Beaglebone Black

I received my BeagleBone Black in May 2013.

GPIO Pin-outs

Pulled two pages from the "System Reference Manual:"

Flashing the BBB

There are a LOT of Angstrom images out there for the BBB. Mine came with a defective image (no SSH) so I flashed it to the image that was at the time listed as "the latest" on the BBB site (the Angstrom site has a rather different list and offers many more choices). Flashing the BBB requires you do a destructive write to a microSD card:

# dd if=BBB-eMMC-flasher-2013.04.13-DDR3-400MHz.img of=/dev/sdb bs=1M

This process takes about fifteen minutes (that'll depend on the speed of ... well, everything). And make sure you have the right device because you're going to wipe it! Then you put the card into the BBB and turn it on. There's no HDMI out during this process (why not?), so you have to wait for all the LEDs to light up when the process finishes - 45 minutes later. It takes a while: make sure you're using a good power supply.

Log of Flashes

This is primarily for my own records, but may be of assistance to others.

~2013-05-10: Received BBB from Adafruit
Not sure of the version: GUI worked, network-over-USB worked, ssh (dropbear) didn't work, and appeared unfixable. An attempt to update all Angstrom packages on the system leads to overheating and lock-up.
~2013-05-18: Installed passive heatsink
~2013-05-19: flashed with "latest" code from
This worked completely: GUI, network-over-USB, Cloud9 scripts, ssh server. Unfortunately, Beagleboard has removed this rev from the site so I don't know what version number it was.
~2013-05-24: flashed with 2013.05.20
LEDs indicate activity, but BBB never establishes network-over-USB and GUI is a jumble of colours (but in such a way that it's clear that there's an OS of some sort under there).
~2013-05-28: flashed with 2013.05.27
Behaviour identical to 2013.05.20. (md5sum of .xz verified after the fact.)
2013-06-02: flashed with 2013.04.13-DDR3-400MHz (in the freezer)
I stuffed the BBB in the freezer for this attempt on the theory that overheating was causing the installs to get munged toward the end (I'm desperate here folks). No network-over-USB, but the GUI is drawn properly ... but unusable because GNOME hasn't fully started: no Foot button, no right-, middle-, or left-click menus. The only way in is SSH over the network cable, and that only comes up if the network cable is plugged in at boot (ie. not after boot). Learned a bit about Ångström Linux / opkg package management. Single package installation times run to 2-3 minutes.
  • Trying out stuff from Ångström
  • different method for writing the card:
    xz -dkc Angstrom-Cloud9-IDE-eglibc-ipk-v2011.10-core-beaglebone-r0.img.xz > /dev/sdX
  • This is NOT a flasher, it runs from the card
  • no network-over-USB by default (the URL above appears to have instructions on how to get this working)
  • boots with HDMI connected
  • network over Ethernet is good
  • USB hub and devices work (it's been a problem with other images)
  • ssh server is up and running

Flashed with 2013.05.27 (in the freezer). No network-over-USB, but I appear to have a functional desktop - so the freezer helps.

Freezer-flashed to BBB-eMMC-flasher-2013.06.06.img. Same behaviour I've been seeing: seems to run fine, but, while it draws power from the mini-USB connection, it makes no attempt to appear as USB storage or establish a USB network connection.
Freezer-flashed to BBB-eMMC-flasher-2013.06.20.img. No network-over-USB, but it's now willing to boot with the micro-HDMI plugged in (which had been a problem before). The HDMI connection is still flaky, with the screen periodically flashing off and back on.
Freezer-flashed to BBB-eMMC-flasher-2013.07.31.img. No testing yet.
Purchased a second BBB.
Used a Dremel to cut an ancient video card heat sink to fit on the new BBB. Flashed the old BBB to Debian: Beagle Board Debian.

How to flash a new image onto your BBB when it tends to overheat: 
by giles