Unwrapping your BBB

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Contents

Overview

A step-by-step discussion of how to test your BeagleBone Black (BBB) after pulling it out of the box, including how to verify that each of the steps is working properly.

Make sure you have a good cable

I'm sure it's just my cosmically bad luck but, of the two BBBs I got, one of them came with a non-functioning USB cable. Luckily, I have piles of them so that wasn't a big deal, but if your BBB won't even power up (no LEDs at all), just check the cable. Yes, it's a long shot but stranger things have happened.

Watching what happens when you plug in your BBB: /var/log/kern.log

On this 64-bit Ubuntu system, you can watch what happens when you plug in your BBB by tailing the corresponding log file with:

$ sudo tail -f /var/log/kern.log

As my BBB powered up, I saw the confirmation in real time:

... snip ...
May  8 06:02:34 oneiric kernel: [  167.139895] usb 2-1.4: new high-speed USB device number 4 using ehci_hcd
May  8 06:02:34 oneiric kernel: [  167.273394] Initializing USB Mass Storage driver...
May  8 06:02:34 oneiric kernel: [  167.273512] scsi7 : usb-storage 2-1.4:1.4
May  8 06:02:34 oneiric kernel: [  167.273575] usbcore: registered new interface driver usb-storage
May  8 06:02:34 oneiric kernel: [  167.273576] USB Mass Storage support registered.
May  8 06:02:34 oneiric kernel: [  167.367207] cdc_acm 2-1.4:1.2: This device cannot do calls on its own. It is not a modem.
May  8 06:02:34 oneiric kernel: [  167.367255] cdc_acm 2-1.4:1.2: ttyACM0: USB ACM device
May  8 06:02:34 oneiric kernel: [  167.367950] usbcore: registered new interface driver cdc_acm
May  8 06:02:34 oneiric kernel: [  167.367952] cdc_acm: USB Abstract Control Model driver for USB modems and ISDN adapters
May  8 06:02:34 oneiric kernel: [  167.381714] usbcore: registered new interface driver cdc_ether
May  8 06:02:34 oneiric kernel: [  167.386692] rndis_host 2-1.4:1.0: eth1: register 'rndis_host' at usb-0000:00:1d.0-1.4, RNDIS device, c8:a0:30:a6:29:35
May  8 06:02:34 oneiric kernel: [  167.386713] usbcore: registered new interface driver rndis_host
May  8 06:02:34 oneiric kernel: [  167.395223] usbcore: registered new interface driver rndis_wlan
May  8 06:02:35 oneiric kernel: [  168.271700] scsi 7:0:0:0: Direct-Access     Linux    File-CD Gadget   0308 PQ: 0 ANSI: 2
May  8 06:02:35 oneiric kernel: [  168.273324] sd 7:0:0:0: Attached scsi generic sg4 type 0
May  8 06:02:35 oneiric kernel: [  168.274900] sd 7:0:0:0: [sdd] 144522 512-byte logical blocks: (73.9 MB/70.5 MiB)
May  8 06:02:35 oneiric kernel: [  168.275586] sd 7:0:0:0: [sdd] Write Protect is off
May  8 06:02:35 oneiric kernel: [  168.275599] sd 7:0:0:0: [sdd] Mode Sense: 0f 00 00 00
May  8 06:02:35 oneiric kernel: [  168.276113] sd 7:0:0:0: [sdd] Write cache: enabled, read cache: enabled, doesn't support DPO or FUA
May  8 06:02:35 oneiric kernel: [  168.285527]  sdd:
May  8 06:02:35 oneiric kernel: [  168.287972] sd 7:0:0:0: [sdd] Attached SCSI removable disk
May  8 06:02:44 oneiric kernel: [  177.710976] eth2: no IPv6 routers present
... snip ...

which tells me that everything is probably working just fine. Obviously, the corresponding log file might be different from distro to distro.

Do you have all the modules and/or kernel functionality?

If you're working with a common Linux distro, it's likely that you have all of the necessary kernel functionality or loadable modules to get started but, if you want to check out what's loaded when you plug in your BBB, after a fresh host boot, take a snapshot of your loaded modules:

$ lsmod > /tmp/before

plug in the BBB, wait for it to boot completely, then take another snapshot:

$ lsmod > /tmp/after

Comparing the two will sometimes show you everything that needed to be additionally loaded to support the connection to your BBB:

$ diff /tmp/before /tmp/after
1a2,11
> nls_iso8859_1          12713  1 
> nls_cp437              16991  1 
> vfat                   17585  1 
> fat                    61512  1 vfat
> rndis_wlan             37554  0 
> rndis_host             13848  1 rndis_wlan
> cdc_ether              13536  1 rndis_host
> usbnet                 26212  3 rndis_wlan,rndis_host,cdc_ether
> cdc_acm                26821  0 
> usb_storage            49198  1 
82c92
< cfg80211              205774  3 ath9k,mac80211,ath
---
> cfg80211              205774  4 rndis_wlan,ath9k,mac80211,ath
$

For the curious, I'll explain all of those modules and what they're for on another page.

Verifying proper booting of your BBB

A number of things you can do.

Checking the network

First, verify that you have a new network interface for your BBB, with IP address 192.168.7.1:

$ ifconfig
          ... snip ...
eth2      Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr c8:a0:30:a6:29:35  
          inet addr:192.168.7.1  Bcast:192.168.7.3  Mask:255.255.255.252
          inet6 addr: fe80::caa0:30ff:fea6:2935/64 Scope:Link
          UP BROADCAST RUNNING MULTICAST  MTU:1500  Metric:1
          RX packets:197 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:193 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000 
          RX bytes:174850 (174.8 KB)  TX bytes:33979 (33.9 KB)
          ... snip ...

Using that, ping the BBB at 192.168.7.2:

$ ping 192.168.7.2
PING 192.168.7.2 (192.168.7.2) 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from 192.168.7.2: icmp_req=1 ttl=64 time=0.876 ms
64 bytes from 192.168.7.2: icmp_req=2 ttl=64 time=0.378 ms
64 bytes from 192.168.7.2: icmp_req=3 ttl=64 time=0.415 ms
64 bytes from 192.168.7.2: icmp_req=4 ttl=64 time=0.485 ms
... snip ...

Looks good.

Checking the new mounts

Your BBB should also show up as a mount point on your host:

$ mount
... snip ...
/dev/sdd on /media/BEAGLEBONE type vfat (rw,nosuid,nodev,uid=1000,gid=1000,shortname=mixed,dmask=0077,utf8=1,showexec,flush,uhelper=udisks)
... snip ...

and you can see what's under there:

$ ls /media/BEAGLEBONE/
App  autorun.inf  Docs  Drivers  LICENSE.txt  MLO  README.md  START.htm  u-boot.img  uEnv.txt
$

so that's a good sign as well.

Logging in to your BBB

Final test ... SSH into your BBB (username "root", empty password):

$ ssh root@192.168.7.2
root@192.168.7.2's password: 
root@beaglebone:~# uname -a
Linux beaglebone 3.8.6 #1 SMP Sat Apr 13 09:10:52 CEST 2013 armv7l GNU/Linux
#

At this point, I think it's safe to say that you're up and connected.



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