Banana Pro: designed with upgrades from the original Banana Pi

Banana Pro (Price: $54.99 & free shipping) is an exciting tool designed to help you better integrate technology in your instruction. This little board provides dedicated functions to communicate and integrate mechanical and electrical system. All of these characteristics make it an excellent educational tool for anyone involved in prototyping things. And finally, it can put a smile on your face.

In one single embedded system, we have all we need to build multimedia projects, intelligent robots, and Internet of Things applications. A multimedia project is a mix of various elements such as sound, video, images, animations, etc. For a robot, we have to integrate sensors and actuators with communication systems and computer programming. And in a world dominated by network communications, we use the Internet to control and communicate with things.


What are the main changes of Banana Pro compared with Banana Pi
There are four updates for the Pro board compared with the original Pi version. But only two changes are considerably more substantial compared with the offer of the old version.

Additional GPIO pins – 14 more additional GPIO pins is the main improvement over the original Pi. The number of pins was increased from 26 to 40. In other words, you can accessorize your project with more components and parts.

WiFi module – Yes, from now on you don’t need to search a compatible WiFi adapter for your development board. The Pro version comes with an onboard WiFi module that adds only 100 mA to the power usage. This is not the first or last single board computer with WiFi module, but such feature increase the functionality of the board.

Because there are two more other changes in the Pro version, here is a complete overview of all these changes:

Banana Pro Banana Pi A-20
GPIO 40 Pin 26 Pin
WiFi WiFi 802.11 b/g/n n.a.
Onboard Storage MicroSD (TF) card/SATA 2.0 SD (Max. 64GB) / MMC onboard, SATA 2.0
Audio Analog audio via a common 3.5 mm TRRS jack RCA plugAnalog audio via 3.5 mm TRRS jack


The hardware compatibility with the original Banana Pi
Both Banana versions share the same largely available hardware components and parts, and this is great. Even so, there are small differences due to the position of GPIO header and the micro USB OTG extension. Also, the WiFi module changes the original structure of the platform.

With these little changes, you have to take care especially when you are using shields or modules designed to fit on top of the development board.

Operating Systems

A list of operating systems compatible with Banana Pro
It is great when you have from where to choose. From this point of view, the Lemaker engineers released a variety of Linux distributions.

The official list of operating systems with support for the Pro version is:

  • Debian
  • Raspbian
  • Bananian
  • Berryboot
  • Scratch Fedora
  • Open MediaVault
  • OpenWRT
  • Lubuntu
  • Android
  • OpenSuse
  • Fedora
  • Gentoo
  • ArchLinux

As you can see, there are a lot of Linux distributions that also runs on the Raspberry Pi boards. But the biggest difference remains the Android OS. For example, the Raspberry Pi 2 does not have an Android image compatible with it, and there is no plan to develop one.

Documentation and support

Only a good documentation and a great technical support can stand as a solid base for anyone who is trying to build things
When you are unboxing the new Banana Pro, you will find a small book with instructions and hardware specifications. This is great, but it is not enough.

If you need to dig deep into prototyping things with Pro, you need a comprehensive documentation. In this case, we’re lucky with the growing community of Banana’s users and a large library with tutorials and examples.

Using one of the many Linux distributions, we are lucky again. We are lucky because these Linux distributions are widely used, and we can use books and documentation that are useful for other prototyping platforms such as Raspberry Pi.

Banana has a growing community and an active staff on their forums. Anyone can post a question and will receive accurate replies. I can only see this maker’s community as an amazing source of inspiration and support.


It is time to be creative with such a versatile development board
You can build cool things with a Banana Pro. It is not just robotics experts and programmers who can have some fun with a Pro. There are a variety of users that can put at work this single board computer.

From home applications to media centers, from robotics to the Internet of Things, from game emulators to servers, you can turn the Banana Pro in almost anything.


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