Pi Alternatives for Klipper

I’ve been working hard over the past few weeks to try and test out Klipper on as many Raspberry Pi alternatives as my budget can handle! Why you might ask? Well the chip shortage that is making it very hard to get hold of a Raspberry Pi doesn’t seem to be getting any better. In fact it seems to be getting worse despite COVID no longer causing quite so many lockdowns. Almost every day for the last few months I’ve seen questions on whether this SBC will run Klipper or I’ve bought this one and I don’t know where to start!

This post will hopefully function as a live document listing all the boards I’ve tried, the data/results from testing those boards and a link to a tutorial on how to get started with them.

Currently I have only tested how easy it is to install Klipper onto the boards listed below. I am currently compiling a list from the experts from Klipper, Moonraker and Mainsail on what and how to test these boards in a scientific manner. For reference here is a list of areas I will be looking into

Key Criteria

  • Installation
    • Ease of installation (with using a Mainsail/Fluidd OS image on a RPi as the baseline easy)
  • Klipper
  • Mainsail
    • webcam (mostly network issue not performance issue)
      • smoothness
      • framerate
      • timelapse (time to create)
    • GCode viewer performance (More of a network stress test)
      • time to load
  • Moonraker
    • not a clue as i know the least about this part
    • Exclude object pre-processor (high performance on sbc), use moonraker.log to check time output
  • Klipper screen
    • (Connected over HDMI to monitor)
    • IO for touch
  • Hardware
    • Connectivity (screen, number of usb ports, usb expander?)
    • WiFi
    • Ethernet
    • Use Htop and dmesg to monitor issues
    • Ability to use IO
  • Cost
    • Baseline cost (Excluding taxes + shipping)
    • Total cost including any extras such as wifi dongle, hdmi adapters, usb OTG adapters etc.
    • Verified sources are the ones I purchased from. In some instances I’ve borrowed boards or already owned them and didn’t know the original source.

Tested Boards

MKS Pi

Where to buy
Aliexpress (Verified – donated)
– Baseline cost: £36.78
– Total cost: £43 (including WiFi dongle + micro SD card)

Installation
– Easy difficulty, MKS OS is preloaded and well documented
Setup Guide

T95 mini Android TV Box

Where to buy
Aliexpress Amazon (Verified – purchased)
– Baseline cost: £25.99
– Total cost: £25.99 (No accessories required)

Installation
– Medium difficulty, Supported OS from Inovato and KIAUH works
Setup Guide

Orange Pi Zero Plus

Where to buy
Aliexpress (Verified – purchased)
– Baseline cost: £31.83
– Total cost: xxx

Installation
– Medium difficulty, generally well documented OS install and KIAUH works
Setup Guide (Vanilla Klipper)
Setup Guide (RatOS – Thanks to @Blacksmithforlife for this one)

Orange Pi PC

Where to buy
Aliexpress (Borrowed but original owner bought from here)
– Baseline cost: £32.68
– Total cost: xxx

Installation
– Medium difficulty, generally well documented OS install and KIAUH works
Setup Guide (Vanilla Klipper)

Banana Pi M2 Zero

Where to buy
Aliexpress (Verified – purchased)
– Baseline cost: £26.24
– Total cost: xxx

Installation
– Medium/hard difficulty, board no longer officially supported by Debian but last released image works, as does KIAUH
Setup Guide

Banana Pi M1

Where to buy
Aliexpress (Borrowed)
– Baseline cost: £30.87
– Total cost: xxx

Installation
– Medium difficulty
Setup Guide

Mellow Fly Pi

Where to buy
Aliexpress (Verified – this item was gifted to me by the Mellow Store)
– Baseline cost: £35.00
– Total cost: xxx

Installation
– Medium difficulty, provided OS works but official documentation has gaps. Built in configurator to swap between Mainsail and Fluidd
Setup Guide

Mellow Fly Gemini (V1)

Where to buy
– Included in case anyone still owns one. Buy the v2 version instead.

Installation
– Hard difficulty, Don’t use provided OS for V1 it needs a lot of parts configured and fixed. The new image for V2 works but there is no official documentation of using that method.
Setup Guide (Outdated – due update because new image works better)

Mellow Fly Gemini (V2)

Where to buy
Aliexpress (Verified – this item was gifted to me by the Mellow Store)
– Baseline cost: £43.22
– Total cost: xxx

Installation
– Medium difficulty, provided OS works but official documentation has gaps. Built in configurator to swap between Mainsail and Fluidd
Setup Guide

BTT CB1 + M4P

Where to buy
Aliexpress(Verified – this item was gifted to me by the BigTreeTech Store)
– Baseline cost: £23.53 (£54.87 with M4P board)
– Total cost: xxx

Installation
– Medium difficulty (Hard if only using official guide), provided OS works but official documentation has gaps. Only compatible with specific boards
Setup Guide (M4P)

BTT CB1 + M8P

Where to buy
Aliexpress(Verified – this item was gifted to me by the BigTreeTech Store)
– Baseline cost: £23.53 (£73.48 with M4P board)
– Total cost: xxx

Installation
– Medium difficulty (Hard if only using official guide), provided OS works but official documentation has gaps. Only compatible with specific boards
Setup Guide (M8P)
Setup Guide (RatOS + M8P – Hard difficulty)

FYSETC M10 + Cheetah Mix

Where to buy
Aliexpress(Verified – this item was gifted to me by the FYSETC Store)
– Baseline cost: £61.06 (has to be purchased with a Cheetah Mix board)
– Total cost: xxx

Installation
– Hard – since my first post they have updated the documentation and OS image used (or at least linked to the correct one). It is now possible to get it up and running well over ethernet but WiFi isn’t working for me yet.
Setup Guide

WSL (within windows PC)

Where to buy
– No where it’s a software solution for the PC you already own
– Baseline cost: £0
– Total cost: £0

Installation
– Very Hard. This requires lots of linux and command line work.
Setup Guide

Community tested boards

Boards in this section are ones which I have not been able to test myself but members of the community have spoken out about their experiences with. To get your favourite board added to this section message me with the board and either a guide you have written or recorded or set of instructions you want me to publish.

Radxa Zero

Where to buy
Aliexpress
– Baseline cost: £57.71 (2G ram) or £69.50 (4G ram)
– Total cost: xxx

Installation
– Medium difficulty, Supports Debian OS and KIAUH install
Setup Guide (Tech Explores NYC)

Inovato Quadra

Where to buy
Direct from Inovato
– Baseline cost: $29
– Total cost: $29

Installation
– Easy difficulty, Comes with OS pre-installed and KIAUH works
Setup Guide (Standard KIAUH install)

WIP List

Here are a list of boards I’ve got in the backlog to get started on.

  • Old tower PC off Facebook – Free!
  • Virtualbox


Wishlist

Here are a list of boards people have mentioned / I have seen that I have yet to test. Please do let me know of any others you want to see and I’ll add them to the list, I’ll try to cover as many boards as I can afford. I can’t promise I’ll get through them all but I like to dream!

  • Banana Pi BPI-M2 Magic
  • Orange Pi Zero LTS
  • Orange Pi One
  • NanoPi Neo LTS
  • Zero Pi
  • La Frite (very interested in trying this one)
  • Radxa Zero (very interested in trying this one)
  • ODROID XU4 (suggested by XoBoR)
  • re-furbished NUC/Micro PC (Suggested by ProbablePenguin)
  • Makerbase MKS SKIPR
  • Atomic Pi

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7 thoughts on “Pi Alternatives for Klipper

  1. I have orange pi zero lts (running armbian & octopi, Web cam, I have used KIAUH on it fine).
    Also orange pi 4 (klipper, moonraker etc no problem but then again it’s 6 core 4gb, the emmc makes it quicker to boot than sd but nothing special, again used armbian, or another distro)
    Only issue was with gpio pins, irc I had to use wiringOp or Opi. Gpio as a substitute for wiringpi.

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  2. Hey David.
    Well done, again.
    I have an old NUC runing raspbian with 4 instances of klipper.
    Everything runs smooth like butter but the klipperscreen. There is no way (for me) to put it to work. Either manual instalation or with kiauh. Maybe this is because my lack of knowledge since I’m not a programer. Know 2 or 3 things 😉

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  3. I’ve installed Klipper on a Baytrail tablet from Aliexpress https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005001935973527.html

    It’s pretty straightforward installing a 64-bit OS apart from needing a 32-bit boot EFI. Normal BIOS function with a USB keyboard. I used Lubuntu. All hardware works out of the box including touchscreen. Use an OTG USB hub. Shame it doesn’t have a rear camera that could be used as a webcam.

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