Orange Pi Plus 2e OS Installation

Jarret B

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May 22, 2017
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Similar to the Raspberry Pi is the Orange Pi series of single board systems.

These single boards are not compatible with the Operating System (OS) images for Raspberry Pi. In this article we will cover installing and setting up an OS.

Orange Pi Plus 2e

The main specs for the board are as follows:

  • Allwinner H3 Quad-core Corten-A7 64-bit CPU (1.6 GHz)
  • Maki400MP2 GPU (600 MHz)
  • 2 GB DDR3 RAM
  • 16 GB EMMC
  • Ethernet Port 10/100/1000 Mb/s
  • Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11 b/g/n (Realtek RTL8189ETV)
  • HDMI Video Output (4k)
  • HDMI and/or jack Audio Output
  • USB 2.0 x 3
  • Micro USB 2.0 On-The-Go x1
  • 108mm x 67mm

The Orange Pi Plus 2e is shown in Figure 1.

Figure 01.jpg


It is usually best to order a box to place the Orange Pi into instead of letting it sit out where it could be easily damaged.

To order an Orange Pi Plus 2e and case go to To order a set which includes the case go to The set includes the Orange Pi Plus 2e board, case, power cord and a 16 GB micro SD card.

When booting the Orange Pi without an SD Card it will boot from the OS loaded onto the EMMC. The system comes with Android on the EMMC and will boot into Android when a bootable SD card is not inserted into the slot. Keep in mind that since the Orange Pi boards are produced by Shenzhen Xunlong Software CO., Limited and the company is in China, the Android system is set to the Chinese language. If you use another Android device you can look at the icons and find your way around to change the default language to your preference.

So, let’s install the Armbian OS as the default and not Android.

Preparing for Armbian

Before we can start the installation we need to get all of the proper files needed to get everything set up.

You need to download the Armbian OS for the Orange Pi Plus 2e. The OS can be found at You have the choice of either the Server or Desktop version of Ubuntu Xenial. Download the file for the OS you wish to use. I have downloaded the Desktop version, but either will work and the instructions will be similar. I may suggest to follow these instructions with the Desktop version and change it to the Server version, if you wish.

The next piece of software you need is ‘Etcher’. ‘Etcher’ will allow you to copy an image to an SD Card.

NOTE: The SD Card must be fast, so make sure you are using a Class 10 micro SD Card. If you order the set mentioned above you can use the SD Card which came with the board.

‘Etcher’ can be found at Make sure you choose the proper version; either the 32- or 64-bit version. Save the file where you can find it as you did the Armbian OS.

You will need to open the folders where the two files are located and extract the compressed files. Any archive manager will work which supports ‘7z’ compression.

Once extracted, you need to double-click or open in a Terminal the file ‘Etcher-1.0.0-rc.4-linux-x64.AppImage’ to open ‘Etcher’. The first time you open ‘Etcher’ you will be asked if you want a shortcut on the desktop. Answer the question as you desire and you should then see a program similar to Figure 2.

Figure 02.jpg


Click on ‘Select Image’ and find the ‘Armbian_5.25_Orangepiplus2e_Ubuntu_xenial_default_3.4.113.img’ you extracted. If the OS has been updated the filename will be different to reflect the newer version number. Next, you need to select the micro SD Card you want to place the image onto to boot the Orange Pi. If the SD Card is mounted then ‘Etcher’ will auto-detect it. Be sure to check that the proper device was selected. If the wrong SD Card was selected then change it to the correct Card. As shown in Figure 3, the proper image was selected and the device ‘SDD’ is chosen to be used for the image. The last step to create the bootable SD Card is to click ‘Flash!’. You will be required to enter the Root Password to overwrite the device. Once the Card is being flashed, you need to wait for it to finish. Remove the SD Card when finished.

Figure 03.jpg


Prepare the Orange Pi

The Orange Pi will need to be connected to a TV or other video device with HDMI. It may be best to connect the Orange Pi to an Ethernet cable for allowing Internet access to get updates. Connect a Keyboard and Mouse. Once the SD Card has been placed in the Orange Pi slot you can connect the power cable to turn on the Orange Pi.

Once powered on, the Orange Pi can take awhile to finish configuring the SD Card space to get ready for Armbian.

When the system is loaded and you are prompted to login use the username ‘root’ and the password ‘1234’. You will then be prompted to enter the current password, ‘1234’ and then enter a new password and retype it for verification. After logging on you will then be prompted to set up a new user account. Follow the prompts and you will eventually be at a prompt and ready to start configuration.

The first thing is to get the OS copied over to the EMMC so the Orange Pi can boot from the Armbian OS without the SD Card.

At the prompt, type the command ‘nand-sata-install’. You will need to run it as ‘sudo’ if you have logged back in as another user and not ROOT.

You will be prompted to accept the writing of the OS to EMMC. Once you confirm the installation to EMMC you will be shown a warning that the EMMC will be erased.

Next, you will be asked which file system you want to use on the EMMC:
  • ext4
  • ext3
  • ext2
Once you make your choice, the EMMC will be formatted and then the installation of the OS from the SD Card to the EMMC will commence. Once installation is completed you will be prompted to ‘Power Off’ the system by pressing ‘ENTER’.

After the Orange Pi shuts off you can remove the SD Card and boot the Orange Pi which will load the Armbian system.

Setting Up Armbian

The first thing you need to do is to update the system by performing the following commands at a prompt:

apt-get update
apt-get upgrade

NOTE: Use ‘sudo’ if you do not login as ROOT.

I hope you enjoy the Orange Pi if you purchase one.
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Well-Known Member
Apr 29, 2017
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Yeah, I can see where using a Chinese operating system might be a bit confusing to an English speaker.:p You would think that if they intended to sell it internationally, they might consider programming it in a more internationally spoken language (Spanish? French? English?).:confused: I wonder which dialect it is.:D Thanks for the heads-up, mate. I was already familiar with the Raspberry Pi, but this is a new one on me.

Happy trails
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