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Hardkernel tweaks its popular Odroid-C1 Pi clone

Aug 12, 2015 — by Eric Brown — 4,657 views

Hardkernel launched a $37 Odroid-C1+ SBC that updates its $35 C1 with a full-sized HDMI, heatsink, I2S audio, and USB power, but keeps the quad-core SoC.

Hardkernel’s Odroid project is shipping a replacement for its community-backed Odroid-C1 single-board computer, which debuted last December, and came in fourth place in this June’s LinuxGizmos/ Linux/Android SBC reader survey out of a field of 53. According to the project, the $37 C1+ “replaced” the original $35 C1 as of July, and the original cases and heatsink will not work with the C1+. Otherwise, processor, memory, and other details are the same, including the 40-pin GPIO connector, which is said to be compatible with later generation Raspberry Pi SBCs.

(click image to enlarge)

Changes to the Odroid-C1+ are said to include:
  • Full-sized Type-A HDMI port instead of micro-HDMI
  • Heatsink now standard instead of optional
  • I2S bus (7-pin header) that supports optional HiFi audio add-on board
  • CEC function now independent of RTC battery
  • Power support for USB OTG in addition to DC barrel jack
  • Improved SD card compatibility

Board details: Odroid-C1+ (left) compared to Odroid-C1
(click images to enlarge)

At the $35 price, a $2 increase is more symbolic than meaningful, but indeed, the $35 Raspberry Pi 2 can once again boast the price lead among ARM hacker boards at the low end — at least until the Chip SBC arrives at the end of the year. On the other hand, the C1 and C1+, which both run on a 1.5GHz, quad-core Cortrex-A5 “S805” SoC from Amlogic, do appear to offer a clear performance edge over the Pi 2’s 900MHz, quad-core Cortex-A7 Broadcom BCM2836 SoC, according to an April comparison by AndroidAuthority.

Amlogic S805 SoC block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

Although the Pi 2 debuted in February, a few months after the Odroid-C1, the C1+ is less an answer to the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s new flagship, as it is a response to the requests of Odroid users. The most welcome feature may be the full-sized HDMI slot, something the Pi has always had, although the C1+ has better audio-over-HDMI support, according to AndroidAuthority. (Interestingly, Seeed Studio’s latest, $39 BeagleBone Green variant of the BeagleBone Black, which came in second place in our survey, went in the opposite direction and completely abandoned HDMI.)

While there’s little in this odd assortment of enhancements to crow about, the C1+ is a solid improvement that doesn’t disturb the fundamentals. The C1 was already something of a miracle of price/performance optimization. With such tight restraints, you can’t just toss in a gee-whiz feature without blowing the bottom line or sacrificing another beloved interface.

Block diagrams: Odroid-C1+ (left) compared to Odroid-C1
(click images to enlarge)

Like the Odroid-C1, the C1+ ships with 1GB of DDR3, and offers a microSD slot and eMMC flash socket for up to 64GB. Like the Pi, the board lacks onboard WiFi and Bluetooth, but unlike the Pi it provides gigabit Ethernet instead of 10/100Mbps.

Once again you get four USB 2.0 host ports and the now power-ready micro-USB OTG port, as well as the 40-pin connector and other interfaces. The 85 x 56mm board ships with Ubuntu and Android, with other compatible Linux distributions including Fedora, ARCHLinux, Debian, and OpenELEC. As usual, full documentation and schematics are supplied.

To support the new I2S header, the Odroid project has released a C1+ HiFi Shield. The audio add-on is built around a PCM5102 DAC from Texas Instruments, via its Burr-Brown acquisition. The DAC chip supports 16- to 24-bit audio with low -93dB distortion and 100dB+ dynamics, as well as sampling at up to 192kHz, says the Odroid project.

Odroid-C1+ with stacked HiFi add-on board (left) and HiFi detail view
(click images to enlarge)

The HiFi Shield integrates a pair of gold-plated stereo RCA connectors, a 3.5mm stereo jack, and an “ultra-low noise” dropout regulator. The Odroid project is working on extending support for the Linux-ready board to Android.

Summary of Odroid-C1+ specs

Specifications listed for the Odroid-C1+ include:

  • Processor — Amlogic S805 (4x Cortex-A5 cores @ 1.5GHz) with dual-core Mali-450 MP2 GPU; 1080p video accelerator
  • Memory:
    • 1GB DDR3 @ 792MHz
    • MicroSD slot with optional 8GB or 16GB UHS-1 card
    • eMMC 4.5 socket with optional module up to 64GB
  • Networking — gigabit Ethernet port (Realtek RTL8211F) with Audio-MDIX support
  • Other I/O:
    • 4x USB 2.0 host ports
    • Micro-USB 2.0 device/OTG port with power support
    • Full-sized HDMI out Type-A port (video and audio)
    • 40-pin GPIO expansion connector (GPIO/UART/SPI/I2C/ADC)
    • ADC 10-bit SAR interface (2x channels)
    • Serial console port
    • I2S audio bus
  • Other features — Standard heatsink; LEDs; IR receiver; RTC; optional USB-based 720p camera; optional WiFi USB dongle; optional $16 Tinkering Kit with breadboard etc.
  • Power — 5V2A DC input; 2-3W consumption (uses less than 0.5A in most cases, but can climb to 2A if many passive USB peripherals are attached)
  • Dimensions — 85 x 56mm (3.4 x 2.2 in.)
  • Operating system — Android 4.4.x; Ubuntu 14.04; both run on Linux Kernel 3.10 LTS

Further information

The Odroid-C1+ is now available from Korea’s Hardkernel for $37, and it’s available from AmeriDroid for $37.95. The C1+ HiFi Shield sells for $39. Note that while Odroi’d detail images and block diagrams on the product page are up to date, at publication time the spec list and FAQs still refer to the original Odroid-C1. More information may be found at Hardkernel’s Odroid-C1+ product page and the latest specs appear to be on

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