Revision as of 22:45, 16 October 2014 by LubOlimex (talk | contribs) (FAQ)

The A13 processor from Allwinner runs at 1GHz with a Mali400 GPU. It was designed for integration into tablets. Olimex has made several development board designs based around this chip. This wiki page contains information about hardware and software to help make use of these development boards.

The A13 based boards currently available are

  • A13-OLinuXino-WIFI - Recommended if your developing software for the A13 for the first time as its the only one with network connectivity.
  • A13-OLinuXino - This is the same as the WIFI version but without WIFI module and NAND flash. Note: Android requires NAND flash to run, so this board can't run Android.
  • A13-OLinuXino-MICRO - Similar to the A13-OlinuXino but with less extras
  • A13-SOM-512 - System-on-Module A13 board recommended for users with experience in Allwinner development. Allows developing custom extensions with only the peripherals needed.

Official Images from OLIMEX


The official Debian images are suitable only for microSD card. Information on booting Debian from the NAND might be found at the forum.

Download methods and locations might be found below!

Torrent of Debian release 10: A13 Debian Linux with kernel 3.4.90+

Direct download of Debian release 10: A13 Debian Linux with kernel 3.4.90+

Instructions for preparing the Debian image: Debian with Kernel 3.4.90+ build instructions

The images include the following:

  • Linux Kernel 3.4.90+
  • LXDE desktop environment
  • GCC 4.6
  • dpkg
  • git
  • i2c-tools
  • perl
  • xorg
  • Python 2.7
  • vlc
  • mplayer
  • smplayer
  • midori browser
  • usb-modeswitch
  • sshfs
  • wvdial
  • LCD and touchscreen support
  • GPIO
  • I2C
  • SPI
  • USB WIFI RTL8188CU, Ethernet AX88772B
  • Audio
  • PyA13 python module with GPIO,I2C,SPI support
  • Default Login: root/olimex

Note: the A13-OLinuXino-SD card which we have on our webshop contain same image on 4GB Class10 fast micro sd-card, if you want to use this image please use Class10 fast card or the performance of Linux will slow down

The file A13_debian_34_75_WIFI_RALINK_GCC_GPIO_X_I2C_100KHz_UVC_TS_FTDI_video_release_9.7z is an archive of A13_debian_34_75_WIFI_RALINK_GCC_GPIO_X_I2C_100KHz_UVC_TS_FTDI_video_release_9.7z file.

So in order to write the image on SD card you have to unzip A13_debian_34_75_WIFI_RALINK_GCC_GPIO_X_I2C_100KHz_UVC_TS_FTDI_video_release_9.7z file:

For Windows use 7zip and then use Win32DiskImager.exe (http://sourceforge.net/projects/win32diskimager/) for image writing

For Linux use p7zip package. If you have no installed 7zip then type

   #apt-get install p7zip

Copy A13_debian_34_75_WIFI_RALINK_GCC_GPIO_X_I2C_100KHz_UVC_TS_FTDI_video_release_9.7z file in your directory and unzip it with

   #7za e A13_debian_34_75_WIFI_RALINK_GCC_GPIO_X_I2C_100KHz_UVC_TS_FTDI_video_release_9.7z

The output should be a new 4GB file named A13_debian_34_75_WIFI_RALINK_GCC_GPIO_X_I2C_100KHz_UVC_TS_FTDI_video_release_9.7z Put 4GB SD card in your card reader and type

   # ls /dev/sd

Then press two times <TAB> you will see a list of your sd devices like sda sdb sdc note that some of these devices may be your hard disk so make sure you know which one is your sd card before you proceed as you can damage your HDD if you choose the wrong sd-device. You can do this by unplugging your sd card reader and identify which "sd" devices remove from the list. Once you know which device is your sdcard like sda use this text instead of the sdX name in the references below:

   #dd if=A13_debian_34_75_WIFI_RALINK_GCC_GPIO_X_I2C_100KHz_UVC_TS_FTDI_video_release_9.7z 

The main tested onboard hardware modules are:

GPIO - they are located in /sys/class/gpio directory. Note that first you have to export GPIOs. For example: to add PB03

   root@A10:~# echo 1 > /sys/class/gpio/export

to make PB03 output

   root@A10:~# echo out > /sys/class/gpio/gpio1_pb3/direction

to make PB03 high level(3.3V)

   root@A10:~# echo 1 > /sys/class/gpio/gpio1_pb3/value

to make PB03 low level(0V)

   root@A10:~# echo 0 > /sys/class/gpio/gpio1_pb3/value

Full list with supported GPIOs is:

   gpio12_pg9  gpio1_pb3   gpio4_pe4  gpio7_pe7 
   gpio10_pe10  gpio13_pg10  gpio2_pb4   gpio5_pe5  gpio8_pe8 
   gpio11_pe11  gpio14_pg11  gpio3_pb10  gpio6_pe6  gpio9_pe9

note that:

gpio12_pg9(GPIO2/pin10) is connected to on board LED and it is multiplexed with UART3_TX and gpio13_pg10(GPIO2/pin8) is multiplexed with UART3_RX Therfore if you want to use these ports like GPIO then UART3_TX and UART3_RX will not be available.

LCD - 4.3"(480x272), 7"(800x480), 10"(1024x600)

VGA - 800x600, 1024x768

Touch_screen - you need calibrate LCD touch screen usi it. Note that by default the X environment does not start like root user. In our case the X starts with user named olimex

Therefore if you want to use the touch screen in X environment then you have to run calibrate procedure like olimex user. For example type:

   #su olimex

enter the olimex password:olimex

   #sudo ts_calibrate

calibrate the touch screen and reboot the board

   #sudo reboot

ASIX8877 USB-LAN - https://www.olimex.com/Products/OLinuXino/A13/USB-ETHERNET-AX88772B/

WEB camera A4TECH

MOD-WIFI-RTL8188 - https://www.olimex.com/Products/Modules/Ethernet/MOD-WIFI-RTL8188/ instructions on how to enable it might be found here: How_to_configure_MOD-RTL8188_on_official_OLinuXino_Debian_releases

USB_OTG - low/full/high USB host

USB_HOST_up - low/full/high USB host

USB_HOST_down - low/full/high USB host


I2C2(100KHz) - /dev/i2c-2

I2C1(100KHz) - /dev/i2c-1

UART3 - /dev/ttyS1

A13 Debian 4GB SD-card image armel (softfloat) with: MONO complete

  • Linux Kernel 3.4.67+
  • XFCE4 desktop environment
  • Mplayer CLI
  • GCC 4.6
  • iceweasel WEB browser
  • LCD and touchscreen support
  • GPIO
  • I2C
  • SPI
  • USB WIFI RTL8188CU, Ethernet AX88772B
  • Audio
  • apache2
  • dpkg
  • git
  • i2c-tools
  • perl
  • vlc
  • xorg
  • Scratch
  • GCC
  • Python 2.7.3
  • PyA13 python module with GPIO,I2C,SPI support
  • OpenCV
  • mono-complete
  • Default Login: root/olimex


Direct download: A13 Android NAND image with LCD 4.3" 480x272 and touchscreen

Torrent download: A13-OLinuXino Android for NAND memory with video settings for 480x272 display output

  • Android_version - 4.0.3
  • Baseband version - 1.2
  • Kernel version 3.0.8+
  • LCD 4.3" 480x272 pixels with backlight
  • touchscreen support

Direct download: A13 Android NAND image with LCD 7" 800x480 and touchscreen support

Torrent download: A13-OLinuXino Android for NAND memory with video settings for LCD 7" 800x480 and touchscreen

  • Android_version - 4.0.3
  • Baseband version - 1.2
  • Kernel version 3.0.8+
  • LCD 7" 800x480 pixels with backlight
  • touchscreen support

Direct download: A13 Android NAND image with VGA 800x600 support

Torrent download: A13-OLinuXino Android for NAND memory with VGA 800x600 support

  • Android_version - 4.0.3
  • Baseband version - 1.2
  • Kernel version 3.0.8+
  • VGA 800x600 pixels

Note: A13 Android is hard-coded with 800 pixels width maximal resolution, so VGA 1024x768 mode and LCD 10" 1024x600 pixels are not supported

A13-OLinuXino/A13-OLinuXino-WIFI Direct download for A13 Android microSD card image for 800x480 LCD

Torrent of Android release 2 for microSD card: A13-OLinuXino A13 Android for microSD card with video support for 800x480 LCD

You have to unrar the file and write the image on 4GB sd card. We recommend class 10 card. You can use dd (under linux) or Win32DiskImager.exe (under Windows) for image writing.

  • Android_version - 4.0.3
  • Baseband version - 1.2
  • Kernel version 3.0.8+
  • VGA 800x600 pixels



To write a Linux image to an SD card under Windows we use Win32 Disk Imager):

  • Download Win32 Disk Imager Win32 Disk Imager
  • Insert card
  • Start program
  • Select file
  • Click "write"

To write a Linux image to an SD card under Linux:

For instance you have an image with the file name of "debian_2g.img". It would be downloaded to the SD card connected to a Linux machine using one of the following commands:

  • # dd bs=4M oflag=sync if=debian_2g.img of=/dev/sdX


  • # cp debian_2g.img /dev/sdX

where X is the uSD card.

How to change HDMI, VGA and LCD resolutions under Debian?

The default SD card setup is made with settings for HDMI 720p/60Hz. If you want to change to some other LCD, VGA or HDMI resolution then you have to start change_display.sh script file in /root directory.





and press "Enter".

Then choose the resolution and the interface(LCD, HDMI or VGA). Note that the selection of a specific resolution is done by navigating with the arrow keys and pressing "space" button. Make sure the asterisk marks your selection properly.

The supported resolutions are:

For LCD:

  • 1. 4.3" (480x272)
  • 2. 7" (800x480)
  • 3. 10" (1024x600)
  • 4. 15.6" (1366x768)

Important: initially the boards are calibrated for a specific display. If you re-write the image (no matter whether the SD card or the NAND memory) you would need to use a mouse to calibrate the display initially. It might be impossible to calibrate it via touching the display.


  • 0. 480i
  • 1. 576i
  • 2. 480p
  • 3. 576p
  • 4. 720p50
  • 5. 720p60
  • 6. 1080i50
  • 7. 1080i60
  • 8. 1080p24
  • 9. 1080p50
  • 10. 1080p60

For VGA: (note that the VGA signals are routed to custom 6 pin connector and you need from adapter to standard VGA connector)

  • 0. 1680x1050
  • 1. 1440x900
  • 2. 1360x768
  • 3. 1280x1024
  • 4. 1024x768
  • 5. 800x600
  • 6. 640x480
  • 7. 1920x1080
  • 8. 1280x720

Hardware related

How to attach USB-Serial cable to console UART?

Debug with JTAG - Allwinner OpenOCD configuration files made by Henrik Nordstrom, he is using ARM-USB-TINY-H to debug u-boot.

Linux related

How to build latest official Debian release, at Olimex Wordpress

How to build Debian for A13-OLinuXino-WIFI by Marcin Twardak

Sunxi u-boot loader The linux-sunxi git page contains a lot of sources for all Olimex Allwinner boards.

How to edit my MAC address?

How to setup USB stick?

How to enable WIFI?

How to enable Ethernet?

Android related

How to compile new Android image?

How to make code to run on power up?

How to access GPIOs?

How to add PWM support? There is an article here: how to add pwm


The Debian Linux Python package for A13-OLinuXino is called pyA13. It is installed in the default Debian image. More information and examples on how it can be used might be found here:

Link to pyA13 package at python.org


Working with GPIOs with Scratch on A13-OLinuXino.

Working with I2C with Scratch on A13-OLinuXino.

How to edit board configurations and definitions in the official Debian Linux?

The biggest part of the board configuration might be edited, changed or improved in a file called script.bin

The script.bin file can usually be found in the main directory of a microSD card prepared with official Debian image. The folder containing the script can be inspected under both Windows, Linux or Mac.

You can't directly edit binary file so you would need to convert it to text format (it is called fex in this case), then edit the parameters via a text editor and finally switch it back to binary format.

The different options for the script are explained here: SUNXI FEX GUIDE


To convert back and fort the script.bin you might use different tools. You can find Windows tools here: SUNXI TOOLS FOR WINDOWS . For Linux convertors please check the sunxi tools here: SUNXI TOOLS

Note that it is possible to change the script.bin in a running Debian image in newest releases! More information might be found at the end of the document! Not all releases feature the live method of changing fex to bin so if you board doesn't have it follow the other methods.

Changing script.bin file without removing the microSD card:

The tools for script.bin changing are located in /opt/sunxi-tools directory # cd /opt/sunxi-tools # ./chscr.sh This will convert script.bin file from sdcard to script.fex file and the file will be opened using nano editor. Now you can change the board modules and parameters, save the changes and exit from nano editor # ./wrscr.sh this will convert script.fex to script.bin and the script.bin file will be written to sdcard.

How to add STK1160 video capture driver support in Kernel 3.4

STK1160 driver backport by Dimitar Tomov


A13-OLinuXino schematic in PDF format and Eagle CAD files

A13 datasheet and user manual PDFs

A13 Registers Guide





Serial connection to A13 description of how to connect a computer to the A13 board over serial cable.

Power supply

The A13-OLinuXino can be partially powered over Micro USB, but to power all peripherals, a 6+ watt DC power supply between 6 and 16 volts can be used. The connector is a positive-center 2.5mm barrel plug. There is also an on-board connector for a Li-PO battery. Important note: A13-OLinuXino-MICRO works with +5V only! If you apply more than 5V you will damage the board.


Linux Commands

Linux-Commands Brief Linux Command reference

A generic wiki for the Allwinner devices might be found here. It contains some great detailed info

Bare Metal programming - no OS

It is possible to program and debug code written directly on the chip without an OS such as linux or android.
The advantage is no kernel overhead and tighter control of the CPU operation.

Bare Metal programming A13

Using an operating system - Nand flash

The Wifi version of the A13 board comes preprogrammed with android, which is held in the Nand flash.

The image in the Nand flash can be updated using the tools found at the following links:

LiveSuit for Windows

LiveSuit for loading images

to the NAND flash; to activate A13 bootloader do as follows: run Livesuit, disconnect the power supply and USB cable, then press HOME button, apply power supply, attach USB cable and release the button, Livesuit will detect the bootloader and will ask which file to program to the NAND flash.

Prebuilt images that can be programmed into the Nand flash can be found here.

Using an operating system - SD card

The A13 board can boot from an SD card. Just plug it in an imaged uSD card and connect power.

Note: The SD card can easily be corrupted if power is removed while the system is booting or writing to system files. To avoid this do not remove power while it is booting and shut the system down properly before disconnecting power.

Prebuilt images

Some prebuilt images have been created, follow the link below for details.

Prebuilt SD card images running debian

Build your own kernel and image onto SD card

Some developers want more control over the kernel and modules that are included. The link below shows directions to build your own kernel and image it onto an SD card.

Build Bootable SD Card with Debian Step by step instructions how to make SD card image with above Kernel and U-boot

Setup and configure the installed debian image

There are several settings that can be made for a particular hardware configuration in the script file.

The following link explains the script file as well as wifi or ethernet setup and GPIO settings

Configuration of hardware in the debian image

Installing UsbVideoClass(UVC) on A13-OLinuXino board

To work with USB Video Cameras you have to enable the UVC support in the kernel. The link below explains how to do it.

UVC support

Setup VLC player for video streaming on A13-OLinuXino board

To setup video streaming you should first have installed UVC support so you can connect USB cameras to A13-OLinuXino.

VLC streaming

Creating a program to run on the A13-OlinuXino board

Programming for A13 in debian Step by step instructions to make your first hello world program run on the A13 board running debian.

Software links

Tools to hack A13-OLinuXino

Installing Xfce4 graphical interface on Debian How to install XFCE4 on A13-OLinuXino

A13-SDK Android 4.0.3 ICS

A13-SDK contain everything you need to build Android ACS 4.0.3 NAND image for A13-OLinuXino-WIFI. Both mirrors contain same image a13.tar.gz which you should unpack and follow the instructions inside. Builds on Debian 64bit as on Ubuntu have some problems with Java which we never managed to solve.

Mega upload mirror

Gdrive mirror

A13-SDK Android 4.1 JB

This is version 1.5 of A13-SDK which builds Android 4.1 Jelly Beans image. It works slower than 4.0.3 and we personally do not see any advantage to use 4.1 vs 4.0.3

Andreas Auer kindly offered to host this 4GB image


Projects people from the olinuxino community are working on or have finished and how they did it.

Build Bootable SD Card with Debian Run Debian and u-boot, Step by step instructions how to make SD card image.
Prebuilt SD card images running debian

Booting Linux for less than 1 second optimization made by Miroslav Bendik.

Change GPIOs using scripts in linux

A13 OLinuXino fast GPIO with /dev/mem now achieve up to 2 Mhz toggle

A13 kernel module for direct support of UEXT MOD-IO board, adding ADC, relays etc, cool project can be used as reference how to make your own kernel modules

Instructions how to run MOD-BT with A13-OLinuXino

Customer project of A13-OLinuXino communication via SPI with MOD-MRF89-868

A13-Olinuxino-WIFI and opencv face detection

Controlling Relays, Switching ON/OFF of 220V appliances and home automation

Door security logger, image capture

GPS logger with google maps viewer, MOD-GPS module on UEXT

Web server with MOD-RGB controlling RGB LED strip

Interface MOD-IO board with I2C under Android

Run old games on android mame4droid

Bare Metal programming A13 Programming directly for the chip without an OS

FreedomBox/UniLeipzigPractical is the documentation of a freedom box related practical course at the AKSW Research Group at the University of Leipzig

List of Contributors

Henrik Nordstrom - a.k.a. hno, uboot for A13 development, A1X guru, Linux-Sunxi maintainer

Dimitar Gamishev - a.k.a. HEHOPMAJIEH, Linux kernel configuration for OLinuXino, Android images, LCD touchscreen

Alexandro Mery - a.k.a. mnemoc, Linux-Sunxi maintainer

Davide Fabbri - Linaro kernel and lubuntu image

Scott Anderson - A13 wiki maintainer

Jeffrey Wischkaemper - a.k.a. jwischka, A13-OLinuXino Debian image with X

Maxime Ripard - ARM Linux patches

Jason Plum - Arch Linux support