BeagleBone Product Details
Read the detailed System Reference Manual.
Don't skip the README.htm, but if you like videos, you might get a quick overview of the getting started process with the Makezine.com How-To: Get Started with the BeagleBone that I have embedded below
What is BeagleBone?
BeagleBone is a low-cost credit-card-sized Linux computer that connects with the Internet and runs software such as Android 4.0 and Ubuntu. With plenty of I/O and processing power for real-time analysis provided by the TI Sitara™ AM335x ARM® Cortex™-A8 processor, BeagleBone can be complemented with cape plug-in boards which augment BeagleBone’s functionality.
How can I buy one?
You can find stock at one of our many distributors listed at distributors at http://beagleboard.org/buy.
What are the detailed hardware specifications?
Some additional details are in the latest BeagleBoard.org flyer.
- Board size: 3.4" x 2.1"
- Shipped ready-to-run with 4GB microSD card with the Angstrom Distribution with node.js and Cloud9 IDE
- Single cable development environment with built-in FTDI-based serial/JTAG and on-board hub to give the same cable simultaneous access to a USB device port on the target processor
- Industry standard 3.3V I/Os on the expansion headers with easy-to-use 0.1" spacing
- On-chip Ethernet, not off of USB
- Easier to clone thanks to larger pitch on BGA devices (0.8mm vs. 0.4mm), no package-on-package memories, standard DDR2 vs. LPDDR, integrated USB PHYs and more.
Where are the design materials?
These are still being updated ahead of boards shipping, but you can find the latest versions always on the BeagleBoard.org Hardware Design Page.
What is BeagleBone capable of doing?
At over 1.5 billion Dhrystone operations per second and vector floating point arithmetic operations, BeagleBone is capable of not just interfacing to all of your robotics motor drivers, location or pressure sensors and 2D or 3D cameras, but also running OpenCV, OpenNI and other image collection and analysis software to recognize the objects around your robot and the gestures you might make to control it. Through HDMI, VGA or LCD expansion boards, it is capable of decoding and displaying mutliple video formats utilizing a completely open source software stack and synchronizing playback over Ethernet or USB with other BeagleBoards to create massive video walls. If what you are into is building 3D printers, then BeagleBone has the extensive PWM capabilities, the on-chip Ethernet and the 3D rendering and manipulation capabilities all help you eliminate both your underpowered microcontroller-based controller board as well as that PC from your basement.
OpenCV runs on BeagleBone
ELC demo of the BeagleBone with node.js/Adafruit-sold-sensor/ADCs/socket.io, XBMC Eden and several "capes"
Open source video code running on the original BeagleBoard, but could be moved over to the BeagleBone
How does Linux make the BeagleBone easier to use than a microcontroller-based platform?
The advantage of full-featured Linux is the Linux community. While the template-based coding of systems like the Arduino make it easy to copy-and-paste simple projects and a limited number of more complex libraries that don't have a lot of interaction, 20 years of Linux development have generated an extensive set of highly interoperable software that can be utilized and collaborated upon, without sacrificing the simplicity of doing something like toggling an LED or switch or reading an analog or I2C-based sensor.
The Makezine.com How-To: Get Started with the BeagleBone includes a nice set of tools to get started with Python.
How does the BeagleBone compare to the current BeagleBoard or BeagleBoard-xM?
The BeagleBoard-xM is still the extra MIPS and extra memory BeagleBoard with the greatest USB host expansion capabilities. If the original BeagleBoard has all the horsepower and USB host capabilities you need, but what you really want is easier and more extensive expansion, on-chip Ethernet, analog-to-digital data conversion and a lower cost, then the BeagleBone is the BeagleBoard for you.
What does this mean for the future of the BeagleBoard and the BeagleBoard-xM?
The BeagleBoard and BeagleBoard-xM will continue to be manufactured and available for purchase for several years to come (no end of life in sight). We can be confident of this thanks to TI's commitment to having parts availability for 10+ years for the key components. There have been instances where we've needed to update non-TI components on the BeagleBoard, such as the recent upgrade from 256MB of NAND flash on the BeagleBoard to 512MB due to the end-of-life of the memory device. We believe the upgrade shows our commitment to continued production and support of the existing platforms.
Is this just a TI marketing gimmick?
It is certainly not a marketing gimmick for the key leaders of the project. We really do care about giving to the open hardware movement and the projects it enables us to do personally and through electronics education. An AM3352 processor similar to the one on the BeagleBone can be purchased for as little as $5 in 100,000 unit quantities and we are getting a good deal from TI to help promote that processor, but we are committed to continuing the project even without an on-going commitment partially in thanks to this published pricing.
Several semiconductor manufacturers are attempting to duplicate the community building success of the BeagleBoard and have cut the price on their development tools, even to the point of giving away chips and subsidizing the cost of other components on the board. Ultimately, I think this is a good thing for developers who are aware of this by lowering the cost of evaluating processor technology. However, for those of us who feel personally responsible for the BeagleBoard, we feel it is different than virtually all of those other efforts and that it must stand on the quality of the technology and our commitment to be a part of the BeagleBoard community, actively supporting newcomers who seek to take ownership of the direction of the project. We are personally excited about what we can do with the BeagleBoard and would do it even if TI didn't pay us for it (and not all of us are paid by TI, even though I am).
The current open hardware movement is much akin to early home computer and radio hobbyist activities in its highly collaborative nature. We aren't anti-competitive or looking to use our admittedly unfair advantage of working closely with TI. Arduinos are great for what they do, as are any number of ARM and non-ARM based embedded development systems. To that end, we won't accept subsidies from TI on chips, though we do get volume pricing that other solutions selling the volume of the BeagleBoard and fostering open development would be able to get. We have had challenges with some small groups trying to get similar pricing, but believe we have resolved this at every turn. We are committed to advancing open hardware for the benefit of all and are seeking to enable new things with the BeagleBoard and BeagleBone, not degrade or discount the great contributions to open hardware that have come before or will come after.
Why aren't the BeagleBone expansion headers compatible with the Arduino?
We set out to enable something different than the Arduino, though certainly having the breadth of add-on boards available to the Arduino is in our goals. While it would have been possible to make this happen and it is still possible to make an add-on board that would adapt to that interface, the performance and cost of interfacing to Arduino shields as-is would under-utilize the capabilities of the underlying Linux-based system and compete in places where an Arduino is really the right solution.
We are anxious to work with open hardware partners looking to generate and sell add-on boards and microSD card images (or Linux kernel patches or node.js libraries) that make hardware support transparent. Availability on the BeagleBone will be at least as high as the current BeagleBoard and BeagleBoard-xM, so the audience for your add-on hardware will be extensive. Direct links on the BeagleBone purchase page are welcome, as long as the key Linux distribution and hardware test developers are provided with early hardware to ensure quality interoperability. Open software collaboration through the BeagleBoard mailing list is highly encouraged.
What are the export restrictions?
ECCN number is : 5A002A1A
HTS is: 8473301180
What is the processor used in the board?
The BeagleBone uses a TI AM3358 ARM Cortex-A8-based microprocessor. Announced on Oct 31, 2011, the main processor is available for as little as $5, uses a 0.8mm ball-grid array and standard DDR2 memory, making this board easier to clone than other BeagleBoard designs.
Where do I find out about the AM3358/9 device used on the BeagleBone?
I've heard that some developers have visited the AM3358 product folder and not found any devices in stock at distributors. Despite this, I'm told that although there is no stock, customers can order XAM3358ZCE or XAM3359ZCZ and they’d receive them after TI's standard lead time.
Where do I find out about the TPS65217 power management IC used on the BeagleBone?
See the TPS65217 product folder.
Is there a road-map for peripheral boards?
DVI-D, VGA, LCD, motorcontrol, prototyping, battery and more boards are available now. Plans for a Wi-Fi+Battery board are still in the very preliminary phases. We've engaged several open hardware developers for sensor and other interesting peripheral boards, but no hard commitments for a roadmap yet. We are in the very early life of the BeagleBone and I expect to see more available "sheilds", "capes", "peripheral boards" or whatever you want to call them than you can count!
Take a look at the list of registered cape concepts and register your own. You can purchase some of the capes via the CircuitCo BeagleBone Cape wiki page which attempts to log all of the capes currently available for sale.
If I want to make a "cape", is there a starting point?
A community member has already started creating a starting reference in Eagle. More on that to come.
A "cape" is a BeagleBone daughterboard. We'll generally refer to them as "capes" because Underdog is a beagle and he wears a cape. The term "shields" is nice, but that has some implication of Arduino and this is definitely not an Arduino clone.
Is this board a stand-alone board or is it supposed to be used in conjunction with the BeagleBoard-XM? What capabilities does it add to the BeagleBoard-XM if it does?
Both. Because it doesn't have a display interface of its own, it needs an external control terminal either over USB or over the network. A BeagleBoard-xM may be used as a host, plus it build on the same Linux distribution that ships with the BeagleBoard-xM for a large amount of similarity. It would add extensive 3.3V I/O capabilities to the BeagleBoard-xM.
What if I already have a JTAG-based debugger?
There are pads on the bottom to solder-on a JTAG header. You'll need to remove a few small resistors as well. The trade-off was made to make it easy for those new to embedded systems to be able to use hardware in-system debuggers, saving them from the need to purchase something that likely would have cost them as much as the board.
How do I get software to run on the BeagleBone?
Many projects may eventually provide software images that can be run on the BeagleBone. The boards will be shipping with a Cloud9 image from the Angstrom Distribution. See http://www.angstrom-distribution.org/demo/beaglebone.
Where is the software source code?
The image that ships with the BeagleBone comes from the Angstrom Distribution and is built with OpenEmbedded. Instructions to download and build the Angstrom Distribution are at http://www.angstrom-distribution.org/building-angstrom. The image can be built with 'MACHINE=beaglebone bitbake cloud9-image'.
What if I just want the boot-loader and kernel sources?
A bit closer to the final software freeze date (roughly Nov 7, 2011), the source code will be available at http://github.com/beagleboard. Until then, you can watch the TI trees on arago-project.org and, of course, meta-ti.
How heavy is the BeagleBone?
It has been reported to be approximately 1.3 ounces
Where can I get some images for use in promotion on my website or presentation?
åå See Flickr.
How do I write a .img.xz file to an SD card?
If you have Linux or Mac OS X or most Unix-like systems along with the 'xz', 'pv' and 'dd' utilities:
xz -dkc my_image_file.img.xz | pv | sudo dd of=/dev/your_sd_card