M3 "Armbian 4.7 lite" headless installation

I just installed the 2015-12-02-Armbian_4.7-lite-bpi-m3-sd-emmc image on my headless M3. It’s all straight forward:



  1. Clone the image to SD card: # dd if=Armbian_4.7-bpi-m3-sd-emmc.img of=/dev/sdX bs=1M where the “X” is the drive letter of your SD card.

  2. Insert the SD card into your Pi’s drive and connect network and power cable. The Pi starts booting. When the green LED starts flashing rhythmically (“heartbeat”) it is up, as soon as the network LEDs light up it’s ready to connect.

  3. Open a terminal-emulator and connect with ssh from your main computer: # ssh [email protected] where “lan” represents you local network suffix/domain. The password is (surprise!) bananapi. All following commands are to be executed via ssh at your Pi:

  4. Now it’s time to get the Armbian onto the Pi’s internal EMMC. For convenient access to the original image file on my main computer I installed sshfs on the Pi: # apt-get install sshfs

  5. Mount your main computer’s file system to the Pi: # sshfs [email protected]:/ /mnt/

  6. Clone the image from your main computer to the Pi’s EMMC: # dd if=/mnt/path/to/Armbian_4.7-bpi-m3-sd-emmc.img of=/dev/mmcblk1 bs=1M

  7. Power down and remove the SD card to boot the Pi from the internal EMMC!

That’s it for a quick start :smiley:


good … :grinning:

Oh hello, the BPI-Team,

that was fast! :wink: I start liking your board, but for clarification: I posted this for everybody who bought an M3 and got stuck with setting up their new machine between your insufficient documentation and tkaiser’s info-charged rants. I should have mentioned before, that without these rants my installation wouldn’t have been so straight forward as it happened to be. So a big thanks @tkaiser for sharing his frustration in such a constructive way!

Besides the very basics like Ethernet and USB I haven’t tested any hardware yet, as I am mainly interested in the processing power of the A83 and not in the uncountable shiny features which are on board as well. What I have noticed is, that apparently the boot partition is not mounted to the rootfs by default. This is an interesting (if not to say foul) hack to make the M3 updateable from distribution repositories without overwriting the (at least basically) functional BPI kernel and bootloader. Yeah, it works – but it’s far from being usable in a productive environment.

It would be great if you BPI-guys would stop the colorful-validation-charts bikeshedding and instead put any available energy into getting things pushed in direction mainline kernel (patches!) and an up-to-date u-boot support. With only a few years of obligation to the open source community (as stated on the sinovoip website), it might improve a lot for everybody to hire someone with more experience and deeper roots in that beautiful ecosystem.

Regards and thumbs up,


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According to the Armbian people you might have installed something but definitively NOT Armbian: http://forum.armbian.com/index.php/topic/474-quick-review-of-banana-pi-m3/#entry4022

I install and update from the Armbian / Debian armhf repository, but kernel and bootloader are BPI-hacks. That’s what I wrote:

I hope this will change soon.

Well, you can always hope, but if you read this….