The BeagleBone Black is one of the most exciting embedded platforms in automation and robotics, and is a serious competitor for the well-known Raspberry Pi board.
With a retail price under $50, the Black is one of the most cheapest and powerful single board computers that successfully allow access to standard interfaces as well as a well-developed ecosystem of software and tools.
The price of the Black board is at an affordable level due to several reasons including the replacement of expensive components with low cost components, reduce the cost with testing by using automated tests, and few others techniques able to leading to a reduced price.
From a series of tutorials to help you get started with BeagleBone Black and up with a list with projects, in this article you can find how to explore the flexibility in software of the embedded system as well as how to start your first project with the Black board.
Ångström Linux on BeagleBone Black
If you really want to start working in minutes after the unboxing process of the Beaglebone Black, you can use the Ångström operating system specially designed for embedded devices. This Linux based operating system comes pre-installed on the internal memory of the BeagleBone Black, and all you have to do before starting the work with BBB is to check if the operating system has the latest version installed.
Setting up Debian on BeagleBone Black
The Debian operating system is based on the Linux kernel and is distributed as a free software, but not these two features make from this operating system one of the most popular operating system for embedded platforms and servers. The operating system has support for many architectures and this is a good reason to run the Debian OS on several embedded systems including here the well-known Raspberry Pi and many more single board computers used in robotics.
The best solution to use Debian on BeagleBone Black is to run the customized image for this embedded system.
In this section of the article, you can find a series of tutorials to start the installation process of the Debian OS on the BeagleBone Black board.
For OS X users
- Bootstrapping the BeagleBone Black with Debian – comprehensive tutorial to start working with BeagleBone Black and install the Debian Wheezy on the embedded system;
For Windows users
- Running Debian Distribution and Getting GUI in Beagleboneblack – this tutorial show you how to porting the Debian OS on MicroSD card using the Win32 Disk Imager and how to connect the embedded system to your PC;
- BeagleBone Black: Base Operating System – from this tutorial you can learn step-by-step how to setup the Debian OS on the BBB and how to remove some packages of the operating system that are not necessary;
For Linux users
- Install Debian 7 to eMMC (internal flash drive) of Beaglebone Black – this tutorial explains you step-by-step how to setup the Debian operating system on the eMMC flash drive located on the BBB;
- Installing Debian on the Beaglebone Black – another tutorial for Linux users that explains in steps how to setup the Debian OS to run from a MicroSD card;
Setting up Android on BeagleBone Black
The Android OS jumps from the mobile devices right on the embedded systems able to run a wide range of applications. The latest version compatible with BBB is Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, which can run only if the memory card has at least 4GB storage space.
This operating system is based on the Linux kernel, and this creates a good compatibility between Black and the Android OS that can be used especially in multimedia projects.
Below you can find a series of tutorials from where you can start the installation process of the Android OS on the BeagleBone Black board.
For Windows users
- Beagleboard:Android – this is the official guide to start working with Android OS and the Black board;
- Building Jelly Bean 4.3 AOSP for Beaglebone Black – from this tutorial you can learn how to setup the Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean) on the BBB and increase your experience to put together an AOSP build;
- BeagleBone Black – this tutorial show you how to build and load the Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2 on the Black board;
For Linux users
- Android on the BeagleBone Black – as a Linux user, this tutorial introduce you into the world of Android and BeagleBone Black, and show you how to setup the Android OS on the embedded system;
Setting up Ubuntu on BeagleBone Black
Even is not officially supported by the BeagleBone Black board, the Ubuntu OS made its way in the field of embedded systems and is available in several versions and with a lot of improvements for latest versions.
After reading the below tutorial, you should now have the Ubuntu terminal up and running for experiments and prototyping projects.
Depending on what system you’re running, below are available a series of tutorials to start building the Ubuntu system for BBB board.
For OS X users
- Installing Ubuntu on a BeagleBone Black Board – from this guide you can learn how to write the image of Ubuntu OS on a memory card and start working with Black board having Ubuntu OS;
- Setting up Beaglebone Black to boot off the microSD card – this tutorial show you step-by-step how to build a BBB system to boot directly from a microSD card having an Ubuntu OS image on it;
- How to install new OSes on your Beagle Bone Black – another tutorial to introduce you into the world of Ubuntu and BBB. In this article, you have information to install the Ubuntu OS on the BBB using different tools;
For Windows users
- Install Ubuntu 12.04.3 LTS on Micro SD Card For Use of BeagleBone Black Microcomputer – this tutorial show you step-by-step how to prepare the BBB board to run the Ubuntu OS;
- BeagleBone Black: Installing Operating Systems – this tutorial shows you in images how to setup the BeagleBone Black board to run the Ubuntu OS;
For Ubuntu users
- Setting up Beagleboard Black (BBB) with Ubuntu – Ubuntu OS works for Ubuntu OS. Written for Ubuntu users, this tutorial explain you in detailed steps how to install the Ubuntu OS on the BBB board;
BeagleBone Black Secure Connection and Integrated Development Environments
After installing an operating system such as Android or Debian, you are ready to start building the first project with BBB. Below I explore a series of tools that literally will help you to start working with the BBB and opens the features of the embedded system.
- SSH via USB – because you can’t start working with BBB without having full control over it, this tutorial show you how to connect and control your BeagleBone with just a USB cable;
- Hello BeagleBone World! A C++ Primer – using an IDE is the easy way to start working on your projects. This guide shows you how to configure Eclipse IDE and start working on your first C++ project on BBB;
- Setting Up Development For The BeagleBone Black in Ubuntu – this guide is intended to be used by Ubuntu users and show you how to install the Eclipse C++ Development Tools and start working on “Hello World” example;
- Creating a C++ Beaglebone app with Visual Studio – from this guide you can learn how to start a C++ project for the Beaglebone Black board using Visual Studio and VisualGDB 4.1 or later;
- Beaglebone Black : Cloud9 and Bonescript Install Guide – this tutorial intended to introduce you in the world of Cloud9 and Bonescript;
- Install BeagleBone C Build Environment and Write Hello World for BeagleBone Using C and a Makefile – from this tutorial you can learn how to setup a C Compiler and how to start working with it;
- BeagleBone-Android-DevKit Guide – installing Android OS on BBB is the first step, while the second step is to start to build applications able to run on the Android OS. This tutorial shows you how to start building your first application on Black running Android OS;
BeagleBone Black Projects
The BBB board is engineered for fun and functional projects in several fields and especially in automation and robot projects. In the following projects, you can explore some of the Black board features and at the same time, you can learn how to build projects with the BeagleBone Black.
- BeagleBone Black: ‘Say Hello to My Little LEDs’ – this is a simple project where the BBB board is programmed to blinking an LED;
- Read a Push Button, Control a Buzzer – in this project you can learn step-by-step how to build a simple buzzer alarm circuit;
- Read Temperature and Control a Buzzer – in this simple project the Black board is used to read the values from a temperature sensor and blink an LED in concordance with the temperature registered;
- Installing WiFi – a guide to show you how simple is to install a low-cost external USB Wi-Fi adapter to the embedded system;
- Connecting To A Smart Phone – with this project you enter in the area of advanced applications and learn how to control the BeagleBone Black from a smartphone;
- Building a wireless Android device using BeagleBone Black – in this tutorial you can learn how to build a touchscreen Android device with wireless connectivity and controlled by the BeagleBone Black;
- Beaglebone: Video Capture and Image Processing on Embedded Linux using OpenCV – in this tutorial is explained how to capture and process images using the OpenCV libraries and the BeagleBone Black board;
- BeagleBoneBlack PHP-GPIO – in this article is a short description of the web server installation as well as running a PHP script.