr %nice %io %irq CPU 11:47:24: 1008MHz 0.00 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 54°C 11:47:29: 240MHz 0.00 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 54°C 11:47:34: 240MHz 0.00 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 53°C 11:47:40: 240MHz 0.00 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 54°C 11:47:45: 240MHz 0.00 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 54°C

  25. Observations
  26. I remain enthusiastic about this small computer despite some problems. I am not convinced that the temperature of the microprocessor is a real problem. However, there may be overheating in the small housing. If the expansion card is used, it becomes difficult to use a heat sink of sufficient mass given the limited space between the two cards.

    I already mentioned the difficulties I had with the Allwinnner WiFi module, the XR819. The module is new, the drivers are not necessarily stable. My first impression is that the WiFi connection is not reliable enough for a home automation system. At a minimum, a watchdog should be provided, which would restart the module when necessary.

    I will also have to look at other operating systems. Among others, there is the Debian version of Armbian already mentioned and a clean version of Debian Jessie offered by dietpi. Knowing a little better Debian because of Raspbian used on the Raspberry Pi, I may be able to run the network connections reliably.

    Instead of replacing the Raspberry Pi, the OPiZ could be a complement. A page intrigues me How to Setup an Orange Pi Zero DIY Smart Speaker with Google Assistant SDK. I'm looking forward to trying to replicate this project that could be part of a home automation system.

    If it turns out that only the Ethernet connection is reliable, then I'll look at another project: Pi-hole®: A black hole for Internet advertisements. From what I've seen, it's quite possible to install this ad blocker on the OPiZ.

Google Assistant on an Orange Pi Zero running DietPi
  Serial Connection with the Orange Pi Zero