quick review Banana Pi M3
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Guest iFA

Why? This board has three main hardware issues:

  1. crappy DC-IN connector
  2. unable to use the SoC under heavy load since thermal throttling prevents clocking all cores at high speeds
  3. worst USB-to-SATA bridge ever

If you're not willing to fix issue 1) then issue 2) becomes a feature and not a bug any more. Improve heat dissipation only if you fixed DC-IN otherwise the board will shut down under full load. And also think about ignoring the 'SATA port' since it's slow as hell an adds to the powering problems. Please read carefully through http://linux-sunxi.org/Banana_Pi_M3 and then either try to get a refund or throw it away.

 

Regarding OS images... they all suck and AFAIK they still haven't implemented online updates. But who cares? The hardware bugs alone are reason enough to stay away from this device (at least for me -- I still have not the slightest idea why anyone wants to buy this thing)

Thank you for the fast answer!

 

#1 problem: This is not so big, i can solder an another dc connection for that.

#2 problem: And when i apply better big & better heatsink?

#3 problem: yes, this is the problem what i cannot do anything. I dont like it, but for me is enough 15-20mbyte/s read/write speed.

 

Saddly i have from aliexpress ordered, its on delivery, i cannot do anything with that. When i send back to China cost me ~70USD. The product was for 86USD.

 

BR:

-iFA

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Ok, you've soldering skills so you can fix the main hardware issue of this board.

 

Without that fix the board is simply defective (you can't connect a disk, a display, 2 host-powered peripherals and try to put significant load on all 8 CPU cores since the crappy Micro USB connector will lead to undervoltage/undercurrent situations).

 

If you're willing to solder a DC-IN fix then apply a heatsink, connect disk and peripherals and simply run 'sysbench'. Freezes and shutdowns will occur. Then open a dispute and try to get a refund (filing a claim). I still don't get why Banana Pi M3 customers are happy receiving defective boards and do not think about countermeasures so the vendor has to learn the hard way to respect customers.

 

BTW: 'real world' workloads look differently. Use htop to get an idea that most of the times only 1 or maybe 2-3 CPU cores are busy doing stuff before you think about adding an annoying fan.

 

BTW: To get a clue what's going on installing RPi-Monitor is a great idea. You'll find a simple script to do that here: http://forum.armbian.com/index.php/topic/617-wip-support-for-the-upcoming-orange-pi-one/?p=5076 (you only need to call the InstallRPiMonitor function and then adjust the template for A83T)

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Small update: According to linux-sunxi IRC Chen-Yu seems to be interested in Banana Pi M3 so I had a quick look how things have evolved. Close to unbelievable but 'Team BPi' figured out how to load script.bin from within u-boot and did a first try in updating their countless crappy OS images online (IMO the most important post in SinoVoip's forum since months but for whatever reasons they don't feature it)

 

I checked out their modified BSP from Github and tried to apply the sun8i patches Igor already collected:

 

 

#!/bin/bash

for file in /var/git/Armbian/lib/patch/kernel/sun8i-default/0001-patch-3.4.* ; do
	patch --dry-run -t -p1 < $file
	case $? in
		0)
			patch -t -p1 < $file
			;;
		*)
			echo "Patch ${file} failed. Exiting"
			;;
	esac
done 

 

 

 

0001-patch-3.4.99-100.patch was the first reported as failing, the kernel that compiled is version 3.4.42 (boot log). Why only 3.4.42? WTF? My bad, I forgot an "exit 0" so patching stopped after applying the fixes for 3.4.42.

 

 ____                                  ____  _   __  __ _____

| __ )  __ _ _ __   __ _ _ __   __ _  |  _ \(_) |  \/  |___ /

|  _ \ / _` | '_ \ / _` | '_ \ / _` | | |_) | | | |\/| | |_ \

| |_) | (_| | | | | (_| | | | | (_| | |  __/| | | |  | |___) |

|____/ \__,_|_| |_|\__,_|_| |_|\__,_| |_|   |_| |_|  |_|____/ 

                                                              

 

Welcome to ARMBIAN Ubuntu 14.04.4 LTS 3.4.42-BPI-M3-Kernel 

 

System load:   1.03            Up time:       3 min

Memory usage:  8 % of 2011Mb IP:            192.168.83.98

CPU temp:      58°C           

Usage of /:    38% of 7.2G   

 

[ 1 updates to install: apt-get upgrade ]

 

Attention: It seems the image is running on Banana Pi M3 but you're using wrong settings: orangepione.bin

 

Last login: Wed Mar  2 20:24:37 2016 from macbookpro-tk.fritz.box

tk@bananapim3:~$ uname -a

Linux bananapim3 3.4.42-BPI-M3-Kernel #1 SMP PREEMPT Wed Mar 2 19:38:00 CET 2016 armv7l armv7l armv7l GNU/Linux

tk@bananapim3:~$ grep -c processor /proc/cpuinfo 

8

tk@bananapim3:~$

 

Of course this is no native Armbian build but just the preliminary OS image I created back in Dec (when all the OS images available from SinoVoip failed to boot) updated with an Armbian rootfs (that was booted on an Orange Pi One obviously -- see above ;) ) with the bootloader/kernel stuff from SinoVoip's BSP.

 

Board auto detection needed some tweaks, now I'll have a look whether uEnv.txt and script.bin support really work and if then all is OK I delete the stuff immediately :)

 

Just kidding. As soon as the linux-sunxi community supports A83T/H8 devices in mainline u-boot we could think about supporting Cubietruck +, the Linksprite board with the weird name and Banana Pi M3. Definitely not with this crippled u-boot 2011.09-rc1 they still use in their BSP.

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Ok, time to stop. 'Team BPi's update mechanism is just a joke and it's not worth the time to play with this stuff. I just put our new armhwinfo.log online to be able to think about board auto detection (GL830 USB-to-SATA bridge and count of cpu cores is interesting -- but this is exactly the same as on Cubietruck Plus, there the GL830 is just not behind the internal USB hub but directly connected to the 2nd USB host ports through HSIC).

 

We'll see -- unless mainline u-boot support for A83T/H8 doesn't improve these boards aren't worth a look :)

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Ok, time to stop. 'Team BPi's update mechanism is just a joke and it's not worth the time to play with this stuff

 

Exactly. There are too many of them ... I also got a Cubieboard 4 (A80) here which actually might work with our sun8i kernel  ;) ... but we don't have u-boot.

Tido likes this

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Exactly. There are too many of them ... I also got a Cubieboard 4 (A80) here which actually might work with our sun8i kernel   ;) ... but we don't have u-boot.

 

A80 is 'sun9iw1p1' AFAIK but that doesn't matter. The 3 available boards with A83T/H8 all suck more or less. Superiour CPU performance only with liquid cooling and multithreaded workloads and everything else way behind. I can't believe that 2 of them feature the slowest USB-to-SATA bridge in the world and 2 of them the crappiest DC-IN connector. And they're all rather expensive.

 
Ok, we drop the idea. I might provide the image to unfortunate pcDuino8 Uno users that have not even access to their crappy BSP sources since Linksprite staff thinks they would violate Allwinner licenses   :lol: so the users might learn how they can grab crappy 'Team BPi' sources (that have at least support for script.bin now) with the stuff they need to create OS images for their strange H8 board.

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As a result of evaluating Armbian support for Banana Pi M3 some useful stuff is incurred. I decided to not throw everything away but instead updated the Ubuntu Mate 15.4 image for BPi M3 and also the support package to be able to update older OS images for Banana Pi M3 (and maybe also the H8 based pcDuino8 Uno and Cubietruck Plus): http://kaiser-edv.de/tmp/2m8dxM/

 

Have a look into the Readme first, make a backup before trying out anything and be prepared that this whole stuff works but is unsupported -- if you need support for this board ask the vendor  :)

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Guest tvallday

Wow TK you are really persistent. You have stayed on this thread for more than 3 months! If I were you I would probably just give up and go for another board. 

But what makes this project interesting is that it is backed by Foxconn -- the manufacturer of iPhones/iPad and most of the laptops in the world. I think their hardware would be superior, although I haven't used Banana Pi. But in terms of software, it is the weakness of all Chinese vendors. I guess that they are not very good at testing software before releasing it so bugs are sporadic. Also as you said, the support is crap because after sale is almost always the pain of Chinese vendors. And I think sinovoip is more like a manufacturer than a solution provider, maybe they should reorganize their teams so that they can work more efficiently and provide better services.

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Guest benis

hi,

i have a problem i hope you can help me. i have a banana pi m3 and bpi camera module from lemaker. i am using raspbian os on banana m3 and work well. i enabled camera and then researching driver for camera, lemaker prepared a small tutorial and video about this. link: http://wiki.lemaker.org/BananaPro/Pi:Camera_Module 

i followed steps this tutorial but i get an error modprobe sun4i_csi and same error csi0. Error is  fatal: this module can not fount. I am searching case day by day but i could not anything

 

If you can help me with this I would be very happy, i've watching your answers and posts from banana-pi.org site and you are well-versed in this thing i think. 

thank you

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Here you go: http://forum.banana-pi.org/t/camera-board-bpi-m3-camera-module-does-not-work-modprobe-sun4i-csi0-give-fatal-error/1304

 

There's the official support forum. BTW: Of course camera modules for the original Banana Pi are absolutely incompatible to all newer SinoVoip boards that are called Bananas. But anyway: since neither LeMaker nor SinoVoip develop software you can't make use of any of these camera modules due to crappy/non-working drivers. If you want to use a camera with Raspbian then buy a Raspberry Pi.

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Guest Guest

As always @tkaiser your thoroughness and honesty about this board is refreshing. I just received a sample for testing and benchmarking, reading though this it seems like none of the images are going to be any good, is that right or have you got your custom made image online somewhere?

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Since neither Armbian nor Bananian will support the M3 anytime soon (Nico got his M3 also back in Dec but I would believe he will focus on M2+ he got today since there regarding H3 everything's ready to publish a Bananian image) it would be fair if you take the latest 'official' image from SinoVoip for tests.

 

Keep in mind that you can install on any of their Debian based OS images RPi-Monitor with A83T adoptions pretty fast (relying on my install script) and if you start heavy benchmarking then be prepared that you will end up with a quad core SoC rather fast since AFAIK they still use the dumb ths settings they got from Allwinner (leading to killed CPU cores instead of throttling).

 

So be prepared that with their settings and without using a heatsink the M3 will be magnitudes slower (four times easily, if the 2nd CPU cluster gets killed) than with 1) approriate ths settings 2) a heatsink and 3) a small fan blowing air over the heatsink's surface. Have a look at the last 2 rows, same Banana, same settings, one times heatsink, the other heatsink+fan. Running multithreaded benchmarks this makes a huge difference (unfortunately the PTS contains also single threaded stuff where throttling has no influence): http://openbenchmarking.org/result/1603096-GA-1603090GA04

 

Ah, and in case they sent you a sample from the 1st batch with crappy Micro USB for DC-IN I hope you have a solder iron ready or use a short USB cable and test headless since otherwise the board will power off.

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hello

 

I purchased the BPI-M3 on Aliexpress and have confirmed everything that you have written on the matter.

The BPI-M3 is a brick, boat anchor, door stop, paper weight, etc.

 

I have an open dispute with the seller on Aliexpress.

Would you have any videos showing the failures of this POS?

 

The Alternative is to send links to your postings which they may or may not read.

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Hi

 

I am no expert on anything but reading this reminded me my Phablet ( Phone crossed with a tablet ) has a Octa Core A7 CPU too.

 

The SOC however is a 1.6 GHz mediatek and has a Mali 450 GPU.

 

Key Features

 

ï¬ 7 inch PLS display at WSVGA resolution (1024X600 pixels)

ï¬ Weighs 260g, 191*111*10.5mm in Size.

ï¬ MediaTek MT8392 chipset, 1.6GHZ octa-core Cortex-A7 processor, Mali-450MP4 GPU, 1GB RAM

ï¬ Android 4.4.2 Kitkat

ï¬ 8GB of built-in-storage, expandable by TF card

ï¬ VGA front-facing camera & 2MP rear-facing camera

ï¬ 3G WCDMA/GSM, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS

ï¬ Stereo speaker

ï¬ USB host

ï¬ Micro SD card slot

ï¬ Standard 3.5mm audio jack

ï¬ 1080p video playback

ï¬ 2700mAh Li-Po rechargeable battery, 4-5 hours battery life.

 

CUBE TALK7X model U51GT C8

 

If you go look up the Antutu, 3Dmark, Android bench marks you will see performance is very average!

( yes I know it is a different soc with different GPU, also how a SOC CPU is implimented affects performance too.)

 

Listen to others peoples warnings and don't fall for the Octa Core hype!

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Would you have any videos showing the failures

 

Videos?! Nope, just reference the linux-sunxi wiki article or some of the postings here or from banana-pi.org forum.

 

don't fall for the Octa Core hype!

 

The whole SoC is only made for people that buy numbers to be used in devices that will never show good performance. One of A83T's successors -- A31 -- had a PowerVR SGX544MP2 GPU twice as powerful than the one used in A83T (PowerVR SGX544MP1 with only one GPU core). And the maximum multithreaded CPU performance you'll never be able to benefit from since thermal and powering problems prevent from.

 

But people buy tablets with 8 CPU cores even if they're slower than older ones that feature just 4 CPU cores (but twice as much GPU units which is way more important for any Android tablet). Because? 8 is more than 4 obviously. And the same happens today when everyone 'needs' 64 bit devices since... 64 is twice as much as 32... and so on.

 

For most use cases any A20 based device like the original Banana Pi easily outperforms the M3.

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Guest Bjorn B

Following your many detailed inouts I must extend a huge thanks!

However I'm yet another that have been fooled to buy one from reading spec's incorrect and all lacking in important details...

The 2016-03-22 Debian that was recently released seemed to work better - but most likely heat issue/powerdrop - it also swipes the emmc clean under some circumbstances.

First I thought the board was toasted because nothing would boot and all that happened was that the red led "power" lights up.

Having given up and thrown it away picked it up tried some more, thrown it away again and picked it up i finally tested the Phoenixcard writer that writes an Android image directly to emmc - voiala it boot's - risen from the dead I thought I found a solution to my dilemma, but failed again. I'm unable to find a tool to burn a bootable image to emmc other than Android - which is of no interest for me - I want debian. 

Would you know of such a tool or way to get a debian boot to the emmc?

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Would you know of such a tool or way to get a debian boot to the emmc?

 

I use this image now on the M3: http://kaiser-edv.de/tmp/2m8dxM/Semi_Armbian_5.07_M3.7z11

 

It's an Armbian Jessie rootfs combined with 'Team BPi's bootloader/kernel. Far from perfect but it works and turns the M3 paperweight into something useable. Burning to eMMC I described several times over at the moronic http://forum.banana-pi.org/forum. Please have a look there. Basically it's just booting a Linux from SD card and then writing the image to eMMC from within the running Linux again. One of the forum users over there tried to explain 'Team BPi' how they could adjust their BSP code to create Linux images to be burned using PhoenixSuit/LiveSuit but talking to @sinovoip is like talking to a wall. They either don't understand or don't listen.

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Woohoo 'Team BPi' is really fast. Problem reported with link to solution on 1st Dec 2015: https://github.com/BPI-SINOVOIP/BPI-M3-bsp/issues/3 (issue closed without taking notice).

 

And only approx. 50 complaints in their forums and 6 months later they manage to 'fix' it (of course without delivering the fix to users of their OS images since 'Team BPi' still refuses to provide online updates for their kernel/u-boot stuff): https://github.com/BPI-SINOVOIP/BPI-M3-bsp/commit/d76b289580345891cedafc21f7f3e6779da4cf71

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Guest Bjorn B

Burning to eMMC I described several times over at the moronic http://forum.banana-pi.org/forum. 

 

 

Yepp I've found quite a few bad ones and better ones. They all have as a prerequisite an emmc that boot's where as I do not.

Or rather it does now but only into Android, and the Android wont let me boot to a uSD card...

...as far as I've found. But maybe there's a way?

Thats why I'm trying to locate a similar tool that exists for Android.

 

I'll get back to y'all if I find a way, cause I'm certain I'm not alone with this problem.

 

And yes if I find a way I'll get your build up and running for sure. (pi/bananapi - root/bananapi ?)

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And yes if I find a way I'll get your build up and running for sure. (pi/bananapi - root/bananapi ?)

 

No way! These predefined accounts are crap. It's an Armbian rootfs without modifications therefore you use root/1234 as logon credentials, the 1st thing you're asked for is then a new root pwd and then you're forced to create a normal sudo enabled user account.

 

Regarding burning to eMMC: you simply write the image to an SD card, then you boot from the SD card (doing the above) and then you burn the image one more time to eMMC while running the same image from SD card. I think Tido posted some instructions over there at the useless bananapi forums (ignored by 'Team BPi' as usual).

 

Sometimes their behaviour reminds me of this:

 

 

(but most likely it's just an intercultural thing I don't understand at all)

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Guest Bjorn B

Just as TK said, I expected you are BJEagle67 (@ SinoVoip) and I answered you with this post.

It is actually easy, if you know how to do it :-)

Yepp you are right I'm the same, and I hate to be repetetive, but the Banana thing refuse to boot without anything in the emmc!

And as far as I've found out after having got the Android shit in the emmc it does boot. But it does not permit setting to boot from uSD or USB!

So, inbetween a rock and a hard place I need a tool to bur anything else into the emmc to get the crap to boot at all, from emmc, SB or SD it doesn't matter.

But still if the emmc has been emptied - mine has, or at least it was corrupted,

And as the Android burnt into the emmc wont allow me to boot from SD I'm unable to follow any of the about six-seven instructionables I've found...  ;)

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Guest Bjorn B

Just as TK said, I expected you are BJEagle67 (@ SinoVoip) and I answered you with this post.

It is actually easy, if you know how to do it :-)

Yepp you are right I'm the same, and I hate to be repetetive, but the Banana thing refuse to boot without anything in the emmc!

And as far as I've found out after having got the Android shit in the emmc it does boot. But it does not permit setting to boot from uSD or USB!

So, inbetween a rock and a hard place I need a tool to bur anything else into the emmc to get the crap to boot at all, from emmc, SB or SD it doesn't matter.

But still if the emmc has been emptied - mine has, or at least it was corrupted,

And as the Android burnt into the emmc wont allow me to boot from SD I'm unable to follow any of the about six-seven instructionables I've found...  ;)

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tkraiser

 

I bought a M3 and now I´m trying to find a use for it. Maybe i´ll put it to run Plex Client or Retropi to my kids (better than a paperweight).

I´m using your modification of the armbian distro. I would like to ask if there is any way to make the onboard wifi adapter to work. I´m not a Developer, but I have some experience in Linux.

Tks very much....

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Maybe i´ll put it to run Plex Client or Retropi to my kids (better than a paperweight).

 

I've no clue about the onboard WiFi and I don't care since it's already confirmed that this crap does not work on M3: http://forum.banana-pi.org/t/how-to-use-bpi-m3-wifi-extebd-antenna-slot/1283

 

BTW: Don't connect the M3 to the network. Allwinner provided a kernel that allows local privileges escalation that might be able to be misused through the network too. I opened an issue already but I would believe the famous 'Team BPi' will either ignore it or close it immediately without taking notice (at least that's what they normally do when I report problems to these weird guys): https://github.com/BPI-SINOVOIP/BPI-M3-bsp/issues/10

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Actually I had a little luck. My board is the same of the link. The thing is... I´ll never try to take of the R. I don´t have the skills nor equipments needed. They could use a jumper to that setting. Terrible design.

 

It's becoming more and more like a paperweight....

 

Thanks for the reply... I´ll probably assume the failure and go back to the good ol' Raspberry. Because of this security issue, I don´t feel confortable to use it on my network... even as a game device.

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Terrible design. [...] Because of this security issue, I don´t feel confortable to use it on my network... even as a game device.

 

The bug could be fixed easily if you've an Ubuntu 14.04 virtual machine up and running (you could use Zador's work to patch the M3 BSP linux kernel source). Let's see when/whether they react on the issue I opened. Normally this is stuff that has to be fixed within 24 hours.

 

And regarding 'terrible design'. Yeah, but that's just one of the many design flaws. Using Micro USB for DC-IN on the first production batch was the biggest mistake, the choice of the ultra slow GL830 USB-to-SATA bridge is insane, connecting both internal USB hub and the GL830 to one single USB host port (so that 'SATA disk' and all USB ports have to share bandwidth instead of connecting the GL830 to the 2nd USB host port like Cubietech did on their Cubietruck +) is also close to unbelievable. Also not preparing a heatsink like Hardkernel does it on ODROID C1+/C2 is just moronic with a SoC like A83T.

 

The only real use case for this board could be lightweight web services where the octacora SoC could shine. 2017 when mainline kernel support might be ready. At least the Foxconn people (who started the Banana journey) start to understand. They met up with one of the linux-sunxi devs last week and send out board developer samples to real developers now :)

Diego Ramos likes this

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Concerning that image, does it have the NFS module ?

 

Please have a look yourself. This is a crappy Allwinner BSP 3.4.39 kernel used by SinoVoip missing hundreds of security fixes alone. Take a look into linux-sunxi/arch/arm/configs/sun8iw6p1smp_bpi_defconfig in https://github.com/BPI-SINOVOIP/BPI-M3-bsp

 

I put my M3 back in the drawer. Will have a look next year when/if mainline kernel support is ready. In the meantime please consider this device being a paperweight :)

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