2014-04-11 18:09:12Banana Pi Quick Start Guide

By Tony Zhang

By following this short quick start guide, you can use your Banana Pi in just a few minutes. There are three steps to boot your Banana Pi.

Step 1: Get what you need.

To enjoy the use of your Banana Pi, you will need at least the accessories in the table below.

No. Item Minimum recommended specification & notes
1 SD card
  • Minimum size 4Gb; class 4 (the class indicates how fast the card is).
  • We recommend using branded SD cards as they are more reliable.
2a HDMI(Full sized) to HDMI / DVI lead
  • HDMI to HDMI lead (for HD TVs and monitors with HDMI input).
    HDMI to DVI lead (for monitors with DVI input).
2b AV video lead
  • A standard AV video lead to connect to your analogue display if you are not using the HDMI output.
3 Keyboard and mouse
  • Any standard USB keyboard and mouse should work.
  • Keyboards or mice that take a lot of power from the USB ports, however, may need a powered USB hub. This may include some wireless devices.
4 Ethernet cable/USB WiFi(Optional)
  • Networking is optional, although it makes updating and getting new software for your Banana Pi much easier.
5 Micro USB power adapter
  • A good quality, micro USB power supply that can provide at least 1A at 5V is essential.
  • Many mobile phone chargers are suitable—check the label on the plug.
6 Audio lead (Optional)
  • You can choose a 3.5mm jack audio led to connect to audio port to get stereo audio.
7 Mobile Hard disk (Optional)
  • You can choose to connect a mobile hard disk to SATA port to store more files.
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HDMI to HDMI lead HDMI to DVI lead AV video lead
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SD card Micro USB power adapter

Step 2: Prepare your SD card for the Banana Pi

In order to enjoy your Banana Pi, you will need to install an Operating System (OS) onto an SD card. Instructions below will teach you how to write an OS image to your SD card under Windows and Linux.

  1. Insert your SD card into your computer. The size of SD should be larger than the OS image size, generally 4GB or greater.
  2. Format the SD card.
    1. Download the a SD card format tool such as SD Formatter from 
    2. Unzip the download file and run the setup.exe to install the tool on your machine.
    3. In the "Options" menu, set "FORMAT TYPE" option to QUICK, "FORMAT SIZE ADJUSTMENT" option to "ON".

    4. Check that the SD card you inserted matches the one selected by the Tool.
    5. Click the “Format” button.
    1. Run fdisk –l command to check the SD card node.
    2. Run umount /dev/sdxx to unmount all the partitions of the SD card.
    3. Run sudo fdisk /dev/sdx command to configure SD card. Use o command to delete all partition of SD card and use n command to add one new partition. Use w command to save change.
    4. Run sudo mkfs.vfat /dev/sdx1 command to format the new created partition of SD card as FAT32.
      (x should be replaced according to your SD card node)

    You can also jump this step under Linux, because write image command dd under Linux will format the SD card automatically.

  3. Download the OS image from the Downloads webpage.
  4. Unzip the download file to get the OS image.
     Windows: Right click on the file and choose “Extract all”.
     Linux: Run unzip [path]/[downloaded filename] command.
    If the filename extension is .tgz, run tar zvxf [path]/[downloaded filename] command.
    Ensure that neither the file name of the image you're using or the path contain any spaces (or other odd characters, for that matter).
  5. Write the image file to the SD card.
    1. Download a tool that can wirte images to an SD card, such as Win32 Diskimager from:http://sourceforge.net/projects/win32diskimager/files/Archive/
    2. Open the unzipped image file.
    3. Click Write button. Wait patiently to successfully complete writing.
    1. Run sudo fdisk –l command to check the SD card node.
    2. Verify if the hash key of the zip file is the same as shown on the downloads page (optional).
      sha1sum [path]/[imagename]
      This will print out a long hex number which should match the "SHA-1" line for the SD image you have downloaded.
    3. Run umount /dev/sdxx to unmount all the partition of the the SD card
    4. Run sudo dd bs=4M if=[path]/[imagename] of=/dev/sdx command to write image file to SD card. Wait patiently to successfully complete writing. Please note that block size set to 4M will work most of the time, if not, please try 1M, although 1M will take considerably longer.You can use sudo pkill –USR1 –n –x dd command to check progress

Step 3: Set up your Banana Pi

According to the set up diagram below, you can easily set up your Banana Pi.


  1. Insert the newly written SD card to the SD card spot on the left side edge of the underside of the board.
  2. On the bottom "edge" in the middle of the board is the HDMI Type A (Full sized) port, just on the right of the SATA port. Just connect any HDMI cable from the board to your TV or HDMI Monitor.
    If you don't have a TV/Monitor with a HDMI or DVI-D port you can use the yellow AV jack located in the middle of the "top" edge and the 3.5 mm stereo headphone jack to the right of it.
  3. Plug a USB keyboard and mouse into the USB slots located on the right edge. 
  4. Just under the USB ports on the right edge is the ethernet connector for anyone who wants to plug the Banana Pi into a wired network.
  5. Finally, at the very left of the bottom edge is the micro-usb power connector.  Plug in a regulated power supply that is rated at 5V ±5% and at least 1A.  Any number bigger than 1A (like 2A) will also work. Avoid using the smaller chargers used for small GSM phones, as these are often unregulated, even if they claim "5V 1A", they may do "5V" and may do "1A", but not at the same time!
    The mini-USB (on the left) is the wrong one. It’s thicker and looks like a trapezoid with its sides pinched in.  The micro-USB (on the right) is the correct one.  It is thinner and also looks like a trapezoid except it’s sides are rounded outward. 


  6. If you have a free 2.5 inch hard drive, you can put it into use on Banana Pi. Connect the SATA cable to the SATA port just between micro-USB and HDMI. Remember put the power cable with 2 male 2.54mm headers into the SATA power. Then you can plug your hard drive into the other side of the SATA cable. Be careful with the connection of different color cables. (This step can be skipped)

If all goes well, the Banana Pi will boot in a few minutes. The screen will display the OS GUI.

Step 4: Shut down your Banana Pi 

You can use the GUI to shut down the Banana Pi safely.  

Also you can run the command in the terminal:  

sudo halt 


sudo shutdown –h now

This will shut down the PI safely, (just use the power key to turn off might damage the SD-cards file system). After that you can press the power key for 5 seconds to turn it off.