Introduction: Orange Pi Plus 2 - Armbian (on SDcard or Onboard 16GB Memory!) - Update

Hi all!

This is my first Instructable and English is not my native language,
so please don't be hard on me.

To start with, the Orange Pi Plus 2 is a wonderful small device just like a Raspberry Pi but faster!
For the Raspberry Pi there is a big community and there are a lot of websites showing you how to use it and/or what to do when you have some problems or questions.

For the Orange Pi there is not a big community ready to answer all your questions,
so you have to use Google a lot to find your answers.
In this case i will show you how to install Armbian on the Orange Pi.
Armbian is the most used linux version on the Orange Pi because everything will work out of the box.

Other Linux distributions are working also, but most of them have still problems with the onboard Wifi or LAN adapter, so that's why we use Armbian.

What’s Orange Pi Plus?

It’s an open-source single-board computer. It can run Android 4.4 , Ubuntu, Debian, Rasberry Pi Image, it uses the AllWinner H3 SoC, and has 1GB DDR3 SDRAM. And as a bonus: 16GB EMMC Flash memory!

More info about Orange Pi can be found: Here

What's Armbian?

Lightweight Debian or Ubuntu based distribution specialized for ARM developing boards. Compiled from scratch,It has powerfull build and software development tools, A vibrant community.

More info about Armbian can be found: Here
Install guide can be found: Here

Step 1: What Do We Need?

Ok, what do we need to start this small project?

Hardware needed:

  1. Orange Pi Plus 2
  2. 5V/2A with DC Jack barrel OR thick USB cable (i used 5V/1,5A from my old phone)
  3. SD card - Class 10!
  4. Keyboard & mouse
  5. HDMI cable
  6. LAN cable
  7. Cardreader

Software needed:

  1. Download Armbian - Jessie desktop for the Orange Pi plus 2: Here
  2. Download SDFormatter: Here
  3. Download Etcher: Here
  4. Download 7-Zip: Here
  5. Download Putty: Here

Step 2: Upzip, Format and Install Armbian to SD Card

  • Start downloading Armbian (see links above) and install SDFormatter, Etcher and 7-zip.
    I'm not explaining how to install those applications because it's pretty straight forward.
  • When this is done, open the folder where you downloaded the Armbian image,
    this should be named like this:



  • Old:

  • Open 7-zip and Unzip this file into a new directory so you have something like:"Armbian_5.20_Orangepiplus_Debian_jessie_3.4.112_desktop.img
  • Connect your SD Card to your computer, in this case i used a USB card reader
  • Start SDformatter
    • Drive: Select your SDCard (Double check this!)
    • Go to options -> "Format size adjustment" -> YES (Default is "No") -> OK
    • Double check again if the SDCard is selected at the "Drive" section!
    • Click on "Format"
  • Start Etcher (run as Administrator!)
    • "Select Image"-> Select your unzipt:
      "Armbian_5.20_Orangepiplus_Debian_jessie_3.4.112_desktop.img" file
    • Select "Change" to change your drive letter for you SD Card
    • Select "Flash!" and wait until this is done
  • Disconnect your SD Card when this process is done, use the "Safely remove hardware and eject media" option in Windows to be sure it's OK

Step 3: Connect Your Orange Pi and Start the First Time With Armbian

Ok, now it's time to connect all your devices and cables to start your Orange Pi!

  • Connect your Keyboard + mouse to USB
  • Connect your HDMI cable to your monitor
  • Connect your LAN cable to your router/switch
  • Insert SD card into SD card slot
  • Last but not least, connect the power cable to your Orange Pi
    There is NO support on the Micro USB as powersupply!

Let the fun begin!

  • How to boot? - UPDATE (Thanks to @thatpieguy)

First boot takes around 3 minutes then it reboots and you will need to wait another one minute to login. This delay is because system updates package list and creates 128Mb emergency SWAP on the SD card.


Later you can make the choice to install your OS to the Onboard EMCC Memory!
(So you don't have to use the SD card anymore and use it for other projects)

  • How to login?

Login as username "root" on console or via SSH and use password "1234". You will be prompted to change this password at first login. You will then be asked to create a normal user account that is sudo (admin) enabled.
It's even asking you if you want to change the screen resolution but for me it's fine on 720P.
I'm using the command line with SSH (putty) most of the time.

Your desktop is now ready to use! :)

  • For example i'm using Putty to connect to the Orange Pi true SSH.
    If you don't know the IP address of you Orange Pi check your router or
    use your keyboard + mous on your monitor, click for
  • Application Menu -> Terminal Emulator.

Type "sudo ifconfig" and type your password.

It will show you something like this:

eth0 (first network card):

1e line: blablabla
2e line: inet addr: blablabal
3e line: blablalba

So now you can start your Putty and connect to your Orange Pi!

  • Start Putty and connect to the IP address of your Orange Pi like this (see screenshot):

Host Name (or IP address): (just my example, change to your IP)
Port 22 (default)
And click on "Open"

  • Putty will give you a security message the first time, just click "Yes".(see screenshot)
  • Login with "root" as username, and your own password.

Step 4: Update/Upgrade, Set a Static IP and Disable Root for Login.

Your Orange Pi should run the desktop and SSH right now, but we want to do more!

These 3 steps are not mandatory, but i would like to recommend it or at least take a look at it.

  1. Update / Upgrade your Armbian
    Login with Putty to your Orange Pi, and use this command to update/upgrade your Armbian:
    "sudo apt-get update"
    After that:
    "sudo apt-get upgrade -y
    After that:
    "Sudo apt-get dist-upgrade -y"

    or all at ones:
    "sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade -y && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade -y"

    This process can take a while, so in the meantime you can read the next part.
  2. Set up a static IP
    I want to have a static (Non DHCP) IP Address on my Orange Pi, so i know for sure i'm connecting to my Orange Pi on the same IP Address all times.
    Login with Putty to your Orange Pi, and use this command to see your current IP details:

    It should be something like this:

    root@orangepiplus:~# ifconfig

    eth0 Link encap:Ethernet HWaddr xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx
    inet addr: Bcast: Mask:

    In this case i want to use this IP Address as a static IP Address, but you have to check what ever IP Address you want to use in this range.

    "nano /etc/network/interfaces", the texteditor Nano will open and it will show you the Network config, search for the "eth0" details, like this:

    # Wired adapter #1
    allow-hotplug eth0
    #no-auto-down eth0
    iface eth0 inet dhcp
    # hwaddress ether # if you want to set MAC manually
    # pre-up /sbin/ifconfig eth0 mtu 3838 # setting MTU for DHCP, static just: mtu 3838

    Now we need to change the part "dhcp" to "static", and fill out all the IP address details.
    Change it like this:

    # Wired adapter #1

    allow-hotplug eth0
    #no-auto-down eth0
    iface eth0 inet static

    # hwaddress ether # if you want to set MAC manually
    # pre-up /sbin/ifconfig eth0 mtu 3838 # setting MTU for DHCP, static just$

    Save this document by hitting "ctrl+x", "Y" and hit enter (don't change the filename!)
    Now we need to restart the network service in Armbian, but i don't know why, rebooting Armbian works fine/best here. You can reboot by typing this "reboot". Putty will give you a message "Server unexpectedly closed network connection", but that's not strange, you are rebooting the Orange Pi.
    In putty use the "Restart ression" button the restart connecting to your Orange Pi.

    Now we changed a DHCP IP Address to a static IP Address for "ETH0".

  3. Disable Root SSH Login on Armbian
    Why should we disable the root account for SSH login? Pretty simple, security!
    Almost all Linux distributions have the "root" account, so if some one wants to hack/brute force
    a Linux server they are trying to login with this account. When you disable this account, they have to find a user account first. To fix this problem, we’ll need to edit the "sshd_config" file, which is the main configuration file for the sshd service. Be sure your 2nd account works! At the beginning Armbian asked you to create a 2nd user account with a password. Log off Putty, and try to login with this account. In my case i created a account "orangepi".

    "sudo nano /etc/ssh/sshd_config"

    Find this part: (in Nano you can search with "ctrl+w")

    It will show you:
    # Authentication:

    LoginGraceTime 120
    PermitRootLogin yes
    StrictModes yes

    Change the "
    PermitRootLogin yes" to "PermitRootLogin no"
    Save this by hitting "ctr+x", Y(es) and hit enter (don't change the name of the file!)
    Restart SSH by typing:
    "sudo service ssh restart"

    Log off, and try to login with "root", if you changed this correctly it wil give you a error now.
    "Access denied".
    Login with your 2nd account now, in my case it's "orangepi" and you're done!

Step 5: Tips - Extra Software + Case

These are just extra's like:

  • Install Armbian on your Onboard 16GB EMMC Memory!

    sudo nand-sata-install

    After typing in your password, you have only one option: ‘Boot from eMMC – system on eMMC’. Select OK

    Select OK again on the next screen, and after about 30 minutes, the eMMC installation is complete.
    Power off the system, remove the microSD card and power it back on. You will see the desktop again.

    That’s it, now you can boot directly from the eMMC and start working on your projects!

    Thanks to @thatpieguy:
    I would love to see you add this to your project to help people as this helped me, Thanks

  • VNC over SSH
  • RPI-Monitor
  • Webmin
  • WiringOP
    Just like the Raspberry Pi (RPI), the Orange Pi (OP or OPI) has some GPIO's to play with.
    The RPI uses a program called "WiringPi", but for the Orange Pi we have "WiringOP"!
    More info can be found: Here and Here
    • Go to your homedirectory
    • Type: "git clone -b h3"
    • Type: "cd WiringOP"
    • Type: "sudo chmod +x ./build"
    • Type: "sudo ./build"
    • Type: "gpio readall" to see a overview of all the GPIO ports.
  • VNC over SSH
    I can copy past this complete website, but all the info is: Here

  • RPI-Monitor
    I can copy past this complete website, but all the info is: Here

  • Webmin
    I can copy past this complete website, but all the info is: HERE

  • Print a case! :)

Step 6: Things to Do....

These things i still need to figure out, or want to know (and create a new Instructable for)

  1. Connecting my SSD on the Sata port
  2. Use some sensors on the GPIO's, and place/copy the output to a (local) Mysql database and show this on a (local) PHP website
  3. Android on the Orange Pi Plus 2.

That's it for now guys!

Please Leave a Comment if you liked this Instructable, or if you have any questions regarding this Instructable :)