Introduction

This is the chapter web page to support the content in Chapter 1 of the book: Exploring BeagleBone – Tools and Techniques for Building with Embedded Linux. The summary introduction to the chapter is as follows:

In this chapter, you are introduced to the BeagleBone platform hardware. The chapter focuses on the BeagleBone Black and the various subsystems and physical inputs/outputs of the board. In addition, the chapter lists accessories that can be very helpful in developing your own BeagleBone-based projects. By the end of this chapter, you should have an appreciation of the power and complexity of this computing platform. You should also be aware of the first steps to take to protect your board from physical damage.

Learning Outcomes

After completing this chapter, you should be able to:

  • Describe the capability of the BeagleBone, and its suitability for different project types.
  • Source the important documents that will assist you in working with the BBB platform.
  • Describe the major hardware systems and subsystems on the BBB.
  • Identify important accessories that you can buy to enhance the capability of your BBB.
  • Have an appreciation of the power and complexity of the BBB as a physical computing platform.
  • Be aware of the first steps to take in protecting your board from physical damage.

Digital Media Resources

Here the digital resources referred to in the chapter web page are provided. There are high-resolution versions of some of the important figures and links to videos, resources and websites that are described in the chapter.

BeagleBone Black Poster

The BeagleBone Black Poster (Figure 1-3, Figure 1-4) and the P8/P9 Expansion Headers (Figure 1-5) are each each available for download as high-resolution PNG raster format and a high-resolution PDF vector-mapped format images using the following links:

The poster images are large format images that have been rendered for an A3 page size, which is 11.69″ x 16.53″ (29.7cm x 42.0cm) in dimension.

Products Described in this Chapter

Here are links to some of the products that are used in this chapter. Please do your own due diligence on these products and the retailers that are identified:

FTDI-cable

The USB-to-serial UART TTL cable is used throughout  this book, for debugging problems with the BeagleBone, for viewing and interacting with the console as the board is booting and finally it is used for programming a low-cost Arduino Pro (3.3V) module. There are several products available such as those on Amazon: There is an official TTL-232R-3V3 cable, and lower cost alternatives (that have not been tested) such as the GearMo 3.3V Header-like TTL-232R-3V3 cable.935125-c01f010d

It is also very useful to have a 2A 5V regulated power supply, especially if you are planning to connect the BeagleBone to a Wi-Fi adapter, USB webcam or LCD cape. It is always useful to have such a power supply for writing a new image to the eMMC. Here are a few such examples: 2A 5V power supplies on Amazon.com.

Manufacturing the BeagleBone

CircuitCo has provided a short video of the BeagleBone Black manufacturing process, which highlights the complexity of the device manufacture and the steps that goes into its manufacture.

External Resources

Important Documents

External Web Sites

The AM335x Technical Reference Manual (TRM)

The BeagleBone Black System Reference Manual (SRM)

The BeagleBoard.org website provides the main support for this platform, with software guides, community links, and downloads to support your development. An excellent “Getting Started” guide and blog is available at the website

BeagleBone Black P8/P9 Header Labels (from www.logicsupply.com)

The BeagleBone Black P8 and P9 pin labels from www.logicsupply.com. These labels can be printed at 100% scale on label paper and affixed to each side of the P8 and P9 headers.

Introductory Books:

Errata

  • Page 7. In one instance XBMC is accidentally written as XMBC. It was recently renamed to Kodi (See: kodi.tv).
  • Page 14. Under BeagleBone Accessories, the BBB is packaged with a mini-USB plug to USB A plug cable, not a micro-USB plug to USB A plug cable. This is described correctly elsewhere.