Orange Pi PC -- a $15 alternative to RPi 2? So far, so good


A low cost single board computer called the Orange Pi PC hit the market a few months ago for a list price of $15 (bare board, no power/microSD/case):

It’s got a quad-core 1.5Ghz ARM7 cpu (Allwinner H3) and 1GB of RAM, so on paper it should give the RPi 2 a serious run for its money. At any rate, I bought one to see if I could use it as a cheap Pi alternative; it shipped very quickly and is a pretty nice board. They don’t support power over the micro USB connector, so I’m using an old Sony PSP 5V 2A adapter I got at Goodwill for $2 and a Samsung 32GB microSDHC card I swiped out of an RPi.

So far, so good. Software support for the Orange Pi boards is pretty spotty, but there’s a Lubuntu Mate disk image that works well. I installed the Flightaware version of dump1090 and the PiAware package, and it seems to be ticking along just fine. Both the Orange Pi and RPi 2 are using ARMv7 processors, so there’s no need to recompile. Dump1090 is using ~25% of one CPU core.

It’s running as Site 15626. I’m using the same super-cheap RTL820T receiver and 69mm whip antenna I was using on my RPi (site 7950). If I get really enthusiastic I’ll try a wifi dongle on it. I’ll probably let it run for a week or two then switch back to my RPi, as I really want to test what this board can do as a bittorrent client or an OpenVPN gateway.

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Yep, they are good bang for the bucks.
I have a Opi PC here running Debian Jessie (headless) with 3 RTL sticks for ADSB, ACARS and RTL_TCP for air-band radio and general listening.
The lack of proper drivers for the video hardware rule them out for a lot of stuff but they make great little servers.


Beware that they don’t have consistently unique MAC addresses, which will cause all sorts of problems with piaware if you get a collision.


OK thanks. That is quite an issue.
Is there anything that can be done to avoid a conflict?


I don’t know how widespread it is, or the exact cause. I’ve seen it once so far, with two piawares with identical MACs, and there are only few of them running piaware so either we were really unlucky or it is relatively common. We assume implicitly that MACs are unique (they’re meant to be!), so it’s a bit horrible to deal with. If it does happen you will have to override the MAC manually, but first you have to notice the problem (it manifests as all the traffic from both piawares being counted towards the first site to register). If you ever got them on the same ethernet segment, it would cause all sorts of chaos too…


The Raspberry Pi foundation have just released a new model stripped down model costing $5. It uses the same processor as the original Pi, but running at a higher clock speed. It only has power, a single micro USB and micro HDMI connectors, but that is enough for running adsb stuff through a hub.


Just in time for Black Friday, Raspberry Pi Zero released for $5. … d=35432176
or buy the MagPi mag issue #40, it comes with the computer

“There is only one step from the sublime to the ridiculous.” - Napoleon Bonaparte


Thanks, handy to know.
I’m surprised you don’t see it more often as some of the network card vendors of old had a habit of recycling the addresses of cards they where shipping into different markets, after all MAC addresses cost money and they figured they where unlikely to ever show up on the same network and cause a problem.
Anyway might mention it on the OPI forum and see if there is any response.


Which MAC address does piaware use too identify a receiver? Is it the built in Ethernet adaptor, or the active interface?


It is always the Ethernet MAC.


What happens with a device like the pi zero without a built in NIC?


If there’s no eth0 then piaware probably breaks.


All RasPi’s have a MAC burned, even if they have no RJ45.


Please bring a source for this information, otherwise it is just bullshit.

A media access control address (MAC address), also called physical address, is a unique identifier assigned to network interfaces for communications on the physical network segment.

Source ->

No network interface -> no MAC address



Well, IIRC the Pis derive their MACs from the Pi serial number; I guess that Pi As and zeros still have a serial number.

pi@tau ~ $ cat /proc/cpuinfo | grep Serial
Serial		: 00000000f5464627
pi@tau ~ $ ifconfig eth0 | grep HWaddr
eth0      Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr b8:27:eb:46:46:27  


One minor update: I found that if the OpenVPN client was running, PiAware would crash without notice. Without OpenVPN, no problems.

Weird, but I really like this hardware! Lots of power for little money. I’m not sure what to do about the MAC address issue; if I replace my RPis with them, I’ll just clone the MAC off the RPi to the Orange Pi.


It would be good to know why piaware was crashing (check the piaware logs?)


I have a feeling unless I mailed you my Compute or my Zero you’d claim I was talking bullshit, so I acquiesce, you win, here’s your cookie… … 98&t=80016



Bahahaha, that’s classic!