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Orange Pi flasher


Installing armbian on Orange Pi

Prepare a SD card with armbian image on it first. Download the image from here and extract it to your SD card.

Installing flashrom on Orange Pi

Put the SD card into Orange Pi and boot it. Then install flashrom using the following commands:

git clone
cd flashrom

Enable SPI on Orange Pi:

echo "overlays=spi-spidev" >> /boot/armbianEnv.txt
echo "param_spidev_spi_bus=1" >> /boot/armbianEnv.txt

Important! Put these lines in armbianEnv.txt file only once. This file contains overall system configuration and should not contain duplicates.


Orange Pi pinout:

Orange Pi Pinout

Orange Pi pins APU2 pin J6

Also shorten 2-3 pins on APU2 J2 to enable S5 state.


Make sure that APU2 was powered up with shortened 2-3 pins on J2. After Orange Pi reboot type following command:

flashrom -p linux_spi:dev=/dev/spidev1.0 -w coreboot.rom

Note that coreboot.rom should be the rom file You are trying to write.

Correct output should look like this:

root@orangepizero:~# flashrom -w ./apu2_v4.6.0.rom -p linux_spi:dev=/dev/spidev1.0
flashrom 0.9.9-45-g4d440a7 on Linux 4.11.3-sun8i (armv7l)
flashrom is free software, get the source code at

Using clock_gettime for delay loops (clk_id: 1, resolution: 1ns).
Found Winbond flash chip "W25Q64.V" (8192 kB, SPI) on linux_spi.
Reading old flash chip contents... done.
Erasing and writing flash chip...
Warning: Chip content is identical to the requested image.
Erase/write done.

Be sure to use stable power supply. Do no supply OrangePi from PC USB. Its efficiency is not enough for proper operating of Orange Pi. It is strongly recommended to use 5V power supply connected to microUSB socket (a trusted USB charger will make it too). Using uncertain power supply leads to flash writing errors, which may brick your target device.

Customizing kernel for armbian

Clone the repository first and then run script (must run as root):

git clone --depth 1
cd build
sudo ./ takes care of everything. Downloads cross compilation toolchain and all necessary tools.

It works only with Ubuntu Xenial (16.04), other distros are supposed to be not supported. Refer to README

This command will pop up a menu. Many options can be chosen there, but the most important options are:

  1. Select to build only kernel and uboot packages
  2. Show a kernel configuration menu before compilation
  3. Choose target board (in this case orangepizero)
  4. Select the target kernel branch as dev for newest development version
  5. Accept to enter export mode

I followed this approach and I strongly recommend to use it this way.

Now the kernel menuconfig should pop up and the customization process begin. Make changes here for Your use case and needs, then save the changes and exit.

If do not want to make changes, just leave menuconfig by saving the configuration and exiting. Kernel will be built with default configuration.

After saving config and exiting, the kernel compilation will start.

Updating kernel on Orange Pi Zero

Debian packages created after compilation are in /repodir/build/output/debs.

build/output/debs$ ls
There are also headers and source packages which are not necessary to update the Orange Pi. Send the following four packages to Orange Pi, via SCP for example:

scp linux-image-dev-sun8i_5.32_armhf.deb root@
scp linux-dtb-dev-sun8i_5.32_armhf.deb root@
scp linux-firmware-image-dev-sun8i_5.32_armhf.deb root@
scp linux-u-boot-dev-orangepizero_5.32_armhf.deb root@

Now connect to Orange Pi, via SSH for example, as root. Default password is armbian1234. Install the packages:

dpkg -i linux-firmware-image-dev-sun8i_5.32_armhf.deb
dpkg -i linux-dtb-dev-sun8i_5.32_armhf.deb
dpkg -i linux-image-dev-sun8i_5.32_armhf.deb
dpkg -i linux-u-boot-dev-orangepizero_5.32_armhf.deb

I recommend to install them one by one, because the operation takes some time and happens to hang.