Orange Box and a New Face (2)

withcoverpi2oragneboxFigure 1: The Orange Box powered by a Pi

The pint-sized orange box runs fine with Raspbian, naturally.  But, I wanted to run NetBSD on it.  I took the “canned” image from and put it on a uSD card.  I inserted the uSD into the Pi2 board. The system booted up and displayed the NetBSD logon prompt, found my Realtek 8192 WiFi dongle, and let me start the process of adding my favorite programs.

Building Netsurf from pkgsrc (Netsurf version 3.5) was fairly uneventful, and the browser works great! I did have to build OpenSSL separately (in pkgsrc) to complete the dependency list for Netsurf.  Then I started to build FLDigi (a ham program) from pkgsrc, but it got caught up in a loop when it tried to compile the pulseaudio dependency.  Rather than chase the problem down, I copied an existing pulseaudio.tgz from the NetBSD install on the Odroid C1 powered original homemade tablet.

The next thing I decided to test (I’m not doing this in any particular order) – was the GPIO.  On NetBSD, the GPIO pins can be configured at boot time, per the settings in /etc/gpio.conf:

  • gpio0 18 set out    # configure BCM pin #18 for output

The numerical values are the pins to be used (in this case for output), using the BCM pin numbering scheme.

Once the GPIO has been configured, the pins can be set thusly:

  • gpioctl gpio0 nn 1

The “nn” is the pin defined by the BCM pin numbering scheme.  I was able to turn various pins “on” and “off” using the form (above) and I could toggle them back and forth with:

  • gpioctl gpio0 nn toggle


Next, I installed the pf firewall, the configuration for which, works (almost) unchanged from my FreeBSD setups.  Nice!  The Orange Box is a tiny little thing of aluminum, and I wondered if the internal temperature might be excessive.  I read the temperature, using the Pi’s built in temperature sensor, thusly:

  • envstat -f

The temperature ran slowly up to about 122 degrees fahrenheit, and stayed there.  I guess the tiny box reached an equilibrium state where the aluminum enclosure could conduct the heat off quickly enough to prevent any further increase in temperature.  At least – after three hours – the temp had not increased.  122 F is about 50 C.

An internal temperature of 122 degrees fahrenheit would be killer for an LCD.  Fortunately, the way I built the tiny tablet helps me in this situation, as the LCD is mounted on top of the front panel, and thus is isolated from the heat.  Also – the internal temp won’t be equal to the processor temperature. So, I’m happy with 122 F.

tiny-desktops3Figure 2:  Tablets and Teaspoons (click to enlarge).

I managed to find a keyboard to match the orange box Pi2-powered homemade tablet.  It is a half inch shorter than the teaspoon, but works fairly well (not for the touch typist, but instead for the thumb mode keyboardist) – a little slower, but workable. It’s the most solid of the teeny-tiny keyboards I’ve yet to find. The one I have seems to run forever on a single charge (but when it does finally wind down, it takes a micro-usb charging cable to recharge it).

Read More …

Note: the author does not have a recent, applicable background in circuit building, or battery related issues, so this is presented as the work of a hobbyist, and is not meant for duplication by others. Readers should look elsewhere for design advice and info.

Note: This author and site is not affiliated with the Raspberry Pi in any way. For information about those projects visit “Raspberry Pi” is a trademark of the Raspberry Pi Foundation.  NetBSD is trademarked by the NetBSD Foundation, Inc, and the operating system can be found at  This author and site has no affiliation with NetBSD.  Netsurf is a project that resides at and is not affiliated with this site in any way. 

Note: The Odroid C1 product site is That site  is not affiliated with this author or site in any way.


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