I bought my Orange Pi Zero cheaply from AliExpress for a little over £10, shipping included. It comes neatly packaged and a small plastic case is provided.
I downloaded an Armbian image and burned it to my SD card:
pv Armbian_5.30_Orangepizero_Ubuntu_xenial_default_3.4.113.img | dd of=/dev/disk2 bs=64m
The card then goes into the card slot on the board.
To connect to the board through serial interface I used my CP2102-based USB-UART bridge. On macOS extra drivers from Silicon Labs are needed, while Linux already includes
cp2102 module. I guess any other USB-UART bridge will work equally well (PL2302, FT232).
Note that the pin marked TX on the board must be connected to RX pin on the bridge, and vice versa. The board must be powered before use (there’re a lot of warnings on Armbian website about the importance of a proper power supply, although I got basic stuff working only using my laptop USB port as a power source for the board).
I used minicom as a terminal with the following settings (
# Machine-generated file - use "minicom -s" to change parameters. pu port /dev/tty.SLAB_USBtoUART pu lock /usr/local/Cellar/minicom/2.7/var pu escape-key Escape (Meta) pu rtscts No
minicom and plugging the serial interface in resulted in the standard Linux login prompt seen in the terminal.
root password is
1234 which will need to be changed on the first login.
To connect to a wireless network:
nmcli dev wifi connect <NAME> password <PASSWORD>
It appears that after being configured once, the connection will be established automatically by default.
With the node online I could just SSH in and start doing my serious Orange Pi business.