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BeagleBone Dog with orange cape

The BeagleBone is a 1GHz credit card sized computer that runs Linux operating system and has extensive input/output capabilities to control and measure the world around it.  The performance is comparable to a 'smart phone'. Using a 32-bit ARM processor, the BeagleBone Black can serve webpages interact with a cell-phone, control motors and act as the brains of a robot.

The Many Uses Of The BeagleBone.

Initially intended for academic use, the BeagleBone computer has gain popularity with the maker movement, tinkerer and the curious. The powerful computer is used in new applications for industrial, automation, education, arts and imaginative and even some quirky projects. The low cost provides easy accessibility to extensive technology. All this fits in a small Altoid mint tin!

The BeagleBone Black Can Be Programmed In Many Ways.

This is a great way to learn.
  • BoneScript (JavaScript)
  • Python
  • Perl
  • C/C++
  • bash

The first time you plug in the BeagleBone it will appear as a 'USB thumb drive' with the required drivers in the Driver folder (Windows, Mac OSX and Linux versions). (takes about 20 seconds)

Select your operating system and install the driver(s).

For Windows:

install "BONE_D64" (64 bits system) or "BONE_DRV" (32 bits system)

Note: "unsigned driver installation" is required for Window 8.0 and  Window 8.1

For MacOSX:

Install both the RNDIS (HoRNDIS-rel4.pkg) and FTDI drivers (FTDI_Ser.dmg)
You can the ssh to your BeagleBone

ssh -l root
(-l is 'dash' lowercase 'L')

For Linux:

Run "mkudevrule" (shell script)

There Are Many Ways To Connect To The BeagleBone:

Point Your Web Browser To: BeagleBone Information page
This webpage is served by the BeagleBone itself, and is packed with great information. The USB cable that came with the BeagleBone must be connected to your computer's USB port (desktop or laptop ). This USB cable provides power and communication to the BeagleBone board.

WebBrowser with URL circled Cloud9/IDE Bonescript

The Cloud9 Integrated Development Environment allows you to easily create programs.
Demo programs are provided to help you get started.

Cloud9 IDE with circled

Beginner Notes

There are a few basic tasks, that are important to understand.

Setting the correct time is very important when downloading updates or programs.
Failure to set the correct time can result in frustration and much wasted time.
  1. The BeaglBone needs to 'call home' to set the correct time.
  2. The date can be set manually {network connection required} Using putty ssh (using USB cable) to your BeagleBone.
    /usr/bin/ntpdate -b -s -u   
    The NTP (Network Time Protocal) should be installed, if not enter this:
    opkg install ntp ntpdate
  3. Verify the correct time is set using the 'date' command
  4. date
    You may also need to set the correct time-zone (according to where you live).
    rm /etc/localtime
    ln -s /usr/share/zoneinfo/America/New_York  /etc/localtime   
    You can find your timezone starting with:
    ls /usr/share/zoneinfo
    ls /usr/share/zoneinfo/America 
    ls /usr/share/zoneinfo/Europe
    Edit the ntpupdate file:
    nano /etc/default/ntpupdate
    Enter this text:
    {Ctlr-o} {enter} and {Ctlr-x} to save this file.
  5. Once the date and time is correctly set, you can perform an 'update' and 'upgrade'
  6. (typically) before loading new programs. This ensures your system is at the latest version.
    opkg update
    opkg upgrade
    'Update' runs quickly, 'upgrade' can take 45 minutes. Be patient.

Additional Resources: