How To Fix Your Broken Onion Omega2

A decade ago, while RISC architecture was busy changing everything and people were wearing Utilikilts without beards, hackers were doing something amazing. They repurposed off-the-shelf routers and turned them into what we would now call the Internet of Things. Need to set up a PBX? A Linksys router will do it. Want to drive a remote control car over the Internet? It’s your old friend, WRT54G.

Now that the Internet of Things is a thing, a few companies have realized people will buy bare bones router chipsets. It’s like an Arduino, or something, and it connects to the Internet. We’ll sell a million. Get Indiegogo on the phone.

The Onion Omega2 launched on Kickstarter last year, and so far has seen some success. They’ve shipped their units, and people are generally happy with them. One thing that wasn’t mentioned in the Kickstarter was the fundamental problem with the design. The pins on this seemingly breadboard-compatible dev board have a pitch of two millimeters. Horribly broken. Huge mistake. Terrible deal.  Not the best people we have working on this.

Imperial is a superior unit of measurement. Metric is outdated.

The Onion Omega2 won’t fit in a breadboard, but Onion does offer a breakout ‘expansion dock’ for $15 USD. There’s a better, cheaper solution, though. You can complain about it on’s Hack Chat. That’s what [zach] did, and a few minutes later, [davedarko] whipped up a quick PCB design to convert the 2mm header to the much more logical 0.1 inch header. Imperial units win once again.

After sending three dollars and twenty cents to OSHPark, [zach] had his pin adapters in hand. A few minutes with a soldering iron, and the Onion Omega2 is made compatible with every breadboard ever made.

If you have an Onion Omega2 and would like a really cool hexagonal sticker, here’s the project on OSHPark.

55 thoughts on “How To Fix Your Broken Onion Omega2

  1. Wow, starting the metric vs imperial war again?

    2mm or 1.27mm pitch headers are fine in some cases, but obviously not when a board is aimed at hobbyists who would want to use the board with a breadboard or perfboard.

      1. Annoying, though. I fully thought this article would’ve something to do with the quite many Omega2’s with various soldering-defects, including RAM not being soldered down properly, or solder-bridges here and there, or solder-bridges to the RF-shield and so on. (The quality-control doesn’t seem very good) Instead, it’s just a pin-header converter.

        I mean, sure, I have no complaints about the project itself, but the clickbait title annoys me.

  2. “Imperial is a superior unit of measurement. Metric is outdated.”
    Get over yourselves with your inaccurate measurements and join the modern world!
    I wonder if that is what the problem is with my breadboard in that they are IMPs whereas my electronics is in Metric.

    1. What exactly is innaccurate or imprecise about Imperial?
      Sure 39.9 millionths may be a bit rougher on the tongue than 1 micron but if your measurements are off maybe just buy a better set of calipers?

  3. Don’t mind Brian. We all know he is just bitter about his lack of ability, and must find vicarious glee from wherever he can. The metric vs. imperial question is the closest he can get to intellectual discussion; let’s give the retarded kid his harmless fun.

    But the thing I’m actually wondering, why widen the board? Seems like a waste to me.

    If one were to soldering the 0.1″ headers first, clip them short, stick a strip of plastic to ensure good insulation, then you could have the 0.1″ headers in a very narrow footprint; much easier to fit on a breadboard. Of course, this probably means changing to the distance between the 2mm and 0.1″ pins, to get the 0.1″ pin rows distance to be a multiple of 0.1″.

  4. Where’s my M2M 3G – 4G/LTE module?

    Now that 2G is dead all can find as an alternative is mini PCI-e.

    I love an article on 2G replacement modules for M2M IoT over 3G, 4G LTE

    There is also work bing done by manufacturers to create a stand for Narrow Band – NB-LTE to reduce power consumption.

    1. Thanks [CRImier] and [John]

      It’s taken so long to get back to you because I have had my head buried in data-sheets. I have been looking at the SIM5360 series.

      I also the pre-made mini PCIe modules are much easier to use to. They have a serial like interface rather than a parallel type but they don’t break out GPIO. Still good as a module for an 8-bitter which makes my solar power / battery budget much easier than an embedded computer running an OS.

      Unfortunately cant use the mini PCIe module in production because of vibration issues with the connector but I will still be use it to help develop the code.

      Once again the helpful people at HAD win the day again! Thanks.

    1. Totally agree, I am so much dissapointed. So many hacks around waiting for being discovered but we get an article of an adapter with … st*pid sentcences around. Time wasted, after so many years following this blog this is the first time I considered deleting it from my feeds.

  5. Someone start a line of 2mm pitch breadboard. Problem solved. Except that the new problem is that people wouldn’t know what to whine about. (Or they’d whine about how many things there are that are still 0.1″).

    1. I want 2mm. 2.54 is to big and 1.27 is to small. Of course it is going to be more expensive in the beginning but price will drop fast when everybody realise 2mm is the ultimate pin spacing. And it has nothing to do with imperial vs metric.

  6. Brian Benchoff, Please don’t turn HAD into Slashdot. Learn from their mistakes, click bait titles and articles ment to inflame ones senses may bring in more readers in the short term. In the long run, all it does is drive any meaning full discourse from the comments (seriously, look up, you’ll see). All people will do is complain about it and it does not further the long term goals of Hackaday, next thing you know it will be just a bunch of angry people arguing about pointless crap in the comments.

    You may think its funny when you do this:
    “The pins on this seemingly breadboard-compatible dev board have a pitch of two millimeters. Horribly broken. Huge mistake. Terrible deal. Not the best people we have working on this.”
    but its really not, just as it isn’t funny when an elected official does it. In truth it is embarrassing! I come to Hackaday for the Hacks, not hack writing.

    Finally, we get it! Americans use a system of measurement that they think is superior, this is a dead horse, lets stop kicking it please. I work in both systems and It doesn’t bother me one bit to use one or the other. In all of my science and math based classes growing up questions were given to us in both formats, where in assignments and tests some questions would be in imperial and some would be in metric. In the end, the only reason i personally prefer metric is that i don’t have to worry about remembering or looking up conversion factors when i am scaling my work up or down. Other than that there is no difference between the two as they are both numerical methods of measuring stuff and using a different measuring system does not change how much stuff there is.

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