Building a Orange Pi Gateway

written by Marcelo Aquino

Note: The instructions here have been tested and confirmed to work on Orange Pi Zero, it is uncertain whether it will work on other types.

Prepare the system

Install the ARMbian

Download and Install the ARMbian(debian) OS image:

Install sunxi-tools

These tools are required to make changes in the boot area of the system:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install sunxi-tools

Configure spidev

Adding /dev/spidev1.0 is required since /dev/spidev0.0 is used for the onboard NAND flash.

bin2fex /boot/script.bin /tmp/orange.fex

Now edit /tmp/orange.fex:

nano /tmp/orange.fex

and add/change the following so it looks exactly like the part below:

spi_used = 1
spi_cs_bitmap = 1
spi_mosi = port:PC00<3><default><default><default>
spi_miso = port:PC01<3><default><default><default>
spi_sclk = port:PC02<3><default><default><default>
spi_cs0 = port:PC03<3><1><default><default>
spi_used = 1
spi_cs_bitmap = 1
spi_cs0 = port:PA13<2><1><default><default>
spi_sclk = port:PA14<2><default><default><default>
spi_mosi = port:PA15<2><default><default><default>
spi_miso = port:PA16<2><default><default><default>
spi_dev_num = 2
modalias = "spidev"
max_speed_hz = 33000000
bus_num = 0
chip_select = 0
mode = 0
full_duplex = 1
manual_cs = 0
modalias = "spidev"
max_speed_hz = 33000000
bus_num = 1
chip_select = 0
mode = 0
full_duplex = 1
manual_cs = 0

then recompile the fex file:

sudo fex2bin /tmp/orange.fex /boot/script.bin

Reboot the system:

sudo reboot

2 device files should exist now:

$ ls -l /dev/spidev*
crw------- 1 root root 153, 0 Jan 11 16:31 /dev/spidev0.0
crw------- 1 root root 153, 1 Jan 11 16:31 /dev/spidev1.0

Load the gpio module

sudo modprobe gpio-sunxi

add the line gpio-sunxi to /etc/modules to automagically load the module at boot time:

echo "gpio-sunxi" | sudo tee --append /etc/modules

Download MySensors

Get the code from MySensors repository (development branch):

git clone
cd MySensors


For a complete list of configuration parameters, run:

./configure --help

Always use the GPIO number to set the radio pins. If you follow the connection diagram (see below), pin CE is connected to pin 22, which is GPIO number 2 and CS is connected to pin 24, which is GPIO number 13.


The transports available are: rf24, rs485, rfm95, rfm69


--spi-spidev-device=/dev/spidev1.0 --my-transport=rf24 --my-rf24-ce-pin=2 --my-rf24-cs-pin=13


--spi-spidev-device=/dev/spidev1.0 --my-transport=rfm69 --my-rfm69-irq-pin=2 --my-rfm69-cs-pin=13 --my-rfm69-frequency=868 --my-is-rfm69hw

The frequency can be set to 315,433,868 or 915 Mhz; --my-is-rfm69hw enables high-powered rfm69hw radios.

Note: The OrangePi uses the new RFM69 driver which is not compatible with the old (=default) RFM69 driver, you need to add #define MY_RFM69_NEW_DRIVER to your nodes to properly communicate with the gateway (available only in development branch).

Gateway type

The types available are: ethernet, serial, mqtt

Ethernet gateway

By default, the gateway is built for ethernet and it listens on port 5003:

--my-gateway=ethernet --my-port=5003

To set the gateway as a client that connects to a controller, use:

--my-gateway=ethernet --my-controller-url-address=YOUR-CONTROLLER-ADDRESS


--my-gateway=ethernet --my-controller-ip-address=YOUR-CONTROLLER-IP

Serial gateway

If you are running a controller on the Raspberry Pi that doesn't support communication with the gateway through ethernet, you can use a virtual serial port:

--my-gateway=serial --my-serial-is-pty --my-serial-pty=/dev/ttyMySensorsGateway

For some controllers a more recognisable name needs to be used: e.g. /dev/ttyUSB020 (check if this is free).


The following is an example of how to build a MQTT gateway:

--my-gateway=mqtt --my-controller-ip-address= --my-mqtt-publish-topic-prefix=mysensors-out --my-mqtt-subscribe-topic-prefix=mysensors-in --my-mqtt-client-id=mygateway1


To build the gateway, run:


If there were no errors during compilation the file bin/mysgw will be created.


The gateway needs root privilege to run, for a list of parameters that can be used, run:

sudo ./bin/mysgw -h

The first time you run the gateway, enable the debug messages to verify that it is working:

sudo ./bin/mysgw

The following message indicates that communication with the nrf24 or rfm69 module failed:

mysgw: Starting gateway...
mysgw: Protocol version - 2.2.0-beta
mysgw: MCO:BGN:INIT GW,CP=RNNG---,VER=2.2.0-beta
mysgw: TSM:INIT
mysgw: TSF:WUR:MS=0
mysgw: TSM:FAIL:CNT=1

A success message would be:

mysgw: Starting gateway...
mysgw: Protocol version - 2.2.0-beta
mysgw: MCO:BGN:INIT GW,CP=RNNG---,VER=2.2.0-beta
mysgw: TSF:LRT:OK
mysgw: TSM:INIT
mysgw: TSF:WUR:MS=0
mysgw: TSM:READY:ID=0,PAR=0,DIS=0
mysgw: Listening for connections on
mysgw: MCO:BGN:STP


To install run:

sudo make install

To start service automatically when the Orange Pie boots:

sudo systemctl enable mysgw.service


Oragen Pi Zero

NRF24L01+ Radio

OrangePi Pin No. NRF24L01+ Color
3.3V VCC Red
22 / GPIO2 CE Orange
24 / GPIO13 CSN/CS Yellow
23 / GPIO14 SCK Green
19 / GPIO15 MOSI Blue
21 / GPIO16 MISO Violet
26 / GPIO10 *()** IRQ Gray

*()**: Optional, more info here.

RFM69 Radio

Raspberry RFM69 Color
3.3V VCC Red
24 / GPIO13 NSS Yellow
23 / GPIO14 SCK Green
19 / GPIO15 MOSI Blue
21 / GPIO16 MISO Violet
22 / GPIO2 DI00 Gray
ANA Antenna*
RST Not used**

* Solder a piece of wire, more info here.

** Adafruit modules need RST connected to GND, or to MY_RFM69_RST_PIN

Improving throughput for nrf24

Normally the gateway asks the nrf24 module if a new radio message is available and then sleep a few milliseconds before asking again. This is necessary to avoid high CPU usage. During the gateway sleeping period, the module will still listen for new messages, but if multiple messages arrive, it won't take all.

There is another method were the interrupt pin from the nrf24 modules is used to inform when a new message arrives and it's immediately added to a queue for further processing. To use this method connect the interrupt pin from the nrf24 module to your Orange Pi (check the wiring part for more details) and use the "--my-rf24-irq-pin=PIN" option to configure the gateway.

In the following example, the interrupt pin is connected to the Orange Pi pin 26 / GPIO10:

./configure --spi-spidev-device=/dev/spidev1.0 --my-transport=rf24 --my-rf24-ce-pin=2 --my-rf24-cs-pin=13 --my-rf24-irq-pin=10

Shopping Guide

10pcs NRF24L01+ 2.4GHz Wireless Transceiver
This is what enables your sensors to communicate wirelessly across a nominal range of 60 meters.
1 available - $13.99   Buy
undefined   Buy
Orange Pi Zero
Mini computer for running controller and MySensors gateway.
Unavailable   Buy


Sensors & Actuators

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