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