Orange Pi Setup Video

I completed my video editing and have created a video to help you get up and running with an Orange Pi Zero.

This video rolls up everything I’ve figured out in the last 30 days to help you get out of the box, configured, and video and wifi running.

You’ll need Armbian’s Debian Jessie distro on an SD Card.  Get it here

Configuring OctoPrint on an Orange Pi Zero – using Armbian Debian Jessie Distro

This is the second half of setting up an Orange Pi Zero.  These are the steps I followed to configure Octoprint.  I’m annoyed that it has to be started manually, but it does work and stay running.

—- OctoPrint Config —- (adapted from
**add user and configure permissions
sudo adduser octoprint
sudo usermod -a -G tty octoprint
sudo usermod -a -G dialout octoprint
sudo adduser octoprint sudo
sudo visudo

**clear password for user
sudo passwd octoprint -d
** install packages
sudo apt-get install python-pip python-dev git python-setuptools psmisc

set memory on Python otherwise you can have issues: (or create 256M of swap, see above)

sudo su octoprint

** setup pyserial
cd ~
tar -zxf pyserial-2.7.tar.gz
cd pyserial-2.7
sudo python install

** Obtain Octoprint
cd ~
git clone
cd OctoPrint
sudo python install

exit (stop being SUDO)

cd ~/OctoPRint (you should still be there, so this is just in case you did something else)
./run (it should start)


Setting up a Orange Pi Zero using an Armbian/Debian Jessie distro

Here are my notes on building the initial config.

Orange Pi Zero Build Docs
** find it using IPscan etc…. ssh to it and add:
Sudo nano /etc/modules

simply add tv to the last line of the file, exit and save ofcourse

shutdown -h now -r (reboot) to bring up the terminal

** then run these via ssh or terminal

apt-get update
apt-get upgrade
apt-get install localepurge (set to all 3 US)
apt-get install mailutils
apt-get install libsasl2-modules
apt-get install postfix
– nano /etc/postfix/sasl_passwd
-chmod 600 /etc/postfix/sasl_passwd

postmap /etc/postfix/sasl_passwd

nano /etc/postfix/
relayhost = []:587
smtp_use_tls = yes
smtp_sasl_auth_enable = yes
smtp_sasl_security_options =
smtp_sasl_password_maps = hash:/etc/postfix/sasl_passwd
smtp_tls_CAfile = /etc/ssl/certs/ca-certificates.crt

service postfix restart

Setup additional Swap:

Orange Pi Zero and VGA

So… I learned a bit about RCA and VGA today.  VGA is a component input, RCA is a composite input.  What does this mean?  RCA has the signal all on one wire and the devices that use it separate it electronically.  This compromises fidelity, or information density which is why it’s great for 640×480 and TV but not for 1080p or 4K.  VGA on the other hand is a component signal, red/green/blue, vertical/horizontal sync etc.

Here is a great image of VGA, courtesy of Instructables: (click to view the article)

I’m not sure how well this would work… it’s a little too good to be true.. but it gives you an idea of what is going on.

Here is a better illustration of the VGA pinout: (courtesy of stackexchange, click to view source article)

Here is a schematic that backs up my hunch that the instructables is too simple.  Courtesy of Next.GR (click to visit)

This circuit only generates greyscale…. or black and white video.

In case you were wondering how hard can a video signal be?  lol…. it’s complex.  Really a marvel of radio engineering.  Courtesy of Field Effect LLC, click to follow to article.

I have other objectives than engineering this solution…. and I only need one…. so I bought this on Amazon. (click the image to go to the product)

It offers these modes:


Orange Pi Zero

I picked up an Orange Pi Zero recently.  It’s an interesting Single Board Computer (SBC) with a quad core Allwinner H2.

You can see the full specs here:

I found a very nice pinout diagram on the Orange Pi forums:

The best part is that this is a $7 system.  $3 for shipping.

It has 26 pins for GPIO, 9 of which are Ground and 3.3/5v power.  That leaves 17 for fun and games.

It also has a dedicated audio in/out, USB header, IR in, and TV out.    All bundled to a quad core 1080P chip with wired and wireless ethernet.

It still needs a microSD card, but an 8GB unit can be had for $3.50 from AliExpress.  You also need a micro-usb power source.  no big deal.

The OS can be downloaded from here

default user/pass root/1234

The Armbian image is based on Debian Jessie and needs about 1.2G of storage.

I was unable to get the video out to work, but I think it’s a driver issue.