BeagleBone Black

Beagle Board has a long history of making reasonably ARM development boards. Recently they come up with interesting BeagleBone series of boards.

BeagleBone is an $89 MSRP, credit-card-sized Linux computer that connects to the Internet and runs software such as Android 4.0 and Ubuntu. The board is based on AM335x 720MHz ARM® processor.

BeagleBone Black is a $45 MSRP community-supported development platform for developers and hobbyists. Boot Linux in under 10 seconds and get started on development in less than 5 minutes with just a single USB cable. BeagleBone Black Development Board is based on ARM® Cortex™-A8 processor (1GHz Sitara™ AM335x ARM Cortex-A8). BeagleBone Black ships with the Ångström Linux distribution in onboard FLASH. The board support also for example Ubuntu, Android and Fedora. BeagleBone Black’s capabilities can be extended using plug-in boards called “capes” that can be plugged into BeagleBone Black’s two 46-pin dual-row expansion headers.

From those board BeagleBone Black looks to be more interesting because the Black is more powerful and more capable than its predecessor and it’s cheaper. The other interesting feature is Cloud9 IDE on Node.JS with Bonescript library that allows you to provides several functions useful for interacting with your hardware with web browser and JavaScript code. BoneScript is a node.js-based language specifically optimized for the Beagle family and featuring familiar Arduino function calls, exported to the browser. Performing physical computing tasks in JavaScript looks rather different than C on microcontrollers. JavaScript and the Node.JS interpreter like to do everything asynchronously using callbacks.

The Register has an interesting article Review: Beagleboard Beaglebone Black that compares BeagleBone Black to Raspberry Pi. It says that Comparing the two isn’t entirely invidious: many folk who might have been considering the Pi for use as a very tiny desktop computer or media server, may now be thinking the Black, with its more powerful processor, might not be a better bet. The AM335x is set to clock higher than the Pi’s chip can go – 1GHz compared to 700MHz – but it’s possible to manually clock the Pi up. As two variations on the same theme, the differences between Pi and Black are subtle. The Black is clearly the more suitable device for hardware projects (92 expansion pins on two banks 46-pin female connectors, six serial pins for debugging). The Pi the choice for low-cost educational computing.

The article says that you’ll probably want to try the Black if Android is your thing. There’s a working version of Jelly Bean available for the Black, provided by Texas Instruments in support of its Sitara SoCs.

BeagleBone Black looks like a very interesting product to check out some day.


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  11. Tim says:

    If you prefer Ubuntu, you can download Ubuntu from various sites, or get a pre-installed and configured micro SD Flash with Ubuntu 13.04 for the BeagleBone Black from:

  12. Tomi says:

    BeagleBone Black becomes a handheld classic gaming console

    BeagleBone Gaming Cape, an add-on to the BeagleBone Black that turns this ARM-powered Linux board into a retro gaming system.

    The build was inspired by [Max]‘s earlier MSP430 Launchpad GamingPack, an add-on board for the Launchpad that put two NES controllers, a VGA out, and an FPGA to create a custom gaming console that’s up there with the brightest and best consoles of the 16-bit era. For the new BeagleBone-based build, [Max] eschewed off-board processing, but did manage to include a magnetometer/accelerometer and an audio codec IC to provide the best gaming experience for all those NES, Game Gear. Gameboy, GBA and Doom .wad games.

  13. Tomi says:

    BeagleBone SensorCape lets you measure just about anything

    Here’s another entry in the 2013 Intern Design Challenge which motivates summer Interns at Texas Instruments to build something cool for one of a handful of embedded platforms. This entry, developed by [Michael Leonard] is a cape for the BeagleBone Black which has footprints for a bunch of different sensors.

    Use it to turn your BeagleBone into a weather station by populating the temperature, pressure, and humidity sensors. Or perhaps you’d prefer an IMU for your next quadcopter by populating the MPU-9150 chip on the pad labeled ’9-Axis’.

  14. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Top 10 BeagleBoard projects

    Since BeagleBoard was born five years ago, the four open-source platforms (BeagleBoard, BeagleBoard-xM, BeagleBone, and, most recently, BeagleBone Black) have made a deep impact on the open-source world. They have enabled fun and functional projects, including superhero costumes, robots, and home automation gadgets.

    In celebration of BeagleBoard’s fifth birthday, we’re taking a look at 10 of the coolest projects that BeagleBoard platforms have enabled since 2008.

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  16. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Tre: When Arduino Meets Beagle Bone

    Although yesterday saw the announcement of an x86-based Arduino powered by an Intel chip. This may have not been the big story to come from [Massimo] at Maker Faire Rome. Announced along with the x86 Arduino Galileo was the Arduino TRE, a collaboration between Arduino and the BeagleBoard foundation.

    The TRE is really two Arduinos in one: in the center is basically an Arduino Leonardo with the standard Arduino headers and an ATmega32u4. Elsewhere on the board is a TI Sitara ARM Cortex A-8 processor running at 1GHz with 512 MB of RAM, 10/100 Ethernet, HDMI out, USB host and device ports, and a bunch of connectors intended for an LCD and a ZigBee.

  17. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Open-source hardware heats up

    BeagleBone just announced 20 new daughter boards that provide a wide array of interfacing capabilities to the BeagleBone embedded controller. For test and measurement, there are some particularly good ones, such as boards for interfacing via RS-232, RS-485, CAN and also boards for driving stepper motors. Add this to the digital I/O, PWM output and 12-bit ADCs already on the board and the BeagleBone, costing just $89, is a powerful emerging platform for test and measurement.

    The BeagleBone itself comes stacked with resources for the test-and-measurement engineer. There are 2 I2C (inter-Integrated Circuit two-wire interface) ports and 2 SPI (serial peripheral interface) ports for communicating with chips such as ADCs (analog to digital converters), DACs (digital to analog converters), digital potentiometers and other electrical components. There are two CAN (controller area network) buses for communicating in harsh environments. There are 66 general digital I/O pins, which can also be used as interrupts.

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  20. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Speeding Up BeagleBone Black GPIO A Thousand Times

    For both the Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone Black, there’s a lot of GPIO access that happens the way normal Unix systems do – by moving files around. Yes, for most applications you really don’t need incredibly fast GPIO, but for the one time in a thousand you do, poking around /sysfs just won’t do.

  21. Tomi Engdahl says:

    LOGi FPGA Development Board for Raspberry Pi – Beaglebone

    LOGI, when FPGA meets community supported ARM platforms.

    We live in a world with an abundance of available electronics hardware, including embedded development and FPGA hardware. Many of the available platforms require proprietary programming hardware, have custom port interfaces and cannot easily connect to different types of electronics peripherals. Valent F(x) overcomes these challenges by developing open source hardware that is easy to use, eliminates the need for expensive programmers, and interfaces with a multitude of existing hardware peripherals.

    What are the LOGi-Series of FPGA Boards?

    The LOGi-family is a series of FPGA development boards that were created with a dual-use purpose: to limit the sharp learning curve associated with FPGA development; and to enable the unification of existing hardware interfaces and open-source development platforms, such as the Raspberry Pi and Beaglebone Black.

    FPGA development is an invaluable technology that allows a single board to morph in functionality to fit the needs of changing project environments.

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  23. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Barbot Mixes Drinks Perfectly with Web Interface

    Are you good at mixing drinks? We think this Barbot might give you a run for your money!

    Not only does this Barbot have room for 5 different liquors, but you can combine them any way you want with an extremely slick web interface that you can check out for yourself.

    The hardware behind this build is a BeagleBone Black running Ubuntu 13.04 with Apache2, MySQL, and PHP to host the web interface — bind and DHCP are used to create the web portal using a USB WiFi dongle. The online interface directly controls the pumps using PHP via the GPIOs.

  24. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Submitted by Sean Carney on Thu, 12/19/2013 – 22:25

    A cocktail dispensing robot. Controlled over the Internet or a local WIFI network, it is capable of mixing a variety of drinks from up to five different ingredients.

  25. Tomi Engdahl says:

    BeagleBone: 9 Add-Ons That Power It Past Raspberry Pi

    Within the increasingly crowded space of single-board computers, the Raspberry Pi reigns supreme, its success fueled by expansion boards that extend its capabilities. TI’s feature-rich BeagleBone is a worthy contender to the Pi, its growing popularity due in large part to the explosion of new add-ons (called “capes”) that bring new features to an outstanding base platform.

  26. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The Tiny but Mighty BeagleBone Black

    The single board computer world is actually populated with 35+ different types of boards that can be used like a Raspberry Pi. Some of them are much more powerful in processing power than the Raspberry Pi such as the ODROID which has a 4x ARM Cortex-A9 processor ranging from 1.4 GHz to 1.7 GHz.

    With a price range of $45 The BeagleBone Black has a AM335× 1GHz ARM Cortex-A8 processor, 2 GB 8-bit eMMC on-board flash storage, and two 46-pin expansion headers giving it a unique take on a learning-styled single board computer. With these expansion headers, less complex circuit boards called capes can be installed to provide functionality that the original BeagleBone black cannot provide.

  27. Tomi Engdahl says:

    BeagleBone Blacks Still Not Available, Here’s Blue Steel

    The BeagleBone Black has been featured in an improbable number of awesome project, ranging from driving thousands of LEDs for a video display, to 3D printer controller boards. There’s a lot you can do with a tiny Linux board that’s much more powerful than the Raspberry Pi – if you can find one, that is. The BeagleBone Black has been out of stock everywhere for months now, with little sign of when distributors will receive some new stock.

    Luckily, the BeagleBone Black is open source. Anyone can make them. Finally, someone did. It’s called Blue Steel, and notwithstanding the inevitable Zoolander references, it’s pretty much the same as the BeagleBone Black we all know and love.

  28. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The BeagleBone Black Turns Blue with BlueSteel-Basic, Loses HDMI and Flash

    Read more:

  29. Tomi Engdahl says:

    A GSM Base Station With Software Defined Radio

    It’s a GSM base station made with a BeagleBone Black and a not too expensive software defined radio board.

    The key component of this build is obviously the software defined radio. [Julian] is using a USRP B200 radio for this project. It’s not cheap, but it is a very nice piece of hardware capable of doing just about anything with GNU Radio. This board is controlled by a BeagleBone Black, a pretty cheap solution that puts the total cost of the hardware somewhere around $750.

    The software side of the build is mostly handled by OpenBTS, the open source project for the software part of a cell station.

  30. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Talking BeagleBoard with [Jason Kridner]

    BeagleBoard is a non-profit foundation which guides the open hardware initiative of the same name. This includes BeagleBone which is the third iteration of the platform. [Jason's] a good guy to talk to about this as he co-founded the organization and has been the driving force in the community ever since.

    Also of interest in the video is a discussion about the power of the BeagleBone’s PRUs, or Programmable Real-Time Units. They’re basically unused microcontrollers that have direct access to a lot of the processor’s features and are just waiting for you to bend them to your will.

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  32. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Laid off from job, man builds tweeting toilet

    What you can do with some household parts, some coding and a BeagleBone

    Technology, like comedy, uses improvisation.

    Take Thomas Ruecker’s project. With parts from an electric motor, a few household items, an open-source hardware board running Linux, and some coding, he built a connected toilet that Tweets with each flush.

    he first reaction to the Twitter feed at @iotoilets may be a chuckle. But the idea behind this and what it illustrates is serious. It tracks water usage, offers a warning about the future of privacy in the era of the Internet of Things, and just might say something about the modern job hunt.

    The genesis of the project began with a series a Tweets from Taneli Tikka, a manager at his former employer.

    Tikka wrote: “Silly sensor IoT question: does anybody know about “smart toilets & sinks” something that measure liquid flow? # of flushes? etc. :)” [You can see the Tweet chain here.]

    Ruecker Tweeted back and said he would look into it.

    Ruecker gutted a servo motor to get its potentiometer, a resistor used to control a device, and created a plastic arm using zip tie cut to length. Styrofoam acts as the float in the tank.

    But Ruecker says his creation also illustrates yet another way that a connected home can invade privacy. A device that records flushes can reveal that a house is occupied, for example, and even offer an indication of the number of occupants.

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  35. Tomi Engdahl says:

    A Better Anonabox with the Beaglebone Black

    A few weeks ago, Anonabox, the ill-conceived router with custom firmware that would protect you from ‘hackers’ and ‘legitimate governments’ drew the ire of tech media. It was discovered that this was simply an off-the-shelf router with an installation of OpenWrt, and the single common thread in the controversy was that, ‘anyone can build that. This guy isn’t doing anything new.’

    Finally, someone who didn’t have the terrible idea of grabbing another off the shelf router and putting it up on Kickstarter is doing just that. [Adam] didn’t like the shortcomings of the Anonabox and looked at the best practices of staying anonymous online. He created a Tor dongle in response to this with a Beaglebone Black.

    Tor Dongle | October 2014
    Or using a BeagleBone Black as a secure Tor gateway for your computer

  36. Tomi Engdahl says:

    EVB: Replace the Brain and Sensors in your LEGO® MINDSTORMS EV3 with a BeagleBone Black. 100% LEGO compatible but Much More Powerful.

  37. Tomi Engdahl says:

    BeagleBones At MRRF

    Of interest at the BeagleBooth were a few capes specifically designed for CNC and 3D printing work. There was the CRAMPS, a clone of the very popular RAMPS 3D printer electronics board made for the Beagle. If you’re trying to control an old mill that is only controllable through a parallel port, here’s the board for you. There are 3D printer boards with absurd layouts that work well as both printer controller boards and the reason why you should never come up with the name of something before you build it.

  38. Tomi Engdahl says:

    WiFi Sucks for RC Vehicles, Upgrade to 3G

    This is the Kyosho Blizzard, a tracked remote control vehicle that’s a blast to take out in the rapidly retreating snowpack.

    [Antibore] was interested in performance testing the range of the thing. It includes a camera that streams video back to a tablet or smartphone. Both the video and the controls use WiFi for communications. As he expected, the rover loses control signal at about fifty meters, with the video has a disappointing twenty meter limit. His workaround is to saddle the crawler with a 3G bridge. Not a bad idea that may be feasibly completed with hardware you have on hand.

    In this case he grabbed a Beagleboard-XM. It runs embedded Linux and has USB ports which is perfect for the other two parts of the added hardware: a Huawei E230 3G dongle and a WiFi dongle. This means no alterations to the rover were necessary. He set up OpenVPN and performed a few other tweaks.

    Giving Kyosho iReceiver unlimited range*

  39. Tomi Engdahl says:

    1768 LEDs, Because 96 Just Wasn’t Enough

    To make FLED more reliable [Ben] sourced strips of the new APA102 LEDs which we looked at back in December. They use an SPI bus instead of the bizarre timing scheme of the WS2812.

    It’s not just the physical layout of this many pixels that is a challenge. Pushing the data to all of them is much harder than it was with 96. [Ben] transitioned away from RaspberryPi. He considered using a Teensy 3.1 and ESP8266 but the WiFi of these cheap modules is far too slow to push frame information from a remote box. In the end it’s a BeagleBone Black that drives the reborn display. This is a great choice since there’s plenty of power under the hood and a traditional (and much faster) WiFi dongle can be used.

    Digging into the APA102 Serial LED Protocol

  40. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Hackaday Prize Entry: A BeagleBone Logic Analyzer

    If you have a BeagleBone, you already have a lot of tools. We’ve seen them used in driving hundreds of LEDs at a very high frame rate, used as a video card for ancient computers, and as a software defined radio. For his entry to The Hackaday Prize, [Kumar] turned his BeagleBone into a 14-channel, 100Msps logic analyzer that’s good enough to debug just about all those hobby electronics projects you’re working on.

    Turns your BeagleBoard into a 14-channel 100Msps Logic Analyzer

    BeagleLogic realizes a logic analyzer on the BeagleBone Black using the Programmable Real-Time units and matching firmware and Linux kernel modules on the BeagleBone Black. Supports capturing into up to 300+ MB of memory (out of the 512 MB) of the BeagleBone Black.

    With the sigrok project, BeagleLogic gets support for software triggering and decoding a large variety of digital communication protocols. There’s also a small web interface that allows plug-and-play debugging if you are not capturing tons of data once everything is up and running.

  41. Tomi Engdahl says:

    BeagleBone Green Hands-On: Lower Price, Same Horsepower

    The BeagleBone Green is an update to the venerable BeagleBone Black, the dev board based on a TI ARM Cortex-A8. It’s an extremely capable machine with a few interesting features that make it the perfect device for embedded applications. With the BeagleBone Green, the BB Black gets a small hardware refresh and a drastic reduction in price.

    The BeagleBone Black has been around for more than two years now, but it’s still an extremely capable machine. The BeagleBone Green borrows heavily from the Black, with a few changes to satisfy the cost-reduction goal, and to make the BB Green slightly more accessible.

    By far the largest change is the removal of the microHDMI connector. This is accompanied by a large bare spot on the board where the NXP HDMI Framer chip once was on the BB Black. When I talked to [Jason Kridner] his justification for the removal of the HDMI capability of the Green was that ‘nobody used it.’

    Also on the list of changes are the addition of two Grove connectors. These connectors are part of a modular system of electronics that put a UART or I2C bus on a single connector.

    Aside from those changes, the BeagleBone Green is pretty much exactly the same as the BeagleBone Black.

  42. Tomi Engdahl says:

    New Part Day: The BeagleBoard Gets Bigger

    Officially, the latest hardware revision we’ve seen from BeagleBoard is the BeagleBone Black, a small board that’s perfect for when you want to interface hardware to a Linux software environment. This last summer, the BeagleBone Green was introduced, and while it’s a newer hardware release, it’s really just a cost-reduced version of the BB Black. Over the entire BeagleBoard family, it’s time for an upgrade.

    It’s been talked about for more than a year now, but the latest and greatest from the BeagleBoard crew is out. It’s called the BeagleBoard X15, and not only is it an extremely powerful Linux board, it also has more ports than you would ever need.

    The new BeagleBoard features a dual-core ARM Cortex A15 running at 1.5GHz. There is 2GB of DDR3L RAM on board, and 4GB of EMMC Flash. Outputs include three USB 3.0 hosts, two Gigabit Ethernet controllers, one eSATA connector, LCD output, two PCIe connectors, and an HDMI connector capable of outputting 1920×1080 at 60 FPS. The entire board is open hardware, with documentation for nearly every device on the board available now.

    The expected price of the BeagleBoard X15 varies from source to source, but all the numbers fall somewhere in the range of $200 to $240 USD,


  43. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Beagle Bone Green

    Opensource Beaglebone Green, fully-compatible replacement for Beaglebone Black

    BeagleBone Green (BBG) is a joint effort by and Seeed Studio. It is based on the open-source hardware design of BeagleBone Black and developed into this differentiated version. The BBG has included two Grove connectors, making it easier to connect to the large family of Grove sensors available from SeeedStudio. The on-board HDMI is removed to make room for these Grove connectors.

    Fully compatible with Beaglebone Black.
    Updated 5V barrel connector, replaced with μUSB host.
    Boot Linux in under 10 seconds!
    Get started developing in under 5 minutes!

  44. Tomi Engdahl says:

    (Yet another) BeagleBone Display+CapTouch cape

    A cape for the BeagleBone Black using readily available replacement spare TFT Panels and capacitive touchscreen originally used in tablets

  45. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Introducing the BeagleBone Blue

    The BeagleBone is a board that doesn’t get a lot of attention in a world of $5 Raspberry Pis, $8 single board computers based on router chipsets, and a dizzying array of Kickstarter projects promising Android and Linux on tiny credit card-sized single board computers. That doesn’t mean the BeagleBone still isn’t evolving, as evidenced by the recent announcement of the BeagleBone Blue.

    The BeagleBone Blue is the latest board in the BeagleBone family, introduced last week at CES. The Blue is the result of a collaboration between UCSD Engineering and TI, and with that comes a BeagleBone built for one specific purpose: robotics and autonomous vehicles. With a suite of sensors very useful for robotics and a supported software stack ideal for robots and drones, the BeagleBone Blue is the perfect board for all kinds of robots.

    On board the BeagleBone Blue is a 2 cell LiPo charger with cell balancing and a 6-16 V charger input. The board also comes with eight 6V servo outputs, four DC motor outputs and inputs for four quadrature encoders. Sensors include a nine axis IMU and barometer. Unlike all previous BeagleBones, the BeagleBone Blue also comes with wireless networking: 802.11bgn, Bluetooth 4.0 and BLE. USB 2.0 client and host ports are also included.

    Like all of the recent BeagleBoards, including the recently released BeagleBone Green, the Blue uses the same AM3358 1 GHz ARM Cortex 8 CPU, features 512 MB of DDR3 RAM, 4GB of on board Flash, and features the main selling point of the BeagleBoard, two 32-bit programmable real-time units (PRUs) running at 200 MHz.

  46. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Hackaday Prize Entry: A BeagleBone Logic Analyzer

    , [Kumar] turned his BeagleBone into a 14-channel, 100Msps logic analyzer that’s good enough to debug just about all those hobby electronics projects you’re working on.

    Turns your BeagleBone Black/Green into a 14-channel 100Msps Logic Analyzer

  47. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Back to the Drawing Board

    Ever try signing your name with a mouse or a trackball? Not so easy. You could buy a graphics tablet with a pen. [Rahul Ramakrishnan] has a different approach. He took two 10-turn pots, and attached some strings and a washer. A pencil goes through the washer, and a BeagleBone Black reads the pots to determine what it is drawing on the paper. A couple of retractable badge lanyards keep tension on the string.

    This ingenious design would be easy enough to replicate with any microcontroller that can read the two pots.

    Guide 2: DIY Digitized Drawing Pad

    Drawing on a computer can’t match the ease and accuracy of moving around a pencil on paper in real life. A mouse or trackpad is far too cumbersome to maneuver, making even a stick figure hard to look good. But what if there was a way to map actual pencil strokes onto the computer so that you could still draw naturally AND have your creation on your screen? This is why we made Back to the Drawing Board!, a simple way to use a pen or pencil and draw on actual paper which translates your drawing on to a screen.

    We utilize the power of a BeagleBone Black to do the core image processing of this project. Even though the processing power to convert physical drawings into digital ones is not intense, the power of the BeagleBone makes it a smooth and fast process. Also be sure to check us out on instructables.


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