I liked the Spec of the Banana PI Zero: With it’s quad-core Cortex-A7 it should have more power then the Raspberry PI Zero – it should just have more memory!

It is quite easy to set up a Raspberry PI in a way that it starts and automatically connects to the network. So there is no need for any screen or keyboard. I tried to install some of the supported Operating Systems on the Banana PI, but either it was not working or I ended up with some quite old linux releases.

The only promising way forward was to use Armbian to build my own image: I was able to build a Debian Bullseye image but this was quite an effort!

There are quite a few things however which I am not happy about:

  • The Banana PI does not come with a built in antenna – so you need to buy one! I could only connect to the WIFI network by moving the machine next to the Hostspot.
  • I did not find a documented way in Armbian to prepare an image which connects automatically to wifi. So there is the need to have a monitor, a Mini HDMI adapter and a keyboard to execute the armbian-config command.
  • It is possible to open the Raspberry PI Image in OS/X after burning it to the SD Card – this is not possible in Armbian because it uses a Linux file system which is not supported by OS/X.
  • I also managed to destroy the system and leave it in a non bootable state by not powering it down properly!
  • The are plenty of libraries and a big community which supports the Rasperry PI. It is much more difficult to find any projects that support the Banana PI hardware. So far I found:
  • Finally I am currently struggling to install bigger projects via pip3: The temp directory is held in memory and this is filling up quite quickly and even –cache-dir or –no-cache-dir did not help…

So in a nutshell I might find a suitable project for my Banana PI Zero but I will not use it as replacement for my Raspberry PI Zero – there are just too many caveats…


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