Introduction: Orange Pi One Setup Guide

The Orange Pi One is a £10 computer similar to the Raspberry Pi. This guide will help you setup your Orange Pi One similar to that of Rasbian on the Raspberry Pi. I will assume that you have all the necessary peripherals (mouse, SD card, etc..)

The image for Raspbian for the Orange Pi One from the official Orange Pi site is buggy. Its been built for the Orange Pi PC and doesn't take into account the changes in hardware. When I tested it I've had lots of problems.

So I've been working to setup my One as close to a raspberry pi as possible. So after some research I found that folks at Armbian have addressed these problems. Armbian is Debian 8 compiled for ARM processors.

Check out my other Orange Pi tutorials:

For those of you with a 3D printer, check out my Orange Pi Case:

Step 1: Download and Write Image to SD Card

UPDATE: Since writing this, a desktop image has been added (uses xfce instead of lxde), which simplifies the installation alot. but the GPIO ports haven't been exported automatically like the "server" version. If you are going to use your Pi One as a media centre then choose the desktop version. it's alot more user friendly with things such as hardware video acceleration already setup but is a bit more resource hungry. You can use the desktop version and then export the GPIO yourself. The SD setup is the same for both versions you just dont need to install the desktop.

To start download SDformatter ( and format your SD card with size adjustment ON.

Then goto: and download the "server" image and extract it.

Then use win32diskimager: and select the .raw file (making sure the drive selected is your SDcard) and click 'write'.

once that is completed insert into your One.

Step 2: Boot for the First Time

So power up your One and you should see it boot. At first you will have lots of error messages, dont worry its fine the system will automatically reboot and configure itself.

Once rebooted you will be prompted to login as the root user:

Username: root

Password: 1234

You will then be asked to change the password. Once that is done it will ask you to setup a user account.

Next you will see a message to change the display resolution, follow the instructions and reboot using:

sudo reboot

Now you will either boot to the command line for the "server" version or the desktop for the "desktop" version.

For the desktop version that's it! You may want to stop it asking for the password everytime when using the terminal, if so go to the end of step 3.

If you want to connect remotely (VNC) the goto step 4.

Step 3: Installing a Desktop Environment

I chose to go with LXDE (same as Raspian) which is a lightweight desktop environment.

to Install type:

apt-get install task-lxde-desktop

once installed, reboot and it should load the login page. Here you can login as the pi user you created. Dont forget to select LXDE by clicking the icon at the top right.

(i had big problems here as the keyboard is setup as Slovenian swapping the Z and Y keys. very confusing!)

Once your at the desktop its a good idea to change the keyboard settings, so run LXTerminal from the menu

and type:

sudo su

(if you have problems here you may need to logout and login as root to re-add pi to the sudo group (see above)

then type:

dpkg-reconfigure keyboard-configuration

and follow the options.

I also changed the time zone here aswell by typing:

dpkg-reconfigure tzdata

Stop asking for password:

login to root:

sudo su

then type:


look for the line:

%sudo    ALL=(ALL:ALL) ALL

and change it to:


Step 4: Setup VNC (optional)

setting up VNC is much the same as on the raspberry pi although there are a number of ways to get to autostart when booting up.

Firstly you will need to auto login straight to the desktop, i.e. skipping the login page

to do this open the LXterminal and type:

sudo nano /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf

then scroll down untill you see: [SeatDefaults]

under that look for the line: #autologin-user=

remove the # and type pi at the end:


You can now reboot so see if it worked. You should now boot straight to the desktop.

Now we can install VNC

open LXTerminal and type:

sudo apt-get install tightvncserver

once that is done type:

vncserver :1

you will be prompted to setup a password. Now test if it works by installing the client on another computer and connecting to your orange pi. (see here)


This gave me alot of headaches as there are a number of ways to do it. The simplest way is:

in the terminal type:

cd /home/pi/.config

then create a directory called autostart:

mkdir autostart

go into that directory and create a new file called tightvnc.desktop:

cd autostart
sudo nano tightvnc.desktop

and type or paste the following lines:

[Desktop Entry]
Exec=vncserver :1

one the line exec=vncserver :1 you can add the extra options such as resolution(geometry) and bit depth (see here)

Done! vnc should start on boot.

compiled from many sources, mainly


svr (author)2017-02-23

Powering PI One for a first time, and stuck with UNIX password. I pass

one login:root

(password) 1234

now stuck with UnIX password (require to change your password immediatly (root enforced) ) no mater what I tipe I get >>>>>cation token manipulation error

Gökhan Türkeli (author)2016-09-08

I formatted the sd card as you said. Started the board. Saw the green led and messages on the screen. I waited for a while and then the screen went black.

After that I reset, plugged in and out but I couldn't see anything on the screen. The green led never lighted up again. The only thing that gives me a hint about the board is consuming energy is ethernet port leds. They work every time I reset the device.

I am using iPhone's original power plug and a usb cable to power up the board with 2nd and 6th pins(5V and GND respectively). What am I doing wrong?


Not sure why it went black, you shouldn't need to restart manually.

On the power supply: apple chargers are only 1A. Most Pi's require a 2A supply. I haven't tried powering a Pi via the gpio but from what I've read previously, doing that bypasses the on-board protection. (you may have fried it)

So.. get a better power supply (and connect it via the jack socket), then reformat your SD (as it could have been corrupted when you pulled the power).

Ardutronico (author)DuncanW102017-02-01

Actually, iPad chargers are 2.1 A. I use it and there's no problem.


Thank you for the answer. So the problem should be related with power or storage. iPhone charger is original. So I don't think(and want to believe:( ) it fried the board.

I tried to change the sd card without changing the power supply. I now see the green led blinks for a while and stays on continuously but nothing on the screen.

I will try the power thing if I can. One more question though. How can I power this board with a battery then? I have this adjustable power supply module. Can it be used to power the board?


Yeh, I use bucks like that in my projects. They are usually used to step down voltages. So for example 4 AA batteries are 6v which you would run through the buck to bring it down to 5v.

The pi not showing anything on screen is a bit worrying but if the leds on then it may be the SD card, are you sure the image burnt ok? also does the monitor indicate that its receiving a signal?


I tired 2 different sd cards. Brands are Smare and Miniseas.

The thing is when I first boot the board I saw the messages on the screen. If the image was written wrong then it is still wrong now but I cannot see anything on the screen. It is weird and I cannot understand what might happened.

The only thing I can try is using an adapter to power the board for now. I will tell the results after I tried. So if there are people like me they may know what to do for sure.


I finally make it work. I used a proper jack with usb end on the other side and it worked.

I did what you have written as a start. I come to the point to instal the desktop enviroment but I couldn't pass that.

When I prompt apt-get task-lxde-desktop system asks me first the install will result 224 mb extra space and then asks do I want to use several packages that are not regisetered. I said yes to both and system gave me hundreds of errors. The final message is "unable to fetch some archives, maybe run apt-get update or try with --fix-missing".

What did I do wrong this time?

LindaT82 (author)2016-09-19

Hi Duncan, did you try also to install Armbian from the SD to the orange pi and run the system without the SD?

DuncanW10 (author)LindaT822016-09-20

Orange Pis dont have any on-board storage, so theres no where to copy it to. Removing the SD means it wont boot.

beic (author)2016-09-13

There is no "/etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf" unfortunately! :(

DuncanW10 (author)beic2016-09-14

I'm assuming you installed the version without the desktop then added it after as above. It should have been installed when you installed lxde.

Try re-installing it:

sudo apt-get install lightdm

beic (author)DuncanW102016-09-14

Yeah, I installed the Desktop version! :D

But after I noticed that and downloaded the "Server" version and it wont bootup! :(

NathanY11 (author)2016-08-31

This is great thanks!

NemecsekE (author)2016-06-29

Hi, Em hardly install one SD card, Debian GNU/Linux 8 oragepione tty1,

and start it but I don't find the Orangepione login: ?????

Password: "maybe 1234" . I'm new here. Can anybody help me?

Regards: Mike

DuncanW10 (author)NemecsekE2016-06-30

Hi, this guide is a little out of date now. Some errors were re-introduced by the Armbian guys, so the login may get swamped by error messages.

Also I think they set it up to prompt to add a new user at the start.

can u post a screenshot of what your seeing?

manolis.kasos (author)2016-05-28

very nice man keep up the good work and plz sign in the orange pi community!!!

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