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devwatchdog 06-01-2013 01:24 PM

Beaglebone Black
I received a Beaglebone Black yesterday. Fired it up and poked around for a bit, but haven't done that much with it as of yet.

I ended up ordering the board from Newark Electronics, as they were one of the few that had it in stock.

I also ordered a battery cape and breadboard cape. Received them from Digi-Key. The battery cape arrived disguised as a spool of 28 ga 150' wire. Upon letting them know the problem, they have shipped the battery cape which will be here in a few days. Good customer service.

The board has the Angstrom Linux OS installed on it. I haven't worked with it before, but having dealt with OpenWRT for several years now it's not exactly foreign. Seems to work well enough, although on the package updates it rewrote the /etc/resolv.conf file so it couldn't resolve domains. I corrected that, and it's on its way again. Looks like it's updating the majority of the OS. Taking plenty of time.

I checked and found that Texas Instruments has a development guide for Android, which I am considering. I've been having a few beers and installing the various components when I'm inspired today. My thought is to use Eclipse for development, which I have done for a project for Android phones in the past. I like the IDE. It's a bit o' work, and I'm working through it at my own pace.

I did go through the process of compiling a Debian image for the board last night, but it turns out I don't have anything larger than a 2 GB microSD card here not in use. That's the vehicle used to load the images. The image is larger than that, and beyond that there were a few errors I saw toward the end of the process that left me thinking it wasn't going to work anyhow. I like Debian, but overall, this isn't the OS I feel I should be using on this board.

It will probably end up w/ Android as I mentioned. Seems to suit my needs better.

Something I found mildly annoying with Angstrom was how I edited the interfaces file to eliminate USB networking, which I don't need. When I fired up the board again, it again created a USB interface. Great. Looks like there could be some stagnant files in /etc, dunno. I'll review that after the OS upgrade finishes. I don't care that much, but it overwrites the /etc/resolv.conf file on my desktop, although for some reason it leaves it alone on my ultrabook. Probably something to do with dhcp on the USB interface.

Ordered one of these TI accelerometers. Something to play with in time. Need to straighten out the development platform first.

Seems like a nice board, though. Should have the power to handle anything I need to do with it. I'll probably order another shortly. They're inexpensive.

Hmmnn...I could run an AP off one of these things. I recently found that running the latest release of OpenWRT on my Ubiquiti NanoStation2 w/ only quagga & snmp running on it, the resources used just don't leave enough RAM. When I start pounding on it with a large download it ends up rebooting. ospf & snmp just might be a bit much for 4 meg of flash and 16 meg of RAM. Something to think of in the future I suppose.

devwatchdog 06-02-2013 02:44 PM

I've been trying to get a damn serial port connection functioning from the BB Black. And it's not exactly cooperating.

The pinouts are supposed to match a FTDI serial adapter. There is a six pin header on the board, supposed to be the console. I checked it with a multimeter, and identified ground and VCC. Ground matches the FTDI adapter, however VCC does not. I'm getting 3.3V at pin 5, ground on pin 1. I tried every combination of the remaining pins for RX/TX, and didn't have any success.

tty1 is active, showing a baud rate of 38400, along with ttyO0, ttyGS0 at 115200. The header I'm working with should be ttyO0, however I'm beginning to wonder.

Getting a console out of this thing is imperative. I'm not going to disable the USB networking until I can get one.

I haven't dealt with systemd until now. It's going to take a bit to adjust to it. Angstrom seems to be ok thus far. Haven't really done anything with it other than update it with opkg.

The board version is A5A (IIRC) -- and it has some LEDs on it that you could use for traffic signalling. They're BRIGHT. The A5B board has an added resistor for them to reduce their brightness.

devwatchdog 06-08-2013 10:50 PM

I was able to get a serial console on the BBB, but not on the 6 pin header on the board. I ended up using uart5 following directions here. I've used a few different methods of connecting the serial port, and nothing works for /dev/ttyO0 on the 6 pin header. In fact, quite often, and lately all the time, the board won't even boot if there is something connected to that header. It's strange. Seems there's something wrong with the board, or so I'd guess. It seems to be functioning fine short of that. I'll probably order another and just hang on to this one. Trying to get uart5 functioning at boot.

I'll be soldering a header on an accelerometer, probably tomorrow.

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