The Banana Pi M2 is a low-power single-board computer that offers a lot of processing power in a very small package (it’s about the size of a credit card). As the name implies, the M2 is an offshoot of the popular Raspberry Pi single-board computers. The M2 features a quad-core CPU, making it faster than the Raspberry Pi boards in many applications.
Unlike many complete computer systems, the Banana Pi M2 single-board computer will need some additional parts in order to work. The Banana Pi requires 5 volts of power, which you can provide in one of two ways: via a micro USB connector or a small-barrel connector.
Video is normally fed out using the on-board HDMI port or to a composite monitor by way of the headphone jack with a camcorder-type cable. You may also access a network connection for text-based applications.
The Banana Pi M2 does not ship with an operating system, but you can download several from the Banana Pi website including Linux, Android, and the Raspbian-like OS. You will need an operating system that is compiled for the Banana Pi M2’s CPU. Since the Banana Pi M2 uses a different type of processor than the Raspberry Pi, it is not compatible with operating systems compiled for those computers.
Once you have selected the operating system that you plan to run, you will need to install it on an SD card. This can be done in many ways, the easiest of which is to use a computer running Windows to create a bootable SD card with the Win32 Disk Imager software. Win32 Disk Imager will quickly create the files on your SD card that you will need to create a working system.
Once you have created the bootable SD card, insert it into the Banana Pi M2 and run the system.
The Banana Pi M2 can be used for many things. We plan to publish more blog posts in the near future detailing some of the interesting uses we have found for this amazing single-board computer. Expect guides on how to use the Banana Pi M2 along with a USB digital TV receiver receiver card and a simple homebrew antenna to make an inexpensive aircraft monitoring receiver station, as well as a guide about using the Banana Pi M2 as a data logger for a personal weather station at your house. Keep an eye on our blog for those articles and more.