Today, I’m excited to share my latest adventure in green computing: configuring the Odroid N2+ for low-power operation. If you’re like me, you’ve probably been on the lookout for ways to reduce your energy consumption and carbon footprint. Well, I recently discovered the Odroid N2+, a powerful single board computer, and was thrilled to find out that it’s possible to configure it for low-power operation. So, let’s dive right in and explore how to optimize this little beast for energy efficiency!
Configuring the Odroid N2+ for low-power operation
1. Start with the basics: update firmware and software
Before you start tinkering with the Odroid N2+, it’s always a good idea to make sure you’re running the latest firmware and software. In my case, I made myself a cup of my favorite chamomile tea and went on to update my board to the latest version of the OS (Ubuntu MATE). This will ensure that you’re starting with the best possible foundation for low-power operation.
2. Optimize the power settings
Now that your board is updated, it’s time to dive into some energy-saving settings. The first thing I did was disable the HDMI output when not in use. Since I use my Odroid N2+ as a headless server, I found this to be a no-brainer. To do this, simply add the following line to the /boot/boot.ini file:
setenv hdmioutput "0"
3. Tweak the CPU governor settings
Next up, we’ll adjust the CPU governor settings. I have to admit, this part made me feel like a true hacker! (In the most environmentally friendly way, of course.) The Odroid N2+ uses the “ondemand” CPU governor by default, which is a good balance between performance and power consumption. However, you can switch it to “conservative” for even better power savings. Just run the following command:
echo "conservative" | sudo tee /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu*/cpufreq/scaling_governor
4. Adjust the CPU frequency
If you’re still thirsty for more energy savings, you can also reduce the CPU frequency. This will definitely have an impact on performance, but if your use case doesn’t require maximum performance, it might be a worthwhile trade-off. To do this, find the minimum and maximum frequencies supported by your board:
cat /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/scaling_min_freq cat /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/scaling_max_freq
Then, choose a lower frequency and set it using the following command:
echo "NEW_MAX_FREQUENCY" | sudo tee /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu*/cpufreq/scaling_max_freq
5. Control the fan
The Odroid N2+ comes with a built-in fan that can be quite noisy and consume some power. To reduce the fan’s power consumption, you can either disable it completely or set a higher temperature threshold for activation. I personally opted for the latter, as I prefer to keep things running cool. To do this, edit the /etc/odroid_fan.cfg file and modify the temp and fan_speed values to your desired settings.
6. Use a power-efficient storage solution
Finally, consider using power-efficient storage solutions like an eMMC module or a low-power SSD instead of a traditional hard drive. I opted for an eMMC module because it’s not only more energy-efficient, but it also has a smaller footprint and faster read/write speeds.
Common Troubleshooting Tips
As with any DIY tech project, you might run into some issues along the way. Here are a few common troubleshooting tips to help you navigate any bumps in the road:
System instability after adjusting CPU frequency: Lowering the CPU frequency can sometimes cause system instability. If you experience this issue, try raising the frequency incrementally until you find a stable setting. Remember to balance performance and energy savings based on your specific use case.
Fan not responding to new settings: If you find that the fan isn’t responding to your new settings, double-check that you’ve correctly modified the /etc/odroid_fan.cfg file. Make sure there are no typos, and restart your Odroid N2+ to apply the changes.
Issues with HDMI output: If you’re having trouble with HDMI output after disabling it for low-power operation, double-check the line you added to the /boot/boot.ini file. To re-enable HDMI output, simply change the value to “1”:
setenv hdmioutput "1"
Bonus Tips & Tricks!
If you’re looking to take your energy-efficient Odroid N2+ setup to the next level, consider these additional tips and tricks:
Use a Wi-Fi dongle: If you don’t need wired networking, consider using a Wi-Fi dongle instead of the built-in Ethernet port. This can reduce overall power consumption and free up the Ethernet port for other uses.
Configure Wake-on-LAN: If your Odroid N2+ is primarily used as a server, consider configuring Wake-on-LAN (WoL) to allow your board to remain in a low-power state until it’s needed. When you want to access your server, simply send a “magic packet” from another device on the network to wake it up.
Power down unused USB ports: If you have unused USB ports, you can save a bit more energy by powering them down. To do this, add the following line to your /etc/rc.local file:
echo "1-1" | sudo tee /sys/bus/usb/drivers/usb/unbind
Replace “1-1” with the appropriate USB port number.
Schedule tasks during off-peak hours: If you have tasks that require more computing power, consider scheduling them during off-peak hours. This can help minimize the impact on your energy consumption during peak periods and allow you to take advantage of lower energy rates.
The Odroid N2+ is a versatile and powerful single board computer with immense potential for low-power operation. By following the steps, troubleshooting tips, and additional suggestions provided in this article, you can create a more energy-efficient and eco-friendly computing experience tailored to your needs.
As we continue to find ways to reduce our energy consumption and carbon footprint, it’s important to remember that even small changes can make a big difference. So, don’t be afraid to experiment and fine-tune your Odroid N2+ setup to maximize energy savings while maintaining the performance you need.
If you have any questions, feedback, or ideas about other energy-saving tips, please feel free to leave a comment below. We’re always eager to learn from the experiences of fellow tech enthusiasts and continue our shared journey towards greener computing.