Putting Armbian on the Odroid C1

Alexander Rüedlinger - - ARM , Armbian , Ordoid C1 , SBC

One of the greatest problems in the area of single board computers (SBCs) is the lack of ready to use GNU/Linux distributions for tinkeres as well as the long-term support of these SBCs.

Of course some hardware manufacturers, such as Hardkernel and LeMaker, provide their own distribution for their customers. However, I still prefer community-driven projects, as they are not influenced by the hardware manufacturers' business decisions to declare a piece of hardware as obsolete once they throw a new SBC on the market.

Fortunately, there are the community-driven projects like Armbian and Arch Linux ARM that build their own GNU/Linux distributions for some ARM-based SBCs, including the Odroid C1.

TLDR: To make a long story short, I needed to reinstall a fresh GNU/Linux on my Odroid C1 SBC, so I can develop and test some user-space sensor drivers. And to keep things simple, I picked the Armbian distribution, which is based on Debian Jessie and the Linux Kernel 3.10.

Overall, the installation of Armbian on the Odroid C1 is not that difficult. The following steps summarize the installation procedure.

Download Armbian

For downloading Armbian just use wget and the url shown below:

wget https://dl.armbian.com/odroidc1/Debian_jessie_default.7z

Unpack the Armbian archive

Next, extract the 7z file using the command 7za:

7za x -ojessie Debian_jessie_default.7z 

Flash Armbian on the SD card

After that we need to flash the img file on a sd card using dd. In my case the sd card is /dev/mmcblk. If you're reusing a sd card you should wipe first the sd card.

dd if=./jessie/Armbian_5.30_Odroidc1_Debian_jessie_default_3.10.104.img of=/dev/mmcblk0 bs=4M status=progress

Once you have flashed your sd card you should not forget to issue the command sync, otherwise any buffered data in memory is not written to the sd card!

Power on the Odroid

Now, it's time to plug the sd card into the SBC and to power on the SBC. If everything is okay, then a blue LED on the Odroid C1 should start to blink. If this is the case, we can move along and ssh into the SBC.

Find out the IP address

For finding out the Odroid's IP address, we can leverage the handy program nmap. The latter is a network CLI tool that allows us to scan hosts on a network. The following output illustrates how the Odroid can be identified. As one can see, the Odroid uses a network interface card that was produced by the company Wibrain.

nmap -nsP
Nmap scan report for
Host is up (0.00097s latency).
MAC Address: 00:1E:06:C8:29:47 (Wibrain)

SSH Login

The default password of the root user on Armbian system is 1234. However, once you login, you will immediately be prompted to change the root password as well as to create a non-root account.

 ssh root@

In my opinion that is well done because some inexperienced users might use Armbian as the OS for their Internet of Thing (IoT) applications or projects.

Update the system

In a last step, we should update the system. For this we can use the apt package manager like on any other Debian-based distribution. So, first we need to update the package sources using apt update, followed by apt full-upgrade, which upgrades already installed packages. Lastly, reboot the system.

apt update
apt full-upgrade