I’ve finally gotten around to having a quick play with my BeagleBone Black and all I can say is that its hideously badly documented! An easy to read pinout would be nice, or correct documentation regarding UARTs and the USB networking. For those of you who actually want correct information here goes…….

  1. USB networking – this doesn’t automatically bring up a network interface on your host PC, the key here is to run ifconfig as root:
ifconfig eth1 up
ssh root@

I know, root SSH, yuk (and no fecking password!) I found that the BBB is really fussy about USB cables, it only seems to work (power+net) with the one supplied with it.

  1. USB serial UART – you can use a CP2102 and you don’t have to rebuild the kernel with overlays or modify /etc/inittab or /boot/uboot/uEnv.txt, just wire 3 pins on the CP2102 to J1 (not GPIO headers) with female-to-female dupont cables as follows:
CP2102   J1
GND      1
RX       4
TX       5

Don’t wire up any power 3.3v/VCC lines. Pin1 of J1 is highlighted with a dot, its the rightmost pin if you take right to be the 5v/ethernet side and left to be the usb/microsd side.

  1. Installing Debian Jessie to MicroSD – probably easiest to do this as root, you need to change sdX to point to your MicroSD card. Username is “debian”, password is “temppwd”, root is “root”:
wget https://rcn-ee.net/deb/rootfs/jessie/debian-jessie-console-armhf-2013-09-26.tar.xz
tar xJf debian-jessie-console-armhf-2013-09-26.tar.xz
cd debian-jessie-console-armhf-2013-09-26
./setup_sdcard.sh --mmc /dev/sdX --uboot bone
  1. Flashing latest Angstrom to eMMC (again as root, and change sdX) – this takes 45mins and is completed when all the lights stay on. You should do this from a 5V supply with ethernet and USB disconnected.
wget https://s3.amazonaws.com/angstrom/demo/beaglebone/BBB-eMMC-flasher-2013.09.04.img.xz
xz -d -k BBB-eMMC-flasher-2013.09.04.img.xz
dd if=BBB-eMMC-flasher-2013.09.04.img of=/dev/sdX bs=1M

Apart from that you can do the regular things like changing the hostname via /etc/hosts and /etc/hostname, setting up static IP via /etc/network/interfaces, using a nearer Debian mirror in /etc/apt/sources.list, adding a user, changing the root password etc. It seems a bit faster than a Raspberry Pi, but not as much as I expected – especially as I’m using a UHS-1 MicroSDHC card in the BBB and a crappy Class4 SD in the Pi.