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 booting your Banana Pi.

Step 1: Get what you need.

To enjoy the use of your Banana Pi, you will need at the very minimum these 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 – Type A) to
HDMI / DVI  cable
  • HDMI (Type A) to HDMI lead (for HD TVs and monitors with HDMI input).
    HDMI (Type A) to DVI adapter cable (for monitors with only a DVI input).
          Type A HDMI is 13.9 mm wide (check Wikipedia or Google for more info or look at the photos)
*Attention: Some HDMI-DVI adapters will only work on the Linux images (as adapted for B-Pi and in our Downloads section). For “Android 4.2.2 for Banana Pi v2.0” you'd better use an HDMI-HDMI cable (in other words, your monitor or TV must be HD-ready), some HDMI-DVI doesn't work normally. 
2b AV video lead
  • A standard AV video lead to connect to your analogue display (eg a TV) if you are not using the HDMI output.
3 Keyboard and mouse
  • Any standard USB keyboard and mouse should work.
  • However, keyboards or mice that take a lot of power from the USB ports 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 2A at 5V is essential.
  • However, most mobile phone chargers are NOT suitable — check the label on the plug. It's possible they can deliver 2 amps and 5 volts, but maybe not at the same time!.
6 Audio lead (Optional)
  • You can use a 3.5mm jack audio cable to connect the audio port to external speakers to get ste
7 Mobile Hard disk (Optional)
  • You can choose to connect a mobile hard disk to the SATA port to store more files. Special cables are required for this – look on Amazon – but they are not expensive, under 10 dollars/Euros/pounds.
8 A case for your B-Pi (optional but highly recommended)
  • A suitable acrylic or similar case, which should cost less than 10 dollars/Euros/pounds and will protect your B-Pi from dust, moisture and most importantly short circuits and static.
  • Please be aware that ALL of the the Raspberry Pi cases are NOT compatible (the board dimensions and also the layout of the Banana Pi's inputs/outputs are different).
\ \ \
HDMI to HDMI lead HDMI to DVI lead AV video lead
\ \
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. The instructions below will teach you how to write an OS image to your SD card either in Windows or Linux.

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

    5. Check that the drive letter of the SD card you inserted matches the one selected by the software. Otherwise it will format and delete all data on another drive or card. To be safe, only have your main hard drive connected and only the SD card that you want to use in your B-Pi. LeMaker is not responsible for any loss of data.
    6. Click the “Format” button.
    1. In a terminal, run the sudo fdisk –l command to check the SD card node.
    2. Run the sudo umount /dev/sdxx to unmount all the partitions of the SD card.
    3. Run the sudo fdisk /dev/sdx command. Use the o command to delete all partition of SD card and use the n command to add one new partition. Use the w command to save change.
    4. Run the 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 as discovered in point vi above)

    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 (should have the extension .img). To do this.
     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 the Write button. Wait patiently to successfully complete the writing. Do not disturb or disconnect/remove the card or shut down the computer during this process. When it has finished, soft-eject the card using the 'Safely Remove Hardware' icon in the System Tray/Notification area (bottom right of your screen), then physically remove the card from the card reader.
    1. Run the 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 the umount /dev/sdxx to unmount all the partitions of the the SD card
    4. Run the 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 the 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 into the SD card socket 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 – 13.9mm wide) port, just to the right of the SATA port. Just connect any HDMI Type A cable from the B-Pi 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 hand edge. 
  4. Just under the USB ports on the right hand edge is the Ethernet connector if you want 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 2A.  Any value bigger than 2A (like 2.5A) will also work. Avoid using the smaller chargers used for small GSM phones, as these are often unregulated - even if they claim "5V 2A", they may do "5V" and may do "2A", but not at the simultaneously!
    Make sure you have the correct USB plug. In the photo below, 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 its sides are rounded outward.  
  1. (This step is optional) )If you have a free SATA 2.5 inch or 4.5 inch hard drive (SSD or HDD), you can use it on the Banana Pi. Connect the SATA cable to the SATA port just between the micro-USB and HDMI ports. Remember to put the power cable with the 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 the different color cables.

If all goes well, the Banana Pi will boot in a few minutes. The screen will display the OS's GUI (Graphical User Interface). The first boot of a new OS can sometimes take a long time. Be patient! Subsequent boots are usually much quicker.

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.

(With thanks to native speaker “roses” for checking and upgrading this document)
© 2014 LeMaker