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Pine A64 / 2 Gb ramblings

Posted by pete_c , 19 July 2016 · 2429 views

I do not know best title for this post which is posted here today on July 19, 2016.
I got one gratis a couple of weeks back and played with it. 
Only familiar here with the RPi/Arduino/OpenWRT device tinkering here.
I like that it is 64 bit and has 2Gb of Ram ARM based computer built with an RTC clock (with an optional battery).
Here is a large picture of the Pine A64 2Gb device.  It is not an RPi1-2-3 so I won't compare it to the RPi.
Current price for the Pine A64 2Gb version board is $29 plus shipping.  You only get the board for this price.

The board was gratis.  Here is a list of my get it going hardware adds.  I had everything just sitting around.
1 - 16 Gb microSD card.  Been purchasing a few here while tinkering with RPi's
2 - mini USB power connector to USB cable
3 - standard 5 VDC USB power adapter
4 - HDMI cable
5 - Logitech wireless keyboard/mouse combo used for testing
Purchased after testing

6 - one Plexiglass case built from a 3D design by a guitar maker in Spain ~ $20 and worth the price for almost hand assembled packaging of the case.  No directions included.  Learned a bit more about assembly via a you tube video created by the maker of said device plus some amazon comments/pictures related to it.

7 - Installed Ubuntu 64bit server like  / no xwindows gui.  Downloaded it from here
Pine 64 Ubuntu 64 bit build.
Installation is just writing the image to the microSD card.  You can do this in Linux or Windows.  Once written I expanded the image to 16 Gb using Linux Gparted.
I had a quick look at the build of the board.  Looked fine to me.  No soldering bridges that I can see.  Powered it it up with no OS leaving it on for 24 hours.  It did not wreck my power supply nor the board burn up. 
8 - Initially connected a TV to it.  I had an issue reading the small terminal print on it such that I just went closer to the LCD TV.  Probably should have used one of my desk monitors.  By default it booted up and got an IP via DHCP.
I just added openssh-server and one sudo user to the build.
9 - It is a good learning tool for Linux.  That said this post will not teach Ubuntu Linux or command line functions.
10 - shut it down via command line - halt
11 - disconnected HDMI cable / keyboard and mouse
12 - booted it up.  Found DHCP address
12 - SSH'd to it.
13 - changed IP to static, gave it a new name, added webmin, updated it.
14 - added mono-complete to test Homeseer on it.
15 - added TTS Flite to test TTS on it.
16 - ran it for a couple of days out of the case ~48 hours or so
17 - shut id down - IE: halt
18 - assembled case and included battery hold and installed CR2032 battery
19 - powered it up again and it's been running in my office.  Shut it down and moved it to being next to my weather station in another room (connected to a Gb switch).

My personal user experience with it has been fine.  I trust it to function fine.
Installing CumulusMX on it and it will be connected to a weather station (2nd one) and will be left alone except for updates to the core OS and weather station software.
Connections to the device will be power, network, console cable for weather station.  Optionally may connect a mini UPS.  Still on the fence.  Just realized have to check whether the device powers itself up when it loses power and power comes back.  Will test that today.
20 - It is faster than the RPi2.  I didn't have to install heat sinks on it and it runs Ubuntu 64 bit just fine.  I am only using it for a server at this time and have no interest in making it an XBMC box at this time.

20th of July, 2016 status
Pulled the power and waited a few minutes.  I then powered it up and it came back just fine.

Hi Pete.

I've been struggling to create a bootable micro sd card for my pine64 board. I have been running ubuntu for years but have never delved into much more than using basic programs that I need for my own work etc. Can you possibly provide a step by step set of instructions for a beginner to be able to create a bootable micro sd of the longsleep ubuntu os using ubuntu 16.04? I reformatted a 32 gb card to fat 32 but I have a vague idea from some of my reading that I need partitions on it. I don't know how to do that either.


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Hello Raindog2,


Apologies see we are now at two years after your post.  The Pine64 2Gb computer has been running my home automation now since first installed.  ~2 years.


I have been looking to update the device to the much smaller and more powerful Rock64 4Gb computer with a 16-32 Gb eMMC.  I am in to time and have been waiting on the RTC battery add which I am told is coming...well now for a year...


Here just followed posted instructions for creating of a bootable micro SD card for the Pine64 2Gb computer.


1 - download the Ubuntu image from here:


Pine A64 Software Release

2 - write the image to a micro SD card using Windows or Linux or iOS.


3 - insert micro SD card, power up your Pine64


4 - SSH is enabled by default.

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