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I2C, SMBus and Armbian Linux

Find out how to set up I2C communication on the Orange Pi using i2c tools.
Created: 11/02/2017 | Last Updated: 11/02/2017

This page details how to setup I2C support on the Armbian image from for your Orange Pi computer.

When first booting the new operating system you will be prompted to login as root, the default settings are:

Username: root

Password: 1234

You will be asked to update your root password and then create a new user.

Follow prompts to add a new user, for ease of use we are using "pi" as the username and you can set your own password.

Step 1: Download the latest Armbian linux image for your Orange Pi model and burn to your SD Card following the instructions on

Step 2: Next you need to update your Orange Pi to ensure all the latest packages are installed:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

Step 3 a:  Once you have logged into your Orange Pi from the command line, run the following command to install SMBus and Python Dev:

sudo apt-get install python-smbus python-dev

Step 4:  From the command line, run the following command to install i2c-tools:

sudo apt-get install i2c-tools

Step 5: Set the Raspberry Pi to start I2C automatically at boot by editing /etc/modules :

sudo nano /etc/modules

Use your cursor keys to move to the last line and add a new line and then add:


Save your changes and exit the nano editor.

Step 6: To avoid having to run the I2C tools at root add the ‘pi’ user to the I2C group:

sudo adduser pi i2c

Step 9: Next reboot the Orange Pi:

sudo reboot

When your Orange Pi has rebooted you will now have I2C and SMBus Python 2 support.

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