NanoPi NEO Air

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NanoPi NEO-AIR-1.jpg
NanoPi NEO-AIR-2.jpg
NanoPi NEO-AIR-3.jpg
  • The NanoPi NEO Air is a 40 x 40mm open source ARM board for makers.It uses an Allwinner H3 Quad Core A7 processor at 1.2GHz. Its pins are compatible with the NanoPi NEO(V 1.2) and its 24-pin header is compatible with Raspberry Pi's GPIO pin headers.
  • The NanoPi NEO AIR features 512MB of 16bit wide DDR3 RAM, 8GB eMMC and one MicroSD slot. It has WiFi & Bluetooth and DVP camera interface(YUV422). The DVP camera interface can support friendlyarm's 5M-pixel camera module
  • It has enhanced power circuit design and better heat dissipation.

Hardware Spec

  • CPU: Allwinner H3, Quad-core Cortex-A7 Up to 1.2GHz
  • RAM: 512MB DDR3 RAM
  • Storage: 8GB eMMC
  • WiFi: 802.11b/g/n
  • Bluetooth: 4.0 dual mode
  • DVP Camera: 0.5mm pitch 24 pin FPC seat
  • MicroUSB: OTG and power input
  • MicroSD Slot x 1
  • Debug Serial Port: 4Pin,2.54mm pitch pin header
  • GPIO1: 2.54mm spacing 24pin,It includes UART,SPI,I2C,GPIO
  • GPIO2: 2.54mm spacing 12pin,It includes USBx2,IR,SPDIF,I2S
  • PCB Size: 40 x 40mm
  • PCB layer: 6
  • Power Supply: DC 5V/2A
  • OS/Software: u-boot, UbuntuCore
  • Weight: 7.5g(WITHOUT Pin-headers); 9.7g(WITH Pin-headers)

Diagram, Layout and Dimension


NanoPi NEO-AIR Layout
  • GPIO Pin Description
Pin# Name Linux gpio Pin# Name Linux gpio
1 SYS_3.3V 2 VDD_5V
3 I2C0_SDA 4 VDD_5V
5 I2C0_SCL 6 GND
7 GPIOG11 203 8 UART1_TX/GPIOG6 198
9 GND 10 UART1_RX/GPIOG7 199
17 SYS_3.3V 18 UART1_CTS/GPIOG9 201
23 SPI0_CLK/GPIOC2 66 24 SPI0_CS/GPIOC3 67
  • USB/I2S/IR Pin Description
Pin# Name Description
1 VDD_5V 5V Power Out
2 USB-DP1 USB1 DP Signal
3 USB-DM1 USB1 DM Signal
4 USB-DP2 USB2 DP Signal
5 USB-DM2 USB2 DM Signal
6 GPIOL11/IR-RX GPIOL11 or IR Receive
8 PCM0_SYNC/I2S0_LRC I2S/PCM Sample Rate Clock/Sync
9 PCM0_CLK/I2S0_BCK I2S/PCM Sample Rate Clock
10 PCM0_DOUT/I2S0_SDOUT I2S/PCM Serial Bata Output
11 PCM0_DIN/I2S0_SDIN I2S/PCM Serial Data Input
12 GND 0V
  • Debug Port(UART0)
Pin# Name
2 VDD_5V
  • DVP Camera IF Pin Spec
Pin# Name Description
1, 2 SYS_3.3V 3.3V power output, to camera modules
7,9,13,15,24 GND Gound, 0V
3 I2C2_SCL I2C Clock Signal
4 I2C2_SDA I2C Data Signal
5 GPIOE15 Regular GPIO, control signals output to camera modules
6 GPIOE14 Regular GPIO, control signals output to camera modules
8 MCLK Clock signals output to camera modules
10 NC Not Connected
11 VSYNC vertical synchronization to CPU from camera modules
12 HREF/HSYNC HREF/HSYNC signal to CPU from camera modules
14 PCLK PCLK signal to CPU from camera modules
16-23 Data bit7-0 data signals
  1. SYS_3.3V: 3.3V power output
  2. VVDD_5V: 5V power input/output. When the external device’s power is greater than the MicroUSB's the external device is charging the board otherwise the board powers the external device. 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-NEO-Air-1608-Schematic.pdf

Dimensional Diagram


Get Started

Essentials You Need

Before starting to use your NanoPi NEO AIR get the following items ready

  • NanoPi NEO AIR
  • microSD Card/TFCard: Class 10 or Above, minimum 8GB SDHC
  • microUSB power. A 5V/2A power is a must
  • A Host computer running Ubuntu 14.04 64 bit system

TF Cards We Tested

To make your NanoPi NEO AIR 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 TF Card

Boot NanoPi NEO AIR from TF Card

  • Get the following files from here [1] to download image files and the flashing utility:
Image Files Ubuntu core with Qt Embedded eflasher image which can be used to Flash image files to eMMC
Flash Utility
win32diskimager.rar Windows utility. Under Linux users can use "dd"
  • Uncompress these files. Insert a TF card(at least 4G) into a Windows PC and run the win32diskimager utility as administrator. On the utility's main window select your TF card's drive, the wanted image file and click on "write" to start flashing the SD card till it is done.
  • Insert this card into your AIR's MicroSD card slot and power on (with a 5V/2A power source). If the blue LED is blinking this indicates your AIR has successfully booted.

Flash image to eMMC with eflasher

  • The eflasher is a utility FriendlyARM developed based on UbuntuCore. It can be used to flash OS image files to eMMC.
  • Extract the package and win32diskimager.rar. Insert a TF card(at least 8G) into a Windows PC and run the win32diskimager utility as administrator. On the utility's main window select your TF card's drive, the wanted image file and click on "write" to start flashing the TF card.
  • Insert this card into your AIR and power on (with a 5V/2A power source) the board. If the blue LED is blinking it indicates your eflasher has started installation.

eflasher Functions

System Login via Serial Port

  • 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 NEO AIR to a PC via a serial cable you will see system messages output to the PC’s serial terminal:


  • The password for both "root" and "fa" is "fa"
  • Update software packages
apt-get update

Extend TF Card's Section

We strongly recommend you to do this right after you have made an installation TF card since this will greatly enhance your NEO Air's experience

  • Solution 1: Extend your card's rootfs section under a host PC:
sudo umount /dev/sdx?
sudo parted /dev/sdx unit % resizepart 2 100 unit MB print
sudo resize2fs -f /dev/sdx2

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

  • Solution 2: Extend your card's rootfs section under NEO Air running UbuntuCore:
sudo fs_resize

Following the prompt type in "y" to start re-sizing the file system and a second "y" to reboot the NEO Air. After the NEO Air is rebooted check the new section by using the following command:

df -h

WiFi Connection

  • An IPX Antenna is a Must.

Insert a TF card with eflasher to a PC running Ubuntu and make the following changes in the etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf file under the rootfs section:

ctrl_interface=DIR=/var/run/wpa_supplicant GROUP=netdev

Note: the "YOUR-WIFI-ESSID" and "YOUR-WIFI-PASSWORD" need to be replaced with your actual ESSID and password.
Save, exit and insert the TF card to your AIR. After power on your AIR and the blue LED is blinking for one minute you will be able to check AIR's IP address.

SSH Login

The NanoPi NEO AIR has no display interface. If you don't have a serial communication board to connect your AIR to a PC you can log in your AIR via SSH. In our example the AIR's IP address was and we logged in AIR by using the following command:

ssh root@

The password is fa。

Flash Image to eMMC

The eflasher utility has a Ubuntu-Core system. After you run eflasher you can flash Ubuntu-core to eMMC by using the following command: -d /mnt/sdcard/Ubuntu-Core-qte/

This command flashes the Ubuntu-Core image to eMMC, copies the wifi configuration file to eMMC and extends eMMC's file system. After it is done you will see the following message:

INFO: flash system to eMMC success

Power off the board, take out the TF card, power on the board again and it will boot from eMMC. If a TF card is inserted the board will boot from the TF card first. If booting from TF card fails it will boot from eMMC instead.

Work with Ubuntu-Core

Check CPU's Working Temperature

Type the following command on a terminal to read H3's temperature and frequency:


Check System Information with Rpi-Monitor

Our Ubuntu-Core contains the Rpi-Monitor utility with which users can check system information and status.
In our case our NEO Air's IP was and we typed the following IP in a browser:

We entered the following page:
Users can easily check these system information and status.

Connect NanoPi NEO AIR to DVP Camera(CAM500B)

The CAM500B camera module is a 5M-pixel camera with DVP interface. For more tech details about it you can refer to Matrix - CAM500B.
Boot your NanoPi NEO AIR, connect your NEO AIR to a network, log into the board as root and run "mjpg-streamer":

cd /root/mjpg-streamer

The mjpg-streamer application is an open source video steam server. After it is successfully started the following messages will be popped up:

 i: Using V4L2 device.: /dev/video0
 i: Desired Resolution: 1280 x 720
 i: Frames Per Second.: 30
 i: Format............: YUV
 i: JPEG Quality......: 90
 o: www-folder-path...: ./www/
 o: HTTP TCP port.....: 8080
 o: username:password.: disabled
 o: commands..........: enabled

In our case the NEO AIR's IP address was We typed in a browser and were able to view the images taken from the camera's. Here is what you would expect to observe:
The mjpg-streamer soft-encodes data with libjpeg and you can hard-encode its data with ffmpeg which will greatly increase CPU's efficiency and speed up data encoding:

ffmpeg -t 30 -f v4l2 -channel 0 -video_size 1280x720 -i /dev/video0 -pix_fmt nv12 -r 30 -b:v 64k -c:v cedrus264 test.mp4

By default it records a 30-second video. Typing "q" stops video recording. After recording is stopped a test.mp4 file will be generated.


Install Bluetooth packages:

apt-get install bluetooth bluez obexftp openobex-apps python-gobject ussp-push time bc

In our test case we used a Samsung Galaxy A7 Android phone. Connect a wireless antenna to your Air and type the following command to search a surrounding Bluetooth device:

hcitool scan

Our Samsung Samsung Galaxy A7 was detected and its MAC address was "50:C8:E5:A7:31:D2". We had a "test.jpg" file on our NEO Air and we sent it to A7 by running the following command: -a 50:C8:E5:A7:31:D2 -f test.jpg

On the phone a popup window would show up. After we clicked to accept this file transfer would start. After this transfer was done we got the following messages:

name=test.jpg, size=2215936
Local device A1:A3:C1:79:66:6E
Remote device 50:C8:E5:A7:31:D2 (12)
Connection established
send 2164K finish, speed=5.6 K/s

We found this file on the phone and the file transfer was successful.

Make Your Own OS(Compile BSP)

Visit download link and go to the sources directory and download nanopi-H3-bsp.
Use the 7-zip utility to extract it and a lichee directory and an Android directory will be generated. Or you can get it from our github:

git clone lichee

Note: "lichee" is the project name named by Allwinner for its CPU's source code which contains the source code of U-boot, Linux kernel and various scripts.

Compile lichee Source Code

Compilation of the H3's BSP source code must be done under a PC running a 64-bit Linux.The following cases were tested on Ubuntu-14.04 LTS-64bit:

sudo apt-get install gawk git gnupg flex bison gperf build-essential \
zip curl libc6-dev libncurses5-dev:i386 x11proto-core-dev \
libx11-dev:i386 libreadline6-dev:i386 libgl1-mesa-glx:i386 \
libgl1-mesa-dev g++-multilib mingw32 tofrodos \
python-markdown libxml2-utils xsltproc zlib1g-dev:i386 u-boot-tools

Enter the lichee directory and un the following command to compile the whole package:

cd lichee
./ -p sun8iw7p1 -b nanopi-h3

After this compilation succeeds a u-boot, Linux kernel and kernel modules will be generated.
Note: the lichee directory contains a cross-compiler we have setup. When the script runs it will automatically call this cross-compiler.

Package System Modules

./ -b nanopi-air

This command copies the generated executables including u-boot and Linux kernel and configuration files to the "lichee/tools/pack/out/" directory and generates a script.bin file.
The script.bin file is designed by Allwinner for its CPUs. For more details refer to script.bin

You can use the following commands to update the u-boot on your TF card:

./ /dev/sdx

You need to replace /dev/sdx with the real device name in your system.
The uImage and kernel modules are under linux-3.4/output. Copy the uImage to your TF card's boot section and your TF card will boot your new image file.

Compile U-boot

You can compile u-boot individually by using the following command:

./ -p sun8iw7p1 -b nanopi-h3 -m uboot

After a u-boot executable is generated some extra patches need to be patched to it. Run "./ pack" to patch this executable.
If you want to manually patch the executable refer to H3_Manual_build_howto and run the following commands to update the u-boot in the TF card:

./ /dev/sdx

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

Compile Linux Kernel

If you want to compile the Linux kernel run the following command:

./ -p sun8iw7p1 -b nanopi-h3 -m kernel

After the compilation is done a uImage and its kernel modules will be generated under "linux-3.4/output".

Clean Source Code

./ -p sun8iw7p1_linux -b nanopi-h3 -m clean

3D Printing Files

NanoPi NEO-AIR 3D printed housing
3D Printing Files


Update Log


  • Released English Version


  • Updated Sections 1, 3.1 and 6.2


  • Updated Section 6.2
  • Added Section 6.4


  • Updated Section 5.2