The BeagleBone Black (BBB)

The recommended board for this module that you will need to purchase in order to complete the second assignment work is the Beaglebone Black.

What is BeagleBone Black? BeagleBone Black is a community-supported development platform for developers and hobbyists. Boot Linux in under 10 seconds and get started on development in less than 5 minutes with just a single USB cable.

  • Processor: AM335x 1GHz ARM® Cortex-A8
  • 512MB DDR3 RAM
  • 2GB/4GB 8-bit eMMC on-board flash storage
  • 3D graphics accelerator
  • NEON floating-point accelerator
  • 2x PRU 32-bit microcontrollers
  • Connectivity:
    • USB client for power & communications
    • USB host
    • Ethernet
    • HDMI
    • 2x 46 pin headers
  • Software Compatibility: 
    • Debian Linux
    • Ångström Linux 
    • Android, 
    • Ubuntu, 
    • Cloud9 IDE on Node.js w/ BoneScript library

Introduction to the Beaglebone (White)

  • Farnell - BeagleBone Black, Cortex A8, Dev Board   €43 + VAT. Orders over €20 have free next-day delivery and this is why they are the most recommended supplier. Please let me know if you know of or find a cheaper/similar priced supplier and I will add them to the list.
  • Farnell - Raspberry Pi 3 €39.50 + VAT. You must purchase an SD card to use the RPi.

  • DCU has no relationships with these suppliers and any difficulties with the product/supplier will have to be handled between you and the supplier.
  • Please note that ordering directly from the U.S. might seem like a more attractive price; however, please be aware that the purchase could attract import duty into Ireland at a typical rate of 23%, which is often applied to 'free shipping' and can attract administrative charges by the courier of €10+.

Recommended Additional Items:

As part of the second assignment we will be using the board in a headless mode (i.e. not connected to a screen) where the board will communicate to your desktop over TCP/IP. All going well you will be able to use the USB Network interface to achieve communication; however, if you have a home network, I would recommend using a network cable to connect the board to your network. In addition it may be necessary for you write a new image to the board (it has a built-in storage device called an eMMC, which acts like an SD card), but we may have to write a new image to the board. If this is the case it would be useful for you to have a microSD card (4GB+) and an SD adapter so that it can be written to from your desktop.

The board as shipped includes a USB cable, but no microSD card. You probably have them lying around from your phone, tablet etc. and they will be fine, but it would be useful for you to have a 2GB/4GB+ microSD card. If you are ordering from Farnell, they have an accessories page, where these items are available conveniently (if you are ordering the BBB from them) at an okay cost:

These items are available cheaper elsewhere (e.g. Amazon) and possibly even in high street electronics stores.

Alternatives to the BeagleBone Black:

If you already have an embedded Linux device such as the Raspberry PI/Raspberry PI B+, it is possible for you to use it; however, it will not be possible for me to support that board or other embedded Linux boards as I have not tried to build a code base under those boards.


The Beaglebone is the board to be recommended in this module next year and provided you take care of your board you should be able to sell it on second-hand to next year's students.

The Making of the Beaglebone Black - Well worth a watch!