Retro Future Electrics

A page about retro electronics, from the introduction of electricity until 1970-something. We refit old gadgets with new tech, and wonder at the makers who came before us.

The Orange Pi PC Experiment

Orange Pi

UPDATE: The orange pi kernel has a backdoor in it as described on Ars Technica . If you are using this board, don’t place it on the public internet!

Orange Pi PC was a Chinese Raspberry Pi ripoff that promised cheaper prices and better hardware. What it missed was any support at all.

I purchased my board, it showed up in a reasonable amount of time, and after a fair bit of wrangling I got Raspian to boot on it. (The image on their site had errors, I had to go searching thru the forums to find a fix)

It was faster than a Pi, when it worked I thought I had a good board at a good price. Well that soon came to a close, as the machine would randomly freeze. About once every 2 days or so. I thought it was surely some simple software issue they would fix!


It’s been 6 months, they haven’t updated their software on their website at all…

Orange Pi

Orange Pi PC board, with the Pen

Oh, and notice something sketchy with the photo? That’s right, you can’t power the Orange Pi with any kind of standard USB plug like the Pi, Arudino, Pine64 and others. They used a “3mm” plug that didn’t fit a single one of my over 25 transformers in the Retro Future Pile o’ Transformers. So eventually I gave up and soldered on my own.


  • Cheap
  • The few times it worked it was decently fast for the money


  • No support from the company
    • Not phone support, like NO support, last version of software is the first
  • Bad power connector
  • Very small community

Bottom Line:

Don’t buy this board unless you want to spend hours getting it to work. I would buy a Raspberry Pi 3 and call the extra $20 payment for 5hours of my life back!


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