The Banana Pi BPI-M1 is one of many open source single board computers (SBC) that have sprouted up over the last few years due to Raspberry Pi popularity and in more recent time shortages. The BPI-M1 isn’t a direct drop in replacement for the Raspberry Pi but it share sa similar form factor in terms of shape and size. The BPI-M1 is on the older side now as it was the first release Banana Pi model but sources are still available for it online.
Because people are struggling to get hold of Raspberry Pi’s I’ve seen a big demand in alternative cheap SBC sources. I have also seen a lot of questions arising on whether or not it’s possible to install Klipper on it. Well today I’m going to answer that question and take you through the process.
The Banana Pi was designed as an alternative to the early Raspberry Pi models. It can’t compete the the new Pi4 range but it costs a lot less (£30 pre tax) and is still sufficient to run klipper.
TheBanana pi arrived in a sealed bag inside a padded postage bag. There is also a nicely branded box.
First impressions are that the board looks a bit dated with a number of connectors that you don’t see on the more modern SBC boards. It should be noted that it does not have on-board WiFi and that it uses a full size SD card!
Setting up the OS
Head over to the Armbian website and download the OS image for the Banana Pi M1.
To write the OS image to the card I like to use the Raspberry Pi imager. Open the OS image in the Raspberry Pi imager and then select the SD card. Note – The SD card should be formatted with FAT32. Click write and then yes to acknowledge that any existing data on the SD card will be wiped.
Wait for the image to write to the SD card. This can take quite a while so grab a cup of tea or do whatever else you do to pass the time.
Insert the SD card into the board. Connect the board via ethernet to your network. Lastly plug in the micro usb for power.
You should see a red light and soon after some flashing blue lights around the ethernet port. Use a network scanning tool like advance IP scanner or your networks configuration interface to locate the IP address of the board.
Open a terminal client like PuTTY and use the IP address to SSH into the device.
You should be greeted with a command line interface prompting you to enter a username and password. Enter username ‘pi’ and password ‘bananapi’
Use the command below to change the password for security reasons.
Congratulations your SBC is up and running!
We will be using KIAUH to install Klipper and the associated packages.
First off we need to make sure git is installed. Paste and run the following command. It should already be there but there is no harm in checking!
sudo apt-get install git -y
Next install KIAUH. run these command one at a time. You should now have successfully installed KIAUH.
cd ~ git clone https://github.com/th33xitus/kiauh.git
Next launch KIAUH using the command below. You should be greeted with the menu for installing Klipper, Mainsail and Moonraker!
Press 1 and enter to go to the install menu. We are going to work our way through the installed in numerical order. Start with Klipper (1) then Moonraker (2) then Mainsail (3). If you are familiar with this process and know what you want you can start adding extras but otherwise you can add them later. You will likely be prompted for the sudo password during this. Enter it (note no text appears when doing so) and press enter. Installing these will take a while. Choose y for all the options as you go along.
Once complete enter b to go back to the main menu. You should have a status that looks like this. If you do press q and exit.
Enter the IP address of your board into a web browser. You will almost certainly have a Klippy error because you haven’t defined a board yet.
Plug in your controller board of choice and find the serial port using the following command. You should get the serial id you need to paste into your Klipper config.
And thats it guys! you are ready to move onto setting up your printer controller board.
Follow instructions specific to your board to flash the firmware and then update your printer.cfg file as per any other Klipper install! Hope you liked it and that this helps some people out who are scared of using a non-official Raspberry Pi board!
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