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Orange Pi Zero

I have purchased an Orange Pi Zero (OPi0), to replace the Raspberry Pi that controls my solar panel array, wind turbine and battery bank. It basically switches the turbine / panels in and out of circuit using relays, depending on the state of charge of the battery bank and the amount of wind / sunshine available.

The battery voltage and charge / discharge currents are monitored by an arduino nano clone because the OPi0 like the RPi it replaces does not have an Analogue to Digital Converter, (ADC). The voltage is measured using a pair of resistors as a potential divider to bring the voltage down to the 0 - 3.3 volt range of the arduino ADC; And the current measuring ADCs use ACS712 hall effect sensors. The arduino also records the ambient temperature using a DS18B20, and the windspeed using a Maplin Anemometer (Code: N76NF).

The arduino is connected to one of the three UARTs on the OPi0, and it uses this to send the sensor readings to the OPi0 every few seconds. The OPi0 uses this sensor information to keep the battery bank charged at an optimal level and prevent excessive battery discharge or overcharge, either of which will shorten the battery life considerably. This sensor data is also logged to an SQL database for future analysis.

Orange Pi Zero

The Orange Pi Zero is an open-source single-board computer. It can run Android 4.4, Ubuntu, Debian. It uses the AllWinner H2+ SoC, and has 256MB/512MB DDR3 SDRAM (256MB version is Standard version).

I chose to run the Armbian release of Debian Jessie from because after testing various alternatives, it seemed the better choice, mainly because it is being actively developed and because I have previous experience running Debian. Also, the Debian image offered by had a bug which caused the CPU to overheat.

Orange Pi Zero

Hardware specification


H2 Quad-core Cortex-A7 H.265/HEVC 1080P.


Mali400MP2 GPU @600MHz
Supports OpenGL ES 2.0

Memory (SDRAM)

256MB/512MB DDR3 SDRAM(Share with GPU)(256MB version is Standard version)

Onboard Storage

TF card (Max. 64GB)/ NOR Flash(2MB Default)

Onboard Network

10/100M Ethernet RJ45 POE is default off.

Onboard WIFI

XR819, IEEE 802.11 b/g/n

Audio Input


Video Outputs

Supports external board via 13pins

Power Source

USB OTG can supply power

USB 2.0 Ports

Only One USB 2.0 HOST, one USB 2.0 OTG

Low-level peripherals

26 Pins Header, compatible with Raspberry Pi B+

13 Pins Header, with 2x USB, IR pin, AUDIO(MIC, AV)


Power led & Status led

Supported OS

Android, Lubuntu, Debian, Raspbian

Interface definition

Product size

48 mm × 46mm



Orange Pi™ is a trademark of the Shenzhen Xunlong Software CO., Limited

Orange Pi Shop

Orange Pi Zero

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