Beaglebone Black aka BBB is a low cost open source development board mainly used by developers and lobbyists. Although it’s quite similar to a Raspberry Pi yet it comes with some additional features. Developed by a non-profit corporation beagleboard.org, this credit card sized board also supports embedded Linux platform. Due to the presence of so many advanced peripherals, it is also considered to be a minicomputer. It has a convenient development environment allowing the user to interact with the PC merely via a micro USB port.
Fig. 1: Logo of Beaglebone Black
BBB consists of core architecture of ARM family and houses AM35X ARM cortex A8 (1GHz) processor. It can be powered either through a micro USB port or an external 5V supply that is present as an optional arrangement. Apart from this, it also comes with 4 GB on board memory. Since it has more GPIO pins than a Raspberry Pi, it can be a suitable choice for your project.
Hardware specifications of BBB:
- 2x PRU 32-bit microcontrollers
- 512MB DDR3 RAM
- 4GB 8-bit eMMC on-board flash storage
- 3D Graphics accelerator
- Floating-point accelerator
- USB client for power & communications
- USB host
- One Ethernet port
- HDMI port
- 2x 46 pin headers
- SD/MMC interface
- UART, SPI,I2C,CAN built in processor
- ADC, PWM, LCD built in processor
Beagle black easily works with various software programs. It supports various Linux distribution images thereby allowing the user to make applications in various high level as well as scripting languages. Owing to the open source developer community, it has an efficient software environment. There are a lot of libraries available for Beaglebone Black and hence you can start programming within minutes.
Software features of BBB:
- Various Linux distributions supported (Debian, ubuntu, android etc.)
- Various High Level languages supported (C, C++. Python, java etc.)
- Easy booting process
- SSH connectivity with PC
Beaglebone Pinout Diagram
Fig. 2: Pin Diagram of Beaglebone Black
Beaglebone black contains 2 pin headers each containing 46 pins. Left side pin header is P9 and right side header is P8. Pinout consist of various power source, GPIO, SPI/I2C, ADC, PWM, LCD data and control pin, UART pin etc. Some pins can be put to a multipurpose use. Reference voltage of VDD_ADC pin is 1.8V.
Getting started with Beaglebone black
Now I’ll explain how to start with Beaglebone black and setup configuration of board. Debian distribution is by default preloaded into eMMC of BBB which eliminates the need of installing kernel image in external memory card followed by its installation in BBB. This will save your time and you’ll be able to start working directly with BBB.
Follow the steps mentioned below as instructions:
Step1: First power up Beaglebone Black by connecting it with PC through USB cable.
Step2: Wait for a few minutes for the PC to detect BBB.
Step3: Open the command terminal and enter the following command for requesting SSH connectivity:
Now, user has logged in as a root in Beaglebone black. By default, password is not set for root user.
Fig. 3: Screenshot of Linux Console on Beaglebone Black
Step4: Enter the following command for setting root password in Beaglebone black:
Now, enter the password twice for the confirmation. Here when you enter the password, a blank screen is displayed instead of ‘*’ or any other symbol.
Fig. 4: Screenshot showing Linux console with password successfully set on Beaglebone Black
Now, reboot the Beaglebone black by entering the following command and wait for sometime:
Fig. 5: Screenshot of Linux Root Login on Beaglebone Black
Step5: Repeat step3. This time you cannot login without password. When you enter the step3 command, BBB will ask you to enter root password.
Enter the password which you had set during step4 and press enter key.
Now, you have entered as root.
Step6: You have access to Beaglebone black.
Step7: If you want internet access, you can connect Wi-Fi module or Ethernet cable with BBB. Remove the power cable (here USB cable) and attach Ethernet cable with Beaglebone black. Now, again attach the power cable with BBB