NanoPi M3

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  • The NanoPi M3 is another ARM board developed by FriendlyARM for makers, hobbyists and hackers. With this new friend we wish you could get not only tech skills but also unique experiences in various applications and hacking. It is small, elegant but has rich ports and interfaces. Playing with it and working with it the M3 will not only inspire your ideas but also turn them into realities.
  • The NanoPi M3 uses the Samsung Octa-Core Cortex-A53 S5P6818 SoC. Its dynamic frequency scales from 400M up to 1.4GHz. It has Gbps Ethernet port, built-in WiFi and Bluetooth. Its AXP228 PMU supports software power-off, sleep and wakeup functions. In addition the NanoPi M3 has MicroUSB port for power supply and on-board porcelain antenna.
  • On this tiny board various ports and interfaces are integrated. It has DVP Camera/LVDS/HDMI/LCD interfaces, Gbps Ethernet, I2S, 3.5mm audio jack, four USB ports and a serial debug port.

Hardware Spec

  • SoC: Samsung S5P6818 Octa-Core Cortex-A53, 400M Hz - 1.4G Hz
  • Power Management Unit: AXP228 PMU, it supports software power-off and wake-up.
  • System Memory: 1GB 32bit DDR3 RAM
  • Storage: 1 x MicroSD Card Socket
  • Ethernet: Gbit Ethernet(RTL8211E)
  • WiFi: 802.11b/g/n
  • Bluetooth: 4.0 dual mode
  • Antenna: onboard porcelain antenna for WiFi and Bluetooth
  • Audio: 3.5 mm audio jack / via HDMI
  • I2S: 7pin, 2.54mm pitch pin-header
  • USB Host: 4 x USB 2.0 Host, two type A ports and two 2.54 mm pitch pin-headers
  • MicroUSB: 1 x MicroUSB 2.0 Client, Type A
  • LCD Interface: 0.5mm pitch 45 pin FPC seat, full color RGB 8-8-8
  • HDMI: 1.4A Type A, 1080P
  • LVDS: 20pin 2.00mm pitch pin-header
  • DVP Camera: 0.5mm pitch 24 pin FPC seat
  • GPIO: 2.54 mm pitch 40 pin-header
  • Serial Debug Port: 2.54mm pitch 4pin-header
  • User Key: K1 (power), Reset
  • LED: 1 x power LED and 1 x status LED
  • RTC Battery: RTC Battery Header
  • Power: DC 5V/2A
  • PCB: Six Layer, ENIG
  • Dimension: 64 mm x 60 mm
  • OS/Software: uboot, Android and Debian


Diagram, Layout and Dimension


NanoPi-M3 Layout
  • GPIO Pin Spec
Pin# Name Pin# Name
1 SYS_3.3V 2 VDD_5V
3 I2C0_SDA 4 VDD_5V
13 GPIOB30 14 DGND
15 GPIOB31 16 GPIOC14/PWM2
17 SYS_3.3V 18 GPIOB27
25 DGND 26 GPIOB26
27 I2C1_SDA 28 I2C1_SCL
31 GPIOC7 32 GPIOC28
37 AliveGPIO3 38 SPI2_MOSI/GPIOC12

The M3's GPIO pin spec is slightly different from the NanoPi 2's. Here is a comparison table:40 pins GPIO comparison table

  • Debug Port(UART0)
Pin# Name
2 VDD_5V
  • DVP Camera Interface Pin Spec
Pin# Name
1, 2 SYS_3.3V
7,9,13,15,24 DGND
3 I2C0_SCL
4 I2C0_SDA
8,10 NC
16-23 Data bit7-0
  • RGB LCD Interface Pin Spec
Pin# Name Description
1, 2 VDD_5V 5V Output, it can be used to power LCD modules
11,20,29, 37,38,39,40, 45 DGND Ground
3-10 Blue LSB to MSB RGB blue
12-19 Green LSB to MSB RGB green
21-28 Red LSB to MSB RGB red
30 GPIOB25 available for users
31 GPIOC15 occupied by FriendlyARM one wire technology to recognize LCD models and control backlight and implement resistive touch, not applicable for users.
32 XnRSTOUT Form CPU low when system is reset
33 VDEN signal the external LCD that data is valid on the data bus
34 VSYNC vertical synchronization
35 HSYNC horizontal synchronization
36 LCDCLK LCD clock, Pixel frequency
41 I2C2_SCL I2C2 clock signal, for capacitive touch data transmission
42 I2C2_SDA I2C2 data signal, for capacitive touch data transmission
43 GPIOC16 interrupt pin for capacitive touch, used with I2C2
44 NC Not connected
  1. SYS_3.3V: 3.3V power output
  2. VDD_5V: 5V power input/output. The input range is 4.7V ~ 5.6V
  3. All pins are 3.3V, output current is 5mA
  4. For more details refer to the document: NanoPi-M2A-M3-1604-Schematic.pdf

Board Dimension

NanoPi M3 Dimensions

For more details refer to the document:PCB dxf file

Get Started

Essentials You Need

Before starting to use your NanoPi M3 get the following items ready

  • NanoPi M3
  • SD Card: Class 10 or Above, minimum 8GB SDHC
  • A DC 5V/3A power is a must
  • HDMI monitor or LCD
  • USB keyboard, mouse and possible a USB hub(or a TTL to serial board)
  • A host computer running Ubuntu 14.04 64 bit system

TF Cards We Tested

To make your NanoPi M3 boot and run fast we highly recommend you use a Class10 8GB SDHC TF card or a better one. The following cards are what we used in all our test cases presented here:

  • SanDisk TF 8G Class10 Micro/SD TF card:

SanDisk MicroSD 8G

  • SanDisk TF128G MicroSDXC TF 128G Class10 48MB/S:

SanDisk MicroSD 128G

  • 川宇 8G C10 High Speed class10 micro SD card:

chuanyu MicroSD 8G

Make an Installation SD Card

Boot NanoPi M3 from SD Card

Get the following files from the download link to download necessary files:

  • Get a 4G SDHC card and backup its data if necessary.
Image Files:
s5p6818-debian-sd4g-20160426.img Debian image files
s5p6818-android-sd4g-20160426.img Android image files
s5p6818-ubuntu-core-qte-sd4g-20160426.img Ubuntu Core + QT image files
Flash Utility:
win32diskimager.rar Windows utility. Under Linux users can use "dd"
  • Uncompress these files. Insert an SD card(at least 4G) into a Windows PC and run the win32diskimager utility as administrator. On the utility's main window select your SD card's drive, the wanted image file and click on "write" to start flashing the SD card.
  • Insert this card into your NanoPi M3's boot slot, press and hold the boot key and power on (with a 5V/3A power source). If the green LED is on and the blue LED is blinking this indicates your NanoPi M3 has successfully booted.

Under Linux Desktop

  • 1) Insert your microSD card into your host running Ubuntu and check your SD card's device name
dmesg | tail

Search the messages output by "dmesg" for similar words like "sdc: sdc1 sdc2". If you can find them it means your SD card is recognized as "/dev/sdc". Or you can check that by commanding "cat /proc/partitions"

  • 2) Download Flashing Script
git clone
cd sd-fuse_s5p6818
  • 3) Flash Android Firmware to MicroSD Card
./ /dev/sdx

(Note: you need to replace "/dev/sdx" with the device name in your system)
When you do “git clone” you have to hit “Y” within 10 seconds after it prompts you to download image files otherwise you will miss the download.

  • 4) Flash Debian Firmware to MicroSD Card
./ /dev/sdx debian

Extend NanoPi M3's TF Card Section

  • When Debian/Ubuntu is loaded the TF card's section will be automatically extended.
  • When Android is loaded you need to run the following commands on your host PC to extend your TF card's section:
sudo umount /dev/sdx?
sudo parted /dev/sdx unit % resizepart 4 100 resizepart 7 100 unit MB print
sudo resize2fs -f /dev/sdx7

(Note: you need to replace "/dev/sdx" with the device name in your system)

LCD/HDMI Resolution

When the system boots our uboot will check whether it is connected to an LCD or to an HDMI monitor. If it recognizes an LCD it will configure its resolution. Our uboot defaults to the HDMI 720P configuration.
If you want to modify the LCD resolution you can modify file "arch/arm/plat-s5p6818/nanopi3/lcds.c" in the kernel and recompile it.
If your NanoPi M3 is connected an HDMI monitor and it runs Android it will automatically set the resolution to an appropriate HDMI mode by checking the "EDID". If your NanoPi M3 is connected an HDMI monitor and it runs Debian by default it will set the resolution to HDMI 720P. If you want to modify the resolution to 1080P modify your kernel's configuration as explained above.

Update Image Files in MicroSD Card From PC Host

If you want to make some changes to the image files in your MicroSD card follow steps below otherwise you can skip this section.
Insert your MicroSD card into a PC host running Linux, mount the boot and rootfs sections of the SD card and follow the steps below:
1) If you want to change your kernel command line parameters you can do it via the fw_setevn utility under "sd-fuse_nanopi3/tools".
Check the current Command Line

cd sd-fuse_nanopi3/tools
./fw_printenv /dev/sdc | grep bootargs

Android 5.1.1_r6 starts SELinux. By default it is enforcing. You can change it this way:

./fw_setenv /dev/sdc bootargs XXX androidboot.selinux=permissive

This sets it to "permissive". The "XXX" stands for the original bootargs' value.

2) Update Kernel
Our customized uboot will check the LCD type when it boots.
For Android it doesn't make any difference which display device is detected. You can use your generated uImage to replace the existing one under "boot".
For Debian if your generated kernel is for an LCD you need to replace the existing uImage or if your kernel is for HDMI you need to replace the existing uImage.hdmi.

Run Android or Debian

  • Insert a MicroSD card with Android/Debian image files into your NanoPi M3, connect the NanoPi M3 to an HDMI monitor and a 5V/2A power source the NanoPi M3 will be automatically powered up. If you can see the PWR LED is on and LED1 is flashing it means your board is working and you will see Android/Debain loading on the HDMI monitor.

1) If you connect the NanoPi M3 to an HDMI monitor you need to use a USB mouse and a USB keyboard to operate. If you connect it to an LCD with capacitive touch you can operate directly on the LCD.
2) If you want to do kernel development you need to use a serial communication board, ie a PSU-ONECOM board, which will allow you to operate the board via a serial terminal.

  • Here is a setup where we connect a NanoPi M3 to a PC running Ubuntu and Minicom via a serial cable you will see system messages output to the PC’s minicom terminal:


  • Under Debian the password for "root" is "fa".

Working with Debian

Ethernet Connection

  • If the NanoPi M3 is connected to a network via Ethernet before it is powered on, it will automatically obtain an IP after it is powered up.

Wireless Connection

Open the file "/etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf" with vi or gedit and append the following lines:


The "YourWiFiESSID" and "YourWiFiPassword" need to be replaced with your actual ESSID and password.
Save, exit and run the following commands your board will be connected to your specified WiFi.

ifdown wlan0
ifup wlan0

If your WiFi password has special characters or you don't want your password saved as plain text you can use "wpa_passphrase" to generate a psk for your WiFi password. Here is how you can do it:

wpa_passphrase YourWiFiESSID

Following the prompt type in your password. If you open the file "/etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf" you will find that your password has been updated and you can delete your clear-text password.

If the system's WiFi AP mode is on it cannot search and connect to a wireless router. You need to turn off the WiFi AP mode by following the instructions below:

turn-wifi-into-apmode no

Setup Wi-Fi AP

You can follow the steps below to setup WiFi AP:

turn-wifi-into-apmode yes

Reboot the system as prompted. By default the AP's name is "nanopi2-wifiap" and the password is 123456789.

Now you are able to find the "nanopi2-wifiap" from a host PC and connect to it. If a connection is successful you will be able to SSH to this NanoPi M3 at "":

ssh root@

The password for it is "fa".

To make SSH session run faster turn off the WiFi's power saving mode by using the following command:

iwconfig wlan0 power off

You can check the WiFi mode via the following command:

cat /sys/module/bcmdhd/parameters/op_mode

If the result is "2" it means it is currently working as a WiFi AP.If you want to switch back to the Station mode you can do it this way:

turn-wifi-into-apmode no


Click on the bluetooth icon on the GUI a menu will pop up:
Make discoverable... enables the NanoPi M3 to be searched for by nearby Bluetooth devices;
Devices... opens a search window and searches for nearby Bluetooth devices(Note: the "Make discoverable" property needs to be enabled on those nearby devices as well);
Send Files to Device...enables the NanoPi-M3 to send files to another Bluetooth device which is paired to the NanoPi M3;
If there is an "x" on the Bluetooth icon you need to turn on Bluetooth and then start a Bluetooth service.

Install Debian Packages

We provide a Debian Jessie image. You can install Jessie's packages by commanding "apt-get". If this is your first installation you need to update the package list by running the following command:

apt-get update

You can install your preferred packages. For example if you want to install an FTP server you can do this:

apt-get install vsftpd

Note: you can change your download server by editting "/etc/apt/sources.list". You can get a complete server list from [1]. You need to select the one with "armhf".

Make Your Own OS Image

Install Cross Compiler

Download the compiler package:

git clone
sudo mkdir -p /opt/FriendlyARM/toolchain
sudo tar xf prebuilts/gcc-x64/arm-cortexa9-linux-gnueabihf-4.9.3.tar.xz -C /opt/FriendlyARM/toolchain/

Then add the compiler's directory to "PATH" by appending the following lines in "~/.bashrc":

export PATH=/opt/FriendlyARM/toolchain/4.9.3/bin:$PATH
export GCC_COLORS=auto

Execute "~/.bashrc" to make the changes take effect. Note that there is a space after the first ".":

. ~/.bashrc

This compiler is a 64-bit one therefore it cannot be run on a 32-bit Linux machine. After the compiler is installed you can verify it by running the following commands:

arm-linux-gcc -v
Using built-in specs.
Target: arm-cortexa9-linux-gnueabihf
Configured with: /work/toolchain/build/src/gcc-4.9.3/configure --build=x86_64-build_pc-linux-gnu
--host=x86_64-build_pc-linux-gnu --target=arm-cortexa9-linux-gnueabihf --prefix=/opt/FriendlyARM/toolchain/4.9.3
--with-sysroot=/opt/FriendlyARM/toolchain/4.9.3/arm-cortexa9-linux-gnueabihf/sys-root --enable-languages=c,c++
--with-arch=armv7-a --with-tune=cortex-a9 --with-fpu=vfpv3 --with-float=hard
Thread model: posix
gcc version 4.9.3 (ctng-1.21.0-229g-FA)

Compile U-Boot

Download the U-Boot source code and compile it. Note that the github's branch is nanopi2-lollipop-mr1:

git clone
cd uboot_nanopi2
git checkout nanopi2-lollipop-mr1
make s5p6818_nanopi3_config
make CROSS_COMPILE=arm-linux-

After your compilation succeeds a u-boot.bin will be generated. If you want to test it flash it to your installation SD card via fastboot. Here is how you can do it:
1) On your host PC run "sudo apt-get install android-tools-fastboot" to install the fastboot utility;
2) Connect your NanoPi M3 to your host PC via a serial cable (e.g. PSU-ONECOME). Press the enter key within two seconds right after you power on your NanoPi M3 and you will enter uboot's command line mode;
3) After type in "fastboot" and press "enter" you will enter the fastboot mode;
4) Connect your NanoPi M3 to this host PC via a microUSB cable and type in the following command to flash u-boot.bin;

fastboot flash bootloader u-boot.bin

Warning: you cannot update this SD card by commanding "dd". This command will cause trouble when booting the NanoPi M3.

Prepare mkimage

You need the mkimage utility to compile a U-Boot source code package. Make sure this utility works well on your host before you start compiling a uImage.
You can install this utility by either commanding "sudo apt-get install u-boot-tools" or following the commands below:

cd uboot_nanopi2
make CROSS_COMPILE=arm-linux- tools
sudo mkdir -p /usr/local/sbin && sudo cp -v tools/mkimage /usr/local/sbin

Compile Linux Kernel

Compile Kernel

  • Download Kernel Source Code
git clone
cd linux-3.4.y
git checkout nanopi2-lollipop-mr1

The NanoPi M3's kernel source code lies in the "nanopi2-lollipop-mr1" branch

  • Compile Android Kernel
make nanopi3_android_defconfig
touch .scmversion
make uImage
  • Compile Debian Kernel
make nanopi3_linux_defconfig
touch .scmversion
make uImage

After your compilation succeeds a uImage will be generated in the "arch/arm/boot/uImage" directory. This kernel is for HDMI 720P. You can use it to replace the existing uImage.hdmi.
If you want to generate a kernel for HDMI 1080P you can do it this way:

touch .scmversion
make nanopi3_linux_defconfig
make menuconfig
  Device Drivers -->
    Graphics support -->
      Nexell Graphics -->
        [ ] LCD
        [*] HDMI
        (0)   Display In  [0=Display 0, 1=Display 1]
              Resolution (1920 * 1080p)  --->
make uImage

After your compilation succeeds a uImage will be generated for HDMI 1080P. You can use it to replace the existing uImage.

User Your Generated Kernel

  • Update the kernel file in SD card

If you use an SD card to boot Android you can copy your generated uImage file to your SD card's boot section(e.g. section 1 /dev/sdX1).
If you use an SD card to Debian and you generated a uImage for an HDMI monitor you can use that uImage to replace the uImage.hdmi file in the SD card's boot section. If you use an SD card to Debian and you generated a uImage for an LCD you can use that uImage to replace the uImage file in the SD card's boot section.

Compile Kernel Modules

Android contains kernel modules which are in the "/lib/modules" directory in the system section. If you want to add your own modules to the kernel or you changed your kernel configurations you need to recompile these new modules.
Compile Original Kernel Modules:

cd linux-3.4.y
make CROSS_COMPILE=arm-linux- modules

Here we have two new modules and we can compile them by following the commands below:

cd /opt/FriendlyARM/s5p6818/android

The "/opt/FriendlyARM/s5p6818/android" directory points to the top directory of Android source code. You can get more details by specifying option "-h".
After your compilation succeeds new modules will be generated.

Compile Android

  • Install Cross Compiler

Install 64 bit Ubuntu 14.04 on your host PC.

sudo apt-get install bison g++-multilib git gperf libxml2-utils make python-networkx zip
sudo apt-get install flex libncurses5-dev zlib1g-dev gawk minicom

For more details refer to

  • Download Source Code

You need to use repo to get the Android source code. Refer to

mkdir android && cd android
repo init -u -b nanopi3-lollipop-mr1
repo sync

The "android" directory is the working directory.

  • Compile System Package
source build/
lunch aosp_nanopi3-userdebug
make -j8

After your compilation succeeds an image will be generated in the "out/target/product/nanopi3/" directory.

filename partition Description
boot.img boot -
cache.img cache -
userdata.img userdata -
system.img system -
partmap.txt - partition file
  • Flash Image to SD Card

If you want to boot your board from an SD card you need to copy your generated image file to the "sd-fuse_s5p6818/android/" directory and flash it to your SD card with our script. For more details refer to #Under Linux Desktop.

Connect NanoPi M3 to External Modules

Connect NanoPi M3 to USB Camera(FA-CAM202)

  • In this use case the NanoPi M3 runs Debian. If you connect your NanoPi M3 to our LCD or an HDMI monitor after Debain is fully loaded click on "other"-->"xawtv" on the left bottom of the GUI and the USB Camera application will be started. After enter "welcome to xawtv!" click on "OK" to start exploring.

USB camera-Fire

Connect NanoPi M3 to CMOS 5M-Pixel Camera

Check this link [2] for details about the camera CAM500B we tested in this case

  • In this use case the NanoPi M3 runs Android5.1. If you connect your NanoPi M3 to our LCD or an HDMI monitor after Android is fully loaded click on the "Camera" icon and the application will be started.

CMOS camera-M3

  • There is a camera utility "nanocams" in Debian/Ubuntu. You can preview and save 40 frames to an image file by running the following command
sudo nanocams -p 1 -n 40 -c 4 -o IMG001.jpg

For more details about the usage of the utility you can command "nanocams -h". If you want to download the source code you can get it from our github:

git clone

Use OpenCV to Access USB Camera

  • The full name of "OpenCV" is Open Source Computer Vision Library and it is a cross platform vision library.
  • When the NanoPi M3 runs Debian users can use OpenCV APIs to access a USB Camera device.

1. Here is a guideline on how to use OpenCV with C++ on the NanoPi M3:

  • Firstly you need to make sure your NanoPi M3 is connected to the internet.Login to your NanoPi M3 via a serial terminal or SSH. After login type in your username(root) and password(fa):
  • Run the following commands:

apt-get update
apt-get install libcv-dev libopencv-dev

2. Make sure your USB camera works with the NanoPi M3. You can test your camera with NanoPi M3's camera utility.

3. Check your camera device:

ls /dev/video*
  • Note:in our test case video0 was the device name.

4. OpenCV's code sample(official code in C++) is under /home/fa/Documents/opencv-demo. Compile the code sample with the following commands:

cd /home/fa/Documents/opencv-demo

After it is compiled successfully a "demo" executable will be generated

5. Connect NanoPi M3 to USB Keyboard & Run the Following Command:


opencv is successfully started

Access Serial Interface in Android

Download our open source demo:

git clone

Enter the "android_SerialPortDemo" directory and follow the instructions in <<SerialPortDemo-manual.pdf>> to access the serial interface. The demo code calls the APIs of the library to access the serial. For more details about these APIs you can refer to:
Note: Android's platform key is included in this code. Users who need the platform key can use the code.

Source Code and Image Files Download Links

  • Image File: [3]
  • Source Code: [4]


3D Printing File

  • NanoPi M3 3D Printing Files:[5]


Update Log


  • Released English version


  • Added sections 4.3.3, 7 and 10


  • Updated Sections 2, 4.3.1, 5.4 and 7.2
  • Added Section 8


  • Updated Section 5.4