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Getting Started with Your BeagleBone

Getting Started with Your BeagleBone

Beginners Guide: How to get Started with Your Beaglebone

Your Beaglebone is a microcomputer, which is about the same size as a credit card. You can connect your computer to the device – and the good news is that it’s incredibly easy to get started because the Beaglebone integrates step-by-step instructions with its set-up process. But don’t be fooled – the Beaglebone is a small but mighty device, providing you with a powerful electronics tool to tackle a wealth of projects.

What You’ll Need

  • A Beaglebone Black
  • A USB A-to-B cable (provided with the Beaglebone)
  • A personal computer


A Quick Note on Kits

The Beaglebone is a simple device – all you need is a computer and a USB cable. But if you want to expand your project repertoire or do something specific with your drive, it may be worth buying your Beaglebone as part of a kit or bundle.


Step One: Plug your Beaglebone into your computer

Plug your Beaglebone into your computer using the USB cable provided with your device. This not only provides a link between your computer and your Beaglebone – it’ll power your microcomputer too.

The Beaglebone comes with a 4GB micro SD card (for the white board device) or an on-board 2GB eMMC (for the black board device) to boot Linux – there’s no need to insert any fiddly cards.

For the purposes of this guide, we’ll assume you’re using a Beaglebone Black device.

When you switch on your Beaglebone Black, the power LED should turn on. After roughly 10 seconds, the other four LEDs should start to blink. These each have a specific purpose. USR0 blinks in a heartbeat pattern, USR1 lights when the micro SD is accessed, USR2 lights when the CPU is active and USR3 lights when the eMMC is accessed.

After roughly one minute of blinking LEDs, your Beaglebone should appear as an external drive on your computer.


Step Two: Install the drivers from your Beaglebone

Open the Beaglebone on your computer. A list of files will appear – open start.htm in your web browser.

This will give you a set of further instructions to install the necessary drivers. Without these drivers, you cannot connect your Beaglebone’s network interface through the USB port.

Install the drivers from the following location: Once complete, (and as the instructions detail) you need to go to the web address in a browser that is not Internet Explorer.

This will tell you if your Beaglebone is connected. If it is, then your drivers are installed correctly and your Beaglebone is ready to use. If something has gone wrong, then this page should have the answer:

You can use the arrow keys on your keyboard to navigate around the browser window, which contains a presentation showing you all the capabilities of your board.


Step Three: Try a quick LED-based tutorial

Click “BoneScript interactive guide” in your non-IE browser.

A small editor window will appear where you can try out the BoneScript Node.js library to run a few simple commands to turn your device’s LEDs on and off.

The editor window will contain some example code to turn these LEDs on and off.

Take a look at this to familiarize yourself with the syntax, It’s pretty simple to understand and Try running this example:


var b = require (‘bonescript’);

b.pinMode (‘USR0’, b.OUTPUT);

b.pinMode (‘USR1’, b.OUTPUT);

b.pinMode (‘USR2’, b.OUTPUT);

b.pinMode (‘USR3’, b.OUTPUT);

b.digitalWrite (‘USR0’, b.HIGH);

b.digitalWrite (‘USR1’, b.HIGH);

b.digitalWrite (‘USR2’, b.HIGH);

b.digitalWrite (‘USR3’, b.HIGH);

setTimeout (restore, 2000);